26 March 2017

Pack of the Day 157: 2017 Panini Donruss Racing Hobby Box

A few days ago, I used the same eBay coupon code that defgav used to pick up a 1957 Topps Hank Aaron card. I purchased a couple things that were a little more modern, though. I bought a box of 2017 Panini Donruss Racing and a sketch card I've been watching for a while (you can add multiple items to your cart to meet the minimum purchase threshold for eBay coupons). The sketch card may or may not show up on this blog in the future, but today I am going to show what I pulled from the box of racing cards.

I meant to make a NASCAR post yesterday, because my Facebook feed told me it was Danica Patrick's birthday. I never got around to it, though. For anyone keeping track of that stuff, she turned 35. I am 35 currently, and it is weird to me that most active sports celebrities are my age or younger. I still feel like they should be older than I am.

Here is the box lid. You are pretty much promised 1 autograph and 2 memorabilia cards per box, although Panini leaves a little wiggle room, falling short of guaranteeing it. There are 24 packs, with 10 cards per pack. Even the packs with relic cards in them have 10 cards, and you can pretty much tell which packs have the relics in them, as they are super thick. Boxes seem to run in the $65-70 range. If you want to compare, Dave & Adam's has Prizm (3 hits) for $49.95 a box, Certified (2 autographs, 2 memorabilia) for $59.95, and Torque (3 autographs, 2 memorabilia) for $69.95. I imagine the price on Donruss will go down after a while. Panini is putting out some decent products, but they are flooding the market with cards. That's good new for buyers, but a completist-type collector has got to be going crazy right now.

The pack design mimics the box design. I don't have much else to say about it. Panini doesn't print pack odds on their wrappers, which I find mildly irritating. I couldn't get a good scan of the NPN (No Purchase Necessary) information, so here it is in type:

Hand print your name and complete address on a 3 x 5 card and mail it in a #10 envelope to: Panini America Inc., NPN, 2017 Donruss Racing, 5325 FAA Blvd., Suite 100, Irving, TX, 75061-3601. Canadian entrants must also correctly answer the following mathematical skill-testing question on the 3 x 5 card: 868 + 885 / 295 x 505 -576. Two entries per household, one entry per envelope, postmarked by 4/26/2017 and received by 5/3/2017. No metered mail.

That's not all of the text, but that's enough to get you going if NPN's are your thing. I've thought about giving it a try, but I've never actually sent one in.

The checklist is 189 cards deep, but it's not very straightforward. There are 4 or 5 short-printed subsets, depending on how you choose to count them. I'll get to that later. Sandwiched in the middle is the base set, made up of 100 cards. This base set is made up of cards 37-136 in the checklist. It features cards for most of the drivers on the top circuit, as well as sections for some Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series drivers. I pulled 100 / 100 base cards, 96 / 100 doubles, and 9 / 100 triples in the box. I thought I was shorted a card in the base set, but I later discovered that I had a copy of it in my doubles stack and my triples stack, so I actually had two copies of the 'missing' card.

The main checklist also features some pit crew cards and a subset called Duals, which feature drivers' cars in main and alternate paint schemes. The card backs are nice and colorful, but I wish they had a little more substance to them as far as statistics or additional photography. They need something more. I do like the card design overall.

The last sixteen cards in the base set make up the Cup Chase subset, with a card for each driver who made the playoffs for 2016. This subset also has some of the better photography in the set, with some candid shots of drivers doing something outside of the usual folded arms or looking off to the side while wearing sunglasses poses.

The first short-printed subset is Race Kings/Queens, consisting of cards 1-27 in the checklist. I pulled three of them, plus a Gold parallel of Chase Elliott, numbered # 074 / 499. The cards look pretty nice, with the driver in the foreground and the car in the background, done in the painted style typical of the 'Kings' subsets in all Donruss products. 

Cards 28-36 are the Rated Rookie subset. I only pulled one from my box, Garrett Smithley. 

The largest SP subset is called 1984 Retro, and it takes up spots 137-181 in the checklist. I pulled six of them, plus three parallels. The parallels are a Gold Ricky Stenhouse Jr. numbered # 386 / 499, a Blue Ernie Irvan numbered # 236 / 299, and a Press Proof of Bobby Allison numbered # 35 / 49. 

