Debuting in 2002, the first set is a miniscule 50 cards, and features a subset for some of the pole winners from the previous season. The set also includes a parallel called Solar Eclipse.
2003 was more of the same but dropped the pole winners subset. The parallel returned but was now simply called Parallel. Very creative, huh? Everyone still calls it Solar Eclipse anyway.
2004 expanded up to a 90 card set and added a subset about the champions week in NYC. They also added variations, but they carry the same number and are so stupidly obscure I probably would never have noticed they existed if they weren't clearly differentiated on the Trading Card Database. There was no parallel starting this year, until 2008. Starting here until 2009 the cards do not carry a gloss finish, although they were spot coated, and the driver's car number was usually applied in clear gloss, which does not usually capture in scans. You can see the 6s going down the card in this scan.
2005 was the same as the year before, except the set was bumped to 100 cards, usually the most Press Pass would ever do. The 2005 set is actually my favorite Eclipse set design wise. I like the big foil signature on the left side of the base cards.
2006 was just like the previous two years. It was one of the last sets I actively collected before the down years of 2007-08.
2007 was the last year the cards featured a bright white theme. I have exactly two pack's worth of the set so I'm not overly familiar with it.
2008 was my worst year in the hobby and again I have only one pack's worth. The cards now feature a black theme. I only had three base cards to choose from, although I do have a couple of subset cards.
2009 is one of my favorite designs for Eclipse. The one and only year the set featured a space theme. This year also has a parallel for the first time since 2003. The text is silver foil on base cards and there is a blue retail parallel. I have chosen to show a blue parallel here. They were not one per pack, which is how Press Pass usually did parallels, not as easy to come by as the 2009 flagship's parallels.
2010 saw the set totally restructured, with the cards now having a canvas texture and some were filtered to look like paintings. I didn't like them when new, but they have grown on me over the years and now I like the set...I've completed it as well, first time since 2003 I completed the brand.
2011 was the final year for Eclipse. That may be considered merciful considering how bad the 11 set was. Each card was made to look like a painting. There was a subset for the Bud Shootout which was ok because it showed the cars and didn't mess with the images too much. The cards were semi-glossy this year, though the parallels were flat. This is the only year where the base cards did not have silver foil, but holofoil. The 2011 Eclipse set is tied as my least favorite NASCAR set ever.
Eclipse did not survive into 2012, as Press Pass was on their death spiral then, dropping the basic sets to be replaced by $200 for 5 cards boxes, which led to them closing their doors on January 2nd, 2016.
And that concludes my first brand history post. This is a series I have thought about starting for a while, and I needed a once in a lifetime event to kick me into gear and get it done. I admit I kind of rushed it because I finished it after dinner and was rushing to get it done before I had to get a tooth drilled and filled...second of the year...so I didn't put as much research into the post as I normally would.