As one would expect, this table is based on NASCAR, the popular American autoracing sport. With accompanying commentary by NBC's Allen Bestwick, launch balls onto the magnetically-charged oval speedway around the playfield and scream into the action, then enter the Hauler truck and rack up the Miles and make the Speed Shots on the Road Course. Raise the Test Car to access the underground Garage, where you can whoop it up with the Super Fan, indulge in Happy Hour, and join the Infield Party, but watch out for the Bump 'N Run. Spell RACE to lock pinballs for multiball, collect the various Jackpot bonuses, then freeze the Super Jackpot and add more balls for bigger points. If you can make it through the rigors of the oval and take a Victory Lap, celebrate with a Super Party — and then take on the Champion Challenge.
Compared to other pinball tables, NASCAR is a relatively casual game, one that's not too difficult to play but couples speed and flow with a fair amount of depth and variety. Pinball enthusiasts view its traditional fan-shaped design as a change of pace for Pat Lawlor, one that grows on you after several plays.
NASCAR was released exclusively in North America; for the rest of the world, it was rethemed and released as Grand Prix, with an Indy Car racing motif. The game was later redecorated and re-released in 2007 as Dale Jr., a chrome-trimmed red-colored limited version commemorating famed racer Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
The NASCAR pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Adjustable Censorship/Frothy Mugs of Water: Both NASCAR and Dale Jr. prominently feature Rusty Wallace's No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet on the backbox. Alternate backglass art was available without the beer companies' logos for all-ages locations.
- Announcer Chatter: Both from Allen Bestwick and an assortment of rowdy fans.Allen Bestwick: "There's a big payback at the end of this line."
- The Big Race
- Cultural Translation: Grand Prix, which replaces the NASCAR images and fan culture references with Indy Car equivalents.
- Kinetic Toys Are Just Better: The oval speedway around the playfield, which magnetically accelerates pinballs into the game.
- Licensed Pinball Table
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Dale Jr., of which only 600 were made.
- Loony Fan: Some of the in-game fans come across like this.Fan: "Party in the infield! WAHOO!"
- Match Sequence: A car races past a sign, which spins to reveal the match number.
- Name's the Same: The European localized title of Grand Prix shares the name with a 1976 electro-mechanical game from Williams, though it has nothing in common with it.
- Palette Swap and Recycled Set: Grand Prix and Dale Jr.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: The dust clouds surrounding the Formula 1 cars are shaped just like the American stock cars.
- Product Placement:
- NASCAR features cars from three race teams: Rusty Wallace's No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, Kevin Harvick's No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, and Ricky Rudd's No. 21 Motorcraft Ford.
- Dale Jr. includes Earnhardt's red No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet.
- Real Song Theme Tune: NASCAR features Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55."
- Shout-Out: Holding the left flipper after locking one ball locks the other for you, without hitting the left ramp.Display: "Good thinking!"
- Spelling Bonus: Spell R-A-C-E to light the locks for Race Multiball, while C-H-A-M-P-#1 enables the Champion Challenge Wizard Mode.
- Timed Mission: Some of the modes.Allen Bestwick: "Ten... nine... eight... seven..."
- Wizard Mode:
- The sub-Wizard Mode is "Super Party", available after completing all of the Garage modes. This is a three-ball multiball; hit the pop bumpers enough time to count down to zero, then knock down the drop targets light for a Super Jackpot.
- The main Wizard Mode is "Champion Challenge", available after spelling CHAMP #1 (which is possible only by completing the game's five main challenges). This is a four-ball multiball with all targets lit for maximum value. The player begins in 6th place; hit the Test Car and enter the Garage to advance, and hit the playfield targets to raise the Super Jackpot. Reach first place to collect the Super Jackpot.