Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best time of the year??

Hello to all and I hope that you all are having a wonderful and enjoyable holiday season! While the holiday season itself may be coming quickly to a close, college football bowl season is just getting heated up. As we enter the mid-point of the bowl season, we thought it only appropriate to highlight a few of the most thrilling – and not so thrilling – bowl games thus far this year. With 19 (of the more exciting) games left to be played and 13 under our belts, here is just a taste of what I (and I am by no means a college football expert, but someone’s got to do it) believe are the deserving winners of the following awards:

Biggest Let-Down: Georgia vs. Texas A&M. Independence Bowl. Georgia’s three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter turned this competitive game into a rout.
Biggest Beat Down: SMU vs. Nevada. Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Did you happen to watch the first quarter? If so, you saw the entire game. Congrats to Ponies on their fist winning season in over a decade and their first Bowl victory since 1984.
Biggest Comeback: I thought it should go to someone but I honestly haven’t seen one yet…Maybe UCLA over Temple in the EagleBank Bowl last night?
Biggest Upset: Pitt. Vs. UNC. Meineke Car Care Bowl. Okay, this obviously isn’t true as Pitt was ranked higher than the Heels, but as a born and bred Carolina fan, I had to say it.

Games to Watch this Bowl Season:
(In no specific order other than appearance…)

Allstate Sugar Bowl – Florida vs. Cincinnati
Friday, January 1st – 7:30p.m.
Reason(s) to watch: All eyes will be on this game to watch the Tim Tebow era at Florida officially come to a close. Whether you love him or you hate him, Tebow quickly blossomed into one of the greatest football players of his era during his career at Florida, becoming the “face” of college football. Tebow fans and foes will bid him adieu Friday at the Superdome after Tebow plays his final 60 minutes of football in a Florida jersey. Meanwhile, head coach Urban Meyer’s future at the school is currently up in the air as this could very well be his last game as the Gator’s leader. It will likely be a good match-up and a sad, sad day for Florida fans everywhere.

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl – FSU vs. WVU
Friday, January 1st – 1:00p.m.
Reason(s) to watch: It might not have the (or any, rather) matchup appeal as FSU’s struggling defense will likely be no match for the No. 2 rushing offense in the Big East, but it will have a dramatic tone as FSU fans will bid farewell to longtime coach Bobby Bowden. On Saturday, Bowden will coach his final game for the Seminoles against his former school. Let’s just hope it won’t be a blow out.

PapJohns.com Bowl – Connecticut vs. South Carolina
Saturday, January 2nd – 2:00p.m.
Reason(s) to watch: The Huskies became “America’s team” this year after cornerback Jasper Howard was killed in October and the team struggled get back on their feet, suffering five loses by 15 points or more before getting their season back on track. It will likely be a good match-up as well with South Carolina egos flying high after capping off their season with a big win over rival Clemson.

AT&T Cotton Bowl – Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss
Saturday, January 2nd – 2:00p.m.
Reason(s) to watch: Ole Miss Dexter McCluster is likely to become the first player in SEC history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a season. He needs 15 yards on the ground and 25 in the air. Despite Oklahoma’s stout defense, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet he’s going to snag that record on Saturday. If you don’t care about the record, this will likely be a good game either way as both teams are equally competitive and have had shockingly similar seasons.

Citi BCS National Championship Game – Alabama vs. Texas
Thursday, January 7th – 8:00 p.m.
Reason(s) to watch: Not that it needs to be explained but it’s two of the most storied programs in college football meeting for the first time in 30 years. The star-studded matchup will feature Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and their six All-Americans going up against Texas QB star Colt McCoy and an equally-loaded roster. Oh, and because it’s the National Championship Game.

In other news…a Quinnipiac University survey shows that 63% of people who consider themselves “college football fans” are in favor of ditching the current BCS system and replacing it with a playoff system. However, despite wanting a change, 48% of those surveyed don’t see the college football post-season as a federal issue and would like Congress to stay out of it…despite President Obama being in concurrence with the majority of those who want a “change” (ESPN).

Check back at the end of Bowl season for a complete recap on this year’s Bowl games.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Johnson Seals History with Fourth Consecutive Title

The "Jimmie Johnson Dynasty" has officially begun.

Johnson has put himself among the ranks of legendary sports heroes such as Tiger Woods, Pete Sampras and Lance Armstrong.

He can now compare himself to the former greats of his sport, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and teammate Jeff Gordon -- none of whom have accomplished the incredible feat that he has.

He can also be held in the same high esteem as some of professional sports most legendary teams in history such as the New York Yankees and the Boston Celtics.

After clenching his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup Title with a fifth-place finish on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the soon-to-be legendary Hendrick Motorsports driver finally gave credit where credit was due: to himself.

Appearing to have finally recognized the magnitude of what he had just accomplished, Johnson called the success of his team “unbelievable."

Johnson: "The truth of it is, to do something that's never been done in this sport ... To win four championships in eight years, what this team has done ... I don't know where to start.”

Johnson finished 141 points ahead of teammate and another heavy fan-favorite Mark Martin who referred to Johnson as "Superman" after Johnson sealed his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup Title.

Don’t expect this to be Johnson’s last victory, however, as he and crew chief Chad Knaus just signed a contract extension that will allow the dynamic duo to work together through 2015 and are showing now signs of slowing down in the near future.

Johnson: "I'm a racer. That's what I do at all times—I race. And I know I have at least another 10 years in me of racing, so while I'm racing, I want to be successful."

