You are familiar with the hype and whether it was generated by the media, George Lucas, or the fans themselves, it's helped to sell everything and anything Star Wars. Whether a product was any good was irrelevant, if it was graced with Star Wars, it was a must-have for any "true" fan. So as soon as Nintendo announced that they had a limited exclusivity deal with LucasArts, many in the media saw it as a coup for Nintendo. Others, however, doubted the game's significance because although it carried with it a big-license name, Pod Racer (as it was then called) was still merely a racing game.
Perhaps the best aspect of Racer is that it positively draws from the movie, including a temporary boost and repair feature that Anakin Skywalker clearly utilizes in the movie. These two features add an extra dimension because a level of on-the-fly resource management, not often seen in racing games, is introduced.