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#655352 R4/10 motor announcement

Posted by Tom Thumb Hobbies on 25 October 2016 - 02:23 PM

Here we are with yet another motor issue in Retro racing. As an IRRA® BoD member I can assure you we are working towards a solution. Some of you wanted this "fixed" yesterday but I think you already know that's not feasible. We can not make a "knee jerk" reaction to this because it is at the core of our program. Act too fast, without all the information and without studying all the possibilities, and you often compound the problem. And for the conspiracy theorists out there, well don't you think we should wait for confirmation and all the evidence before we lynch Tim and JK? There will be a solution.
As a track owner and a Premiere Race host it is my responsibility to make my event as fair and fun as possible. To that end I will do what I think needs to be done, up to and including hand-outs in all classes, to make things as level as possible. I firmly believe the IRRA® will come up with a workable solution if this is indeed a major problem and not just a momentary blip. However we have no control over the Chinese manufacturers and little sway with JK. We simply don't have a big enough economic punch.
I personally believe there is no ulterior motive or greed agenda associated with this from JK. But we are at his mercy if any motor changes need to be made.
I'm posting this now so those that hate hand-outs will know that, as of now, hand-outs are a possibility at the R4/10. If that changes your mind and you won't attend then I'm sorry. I'm hoping that a solution is coming soon and this will be a non-issue.

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#729602 Record-holding 1969 Emott/Vitucci racer, now saved

Posted by TSR on 10 September 2018 - 09:44 PM

By 1969, the pro-racing chassis design had evolved to a design that it would carry until the end of 1972, when new technology was introduced that offered an instant increase in performance from higher cornering speed.

The late Bob Emott had been the design leader from the early days of the anglewinder design, and effectively became the best chassis builder in the United States and likely, the world, inspiring other builders in the USA and abroad. He would do so until 1971.

Never resting on his laurels, Emott continuously evolved his designs, and this car is typical of his progress. Built for Team Mini Wheels Chris "The Judge" Vitucci, it represents the "next step" in the evolution of the so-called "plumber" chassis (so named because described as a "plumber's nightmare" when first introduced.

The center section is now made of two rails on each side of a 1-1/4" Cobra drop arm, one being a brass rod. The "motor box" of older 1968 chassis is now gone, main rails connecting shorter "half rails" to the rear axle tube. The side pans are now hinged two ways, with the rails hinged from the front of the drop arm.


The front axle tube is now partly "vented," to allow easier lubrication and also lower the center of gravity, even if by a minuscule amount. 

The front wheels are Mini Wheels, while the rears are Cobra. The guide and the gears are Cox items.

The motor is a faithful replica of a Kean massaged Champion "535" can with a Mura endbell fitted with Champion hardware. The endbell is side vented to expel as much of the heat as possible. The armature is a dual wound Kean on Champion blanks, 27/28 wire. Magnets are Champion Arco "DZ." The lead wires are Marklin stuff, lots of strands there. Axles are 1/8" drill blanks, the rear running inside Globe-Versitec flanged ball bearings.

As found in the pile of chassis retained by Bob Emott and purchased by the LASCM a few years ago, it needed a few repairs but was in quite nice condition, so it was simply repaired and washed. The soldering mess on the drop arm was left alone as it happened during the main event in which the car was raced (Vitucci having TQ'd) but he worked to destroy the car during the race. I decided not to touch it.

The guide and lead wires were still attached to the chassis and I left them alone as they showed no damage. It was missing its Kean motor, so I assembled one from parts, exactly as Bob Kean would have done in early 1969. The drop arm is engraved, as many of the 1969 Emott chassis were:

"Super Arm Batwinder"
Built for Chris Vitucci
The COBRA killer
Bob Emott



The body is a Dynamic McLaren M8, painted and decorated as a replica of the original Dave Bloom artwork by the best person to do such a job today, Joe "Noose" Neumeister. He was there, and his memory cells are quite excellent at remembering what colors to apply.






This one was a tough job for me, as the motor clearance was the tightest I had to deal with on an Emott chassis so far, and I did not want to remove or grind anything off that would have compromised the originality of this great car, which set the American "Blue King" qualifying record with a then fast 4.72". We now have no less than five "Blue King" record holding cars at the LASCM, the oldest from 1967, the youngest from 1985!

