The start of the 2017 NASCAR season coincided with the release of the 2017 Donruss Racing set. Panini took over the NASCAR license in 2016, but this is the first time the Donruss brand is being used on racing cards.
The base set contains 181 cards with 100 standard issue versions, and several other short printed subsets. The same card design was used for 2016 Donruss Football, 2016-17 Donruss basketball, and 2017 Donruss Baseball. Keeping in the Donruss tradition, there are also a variety of insert sets and serial numbered parallels included.
The release intended to be a lower end/set collector product, and the initial release price was around $60 per box. Each box contained 24 packs, with 10 cards in each pack. A hobby box also promised 1 autograph and 2 memorabilia cards.
Base Set Break Down
Race Kings (1-27)
The set starts off with the 27 card Race Kings subset. Well, make that 26 Race Kings. Danica Patrick rightly identifies her as a Race Queen. These are short printed cards and collectors can expect to find 3-5 per box.
Rated Rookies (28-36)
No Donruss set would be complete without including some Rated Rookies! Cards 28-36 feature some up and coming drivers, some of which will have a regular home behind the wheel of the Cup Series in 2017. Others will be racing in the Xfinity or Truck series races with hopes of finding their way to the Cup series in future seasons. Erik Jones and Ty Dillon were probably the two most notable rated rookies going into the 2017 season.
Base Set (37-136)
The next 100 cards are considered the base set and are the most plentiful of the release. There are cards of both current and retired drivers to collect. Some cards feature the driver themselves, and others feature the car they drive.
1984 Retro Variations (137-181)
The next subset feature both current and retired drivers, but this time in the classic 1984 Design. I loved this design for the original 1984 baseball release, and I think it looks great on these NASCARDS (dad joke alert).
Nineteen cards feature variations of the drivers name. 11 of them utilize the same number as their base card, however 8 of them start at card number 182 and go through 189. This adds a bit of confusion on whether or not you consider these final eight cards a variation, or are they just another SP that would be part of the “complete set”. There doesn’t seem to be much consensus around the hobby, so to each their own I guess!
Call to the Hall - This set features 12 racing legends and can be found in both standard and serial numbered Cracked Ice versions.
Classics - This 16 card insert sets features both current and retired drivers and has a retro feel to it. It is also available in both standard and Cracked Ice.
Cut to The Chase - These cards contain photos of drivers on victory lane. I’m not sure why, but only 5 different drivers are used in the set. 4 have two different cards, and Jimmy Johnson actually has three.
Elite Dominators - A small but mighty five card set with some of the biggest current names in NASCAR.
Elite Series - Another small set of 3 Legends and 2 current drivers.
Phenoms - These ten cards feature younger up and coming drivers.
Pole Position - This set celebrates drivers who held a pole position at a 2016 race, and the details are printed on the back of the card. Why only ten? Your guess is as good as mine!
Speed - Race cars go fast, and this insert set highlights drivers who had the fastest practice lap at several 2016 Cup races.
Top Tier - The appearance of the 12 card Top Tier set brings memories of the Top Gun logo. The write-ups on the back of this odd little set attempt to connect the driver to Hollywood and Pop Culture references. I kind of like the design, but I’m not so sure about the theme itself.
Track Masters - Last but not least, the back of the Track Masters cards describe the featured driver’s success at one of the season’s race locations.
The Hits in this release consist of Fire Suit Swatches, Tire Chunks, and a variety of Sticker Autographs. You can also find limited Auto Relics! Here are a few examples.
This is a fun, affordable set which has a little for everyone. Set collectors, parallel chasers, and hit hunters should get something out of it. Check it out!
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