By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary
Danica Patrick wrote herself into the record books on Sunday as the best-finishing woman to compete in NASCAR’s premiere event, the Daytona 500, when she finished eighth in a race won by five-time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson.
Of course, earlier in the day, Patrick became the first woman to lead a lap in the race and she was the first to win the pole for the event when she took it last week. The best previous finish for a woman in the race was Janet Guthrie, who finished ninth in 1978.
The 30-year-old is embarking on her first season as a full-time driver in the highest level of stock-car racing this season after a couple seasons as a part-timer. She’s already a big-time player on the card circuit, though, as she appears on more than 840 different cards and diecasts made through the years with a total value of $31,336.25 not including those pieces that are too rare to track. (Click here for a full checklist and Online Price Guide.)
Patrick’s cardboard debut came in the landmark 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball card set, a product that featured her first certified auto — it typically sells for $600 or less. Her racing card debut came in the 2010 Rittenhouse IRL product, which also had an autograph card, before her NASCAR debut came in a few 2010 Press Pass products. (How are her items selling on eBay? Click here.)
Her Cup debut was one strong enough that it will sell likely some cardboard — though Press Pass, the lone NASCAR card licensee, knew about that potential long ago.
“NASCAR is a sport driven by driver loyalty, and collectors will support their drivers through the good times and the bad,” said Press Pass VP of Brand Management Tom Farrell in the February issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly. “The overwhelming majority of our collectors can’t get enough Danica.”
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.