This car is of course fully functional, as all restorations performed for the LASCM are. But it is now a shelf queen, a witness of a great period in the history of electric model car racing.
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#722456 LASCM Museum progress

Posted by TSR on 01 June 2018 - 06:23 PM

I am spending the next four days filling up the shelves of the display room with production and hand built slot cars, as well as built-up static kits and MIB kits.

Here are some views of the "pro racing" side of the room with original and reproduced cars, period trophies and boxes. There are "drag racing", "pro racing", "thingy" and "hand built" sections. Still tons of work to do, but getting there at last. The models and boxes are located at the back of the large room, in a section all by themselves.


One corner of that section shows part of the extensive display:


The 1967 Rod & Custom Cup is surrounded by cars that actually took part in the races, rare survivors indeed.


The sole surviving "Team Russkit" box, complete with its original contents. It lived for over 35 years in the boot of a VW Beetle...


One of the most famous slot car boxes of all time, and the most traveled in the day, was that of Bruce Paschal. The airline stickers show how simpler things were before the first oil crisis in 1973.


Possibly the only Gorski controller still in its original box... with a Parma prototype at right and a custom painted set of Champion handles by Dave Bloom:


There will be over 200 "pro racing" cars on display, covering a period from 1963 through 1973. Chassis, motors, tires, tools will also be on display. If you lived that era, or love it as a younger person, this place will make you happy, even if you cannot physically visit, as there will be videos and detailed pictures online.

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#707717 IRRAź motor announcement

Posted by Eddie Fleming on 19 January 2018 - 08:07 PM

I would like to throw out another point of view not that anyone will give a damn.
 Tim (JK) came into this with people complaining about the inconsistent motor situation. Too many dogs and never enough bullets. Brushes are too soft, brushes are too hard, whatever. He has tried to make the situation better.  
I for one thank Tim for his efforts. That includes the successes and the warts as well. I hope Tim chooses to continue to produce products for our hobby.
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#681594 USRA

Posted by JK Products on 24 May 2017 - 06:57 AM

Dear racers and raceway owners,


JK Products® (JK) would like to thank the many racers and raceway owners who have supported our involvement in USRA racing in the past. Unfortunately, JK believes that the USRA is now so corrupt that we can no longer support the organization.


As of today, we are renouncing the company’s membership In USRA and withdrawing all its products and support. It is acknowledged that this is a very serious action and we hope racers will understand this action is not being taken lightly.


The final straw was the national director’s refusal to allow approval of the C43 Aeolos chassis despite the unanimous approval of the scale division director, the scale technical director, the assistant scale technical director, and the majority vote of the product approval committee; the national director remains the only one opposed. We believe his highly selective interpretation of USRA rules is often incorrect and unfairly biased against JK.


This action is not taken solely due to the national director’s veto of the C43. JK has worked to try to remedy the situation within the USRA but it quickly became clear that USRA is not being run for the benefit of the racers. Sincere apologies to all racers inconvenienced by what JK views as a necessary action, and for the long term good of the industry.


JK Products® remains firmly dedicated to supporting the raceway owners, racers, and the slot car industry, as you will see in the coming weeks, months, and years.  


Attached File  USRA Final.pdf   802.64KB   423 downloads

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#659381 Hawk Retro 7R7R balancing

Posted by JK Products on 28 November 2016 - 08:36 AM

Hi Bryan,

If you would have asked before posting, I would have explained that what you are seeing is exactly one of the process changes that results in lower variability.
As explained previously, JK Products Retro 7R and 7 motors are now 100% robotically computer balanced. They are the only motors in the industry that are 100% computer balanced. This is an internal processing/tolerance change, not a major product specification change. The IRRA® board was informed of this process improvement and other process tolerance improvements, all designed to reduce variability and make our motors the most consistent motors in the industry.


In the past, all our armatures were hand balanced, like some of our competitors. As you can imagine, this hand balancing was not nearly as consistent as an automated machine can be. Not only that, the automatic balancing can balance to a much tighter tolerance using much smaller corrections than are available using hand balancing. That is what you are seeing in your photograph. Notching for larger changes, and very small drill holes for even better balancing than ever before.

I will have a detailed balancing post on our Facebook page later today, including a video of the process that you might find interesting.
Finally, if anyone thinks they have found a problem with any of our products, please grant me the courtesy of contacting me first by email; I will always respond. If I don’t satisfy your concerns, feel free then to express them on social media.