There are a small number of Nickname variants, with the driver's nickname printed in place of their real names. I pulled that Rowdy insert of Kyle Busch. This is where things get a little weird. I think the Busch card is considered a parallel or insert card, but the Gentleman Ned card of Ned Jarrett is considered part of the base set. Cards 182-189 are Nickname cards for drivers that don't appear in the base set, and Panini seems to be counting them as part of the base checklist.

I also pulled four base parallels. There were two Golds, one of Landon Cassill numbered # 118 / 499 and one of Kyle Busch numbered # 040 / 499. The A.J. Allmendinger Duals subset card is a Green parallel numbered # 049 / 199. The lowest-numbered card in the box was the Artist Proof of Chris Buescher's Cup Chase card, numbered # 04 / 25.

Most of the insert sets have Cracked Ice parallels. Call to the Hall somewhat predictably highlights people who have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Fred Lorenzen card is the base version, while the Richard Childress is a Cracked Ice parallel, numbered # 810 / 999.

The Cut to the Chase set features a card for the winner of each 2016 playoff race. I happened to pull versions of Joey Logano's two Chase wins, a regular insert for his win in the Hellmann's 500 and a Cracked Ice card, numbered # 787 / 999, for his victory in the Can-Am 500. 

The Pole Position and Speed inserts have Cracked Ice parallels, but I only got base versions for these two insert sets. It feels like I saw Joey Logano and Kyle Busch a lot in this box. Pole Position cards actually have some stats on them, listing the race the driver earned the pole in, the track, the date, the time, and the speed. I don't know what that leaderboard thing on the front of the card is, but it accurately reflects the qualifying results for that race. The Speed insert mentions the high speed that Busch attained during a practice session, so maybe that's what the speed insert is all about.

I got three cards from the Competitors insert set, base inserts of Michael Waltrip and Danica Patrick, and a Cracked Ice card of Rusty Wallace. The Wallace is numbered # 823 / 999. The Phenoms insert features up-and-coming drivers. I pulled a base of Harrison Burton and a Cracked Ice of Daniel Hemric, numbered # 189 / 999. The final insert from the box is a Top Tier card of Carl Edwards. I am not sure what the Top Tier insert is all about, as the back of Edwards' card talks about his acting career. I imagine it's just another way for Panini to include NASCAR stars in the product.

I did all right with my two memorabilia cards. Both cards were Dual Rubber Relics cards, featuring Brad Keselowski and Danica Patrick. I think this might be the first Danica Patrick hit I've ever pulled on my own, but I could be mistaken about that. There are many parallels available for these, along with single-relic versions and autographed versions, all with their own parallels. Both of mine were the basic models, without serial numbering or fancy foil. 

My autograph card came from the Retro Signatures 1984 set. The driver featured is Kyle Petty, with your standard sticker autograph. He has a cool signature, but his racing career happened before I got into NASCAR and this autograph doesn't do a whole lot for me. At least I was able to get a nice Danica Patrick relic card that I didn't have yet.

I like the design of the product, but I don't like all of the short-printed base cards. By my calculations, you'd have to open 9 boxes with perfect collation to complete the full base set. I can't see myself doing that. I think I prefer to keep the short-printed stuff out of the base set, so a collector can get their set from one or two boxes of cards, and people who like chase cards can open more if they want to pursue inserts, hits, and photo/nickname/retro variations. I would buy two or three boxes of this, but not nine or ten.


  1. Which base are you missing? I have a ton of spares from my box. Even though it mentions 1992, that photo of Kyle Petty is from 1994.

    1. On further review, the missing card was present in both my doubles stack and my triples stack, so I have to amend the post to reflect that I got all of the non-SP cards in the box.

  2. Nice pulls on the rubber relic cards. This is definitely one of my favorite sets of the year so far in any sport.

    1. Yes, I did all right in the relics department. I like the look of Donruss, especially in sports that Panini has licenses for.

  3. I thought about pulling the trigger on a box of this.....I probably will if I am at Target or Walmart.

    1. It's worth a shot. It's a fun set.