Not knowing what the future will hold, for now at least, Johnson stands atop the NASCAR world as a one-man dynasty.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Early Johnson Crash Allows Martin, Gordon to Narrow Gap in Sprint Cup Chase at Texas

Just three laps into what was likely to be another solid finish on the way to an unprecedented fourth consecutive championship for Jimmie Johnson, one nudge put an unexpected obstacle in the path of his Lowe’s team. Slight contact from the No. 77 car driven by Sam Hornish, Jr. caused Johnson’s No. 48 car to slam into the wall on the backstretch in the Dickies 500, sending shockwaves through Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday

The crash caused a frantic scene in the pit as over a dozen Hendrick Motorsports crew members worked vigorously to reassemble Johnson’s mangled car, barely after the race had begun. After over an hour of repairs to the No. 48 car, Johnson re-entered the race 129 laps behind and was able to salvage a 38th place finish, picking up critical points to keep a lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Heading into Sunday’s race, Johnson held a 184-point lead over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin, but now sits just 73 points ahead heading into Phoenix next week. Martin, who with 40 career wins but no Sprint Cup titles, is slowly making a case for himself as the best Cup driver never to win a Championship.

But with Johnson’s crash, a Martin Championship this year is not far-fetched.

Neither Martin nor teammate Jeff Gordon – who now sits just 112 points behind Johnson in Chase standings -- were able to capitalize on Johnson’s misfortune and come out on top this weekend, but both have certainly made the Chase more interesting.

In order to secure a fourth consecutive Sprint Cup Title, Johnson needs to average a fourth-place finish in the final two races of the season at Arizona and Homestead-Miami.

Meanwhile, Martin heads into Phoenix next week with a shot at his first ever Sprint Cup Title.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Press Pass to release Professional Bull Riding trading cards

In January 2010, Press Pass Inc. will introduce its first PBR trading card set – 8 Seconds. Action packed with 2,000 lb. bulls, courageous bullfighters and the toughest cowboys in the world, 8 Seconds will bring you closer to the action than ever before!

8 Seconds delivers extraordinary value with three authentic rider/bullfighter on-card autographs and three rider/bullfighter-worn memorabilia cards in every 24-pack hobby box. Press Pass brings you closer to the action than ever before with a stellar lineup of memorabilia including rider-worn gloves, shirts, jeans and cowboy hats! Also look for bullfighter-worn memorabilia!

The “Toughest Sport on Earth” is captured with a 100-card base set the corrals the exhilaration and suspense of the most exciting eight seconds in sports. From the rankest bulls to the heroic riders and courageous bullfighters, 8 Seconds captures it all with action-packed photography and fascinating content.

Stay tuned to http://www.PressPassInc.com for more information including exclusive previews!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Good Times in Press Pass production land…

As the lone production guy here at Press Pass, I am frequently tasked with interesting and far out ideas by our product team. Memorabilia cards in general tend to command much of my time. Cards containing sheet metal swatches can be a real challenge. Case in point: check out these swatches from Kevin Harvick earlier this year.

These particular swatches are about ¼” thick! I kept these on my desk for a while as they make a good conversational item. As you can imagine, it would be tough to make cards with these. By the time you encapsulate them, the card ends up being much thicker than the rest of the batch. Obviously these have some significant bondo work. That’s the “X” factor with sheet metal. We typically obtain whatever the teams are willing to part with. Usually that means a tore up piece of a race car or a piece that has been used for a while. Nice fresh flat panels used for a race or two are a rarity especially in these economic times when even the race teams are being more frugal.

Another wrinkle thrown in recently is the Car of Tomorrow. Teams are now required to reinforce some areas of the car. The honeycomb structure in the picture is part of what some are using near the driver area. This is permanently affixed to the inside of the sheet metal, again making the swatch thicker than normal and tougher to punch acceptable swatches from.

The punching process is a slow one too. The punching press and dies are really intended for making very uniform pieces in a machine shop setting where thousandths of an inch are measured. The dies are made and calibrated for a specific thickness of metal. One can then imagine what happens when you begin punching sheet metal that is all over the board in terms of thickness.

You tend to get some strange looks when you walk into a machine shop with a truck full of race used sheet metal and say “Hey, can you punch all these into little squares? And oh by the way you have to keep everything separated religiously.” But that’s all part of making memorabilia cards with you, the collector in mind.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dreams do (sort of) come true...

It's 1976. My neighbor Dave is the coolest kid I know. He's 9, plays drums, has a cooler bike, and gets to go to the KISS concert while my parents tell me I am too young to go. My bond with KISS grows stronger as I begin to wear disguises around town to hide my shame. Someday I shall make it to a KISS concert.


Years go by and I still have yet to attend a KISS concert. I am more mature now and, like KISS, no longer rely on masks. It is 1999 and I actually get to meet Gene Simmons - sort of. It's really this guy named Joe who is part of Dressed to Kill - a KISS tribute band.


Well here it is 10 years later and I am back behind the mask! I still haven't made it to my first KISS concert, but I do get to design KISS trading cards!!! Thanks Press Pass!!





Eric

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sonic Boom and KISS Tour Edition!



So by now most everyone knows that Kiss’ new album “Sonic Boom” releases on October 6 and will be sold exclusively through Wal-Mart. What you may not know is that Press Pass has a companion product that will be sold alongside the CD/DVD…

Kiss “Tour Edition” is a 33-card set with lots of bonus goodies (three collectible boxes and posters!) culled from 35 years of Kiss tours. Full of vintage photography as well as set lists and insider info from the tours, this exclusive set is one retrospective every Kiss fan will want. Attractively priced at $10 it will be a nice compliment to “Sonic Boom.”

