Lionel Brings NASCAR Authentics to Cracker Barrel

Lionel Racing teams up with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store with exciting new NASCAR diecast replicas!

Lionel Racing teams up with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store with exciting new NASCAR diecast replicas!

Presently, Lionel Racing’s NASCAR Authentics line makes their retail presence known in stores like Target and Walmart.  In fact, Lionel brings the racetrack experience home with their mementos.

Moreover, Lionel Racing’s NASCAR Authentics cars will be offered at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores nationwide. No doubt, race fans can have good eats and purchase new treats all in one trip.

Furthermore, this set of seven 1:64 scale cars features a wide variety of drivers from the popular Dale Earnhardt Jr to young gun Kyle Larson.  That said, these cars will not be available for fans until this October.

However, our friends at Lionel Racing have given us a sneak preview of their special line for Cracker Barrel!  Without further ado, here’s our exclusive review of each car alongside their on track counterpart.

Kyle Busch – No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry XSE
Arguably, Kyle Busch's No. 18 ride is eye candy.

Arguably, Kyle Busch’s No. 18 ride is eye candy.

Without a doubt, the 2018 Toyota Camry XSE has that ferocious, aggressive look that seems appropriate for their fleet of drivers. Naturally, when a manufacturer makes a body style change, Lionel Racing adjusts their tooling to depict these updated stock cars in style.

Sweet like candy, tough as nails.

Sweet like candy, tough as nails.

At first glance, the prominent yellow base and colorful bite sized chocolates encompassing Kyle Busch’s No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry XSE are a familiar sight to fans.

By and large, Lionel Racing truly duplicates that distinct menacing front fascia prevalent on the on-track and street version of the Camry.

While Tom Petty sang that the waiting is the hardest part, this is certainly a car that is a must for Kyle Busch fans.

Matt Kenseth – No. 20 DeWalt Toyota Camry XSE
Simple yet bold, Matt Kenseth's No. 20 Dewalt Toyota Camry means business.

Simple yet bold, Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 Dewalt Toyota Camry means business.

All things considered, Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 paint scheme matches his personality in being simple, bold, and distinct.  Certainly, the 2003 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion speaks softly but carries a big heavy foot.

By and large, Matt Kenseth's No. 20 paint scheme matches his personality.

By and large, Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 paint scheme matches his personality.

For die-cast collectors, they will be pleased to notice how Lionel duplicated the much shorter rear spoiler and updated body style.

At the same time, the contrasting colors on the on-track counterpart is masterfully captured on the die-cast replica.

All in all, sometimes a car with a subtle paint scheme drives the point home, no pun intended. This is one car where tooling and a company that produces tools is a match made in heaven.

Kyle Larson – No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS
Strangely enough, a simple paint scheme suits Kyle Larson.

Strangely enough, a simple paint scheme suits Kyle Larson.

For a truly simple paint scheme of red contrasting white, Kyle Larson’s No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS has been a genuine front runner all season long. For this reason, this rather late season release comes at a good time as Larson’s stock rises in popularity and stature.

Bold and unassuming, the No. 42 car is unmistakable.

Bold and unassuming, the No. 42 car is unmistakable.

Undoubtedly, fans will be pleased to see that the fade between the red and white on the No. 42 Chevy SS is duplicated perfectly on the die-cast replica.

In addition, those unique white wheel hubs are prominent on the replica. Lionel’s rendition of this car makes the trip to Cracker Barrel absolutely worthwhile.

Accordingly, this is a case where the die-cast replica matches that Daytona 500 look right down to the spoiler on the No. 42’s rear deck.

Jimmie Johnson – No. 48 Lowe’s Throwback Chevrolet SS
Fittingly, Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 throwback would pass for a car from 1986.

Fittingly, Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 throwback would pass for a car from 1986.

Talk about going back in time. If Huey Lewis and the News wanted to know if it’s the 50’s or 1999, Jimmie Johnson’s Darlington ride may convince them that it’s more like 1986, just 30 years later.

Presumably, one does not have to be totally gnarly to enjoy this car.

Presumably, one does not have to be totally gnarly to enjoy this car.