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#627770 Something great that has nothing to do with results

Posted by wicked01 on 15 February 2016 - 08:05 PM

Some of you on Slotblog may know me; some may not, but I have been racing slot cars since the early '90s. I have traveled all over the south racing with my friends.


So a couple years ago after being out of slot cars for about five years I got my son into the hobby and he has developed a passion for slot cars more than I ever had. Recently i have really focused on building and showing him how to solder, how to adjust Retro and flexi cars, and the maintenance of the cars. He has been getting better every time we race and just loving slot cars, which is rare in our day and age of computers and gaming.


We attended a race this past weekend. We built him a brand new Can-Am car that my son was so proud of because it was the first one that he ever helped build. So he starts out by qualifying with the fastest time he ever turned and the car is really good. He starts the race so I go over to work on some other cars while he is running. I never looked at where he was running but he had told me he was running really good, so after the second or third heat someone came over and said your son is flying so I looked at the monitor and he was ahead by three or four laps! Then I started watching him and he continued to pull away, just driving the wheels off of the car.


The next heat I pitted the car, put it back on the track, and the heat started – all was well. My son made it about three or four laps when the magic smoke came trailing out of the car then quit. My son was devastated and I could not get him to calm down. I went to change the motor, because we had back-ups, but he still was really upset.


Then this is the part I wanted to share with everyone. A man I had never met him before (still do not no who he is) walked up, leaned over to my son, and said to him, "You were running a great race and i want you to have this brand new motor to replace the one you blew up." instantly my son was OK.


I got more pleasure from that one moment than I did the whole rest of the day and it really showed me one act of kindness at a slot car race made more of a impression on my son than if he would have won the race.


I want to thank that man, whoever you are, and just to let you know that's all he talks about since the race. You have made a lasting impression on my son...


Slot car racers are really great people.

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#626052 This will not help slot car racing

Posted by tonyp on 05 February 2016 - 10:39 AM

First off most big event slot car races(other than slot drag) have in the past not had cash awards. Doing so only will bring out the worst attitude and behavior.

Precisely the reason IRRA® was set up with no cash prizes and you will never see this happen at any off the major IRRA® Premier events. Several on the IRRA® Board lived through the money racing era and it was the most cutthroat, dirtiest racing. Get in my lane and you were walled. Anything for the evil bucks. We did not want to have racing for money, we rather want to have good racing between friends.

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#625790 Wing racer gone Retro! :)

Posted by Chubby on 04 February 2016 - 01:06 AM

So first off I want to say that I'm enjoying Retro racing so much. I never imagined it would be like it is and what it has become. I have had tons of help from everyone getting me some wins here and there and for that I'm very thankful.
I want to talk about some subjects that I catch on here and Facebook from time to time.  
I want to talk about the JK Retro Hawk. I see people talk good and bad about these motors, some things I have seen is you need 10 to get one good one. When I first read that from multiple people, I was kind of shocked. Are some motors better than others? Sure, every time, even when you custom-build $700 Group 7 motors that have identical specs.  
Now some of you may believe me or may not believe me, I'm not here to judge, I'm just here to tell you my experience with these motors. When I go to a race and, for example, I race two classes that day, I will buy two motors and put them in my cars, and break them in, in the car itself. I have yet to be underpowered IMO to a point where I lost a race, at least that I think.  
I honestly think that how you break them in is everything! I race these motors every week at my local shop (PJ Raceway) in three different classes and i cannot tell you how close racing is on a weekly basis. I'm not here to argue with anyone, I enjoy racing Retro very much and tend to get along with everyone and want to keep it that way.
But I cannot express myself any better when I say 8 out of 10 JK Retro Hawk motors can win a Premier Event. I'm totally shocked actually on how consistent they are from one another because how they're made and where they're made. These are motors that are nothing special spec-wise, which I'm sure we all can agree on.  
I think you need to be patient enough while breaking these motors in. I have had motors that in 10 laps are where I want them to be, and I have motors that take 100+ laps to be where I want them to be. Don't give up on the motors that don't run after 100+ laps; I've been in that situation a lot.  
Well, I think I'm done with this little rant, I feel better now.  :)
Thanks, guys 'n gals,
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#737674 The stuff I have...

Posted by havlicek on 16 December 2018 - 04:55 PM

...just to do arms and motors:


If I did chassis too, I'd need to move.