The Kiss boys announced their U.S. tour plans this week. All stops were voted on by loyal members of the Kiss Army. They will be near our office on October 17th and we’ll be in the house!

And can you believe that Gene Simmons just turned 60?! Wow….

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Top Three's

With me being in sales during my 7+ year tenure at Press Pass Inc, my position has required me to travel across the U.S. to meet with existing customers, search for new business and to attend various tradeshows. Like anything there are pluses and minuses to traveling. On the plus side, I have been lucky enough to experience many different cities, restaurants and sporting events. On the downside, I have spent time away from my wife and my kids.

Let’s concentrate on the positive side and with that, I thought it might be interesting to share some of my favorite things from the road. Since everybody usually loves lists, I have compiled various “Top Three” lists ranging from favorite places to random thoughts.

Top Three BBQ Joints

1. Arthur Bryant’s-Kansas City: could eat there all day, be careful going at night

2. Charles Vergos’ Rendevous-Memphis: best dry ribs, don’t go on Monday

3. Fiorella’s Jack Stack-Kansas City: great burnt ends and brisket

Top Three Burger Places

  1. In-N-Out Burger-West Coast-nothing comes close
  2. Whataburger-South (but not in NC): please come to NC
  3. Five Guys-East Coast: share an order of fries

Top Three Places I Want to Go

  1. San Francisco-airport doesn’t count: great food in the airport though
  2. Denver-see San Francisco
  3. Milwaukee-just because

Top Three Underrated Places

  1. Kansas City: obviously great BBQ, casinos, fountains, NFL, MLB and NASCAR, + two states
  2. Columbus, OH: great arena and happening downtown area
  3. Anywhere in West Virginia: Wild & Wonderful

Top Three (Four) Annoying Airline Passengers

  1. The passenger that sits behind you and tells a stranger his/her life story so loud that even your IPOD can’t block out the conversation.
  2. The passenger that snores (although sometimes that person is me).
  3. The passenger that insists his/her carry-on will fit in the overhead compartment.
  4. The passenger that chooses the Bloody Mary mix to drink, without the alcohol.

Top Three Random Airline Thoughts

  1. The only time I drink Ginger Ale is on a plane.
  2. The few times that I attempt to work the crossword puzzle in the complimentary airline magazine; it’s always completed by a previous passenger.
  3. I never sit in row 13.

I’m off again in September to exotic places such as Indiana, Arkansas and Minnesota. Thanks for reading and for putting up with my drivel.

Kevin

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Press Pass Goes Nuts With Dale Jr.


Just how close can Press Pass bring you to Dale Jr.? Very few things are as vital to getting the #88 around the racetrack as a lug nut. At 200 mph it clings tightly to make sure the wheels don’t fly off. So, when it comes to bringing you a piece of the action, lug nuts are about as close as you can get!

In the highly anticipated inaugural release of Wheels Main Event, Press Pass is excited to announce the inclusion of a limited number of Dale Earnhardt Jr. lug nut cards. Joining an already stellar Stop & Go Swatches memorabilia roster that includes the first-ever pit wall banner, pit stacker, and wheel cover cards, these Stop & Go Swatches Lug Nut cards are the ultimate way for Dale Jr collectors to get a piece of the action.

Wheels Main Event is Press Pass’ first poker-themed NASCAR set. Each 20-pack hobby box will contain one authentic NASCAR autograph and two memorabilia cards. As a bonus, also look for randomly inserted autographs from professional poker stars. Wheels Main Event releases September 30, 2009.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

These smiles are what collecting is all about

Meet Eric and Nicole.

Having just attended the 2009 National Sports Collector’s Convention, we were fortunate enough to see tons of these smiles. It was so wonderful to have the opportunity to meet some of our collectors – to have those face-to-face discussions and really get to know our collectors.

Collecting is a hobby that millions of people are so passionate about and when I see a family collecting together like Eric and Nicole, or those families I met at the National, I smile just as big as Nicole pulling her Kyle Busch triple memorabilia card. It’s amazing to watch a hobby that began in the 1800’s being passed down and continue to the next generation of children today.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Ever VIP Logo Edition Cards!

Check out a sneak peak of the Get A Grip and Lead Foot Logo Edition memorabilia cards that are included in the August release of VIP 2009. Each driver on the roster has an oversized glove or shoe patch featuring the manufacturer logo. All Logo Edition cards are sequentially numbered to five.

Lead Foot Logo Edition
Carl Edwards (Simpson logo)
Jimmie Johnson (Alpinestars logo)
Kevin Harvick (Puma logo)
Kyle Busch (Alpinestars logo)
Joey Logano (Sparco logo)








Get A Grip Logo Edition
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Adidas logo)
Jimmie Johnson (Alpinestars logo)
Kevin Harvick (Puma logo)
Kyle Busch (Alpinestars logo)
Kasey Kahne (Allstate logo)













Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Confessions of a Suddenly Lost DEI Fan

Last Tuesday, Martin Truex Jr., along with Michael Waltrip Racing, announced that the current EGR driver now has plans to drive for the 2-time Daytona 500 winner’s team next season. EGR, as you know, is the result of the Dale Earnhardt, Inc/Ganassi Racing partnership that occurred earlier this year. As far as the other EGR driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, his contract with Ganassi Racing (this did not change when the partnership took place) takes him to at least 2011 with the team. Do you see where I am going here?

