11 August 2013

Pack(s) of the Day 8: 2011 Press Pass Stealth Racing Box Break

I like to try whatever heavily-discounted products I can find, especially if the boxes offer some kind of hit because everyone loves to play the lottery. When I ordered my box of Allen & Ginter's for Gint-A-Cuffs V from Dave and Adam's Card World, I think 2011 Press Pass Stealth was one of the daily deals on offer at an even better discount than the usual older product markdown. It seems like most of the bloggers I interact with focus entirely or mostly on baseball cards, so this post may not garner much interest, but I need variety in my collecting life and NASCAR cards are extremely entertaining for me. Maybe I am just easily entertained by bright colors.

I admit that the military theme intrigued me a bit as well, in spite of the cheesy byline seen on the scan of the box above.They even photoshopped the military-sponsored racers into the front of the lineup, although most of the subset titles and jargon used in the card text has more in common with the Air Force than the Army or Army National Guard. For people who just want the stats on the box, here they are:

24 Packs Per Box, 5 Cards Per Pack, 120 Cards Total
Set Completion: 99/100 cards - 99%
Doubles: 11
Triples: 0
Autographs: 1 (Robby Gordon #06/30)
Race-Used: 1 (Joey Logano Sheet Metal and Firesuit #12/99)
Other Inserts:
In Flight Report 1:6 (4)
Supersonic 1:12 (2)
Flyover 1:24 (1)
Hall of Fame 1:24 (1)
Base Parallel - Shield #'d to 99: (1)

Note: Somehow I ended up with 121 cards in the box. Interesting.

And now, on the the cards.

The base set starts off with 36 cards featuring the marquee drivers on the NASCAR circuit. Each driver gets three cards that fit together nicely on a card page. First up is the driver, then the car, and after that the pit crew in action. I like this approach, as many people (myself included) are fans of the cars as much as the drivers, and the pit crews are interesting simply because of the speed with which they can do their pit drills. The cards are printed on a shiny metallic cardstock that doesn't translate very well through the scanner, and they are fairly heavily embossed. I noticed that a fair number of cards had a bit of crimping on the bottom left corner, probably some kind of flaw in production.

The backs of the first 36 cards also slot together on the page to form a picture of that particular team's hauler. Again, the card titles slot together to enhance the illusion of a continuous picture. I thought it was a pretty clever way to tie things together and make the back of the cards more interesting.

After the big name drivers are out of the way, the rest of the Sprint Cup drivers get one card each, so no fancy puzzles for them. Instead the backs of their cards get another photo of the driver and a blurb about their racing success, usually with a terrible military play on words.

Next up are the Nationwide Series drivers, who again get a card similar in design but distinguished by blue accents instead of yellow.

Once the drivers are all done, we get into the subsets. First up is the Command Center subset, which again plays up the military tie-in. These cards show off the little popout command platform where the staff communicates with the driver and monitors the race. The back of the cards talk about different aspects of race strategy, like using blue tape on the grille of the car to alter the handling and performance based on the race situation.

Next up is the Cockpit subset, which shows the drivers strapped into their cars with their helmets on. On the back are descriptions of things the drivers see or experience during a race.

Then comes Strategic Alliances, featuring pairs of teammates and talking about strategies they might use to help the team win a race, like coordinating pit stops and drafting off of each other.

And finally comes the Refueling Mission subset, which shows various action shots of the 'gas men' plying their trade. The back of the cards feature a continuous narrative of the refueling process, from planning ahead to fueling the car and on to weighing the gas cans to see how much gas the car took and calculating fuel economy.

The inserts carry on the military theme. In-Flight Report shows the drivers in their cars mid-race, and the back of the card features a quote from the driver's mid-race communications, to show the sort of things a driver and crew might say to each other during a race.

The Supersonic inserts focus on the cars, with a front-on shot of the car and a discussion of how fast the driver was during the season, usually talking about poles taken and how high the driver tended to place in races.

Then we have Flyovers, which shows off different military aircraft flying over racetracks during events.

The Hall of Fame insert set is an ongoing set that runs across products and features the various Hall of Fame inductees from a given year.

And finally we get to the hits of the box. First up is a holofoil Shield parallel, numbered out of 99. There is also a Black Ops parallel numbered out of 25, but I didn't pull one of those. The box doesn't state odds for these, but I think I read somewhere that parallels fall one per box. This seems like it would be a tough set to put together.

The box promised one autograph and one memorabilia card, and it delivered. I think both of my pulls fell into the second of three tiers of rarity. The Robby Gordon autograph is numbered out of 30 and is on-card rather than a sticker. I think 2013 is the year that Press Pass finally caved and used sticker autographs in their Ignite product. There was a bit of an uproar about that, so we'll see what they do in the future. 

The memorabilia card is part of the Afterburner set, with the swatches embedded in circular holes meant to mimic the engines of a fighter jet. You also get a photo of the car and the driver. I can't say I'm a big Logano fan, but I have always been a big fan of the #20 Home Depot car, so this is a pretty nice hit for me. The sheet metal is a pretty interesting piece, probably coming from a sponsor's sticker.

I just had to look up the ribbons shown below Logano's name to see (1) if they were modeled after actual military ribbons and (2) to see if they are configured correctly. I found corresponding ribbons for each one shown, but they are out of order and I'm not sure they make sense grouped together like that. I guess Press Pass gets props for trying hard and at least getting actual ribbons on there. From right to left, the ribbons are (1) Combat Readiness Ribbon, (2) Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, (3) Airman's Ribbon, and (4) Air Force NCO Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon. The proper order is 2, 4, 1, 3.

Overall I am pretty happy with this box. The cards are fairly attractive and the set seems nicely thought-out. Aside from the cheesy military puns, there is a decent amount of information in the card text. I don't really have any complaints outside of the crimping on some of the cards. I don't know that I would have enjoyed this product as much at full price, but at the steep discount on Dave and Adam's site I found it was a joy to break. I wish the full set would've come out of the box, but I was only one card off and didn't have too many doubles.

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