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#733276 AMCR "Blue King" record setter

Posted by TSR on 26 October 2018 - 08:22 PM

For "pro" racers then and now, a "King" track was and is the setting to establish new speed records. Everything being relative since every so-called "King" track has its own performance altering characteristics, may it be surface, contact rails, banked turns and of course, power available, both voltage and amperage.

In an era of constant technological evolution that the late 1960s were for the fastest slot cars on earth, one of the biggest technological flops was the Mura "B" motor. Born in late 1968, its low profile promised a lower center of gravity, while the thickness of its magnets guaranteed plenty of field to the armature. But it was not to be: while the "B" were fast, they immediately showed to run hot, very hot, ate their "16D" brushes at an alarming rate and anything that Ron and George Mura threw at the design in a bid to save it from the bin, failed. Eventually after months of efforts, different vent-hole patterns, different can thickness, even versions that were "circular milled" to reduce what was now identified as a faulty magnetic field, a few guys in California figured out how to keep these motors from self-immolation. Pete Zimmerman and his accomplice John Cukras experimented first with stacked 16D brushes, one on top of the other, covering the whole width of the commutator. Special brush holders from brass channel soldered to copper endbell plates made this possible, along with longer brush springs.

Then, Zimmerman simply ran the larger "36D" brush, and matters improved considerably. A change in magnet material and its manufacturing process allowing proper magnetic field orientation finalized the development, and suddenly, the "B" were fast AND reliable.

Racers were very skeptical and most of them had abandoned the "B," returning to the larger and taller "16D" sized Mura or Champion cans. 

But a few kept pursuing the "B" avenue, and Mike Tango of Nutley Raceway in New Jersey, as well as Bob Emott, plus the people at Certus in Munster, Indiana, were convinced of the handling advantages provided by the "B" design. Many Brits, as clearly seen in the pictures of pro racing cars that ran in London and on the south coast, also went the "B" way, at last for a while, and made them work, likely on cleaner power than used on American racing tracks.

Peter von Ahrens was an American racer of German noble ancestry, and by 1969, had become a potential winner in any pro race around the country. Pete was a good friend of John Cukras, and was provided with hardware and other help by Ron Mura. So unlike most East Coast racers, Pete used Mura equiptment, and was one to really try his hardest at making the "B" motor be a success.

And, it happened: on November 22, 1969, Pete ran a car he built with a "B" motor featuring the latest improvements and set new records at the Sixth and final "Car Model" race of the year at Nutley raceway. Not only did he match the absolute lap record on a "King", that sat at 4.72", which may seem a bit slow in these days of "sub 1.4" laps, but was a shocker then. Let's remember that this was over 10 years before cobalt magnets and tiny motors powering 3" tall aerodynamic shovels came to be.


In the race itself, Pete fought a good battle with Mitch Keil, running a new cut-down Champion can motor built by Joel Montague, following Bob Green's lead in hammering a can over a steel die to fit the better Champion Arco "Blue Dot" magnets without shims, and a Pooch armature by the same. But it was not to be as Keil crashed several times on the difficult black lane, and von Ahrens cruised to a 470 lap total, a new distance record.

Meanwhile, Bob Green had been hard at work, and soon, both Mura and Champion had their own smaller can motor, the "C." And the Mura "B" motor was history, this very quickly, as the "C" motors and their variations by both Champion and Mura would rule pro racing until someone discovered the Samarium Cobalt magnets, rewriting a page that has now lasted to this day.
Incredibly, Pete's car survived, barely. Unearthed a few years ago from the collection of the late Robert Emott Jr., it was in the worst of shapes. Rusty, corroded, awful. I ended with it and trusted one of the finest chassis restorers in the United States, Steve Okeefe, to save it. Steve did a great job, and the chassis is now part of the expanding LASCM collection, really the best place for it to be on this planet if any of this stuff is to survive long term.

It was my decision to now, revive it as it was, preparing a "B" motor in exactly the same way Pete ran his. I selected a used "circular milled" B can, a used endbell, a Mura 24S "Bubblegum" armature and went to work. And that took two full days, as it is far difficult to restore old rusty parts, than build from new...

The can was broken and needed a new spot weld, then was surface ground and left unpainted as was the practice. Cuts where made to clear the chassis by the mounting plate. Vent slots were cut where the can meets the endbell, and the retaining screw holes were countersunk to fit 1-64 taper-head slotted Champion can screws.