So, the question that I pose to you, faithful DEI fans, is this: Who do we cheer for now?

When a racing team is wiped from existence due to economic downturn, the suspicious mixing of 2 prescription drugs, the loss of manufacturer support, not being able to race enough to even come close to the top 35 in owners points (and any other of the countless reasons why teams in 2009 have had to call it quits) — it becomes a sad time for all of those mourning their losses. Sad for DEI fans, especially. With all of the loss that this team has encountered over the past 8 years, it is a wonder that I have stuck around long enough to see it all progress to this. The moment for me is a difficult one, since I have been a DEI fan mainly because of association (yes, a large part to why I am a fan is in part that I have a family member who has worked there for many years). As I have watched this sport change over the years, I have come to realize that it is very tough to be a “true” fan of one specific driver for very long. The reasons will need to be listed, since it could get quite confusing:

Reasons why it is tough to be a “true” fan of one specific driver (for very long):

1. Good today, unpredictable tomorrow – Jeff, Carl, Kasey... Where did you guys go?!
2. Constant change of sponsorship — The days of a steady sponsorship deal are just about numbered (for all of you with the #8 Bud car tattooed on your tush...)
3. Lost in the shuffle of a new number — Poor Clint Bowyer fans, I bet you though he would be carrying your favorite Jack forever! I am sure that 07 CB hat has a nice dust bunny family living on it now...
4. He got married...had a kid...and gained 30lbs — For the ladies out there who were hung-up on their dreamboat of a driver... “He ain’t what he used to be”
5. They’ve gone over to the “dark side” -- Dale Jr fans, need I say more?
6. The mugshot isn’t as cool as the in-car camera — The “Do you know who I am?!” behavior has caused not only embarrassment for the team owner, but for the fans, too. (We can only make so many excuses for your off-track performance...)
7. The Retired or The Lost – Whether you were a Rusty Wallace fan or a Dale Earnhardt fan, you miss cheering their names.
8. Slap Fights – During a race, your favorite driver was spun out by their teammate – after the race, that favorite driver of yours decides to throw a “made you blink” air punch at his teammate – leaving you wondering why you cheered for him in the first place.
9. Team changed manufacturers – For the Chevy lovers…a Toyota just isn’t the same.
10. They just can’t win – Plain and simple.


As I have racked my brain for a full week, I cannot shake the thought that I will follow into a new season of racing, and not have a favorite. Can a fan just watch a race without the expectations of their favorite winning? As I type this, I am remembering the last few years of my life where I have watched (and listened – thanks to TrackPass scanner) every weekend and been disappointed with the outcome of many races…too many. The most interesting and exciting races have been those where some crazy things have happened and have lead to first wins, streak breakers, and championships won. As I look at the list above, I can’t help but think that these are the things that most fans love to see and hear about. It is like reality TV…most people deny that they watch it, but are secretly addicted to it.

If you can stick with “your driver” for a period of time (as every driver has their bad days…and their REALLY bad years), then I commend you – for this sport is full of unexpected turns…regardless if they are always turning the wheel to the left.

So, DEI fans, who will you be cheering for next year? Will you stick with Truex Jr. and follow him to MWR? Fall back on Dale Jr? Or will you be waiting for another young Earnhardt from the Nationwide Series…?

Kristen

Friday, July 10, 2009

Did you know?

It seems that 2009 is the year of changes and it is no different here at Press Pass.


As some of you may have noticed things have been shaken up a bit when it comes to our products. Everything we are doing this year is bigger and better. There are multiple levels added to our autograph and memorabilia card programs and later this month we are releasing our first ever high end product Press Pass Showcase.


And I am about to offer up a crazy idea that just might change the way you look at trading cards. When you are ripping through Press Pass 2 why don’t you take the time and read some of the interesting facts that are on the back of the base cards?


Press Pass 2 is a great product to do this with because if you are like me, a novice NASCAR fan, it will allow you to learn more about the drivers, the teams and more about the Nationwide series and the Truck series.


Don’t get me wrong I love opening a pack and seeing a great memorabilia card or nice autograph card, but once all the packs are opened I sort the base cards and then sit down and read the back of the cards. I learn something new with every product.


For example did you know that Jeff Burton recently did a guest spot on General Hospital? Or did you know that Carl Edwards has been a licensed pilot since the age of 17? Or that Sam Hornish Jr. is the narrator of “Roary The Racing Car,” a cartoon on PBS Kids Sprout?


You never know what you might learn if you just take the time to stop and look at the base cards.


Allison

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Showcase sneak peek

So working at Press Pass means every now and then getting to be a part of some fairly interesting and unique cards. Here's an example of some of the live cards that are part of the super premium Press Pass Showcase 2009 release. These are the Carl Edwards Prized Pieces Melting level memorabilia cards. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Machines or Magic?

So there you sit, anxiously awaiting the arrival of your boxes of Press Pass Series 2. It’s been a few days since you last ripped some packs. You crave that feeling of excitement and anticipation that you get when you tear open a pack and find that Dale Jr. auto or over-sized autographed Tony Stewart memorabilia card. Ah, the joy of ripping wax.

To many of us, there are few things that compare to the insatiable pleasure of opening packs of trading cards. But have you ever wondered how those packs are made? Where do those shiny packages full of so much joy come from? Is it magic? I used to think so, and for those of you who are absolutely convinced that the trading cards you buy are packaged far away on the enchanting "Isle de Collectia" by magical elves, please stop reading now or may your visions of grandeur be forever tarnished.

