Believe it or not, it’s been a number of years since NASCAR could be found in toy departments. Sure, there have been some die-cast replicas of cars and haulers for the major drivers and teams, but those have all been collector-focused pieces that are more than likely destined to forever sit on a shelf somewhere. But what about toys that can actually be played with by kids?
This fall, NASCAR is racing back into toy departments, and it’s starting at Walmart thanks to a deal with Far Out Toys. At the center of the collection is the NASCAR Adventure Force Crash Racers Figure 8 Track Set — a 40-piece set that lets kids race, wreck, and rebuild their rides in record time.
With 16 feet of double-wide, plastic track, the classic “figure 8” design measures nearly 7 feet wide when assembled on the floor or table. The two included NASCAR racers are a little bit larger than 1:64 scale, and each one features a built-in electric motor. Kids flash charge each car for just 10 seconds on one of the included charging stations for maximum horsepower. When dropped onto the track, the cars take off, flying around with blistering speed. The track width is ample for side-by-side racing action and dramatic passes on the high-banked turns. While real-life crashes are anything but fun, kids will have a blast wrecking their opponents and sending pieces flying through the air. Each car’s hood and body simply snaps back into place to get back on the track with ease. Think of it as a “pit stop.”
There’s a lot of value packed into this set, though the one thing it could use — and maybe it’s something that’s in the works — is a couple of extra cars. During a recent Saturday afternoon of racing here at our house, we had a group of six kids from the neighborhood — boys and girls alike — clamoring over who would get the next race. The track is easy to set up, though it might require a little adult assistance when younger “drivers” are ready to race, particularly to make sure that all of the connections are tight. You’ll also want to have some AA batteries on hand, as you’ll need six of them to get the chargers running. With the included sticker sheet, kids can decorate the track signage anyway they’d like using official NASCAR sponsor logos, including Sunoco and Goodyear.
Overall, the NASCAR Adventure Force Crash Racers Figure 8 Track Set is fun, durable, and has a ton of replay value for kids looking for some high-speed fun at home.
Some parents and grandparents might note that the quick-charge cars are a bit familiar, and they wouldn’t be wrong. In the 1970s, there was a trio of competing brands in a similar space, with Hot Wheels Sizzlers, Matchbox Scorpions, and Corgi ElectroRockets battling it out for racing supremacy. In the 1990s, Mattel brought the concept back as Hot Wheels X-V Racers, notably taking an early stab at the retro angle by including “From the makers of the original Sizzlers!” on the packaging. Sizzlers themselves came back twice, once from Johnny Lightning (1996) and again under Hot Wheels (2007). Particularly in their charging method, the Crash Racers are most akin to the X-V Racers, and there might be a good reason for that: Several folks at Far Out Toys are former members of the Hot Wheels team.