Drag Illustrated Issue 169, June/July 2021 - Page 36

Dirt

Small Scale , Big Impact

Drag racing Hot Wheels are back with releases featuring Alex Laughlin , Southeast Gassers , and NHRA By Josh Hachat

When Alex Laughlin first started working with the Hot Wheels brand a few years ago , the dream was always to have his own Hot Wheels car .

Well , earlier this year , Laughlin got his second Hot Wheels car , a premium replica version of his popular blown C7 Corvette . It followed the Pro Stock car release that was initially done for Laughlin , and this one was truly special .
Hot Wheels designed the Corvette , the same car Laughlin drove to the Radial vs . the World win at Lights Out 10 , from the ground up and placed it in the premium Hot Wheels Boulevard Collection . That meant a higher price tag , a metal body and metal chassis , rubber tires and a hood that lifts off .
Creating an entirely new diecast body from scratch meant a lengthy process that took more than two years , but it ’ s been more than worth it for Laughlin , who has been blown away by the response since the car was released in May .
“ It was definitely cool when the first one came ,” Laughlin says . “ It was just absolutely remarkable that they designed a car and put it in a package that has my name on it . It ’ s every kid ’ s dream , but [ the Corvette ], it is definitely the bigger deal .
“ Everybody has always loved the Corvette and it ’ s always been the fan-favorite ,” Laughlin continues . “ It ’ s been incredible . Everyone has a car and a story they submit to Hot Wheels , and the fact they ’ ve done not only one , but two of my cars is just unbelievable .”
It ’ s the latest indication from Hot Wheels that the iconic brand is eager to have its name back in drag racing . Of course , stars Don “ The Snake ” Prudhomme and Tom “ The Mongoose ” McEwen took drag racing mainstream with their Hot Wheels deals more than 40 years ago , but the company is once again heavily involved in the sport .
Along with Laughlin ’ s deal , Hot Wheels partnered with the Southeast Gassers Association on a release in 2020 that featured a ’ 64 Chevy Nova wagon , which was partially in Mattel ’ s mold lineup .
In March , NHRA and Mattel announced a new partnership to develop diecast vehicles under the Hot Wheels name , with fans seeing diecast versions of classic hot rods , including a ’ 74 Chevrolet Vega Pro Stock car and a ’ 71 Ford Mustang Funny Car . The collectible could be seen at the NHRA race at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk in June , with the vehicles set to hit stores this summer .
“ Hot Wheels has a long history of working with NHRA teams since our early days with Snake and Mongoose , more than 50 years ago ,” said Roberto Stanichi , SVP and Global Head of Hot
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