It’s hot. The thermometer on the dash of the rental car shows an exhausting 105°. This is a place where thin blades of scorched grass crumble beneath your feet as you walk and the tar from the asphalt turns to liquid. Welcome to summertime in Dallas, Texas. Yes, the “Isle de Collectia” is actually a 300,000 sq ft facility on the outskirts of Big D. This is where the “magic” happens.

Charlotte, NC to Dallas, TX 1,026 miles

After the cards are designed, built, approved, and printed. They’re sent to this facility for “pack-out” where a Press Pass representative flies down from Charlotte to oversee everything and ensure each card, pack, and box are as perfect as possible.

Production Facility

First, all of the various base cards, inserts, autographs, and memorabilia cards are loaded into feeders on a production line. Throughout production, the feeders are constantly monitored and reloaded to keep everything running smoothly.

Top view of a card feeder on a production line

The feeders drop the cards at various insert rates onto a moving line. Each feeder is timed to drop its card(s) at exactly the right moment. Several tests are done prior to production to ensure that each feeder is dropping the right cards at the right time.

View of a trading card production line in action

The line quickly whisks the groups of cards down the line and into a machine that wraps and seals each pack.

Cards entering the wrapping machine

After the cards are wrapped, the packs pass across a scale which is designed to weigh each pack and catch any packs that have too many or too few cards before they go into the boxes.

Packs are weighed as they pass through the production line

From there, packs are sorted, shuffled, and inserted into the boxes by hand. Boxes are placed on a conveyor belt where they are shrink-wrapped and placed into cases.

Finished boxes being shrink-wrapped

After that, it’s pretty simple. The cases are shipped to customers, and then the fun begins!

Now that you have an idea of how the products you enjoy are made, you can appreciate them even more. Oh, and as for how we get actual signatures on the autograph cards without using sticker – well that truly IS magic.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The King(s) of Wine Country



Yesterday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California there were two kings of wine country. Ironically, the “King of Beers” took the checkers as Kasey Kahne drove the #9 Budweiser Dodge to victory. In an exciting duel with Tony Stewart, Kasey surprised many fans and experts given the fact that his best prior finish at Sonoma was 21st. Several late cautions led to double file re-starts that kept the battle exciting. The race was particularly exciting at my house given the fact that my wife is a big Kasey fan--just like one of those 40-something women in the Allstate commercials. But that’s whole other story!



While I was happy to see Kasey win for the first time since last June, I was thrilled to see “The King” step into victory lane. My all-time favorite driver, Richard Petty, got a chance to bask in the glory of victory for the first time in many years. One of the class acts in all of sports and a true champion & humanitarian, it had been 10 years since a car affiliated with Petty had gotten to the winner’s circle (John Andretti at Martinsville in 1999 for you trivia nuts). It was great to see King Richard get some mic time to congratulate Kasey on national TV as soon as he got out of the car. We hadn’t seen enough of The King as competition got tougher and tougher over the last few years for the relatively small Petty Enterprises. Then, after the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Gillett Evernham Motorsports merged with Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Motorsports. While there have been some frustrations with RPM for Kasey so far this year, he is still only 3 points out of the Chase hunt after his unlikely road course win. Hopefully, Sonoma will be a turning point for RPM and the “two kings” can continue to celebrate many more times this season….



Tom


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Four Color Process

Did you know that most of the images you see on our trading cards are reproduced using only four inks? During the printing process, four inks are used in combination to reproduce the images you see on the card: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. If you take a magnifying lens and look closely, you will see many series of “dots” that actually make up the image. The dots are typically small enough that our eyes don’t see them but instead they see the overall picture. Through the use of computer programs, a continuous tone photograph is separated into the four colors listed above. When the colors are printed using dot patterns and overlaid together, the image is recreated and our eyes see what appears to be an image with thousands or millions of different colors. Check out the below two images. The first slice is cyan only, followed by cyan + magneta, cyan + magenta + yellow, then all four colors. In the second image, the dots have been magnified.


Even with these four colors though, there are still certain hues that cannot be reproduced. Deep oranges and greens are typically outside the range of four color printing. Another process called hexachrome utilizes the four colors of ink plus two additional colors to extend the gamut. Usually orange and green are added. While useful for specialized images or high end looks, hexachrome is not as cost effective and therefore used only occasionally.

Other spot colors are used on a regular basis. For example, we use white inks when printing on foil or plastic substrates. Sometimes certain spot colors called metallic inks are used which actually contain tiny bits of metal flake. These give a specialty look without the expense of foil stamping or foil board.

So the next time you see someone looking at a card with their magnifying glass, they might just be checking out the dots!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Legends Contest Winners Announced!

Press Pass would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide us with input on the drivers you would like to see include in Legends along with your feedback on the top families in racing.

Check back soon for details on the exciting changes to Legends 2009!

And the winners are...

Allen Norton
(Box of 2009 Premium)

Larry Baxter Jr
(Box of 2009 Premium)

Michael Boykin
(Dale Jr. auto)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Addicted to Facebook

Addictions…yes, I may have one.

Facebook.

I admit, I have a shortcut on my phone that takes me straight to my Facebook account and much to the dismay of many friends, have been caught on Facebook at times I should probably have been paying attention to whatever social outing we are on.

