Panini America has added Absolute brand to auto racing, and even a blaster box offers a decent hit. Absolute Racing hit the shelves in October, and a hobby box offers two autograph and memorabilia cards. A hobby box has four packs, and obviously, one hit per pack.
But since I bought a blaster box for $19.99, I will rate that.
There are five cards in a blaster, and Panini promises at least one autograph or relic card. In my case, I pulled a combination — an Absolute Memorabilia Signature card of Corey Lajoie. The autograph is on the card and is a bold scrawl, and it sits beneath “enclosed driver material,” as Panini notes on the card back. The card is sturdy as it is printed on thick stock, and Lajoie’s green racing outfit makes for a colorful presentation.
The Absolute base set consists of 100 cards, and there was one in the blaster box I opened — Matt DiBenedetto. What gives these cards nice eye appeal is that the drivers’ suits and logos are always colorful and never dull. The DiBenedetto card had a horizontal design, and the card back had a fun fact about him interacting with fans after a NASCAR round in Charlotte earlier this year. The white text on the yellow bio box, while meant to mesh with DiBenedetto’s driving suit, made it difficult to read. I suppose that drivers with red and green uniforms have a much more readable card back.
The final card in the box was an insert — an Action Packed card of Kevin Harvick, part of a seven-card set. Again, the color schemes are dynamic in this design, with the red background complementing the red “4” of Harvick’s card. And no need to worry about less-than-sharp corners on the card, since the corners are rounded.
If you are a NASCAR fan, this set will be pleasing because of its presentation. The Absolute Signatures subset is not overwhelming with star appeal, although Danica Patrick and Bill Elliott have autograph cards. However, other signature series — Tools of the Trade and Team Tandems — do have more familiar names, like Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson.
The $19.99 tag might be steep for just five cards -- a hobby box, with four packs, runs in the $90 to $100 range, but if a collector pulls a big-name autograph, relic (or both), then it is worth the expense.