The endbell was cleaned, tapped for 2-56 machine screws, and received early style buss bars made of copper wire, the negative bar going through the endbell, drilled at an angle to provide clearance for the opposite brush spring array. Genuine Mabuchi FT36D brushes were slotted deeper to receive the copper shunt wires, then fitted with Mura brush springs.



A 64-pitch steel spur gear and 10t steel pinion provided the proper mesh, as the motor could only fit in the chassis in one spot and did not offer any gearing alternative to provide tire clearance. Front wheels are magnesium Mini Wheels, rear wheels are Associated with the "magic" Emott blue rubber. The guide is a Jet Flag of the same color used by von Ahrens on other known cars he built. I will complete the build with braided contacts and Cox copper guide inserts at a later time. Also fitted are Cobra blue lead wires, something he also used on other cars.

All needed now, is a "Dave Bloom replica" body, and that is in the works as Joe Neumeister has been commissioned to provide one in Pete's green colors, to finish this important and fortunately, well-documented car in slot car racing history.
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#729950 My new home track

Posted by MattD on 14 September 2018 - 04:17 PM

I have been building this track for about two months, working 25-30 hours a week or so. I based almost everything on the fine tutorial Steve Ogilvie posted here last year. I had to change a little from his guidelines as my work is not to the level of Steve's, G. Gerding's and C. Dadds. Like everything I do, I managed to overcome my shortcomings and make things work.     


I replaced a four-lane Carrera track with this. I am hopeful that our small group will find this enjoyable and be more involved than they were with the local raceway.   


Thanks to Steve and to Slot Car Corner for the router bit and the pre-taped braid. That made it so easy!







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#704103 Merry Christmas to all slot car enthusiasts!

Posted by TSR on 22 December 2017 - 03:09 PM


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#702499 JK Retro Hawk

Posted by MSwiss on 09 December 2017 - 06:45 PM

Congrats to Jason Dennis on winning Can-Am, at ORS-KOR Race #4 at MMW, using a leftover bulk 7R motor I had from this year's Sano.
I did not charge Jason over retail, as another raceway currently is doing, for motors that the raceway claims are from a superior batch.
Chicagoland Raceway will never charge over retail price for an item they perceive to be from a better batch or in short supply.

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#688673 Finished my track

Posted by Mike Whitley on 29 July 2017 - 08:16 PM

Hey everyone,

I finished my track and have posted the build on YouTube. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

It is titled Mike Whitley A professional slot car track build. Not that I consider myself a professional but just trying to get some views to the sight. [Admin note: I've embedded Mike's videos in post #15 below.]



Finished Track (2).JPG

Finished Track (3).JPG

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#675837 New motor break-in

Posted by Matt Bruce on 31 March 2017 - 01:13 PM

If you want a fast effective way to break your Hawks in or any FK motor, try my Simple Green method.


Spray motor out with Pure to clean the factory grease and oil first. Then dunk motor in straight Simple Green cleaner at 3 to 4 volts for 5 to 10 seconds. Pull it out, check to see the brushes are across the comm, if not repeat for 5 second cycles till the brush is seated.


Some have hard and soft brushes so best to sneak up on it, but it doesn't take much time at all. Once the brush is seated, spray the motor out again to remove the Simple Green, blow it out dry, oil the shaft ends lightly, then either stick it in the car or if you have time, run on power supply at 2 to 3 volts for a few minutes then put it in car and run. Within a few laps it's ready to race.


Water break-in is OK but the Simple Green puts the entire process on steroids, gets the motor super clean, while providing a quick brush wear rate without ever glazing the comm.


Just remember 5 to 10 seconds is all you want, anything more and you are just wasting good brush wear for motor longevity.

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#675085 My final thoughts...

Posted by Tom Thumb Hobbies on 26 March 2017 - 03:24 PM

We are just about back to normal at the store. So much has to be broken down and moved to the warehouse that it takes a few days to rebuild. But after 10 years we have things down to a science.


Speaking of 10 years it’s hard to believe that this was the tenth anniversary of the R4. Wow. I don’t think many would have bet money on this “Retro” thing lasting 10 years. Let alone growing. But, there are some signs of the same kind of “decay” that has killed almost every other racing program in the past. It is our job to not let that happen. Stop and think if what you are doing is helping the hobby or just your program. Do what is right for the hobby and we will be talking about the 20th Anniversary of Retro someday.