Facebook is such an easy way to keep track of events, reconnect with people, and stay in touch with people. I’ve reconnected with friends in different countries I haven’t seen or spoken to in over 10 years.

Now, when you meet someone new and would like to keep in touch, the typical question is not, “What is your phone number?” but instead, “Are you on Facebook?”

So, fellow Facebook addicts, for your enjoyment, we have created a Facebook page for Press Pass, Inc.!

Become a fan of Facebook, and you’ll get an inside look at our company, products, and office events!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Press-Pass-Inc/200646630323

Friday, May 22, 2009

SURVEY SAYS...

We would like to learn more about you and get your feedback! Please take a couple minutes to answer our survey and receive one free exclusive promotional set of Press Pass cards.


Click here to begin the survey

Monday, April 27, 2009

Win Free Prizes for Providing Input on Press Pass Legends 2009!

Press Pass wants your input! We are working on our 2009 release of Press Pass Legends and are interested in drivers that you would like to see included in this year’s product.

Please review the list of 30 drivers below and give us your opinion on 5 ADDITIONAL drivers that you would like us to consider for inclusion in Press Pass 2009 Legends. Please keep in mind that the drivers you select can be from other forms of racing and can include any driver featured previously in Press Pass Legends, but not listed below.


Please choose the 5 drivers you would most like to see in Press Pass Legends 2009 that aren’t listed below.

Bobby Allison
Davey Allison
Mario Andretti
Kyle Busch
Ralph Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Carl Edwards
Tim Flock
Jeff Gordon
Dale Jarrett
Ned Jarrett
Jimmie Johnson
Alan Kulwicki
Terry Labonte
Mark Martin
Rick Mears
Benny Parsons
David Pearson
Lee Petty
Richard Petty
Tim Richmond
Fireball Roberts
Tony Stewart
Curtis Turner
Al Unser
Bobby Unser
Rusty Wallace
Darrell Waltrip
Cale Yarborough

Two participants will be randomly selected to win a box of 2009 Press Pass Premium!


BONUS QUESTION:
Tell us who you think are the top racing families of all-time. List (in order) your opinion on the top families of Motorsports. Provide between 5 and 10 responses.

One participant will be randomly selected to win a vintage Dale Earnhardt Jr. autograph!

Please respond no later than May 12th in order to be eligible for the prize drawings. Be sure to include your name and email address so we can contact you if you win.

Double Yellow

What a race this weekend turned into! Talladega at it’s best folks and I’m glad everyone walked away too. Watching Brad Keselowski take his first trip to victory lane while dueling it out with top Cup stars Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Ryan Newman was a thrill. Was anything else even on television yesterday? I was glued to this race. Until yesterday, most of the Cup races have been a bit on the mundane side with a few minor exceptions at the short tracks.

I think though that we can almost always count on ‘Dega for a thriller from start to finish. Nascar has helped with the excitement level first with the restrictor plates and now with the double yellow line rule. As we all know, you can’t improve position passing below the double yellow line – hence the Regan Smith debacle at the last Talladega race. Of course if Smith holds his car above the line last year, he spins Stewart and wins the race. That’s exactly what Brad did yesterday. He had a run on Carl, and when Carl went for the block, Brad did the only thing he could do without being penalized by Nascar: hold his line. Even the Nationwide race on Saturday was a knockout with David Ragan claiming his first win in any of the top three series with a last lap pass.

Congratulations to Brad Keselowski on his first Sprint Cup victory! Look forward to seeing him win a few more and maybe the All-Star Race as well. Check out upcoming Press Pass Nascar trading card products for cards of Brad Keselowski, David Ragan and all the other top stars of Nascar.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Opportunity Knocks, Will You Answer

As we endure the 16th month of the current recession there are many opportunities and decisions that are uniquely apparent. As a Sales Rep for Press Pass it was a timely decision to re-establish the Press Pass die cast brand by bringing back the traditional 1:80 scale Tractor Trailer. Known as the flagship collectible to sports die cast enthusiasts, the 2009 tractor trailer will be clearly marked with the date on the rear panel of each truck. Although this may seem insignificant to many casual fans, the die cast collector will have the opportunity to continue display their cherished yearly collectible that originated in 1989 with White Rose.
This seemingly small change along with the re-introduction of the NFL car with card gives both collectors and retailers a great opportunity. Sports die cast can be to a retailer what the familiarity and emotional security of comfort food offer to today’s consumer. Press Pass’ die cast line offers both collectible and play value as well as two attractive price points that most value conscious consumers will consider affordable.
As we all re-examine both our personal and business spending patterns, it is crucial to make sure your business’s marketing and promotional dollars are well spent. Here are six cost effective methods of promoting your business that may offer a good return for the resources that you have to spend.
A. E-mail marketing: An effective e-mail marketing campaign costs very little and has a much higher response then direct mail marketing. Ask for customer e-mail addresses and specific interests. Classify and manage this information effectively for a low cost, high return campaign.
B. Create a presentation on the hobby that is appropriate for community groups, schools, summer camps or any organization that might want a speaker with an interesting topic. Use any type of media you are comfortable with including Power Point, sound, video or samples. This tool can be an effective way to promote your business by attracting new collectors.
C. Pay per click internet advertising: Although this can be expensive, you have the control to limit keywords, clicks per day, and the money you spend. The other advantage to this method is the ability to track every unique visitor to your website and see if you are getting your desired return.
D. Social Networking: This exploding category is only limited by your knowledge of the applications available. Whether you are “tweeting” about the 2009 Chicago Bears Tractor Trailer or you are creating a business profile on Face book or My Space. Do not ignore the opportunity that message boards, blogs, forums, and other social networking web sites present.
E. Remnant Space Advertising: As ad revenues drop precipitously now is the time inquire about the unsold space or air time from various media outlets. Be sure to check appropriate sources for your business including national and regional magazines, radio, newspapers, and television. Remnant or excess advertising inventory can sell for 75-90% off of line pricing.
F. Public Relations: Have you reached out your local library to participate in the kid’s summer reading program? Consider holding “non-traditional” events at your store or business to attract local, national, or even international attention. These events could be anything from a blood drive to a collection for your local food bank. The opportunity comes just in time as nonprofit groups around the country are reporting a surge of interest in volunteering as a rise in unemployed workers meets an increase in human need. All you need is a few new loyal customers from these events to make your efforts pay off.
There are two notable examples of how investment in previous economic downturns has paid off. Many conventional thinkers would have been happy to invest in a dotcom during its peak in 1999. In fact the best time to start a technology based company was in 2002 after the huge downturn when the price of starting a business including real estate to programming talent was lower. Finally there is the famous example of John D. Rockefeller Jr. who was charged with spending his father’s fortune. In 1931 construction began on Rockefeller Center. At the time this was seen as privately funded public works project. The building was completed in 1946 and over 75,000 were employed in its construction. Needless to say the investment has paid off as Rockefeller Center still maintains its place as pre-eminent building in the city that never sleeps.

