Lionel NASCAR Collectables dropped its list of the best-selling die-cast cars of 2012 on Thursday morning, and there were no surprises at the top.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had three of the top four die-casts this season, with his standard No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet out-selling all the rest.
The Dark Knight Rises car from his Michigan win also was eagerly snatched up by Junior Nation. His race-used die-cast (which is designed with race damage and confetti to match the version fans saw in Victory Lane) came in at No. 2, and the standard version of his Michigan car (as it appeared before the race) was the No. 4 bestseller.
"Dale Jr. is still the most influential personality in the sport, so we weren't surprised to see his Diet Mountain Dew car pop to the top of our bestsellers list," said Howard Hitchcock, vice president and general manager of Lionel NASCAR Collectables. "Plus, when Dale won in the Dark Knight Rises car at Michigan, it really delivered a knockout punch from a sales perspective."
Danica Patrick's No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet – the one she used in 10 Sprint Cup Series races this year – was No. 3 on the list. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who saw the lines at Patrick's merchandise haulers this year. She definitely has a strong fan base.
Jeff Gordon also had two cars on the list: His DuPont car was No. 5 and the AARP/Drive to End Hunger car was No. 7.
For the second consecutive year, one of Lionel's "NASCAR Classics" cars made the list: Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s 1989 No. 3 Goodwrench car came in at No. 8.
And finally, a late push gave NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski the No. 10 spot. The "Sprint Cup Series Champion" edition of his No. 2 car (it has the champion logo on the roof) was a hot seller since Keselowski won the title in November.
"It just shows that fans are excited about the energy Brad has brought to NASCAR," Hitchcock said.
Below is the full top 10 list, and you can see a slideshow of each car at www.lionelnascar.com/top10.
Top 10 die-cast cars of 2012:
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/"The Dark Knight Rises" Chevrolet - Michigan win car
- Danica Patrick No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/"The Dark Knight Rises" Chevrolet - standard car
- Jeff Gordon No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet
- Kasey Kahne No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
- Jeff Gordon No. 24 AARP/Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
- Dale Earnhardt No. 3 Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo
- Kevin Harvick No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet
- Brad Keselowski No. 2 Miller Lite/NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Dodge