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Article Archives : News

On Your Mark. Get Set. Gooooooo!
Sat, 17 Jun 2006, 18:15

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(ARA) - On your mark. Get set. Gooooooo! As America's best stock car drivers battle it out in a nail-biting race to the finish of this year's NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing) championship, the smallest of auto racing fans can now join the big race with their very own NASCAR replica stock car.

Fueled by the growth of NASCAR auto racing, Hedstrom Corporation, one of America's largest toy companies based in Chicago, Ill., and NASCAR have teamed up to introduce NASCAR Power Riders. Officially licensed from NASCAR and four of the sport's most popular drivers, Power Riders is a series of four battery-powered NASCAR replica stock cars that kids three to seven years (65 lbs. or less) can drive while dreaming about being the next auto racer to drive under the checkered flag at the Daytona 500.

NASCAR Power Riders stock cars are built for action. Designed with attention to detail and authenticity, these 52-inch long by 24-inch wide cars are replicas of the real thing.

The NASCAR Power Rider series includes a replica of Jeff Gordon's #24 "DuPont Automotive Finishes" Chevy Monte Carlo, Dale Earnhardt's #3 "Goodwrench" Chevy Monte Carlo, Bill Elliott's #94 "McDonald's" Ford Taurus, and Mark Martin's #6 "Valvoline" Ford Taurus. Each Power Rider car features the signature of its particular NASCAR driver. To ensure authenticity, Power Riders stock cars come out of the box with most of their decals already affixed.

"Kids love race cars," says Chet Dahl, Hedstrom vice president of marketing. "Even though a kid may only be riding two-to-four miles per hour, in a NASCAR Power Rider they feel the excitement of zooming around at 200 mph like real-life drivers such as Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt."

NASCAR Toys in Hot Demand

The real race for NASCAR toys may actually begin at your favorite toy retailer. That's because NASCAR-licensed toys will be in hot demand by kids.

"NASCAR is just about the hottest sports property in America right now," says Charles Riotto, president of the International Licensing Merchandisers' Association (LIMA), a New York-based not-for-profit organization of licensors, manufacturers and retailers.

"NASCAR toys will be very hot gift items this year because it's a fun, exhilarating sport that can be enjoyed by the entire family," Riotto adds.

According to NASCAR research, NASCAR has the most brand loyal fans in sports - 72 percent of NASCAR fans consciously purchase products based on their involvement with the sport. More than 250 million people attended or tuned in to a NASCAR race on radio or TV. Nielsen Media Research shows NASCAR's television ratings are second only to the NFL. Sales of NASCAR merchandise industry wide have increased 1,100 percent since 1990, going from $80 million to a projected $1.1 billion in retail sales this year.

NASCAR is especially popular with kids. In about six months, kids will be able to keep on top of their sport through the animated "NASCAR Racers" television program scheduled to be launched on the FOX Kids network. NASCAR Online, the official NASCAR Web site, is rated the second most popular site with kids ages 11 and under, according to USA Today.

"From East to West, kids of all ages love race cars," says Jim Silver, publisher of Toy Book, a leading toy trade industry publication. "And what's the most popular name in race cars? It's NASCAR. NASCAR-licensed products bring home the excitement of racing. There's a good chance that many kids will have NASCAR toys on their gift wish list this year."

Built with Safety in Mind

Having been in the toy business for more than 50 years, Hedstrom designers know that kids will be kids. That's why they've designed NASCAR Power Riders with safety in mind. NASCAR Power Riders are made of tough, high impact polypropolene to stand up to hours of use and play. A seat belt is included with each car to reinforce the importance of wearing a seat belt just like Mom, Dad and their favorite race car driver.

Power Riders feature the latest in ride-on car technology and safety features. Rack and pinion steering provides easy handling while the automatic braking system ensures quick, easy stops. A new, patent-pending, tamper-proof battery recharger means the NASCAR Power Rider pit crew (namely Mom and Dad) never have to "lift the hood" to charge the battery. Recharging is accomplished with a simple plug-in system. NASCAR Power Riders are equipped with a long-lasting 12-volt battery and a power shifter with two forward speeds (2.5 and 4.5 mph) and one reverse speed (2.5 mph).

Easy-to-understand instructions are included with every NASCAR Power Rider stock car for quick set-up (typically 35 minutes). A toll-free 800 number is available for parents or adults who have questions about assembly and service.

According to Hedstrom, not all NASCAR Power Riders may be available at one location because of licensing agreements.

"If you want a specific car, such as the Mark Martin NASCAR Power Rider, it's best to call or E-mail your favorite toy retailer early, or call Hedstrom at 1-800-323-5999," says Dahl.

NASCAR Power Riders are available at leading toy retailers throughout the United States, including Target, Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us and several catalog retailers, including Fingerhut, J.C. Penney and Wish Book. Power Riders have a suggested manufacturer's retail price of $229.00, and are supported with more than 300 service centers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

For more information about NASCAR Power Riders by Hedstrom, call 1-800-323-5999 or see your nearest toy retailer.

Founded in 1915, Hedstrom Corporation, based in Chicago, is one of the largest toy manufacturers in the United States. The company is dedicated to making fun, high quality, active toys that can be enjoyed by boys and girls, ages 2 - 15. The company's products include outdoor gym sets, play balls, ride-on toys, game tables, activity kits, licensed products and children's room decor.

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