The R4/10 went extremely well in my opinion. I have had almost exclusively positive comments about the weekend of racing. The few negatives have been in the form of constructive criticism and not just bitching. Always appreciated. In fact, I have had numerous “best R4 ever” and “don’t change the format next year” comments even from those who initially hated the hand-out idea.


After race directing about half of the heats and doing all of the qualifying I can say that the racing was closer than ever. Every last Main had multiple stints with wheel-to-wheel racing for position, often between three or more racers. The final results didn’t always show that but I guarantee that if you were involved you won’t soon forget. Was it because of the hand-out motors? I would like to think that had at least some part in it. Looking at the non-hand-out F-1 class the racing was close, but not as close as the others. I wasn’t expecting new faces at the top. But I was hoping for closer racing with less gap from top to bottom. We got that.


So, do I think my hand-out plan was a success? Yes, I think so. All of the doom and gloom predicted by the naysayers was unfounded. Some stayed away because of hand-outs. No problem. But others came because of them. And like it or not, new faces are just as important as the old.


The countless hours I spent planning this was vindicated I think. Things went off with only very minor glitches. But that only happened because of the tremendous amount of help we had from our local, and extended, racer families. Whoever coined the term “Lazy Locals” for my guys obviously has no idea what they are talking about. Without Eric Balicki (and his wife Melinda who basically loans him to me every March), Rick Starkey and Tina, Jim and Sherri Leezer, Earl Graybill, Jason Vicars, and Steve Johnson this would not have been possible. Bill Fulmer, who is best known for his photography, is irreplaceable in the tech line. Believe me he does far more than just take pictures. Thanks also need to go to Kyle Snyder who not only did well as a racer (congrats, dude) but helped out at the sales counter all week and to Greg Wells who assisted in tech and published his awesome race reports.


Then comes Cindy and Jessica. Without Cindy filling in for me in our normal store operations I wouldn’t have had the time to plan anything. Day to day operations, food preparations, daily cleaning. the list goes on and on. She willingly shoulders a heavy load. Truly a phenomenal lady. Impossible without her. And Jessica… what didn’t she do? No one worked harder than her during those three days. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be her dad. And not to forget Avery. Avery helped keep me sane during all this time. She is awesome!!


Bottom line… it was a lot of work but worth it. Lots of new faces and also returning friends. Records were broken and the racing was close. New friendships were made and old ones rekindled. Being a BoD member, a track owner, and a race host it sometimes feels like I’m constantly under attack no matter what I do. This year was the worst. But, you the racers as a group make it worthwhile to me. As I have said before, Retro is more than just the cars we race. It is the attitude we have while we do it. Don’t lose sight of that


Don’t forget to thank all the sponsors who generously donated money and merchandise to this event. I’ll be posting something separately later thanking them all but you already know who they were. Take a minute to send an email and say “Thanks.”


And let me do the same. Thank you to all that came and all that watched online. It was a pleasure to have you.

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#742046 Marco Carvalho's magical 2019 Checkpoint

Posted by Cheater on 04 February 2019 - 07:32 AM

Marco Carvalho's masterful Can-Am result, at arguably one of the most competitive Retro events in the entire genre, so impressed me that I asked him to tell the tale of his history in slot racing, as well as let everyone know how he prepared to put the smack-down on this year's incredible field of Checkpoint Can-Am class entrants. For better visibility, I'm posting this thread in the General Slot Car Racing for now, and will relocate it to the 2019 Checkpoint Cup archive at a later date.
Here's Marco's great story...

* * * * * * * * * *

Greg Wells, who maintains this excellent blog/forum, invited me to write a piece about my incredible win at the Can-Am race at the Checkpoint Cup. Indeed it was extraordinary. This is only my third time racing with the SCRRA group. Just to be in the same race as Duran, Sam, Mill, Dale, Craig, Eddie, and Bryan is already a big achievement for me – imagine how I felt taking the pole and winning the Cup? I’m still not believing in it. But, to be honest, this is not my first rodeo.