Benjamin Goldman
Senior VP Operations
National Sports Associates

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Get Inked With KISS

For years, a disgrace has been embedded in body art as ink is in the skin. Perhaps that attitude was perpetuated by the fact that traditionally, tattooed people tended to be somewhat on the fringes of society, and have occupations that were not exactly mainstream and a little mysterious-like pirates, sailors, Japanese warriors, and gypsies. It gave body art a rather romantic, outlaw reputation.

Today, tattoos have become something of normality with the likes of movie stars and rock stars jumping on the bandwagon to get inked. The general public's fascination with celebrities gives them the power to give a voice to their cause, and influence our culture. More and more stars are making appearances with their tattoos hanging out and showing them off on the red carpet, giving their admiring fans one more reason to run out and get inked.

For better or worse, it's the idea of symbolism that draws people to tattooing. People commonly seek designs that celebrate or commemorate significant events in their lives, such as the birth of a new baby or the passing of a loved one. Some people choose a symbol of an immense accomplishment, like surviving cancer or serving time in the armed forces.

We obviously have come a long, long way in the ability to articulate self expression, making getting a tattoo more and more acceptable in today’s society. Getting a tattoo is a way to display art that is deeply meaningful to the owner. It has become ok to ask someone what their tattoo stands for. In fact they wouldn't have it so prominently displayed if they didn't want you to notice it.

Tattoos have become iconic symbols of design. What better way for me to be able to incorporate my love for the art and tattooing than to combine it with our upcoming entertainment release- KISS Ikons.

KISS wanted to be different than other bands of their time- more theatrical, odd, and shocking-something to remember. They knew they didn’t want to go onstage looking like your “Average Joe” band in shirts and jeans. That is when they began experimenting with make-up, with small amounts of black, white and silver. The here-and-there on the face paint jobs eventually evolved into full-face designs.

It was these full-face designs that inspired me to draw four different tattoos, one for each band member of KISS- the Starchild, the Demon, the Spaceman, and the Catman. Thousands of designs are out there for people to choose from, with styles of tattooing ranging from your traditional Irezumi (Japanese tattooing) to the “Old School” sailor tattoos of sparrows, hearts and anchors. Incorporating the uniqueness of each band members’ iconic face paint with these traditional forms of tattoo design, I created four unique member specific tattoos that are sure to drive KISS fans wild.

KISS Ikons hits store shelves in mid-April, and my four unique tattoo designs (along with 14 other classic KISS tattoos) will be available in Target, Wal-Mart, and your local hobby shop. Here is a preview of my designs.
The Catman

The Spaceman

The Starchild

The Demon

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Perfect Saturday

This past weekend featured the perfect Saturday. It was pouring rain (and would continue to do so all day long) when I headed out to the gym bright and early for my daily workout. But I didn’t linger around when I was finished because I had a better place to be on this rainy Saturday. Where you ask? There was a trading card show in our town this past weekend and I couldn’t wait to get there…

I showed up armed with my various lists of cards needed to finish sets I was working on. Everything from my 1965 Topps Baseball set, to singles of my favorite team (NY Yankees) and odd ball stuff in between…The show provided the perfect sanctuary from the deluge outside. As I walked the floor my spirit was restored as I remembered exactly why I love this hobby so much. Despite the fact that this was a relatively small regional show there still were all kinds of things to check out. Graded packs caught my eye immediately…I couldn’t remember the last time I saw an unopened pack of McHale’s Navy cards but I had some of those cards as a very young kid…

My buddy and co-worker Tom Farrell is one of my favorite people to attend a show with. The dude finds the craziest stuff on the floor. And the best part is his “presentation” of the most unique cards he has found. Tom loves to collect “world leader” and “explorer” cards. His big find this weekend was a 1952 Leif Ericson card. Not to be mistaken for Leif Garrett mind you... TF also scored a sweet 1969 Tom Day Topps football card which is quite simply a photo of a guy who seems happy with his place in life at that time. Not to mention he was a San Diego Super Charger and is wearing the sweet powder blue duds of that era.