Appropriately, Johnson’s No. 48 team has mirrored Darlington’s theme of honoring 1985-’89 with a paint scheme inspired by the Lowe’s truck’s liveries from 1986.

Surprisingly, this unusual paint scheme becomes fascinating with each glance, even with the rather enlarged numbers.

In this case, Lionel Racing’s die-cast replica sells the on-track paint scheme for fans of the No. 48 team.

Martin Truex Jr – No. 78 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry XSE
At the moment, Martin Truex Jr's No. 78 car has been virtually unstoppable.

At the moment, Martin Truex Jr’s No. 78 car has been virtually unstoppable.

This season has been a career year for Martin Truex Jr.  As he looks to clinch the regular season championship, his rivals have to wonder how to outwit and outperform the No. 78 team.

While there's nowhere to hide, Martin Truex Jr doesn't need to with this stout paint scheme.

While there’s nowhere to hide, Martin Truex Jr doesn’t need to with this stout paint scheme.

Ironically, one of the few times that Truex’s ride can be “stopped in time” is through Lionel Racing’s 1:64 scale die-cast car.

Gritty and rugged in appearance, this particular Camry is sharp on the track and as a replica.

Fans will notice how the car has two winner sticks above the door, taking note of Truex’s victory at Las Vegas and Kansas from the spring.

Arguably, this replica will please Truex fans and those appreciating inspirational efforts by this driver and his Furniture Row Racing team.

Dale Earnhardt Jr – No. 88 Nationwide Salutes Chevrolet SS
Nothing like a patriotic car on the track and in die-cast form.

Nothing like a patriotic car on the track and in die-cast form.

Consequently, Dale Earnhardt Jr’s final full-time effort in Cup racing has been trying at times for his ardent fanbase. Despite the tough season, NASCAR nation has shown their appreciation towards the Kannapolis, NC native in style with his apparel or by purchasing Lionel Racing’s replicas of his cars.

NASCAR, America, and Earnhardt are quite the combination.

NASCAR, America, and Earnhardt are quite the combination.

As one of the two cars offered in this Cracker Barrel only line for NASCAR Authentics, it’s refreshing to see this version of the Nationwide car with this wave.

Somehow, Earnhardt’s paint schemes work with its eccentricities, including the white base, the red stripes on the hood, and the prominent blue on the roof and deck lid.

For Earnhardt fans of all ages, solely acquiring this car would feel wrong if one missed out on the last offering of this exclusive line.

Dale Earnhardt Jr – No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS
Sam Bass paint schemes win all day, everyday.

Sam Bass paint schemes win all day, everyday.

Axalta and Sam Bass seem to come up with the most unique and appealing paint schemes on the track. After all, this combination has gone from the famed rainbow colors to the “Flash Point” design for 2017.

Even Flash Gordon would be proud of this car.

Even Flash Gordon would be proud of this car.

To boot, Lionel Racing duplicates the on-track paint scheme from its fade halfway into the car to the silver No. 88’s adorning the sides and roof.

Needless to say, Earnhardt’s final season may prompt his fans to race on over to Cracker Barrel in October.

Similar to teammate Jeff Gordon’s true final full-time Cup season, collecting any or all of a soon to be “retired” driver’s car is worthwhile.

In Summary…
This is Lionel's version of the magnificent seven.

This is Lionel’s version of the magnificent seven.

Ultimately, all seven cars are absolutely worth the drive to your local Cracker Barrel, be it on Sunday morning for breakfast or a Friday afternoon dinner.

Regardless of your age, make that quick trip to the retail store side of the restaurant.

One might say that good eats meets awesome treats in October.  This combination feels right and makes sense, given the Southern charm of NASCAR alongside a prominent chain that brings Southern hospitality without making a terribly long drive.

In conclusion, for those who enjoy Lionel Racing’s offerings through its Action Racing Collectables line or the NASCAR Authentics retail waves, this Cracker Barrel exclusive wave will satisfy one’s die-cast collection!

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by me or by one of my talented columnists who absolutely have a passion for racing.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Proud to be from Massachusetts, just as happy to be a Texan.

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