In Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Cars, hot rod Lightning McQueen learns that you don't have to win the race to be a winner. The same goes for video game publisher THQ (NASDAQ:THQI) this morning, motoring towards another healthy finish without the gold and glory.

THQ should know a thing or two about Lightning McQueen and his pursuit of the Piston Cup trophy. The company has sold 7 million copies of its Cars video game so far in fiscal 2007.

In its holiday-spiked December quarter, THQ saw sales rev 33% higher to hit $475.7 million. Backing out stock-based compensation expenses of $0.09 a share, THQ's earnings per share jumped 37% to $1.00, topping last year's adjusted showing of $0.73.

The results may not seem flashy -- Wall Street was looking for THQ to sell more and earn less -- but it's good enough to get the software publisher to the checkered flag, while many of its rivals wrecked along the way.

Most of the video game specialists have struggled over the past year. Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO) and Activision (NASDAQ:ATVI) got snagged in backdating shenanigans. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) will post lower earnings this year.

THQ has steered through the wreckage. It probably helps that the company has leaned on licensed kid-friendly characters like the Cars lineup and Viacom's (NYSE:VIA) SpongeBob SquarePants to help keep demand brisk as older gamers sweat out the migration to next-generation consoles. THQ loves the older gamers, too. Saints Row and the World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE) titles have sold well. However, the diversity in its product lines is making THQ smell sweeter than developers like Take-Two.

THQ also has a victory lap to look forward to in the coming months. It now expects to earn $1.23 this fiscal year (which ends next month) and between $1.34 and $1.44 a share in fiscal 2008. Analysts were only expecting $1.21 a share this year, leaving them perched at the low end of the company's range for the year ahead.

That's some pretty nice racing, THQ. Maybe the gold and the glory are just a few more laps away.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves playing video games, but he doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story, except for a few shares of Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.