I found some great ‘65s for my set (including a Lou Brock SP) as well as some other things (2007 Topps Heritage Baseball Derek Jeter SPs). But the best part was talking to people I’ve known in this industry for a long time. Guys and Gals who spend lots of weekends working shows making it possible for people like me to get a chance to pursue my passion. A person can get lost at a trading card show and I don’t mean physically…there is something to be said for memories, both old and new. And on this past Saturday I said hello to a few old cardboard friends (including a 1969 Horace Clarke card just like the one I once drew a mustache on) while meeting some new ones as I cracked open a few packs of the brand new 2009 baseball releases.

It was the perfect Saturday.

D.J.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Press Pass 500

Yesterday four members of the Press Pass Team competed in the Press Pass 500. The PP500 is the 500-mile journey from Press Pass' Headquarters in Charlotte, NC to Daytona Beach, Florida. The team posted two impressive 1,200-second pit stops in South Carolina and St. Augustine.

The Jeep Commander fired on all six cylinders without any issue, although the SUV was loose in the turns going through Jacksonville. The team arrived in Daytona safely, and today we began preparations for our annual Daytona Photoshoot which we hold in the Goodyear Tower in the infield at Daytona.

Tomorrow each of the drivers will stop in at the photoshoot during their media day tour and take a few photos for Press Pass. We use these photos throughout the season, and the drivers also sign their Press Pass hats at the event. The hats are prizes in Wheels American Thunder.

To give you all an idea of what our trip to Daytona is like, we will be posting photos and stories from our trip. Here are some photos from around the track this morning at Daytona International Speedway. Enjoy!

Entering DIS

Driving Under the Track

The Lake!

SAFER Barriers @ Turn 4

Coming out of Turn 4

From the Top of Turn 4 Looking Down

Flag Stand @ Start/Finish Line

Looking Down Pit Road

Empty Seats at the Start/Finish Line

Coming into Turn 3

Where We Lost a Legend
Stay tuned for more!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow time in the Tennessee mountains

It’s that time of year when I really enjoy getting outdoors and soaking up the snow and cool air, especially in the mountains. So my wife and I headed to, well, what most would call an unlikely tourist destination: Oak Ridge, TN. That’s right, the “Secret City.” Our primary mission was to check out the immense Coal Creek OHV park in our Land Rover. We enjoy the scenery of being out on the trails, along with the challenges and adventure of off-road driving. Did I mention it was winter?

Winter showed up just in time as the snow began flying soon after we rolled into town. It just kept coming down for the next two days and made for some very scenic driving. Temps were cold (to us) most of the week but especially earlier in the week where lows dipped into the low teens and it struggled to make it into the low 20’s during the day. Snow has a way of adding another level to the trails. At certain points, it can actually add traction; however, as it begins to thaw the trails get slick again! Trails that normally have running water across them freeze over in these conditions. This is the point where you will find the least amount of traction period. A sloped trail, solid smooth ice with a very slight film of water on top. Fortunately for us, the Warn winch on the front of the Discovery came in handy several times when we encountered these conditions.

Taking a break from the trails, we visited the science museum in Oak Ridge. It was fascinating to me to read about the history of this city. If you aren’t aware, Oak Ridge is where components for the first atomic bomb were made in the early 40’s. The city was built by the government and kept secret specifically for this purpose. Entire trainloads of all description of cargo would enter the city from around the area and leave completely empty. To the amazement of folks in surrounding areas, a lot of stuff went into Oak Ridge and nothing seemingly ever came back out! If you’ve never been to check it out, I highly recommend visiting the museum and reading the history behind it all.

If you enjoy pictures of the snow and scenery of the Tennessee mountains, check out our photos from the trip at: http://www.rockytopphotography.com/web-data/images/RoverAdventures/CoalCreek1-09/index.htm

Happy Trails!

Aaron

Friday, January 16, 2009

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

Every year at this time most of us go through the same process of setting goals for the New Year. Some will follow through on their goals while most have abandoned their plans by mid-February.

So how about making a resolution this year to not have to make any resolutions in 2010? What?

That’s right, I have a plan. The plan is to make small, permanent changes in 2009 that will result in not having to make any resolutions for next year. As a personal trainer (that’s my other gig) I see people constantly dealing with the battle of the bulge. Staying in shape is not rocket science. But it does require consistency.

You can’t tackle any big obstacle all at once. You have to patiently chip away at it. And the only way you can do that is to change your train of thought and your approach. For example, say you want to lose 40 pounds. Well you know you aren’t going to lose that in a month (you’re not) so you have to break that down into small, quickly achievable goals. Like 2 pounds a week. That’s something you can measure in a mere week and at the same time have a successful outcome. Remember, that 40 pounds didn’t get there in a month to begin with…

So instead of these massive behavioral shifts in January of every year how about we start making some small but significant changes daily; weekly; monthly. They say it takes 30 days to form a habit, so make a pact each month to change something about your life that you’d like to see take a different path. Before you know it your New Year will be resolution free and you can live your best life!

D.J.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

VIP Gift Bag #8: Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

And the winner is:

David McMahon of Concord, CA.

Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who entered the VIP Gift Bag Contest.

Monday, January 5, 2009

VIP Gift Bag #7: Jeff Gordon

And the winner is...

Mike Young of Prescott Valley, AZ.

Congratulations! Stay tuned for next week's final Gift Bag drawing.