Sunday, May 24, 2015

A look at the Indy car sets in my collection

I make no secret that NASCAR is my all time favorite form of motorsports. But I also love the Indy 500, and would watch the Indy car series more often if it didn't conflict with NASCAR. Indy cars have had a much longer history in trading cards than NASCAR or any other form of racing has, although I am missing more of the sets than I have. The first set that featured Indy drivers was, amazingly, issued in 1911, the year of the first Indy 500, although it covered multiple forms of racing. I've never seen a card from this set in person and only pictures of one card.

Indy got cards periodically in the 1960s through the mid-2000s, with A&S Racing producing the most sets, one annually from 1983 through 1987, although I don't have a single card from any of these sets. I have heard that they were the same company, restructured, that was known as All-World in 1991 and 1992, but I cannot confirm that.

Here is a brief rundown of the card sets that ARE in my collection. If the names are clickable, you can see the entire set on the Database.
1991 All-World. A 100-card set, I have the complete set, which I got in factory set form. This set chronicles the 1990 season with a couple of cards set aside for historical coverage, several of them honoring drivers who had recently passed away.
 1991 Collegiate Collection Legends of Indy A 101 card set, with one card only available by mail order, and significantly harder to find. (and the only one I am missing). This set chronicles the history of the Indy 500, with highlights of most years included. An excellent set.

1992 All World Indy was also a 100-card set, but unlike the 1991 issue, this set focuses on driver photos only, with only one card in the set having race action- the checklist. It has a "Where are they now?" subset and was the first card set to include autograph of Indy drivers, although the autographs are simply one of the 1991 All-World cards that has been autographed, with no way to tell if it was pack issued or in person autographed. I pulled Tony Bettenhausen from my box. I have the complete base set. There is also a version of this set with French text, I do not know if it was issued for France or Canada. I was given several packs of them but the cards have all fused into bricks, unfortunately.
1992 Collect-A-Card Andretti Family Racing. Collect-A-Card's only foray into auto racing, this set chronicles the career of the 4 racing Andrettis (Mario, Michael, John, Jeff) who were active by 1992. It is not solely Indy cars, but covers all the forms of racing the Andrettis took part in. However, as Indy cars take up the majority of the set, I class it as an Indy set. It's a set I wish I had chased more when they were available. I have only 37 of the cards.

1992 Hi-Tech. I have never been able to find out anything about this card. There is as near as I can tell no known reference to this set online. I suspect it may be some sort of promo or prototype. Hi-Tech issued sets almost solely based on Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 1992 through 1997. This card has no number. I cannot remember where I got it, I've had it so long. It depicts Jeff Andretti.
1992 Collegiate Collection Legends of Indy. This 100 card set features bright red borders, and is significantly different from the 1991 set. While the '91 set is about the history of the race and track, the 1992 set is split into three basic themes- a look back at the 1991 Indy 500, including shots of each car and race action, a look at the pace cars throughout the years, and also some general Indy history. I have 41 of the 100 cards.

1993 Hi Tech Indy 500 was an 81 card set. Half of them featured action photos, and the other half featured a usually staged but sometimes cropped photo of the driver in front of a brick design with a neon pink Indy design. Because it was 1993, of course! I have 11 of the cards in this set.
1995 Skybox Indy 500 is a 112 card set, made up of the "Tall boy" style cards that are so hard to store. (I am not a fan of them in any sport or non-sport issue). It features photos of each car, driver, and race action. The oversize cards do lead to large, clear photos however. I have only 12 of the 112 cards.

2001 Checkered Flag Collectibles was a 2 card set consisting of Mario and Michael Andretti. It appears they were issued in some sort of partnership with Firestone. These are thick, well-made cards that are very similar in texture and production quality as early Flair cards. I have both of them.
And finally we come to the last card in this rundown, and the easiest set to it consists of only one card! A Firestone promo from 2002, it too features the father and son combo of Mario and Michael Andretti. I could swear that I had at least a couple of cards from the 1997 Hi Tech set, but I can't find the scans of them if I do. I may have thought I had both, as the Indy and drag sets from Hi Tech shared similar designs that year.
There are other sets that include Indy drivers and cars, but mostly featured other forms of racing with a few Indy drivers shoehorned in- notably the Press Pass Legends issues. Again, this is not a comprehensive listing, just a look at what I have in my collection. As I finish typing this, there are 15 laps left of the 99th Indy 500. Enjoy the rest of the race!


  1. Nice cards,I don't have too many Indy cards, but I do like watching it on occasion. I caught the last half of the race, not bad today. Unlike most years I didn't pick someone to root for but was happy with who won. Now its time to get ready for the Coca-Cola 600. Sometimes I think I am crazy watching so much racing in one day, but it is usually exciting.

    1. This is one of the best days for racing...I've already watched the Monaco GP, Indy, and I will watch some of the 600...I doubt I will be able to stay awake for it all, as when it gets done will be almost 24 hours after I woke up today, But I will tape it and watch the rest later, depending on who wins, LOL. Anybody but Bowyer!

  2. I've followed NASCAR here and there over the years, but never got into Indy racing. Although... my brother gave me a cool Al Unser Jr. autographed photo a few years ago.

    1. Very cool. He was very good in his day.