DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – BSNews has learned that top officials in NASCAR plan to file a lawsuit against toymaker Fisher-Price unless some fundamental changes are made to one of its products that is related to stock car racing. That product is Fisher-Price’s “Little People Spin ‘N’ Crash Raceway.”
“From the first time one of these things was brought into my office and I really sat down and played with it, I was appalled,” said NASCAR CEO, Brian France. “This is not how we want stock car racing to be presented to our future fans and drivers, and especially those at such an early and impressionable age.”
A quick check of the Fisher-Price website that describes the new holiday toy may offer some clues as to what has the France family so upset. Under the heading of “product details,” Fisher-Price describes the new toy as such:
On your mark, get set… crash! Or race, whichever your little driver thinks is more fun! Turn on the ignition to “start” the engines (just like in a real car!), then get ready for figure-8 turns, gears shifting, cars crashing – drivers may even head right off the track! Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is REAL racing excitement! Elevated lift in the “pit” area goes up and down. Raceway includes two racecars and two articulated driver figures, four flags and a trophy.
France says the product does very little to portray the sport, which his family has nurtured into a multi-billion dollar industry over the last 60 years, as it really is.
“We certainly don’t want any of the yutes… excuse me, youths… out there to think that racing is just about crashing,” says France. “The very name of this product is an abomination! This product has a button to push so these kids can hear, and I quote, ‘cool crash sounds.’ There is nothing cool about crashing and we think that propagating that idea amongst our most impressionable little ones is just wrong.”
France went on to cite the numerous safety innovations that his family has invented over the years to make the sport safer, such as SAFER barriers, HANS devices, racetrack catchfences so effective that their makeup is a closely-guarded secret and the CoT (Car of Today), just to name a few.
Looking closely at the product, one can clearly see many details that may also be fueling the lawsuit. Details such as a “wing” on the back of the car and little fuel cans that look like mini-versions of the real thing suggest that there may be some copyright or sponsor issues that has NASCAR upset about as well.
“I can’t remember all the specifics of the lawsuit, nor could I comment about them if I could remember,” said France when asked about the patent infringement issues. “But one can clearly see that these are a few of the things that we, no doubt, have our people looking at.”
Another aspect of the product that has NASCAR officials a bit concerned is the “Developmental Benefits” that Fisher-Price has listed on their website, which reads…
This imaginative stage lets your child be the “director” of the action, making all the decisions and even including others in the play. Imagining helps a child think things through, which is great preparation for learning.
“When it comes to stock car racing, we as a family, as a sanctioning body, have striven throughout the years to let everyone know that WE call the shots. We simply cannot have future drivers, especially at this early stage in their lives, growing up thinking that ‘they’ call the shots,” said France. “Where are the men up in the suites that maintain control? For that matter, where are the suites? We, as a corporation, simply cannot have products like this out there… influencing the minds of the future generations that eventually will provide our livelihood and future profit. This product simply portrays racing as chaos and car-crashing mayhem.”
NASCAR insists that changes must be made to the product before it will consider rescinding the suit. BSNews has learned that those changes include adding NASCAR and ISC logos, a “cutaway” car that shows its inner workings, a 20-minute warmup mode (or “pre-race” show, if you will) from the moment the toy is turned on ’till it actually starts, an add-on attraction (to be sold separately) called “Little People Go In ‘N’ Learn HoF” and two additional figures in suits that sit high above the actual track but have no real purpose… just to name a few.
“We not only want these little ones to race, but we want them to learn the history of it, too,” said France. “We also need to sit down and figure out just who those ‘articulated’ drivers really are. The last four times that I have played with it until the batteries gave out, the little blue car wins every time! That is just not real racing.”
Ironically, the Florida court system has assigned the suit a case number of 12-1.
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