Since last Saturday I’ve been overwhelmed by a lot of texts, Facebook messages, emails, and phone calls congratulating me on the win. Thank you all very much. It’s getting bigger and bigger. Which proves how great the slot car community and the people are here in SoCal. It’s crazy to think that now I’m one phone call away from people that I used to admire from afar when I started to race slot cars in Brazil back in the '90s.

To make a long story short, I got my first slot car from a schoolmate. It was a used and beaten to death 1/32 car with a Ford Escort body in navy blue, an inline chassis with a 26D Oxford motor in it. My friend gave it to me in parts and with no tools, and I had to figure out a way to solder the motor in using some old pliers and a very hot burner cap from my grandma’s range. It was archaic. But it was the way I got into the hobby.

Months later there was a big change in Brazil’s economy. A new currency was introduced and the exchange rate against the US dollar was way better. We started to get parts from Mura, Alpha, Limpach, RJR, Parma, and Koford. New commercial tracks were launched and I started to get a taste of the competitive world of slot cars. But keep in mind that we’re talking about the Southern part of Brazil, far away from São Paulo and those incredible innovators like Gugu, Paulo Parolu, Zé Mário, and Lineo Fernandes.

My father was supportive and did what he did best: charming people. We were completely broke. I remember when I got involved in my very first championship. The track was an eight-lane King-like track. I attended six races with a used Parolu chassis and one set of PSE Tuna tires. The grid was composed of something like 20 racers. My father somehow convinced one of the top guys at the time to build me a car and “rented” a spare motor from another guy. Don’t ask me how it worked. The body was a Lexan Mercedes C9 painted in some mix of pink and black. And I still hear him saying: “Please don’t crash, we don’t have a spare body.” On the day of the first race, he handed me a brand new Parma Turbo controller, with the pink 1.5-ohm resistor, inside of that cool checkered box. I still don’t know how he bought it. But I recall that it was March and he was very specific in saying: “That’s your Christmas gift.” Those were tough times.
That eight-lane King-like track where I got my first championship racing a Group 12 car.
Beating all the odds, I won that championship. I didn’t take a single victory, but accumulated enough points to secure the trophy.
My car is the pink-black #5 on the bottom.
After that period, I started to work on my cars. It was hard to get proper tools, but I was as creative as any good Brazilian. Months later, one of the great motor builders of our community opened up a track very close to my house. This guy knew everything about motor building. He owned the only comm lathe outside of São Paulo, which automatically made him a semi-god to all of us. But he didn’t know shit about building a chassis or tuning a car. A few weeks later, I was hired by the store to work on customer's cars, doing at least 40 to 50 cars per month. I was working hard building cars, fixing chassis, and tuning them but it wasn’t too long before he wasn’t able to pay me anymore. I was around 14 years old.

His debt kept growing until my father intervened. Did I mention that he was a charmer? After one meeting, he found out that the guy had made a bad investment, he was running from his debt, and the only reason he didn’t close the store was the building’s lease agreement. So, my father got himself a track and a new business. The raceway was called Turborama, the original name.
Turborama’s logo. Designed by a random guy who came into the store and offered to make a front sign. 
Mom and Dad at a big race day.
The track at my father's raceway.
Another view if my father’s track.
My father race-directing a qualifying session. At the back you have myself (around 16 years old), my brother, and my great friend Christian Castro.
We worked there for almost three years. I came straight from high school to build cars. My fingers were always burned and my fingernails always black. From Sunday to Monday; there was no excuse. But it was my high school years – I had parties to attend, girls to meet, and there was a lot of conflict. I remember one Sunday morning that my dad opened the door to my room at 6 AM, saying something like, “There’s a guy coming at noon. He’s bringing his sons and nephews, and we need eight new cars ready and we don’t have any.” Dad was nice but sometimes annoying. I learned a lot from him but my advice is that you shouldn’t do business with your family.
The crew back in 1995 (myself and my father under the red arrows). I don’t know why or how, but I have an LA Raiders cap on. 

My mom put an end to it in the summer of 1998. Business were not the same. The internet was getting big down there. Also, I was about to start college, the track couldn’t go on without me, and my father didn’t want to keep it open by himself. I think the track represented a way to keep us close together. He tried a couple of in-house mechanics but it never worked. My father passed away six years later.

After Turborama closed, I sold all my tools and parts to my good friend Christian Castro, which really hurt. Everything was gone. I needed the money to pay for my college tuition. Christian, who’s still a very close friend, became a Stock Car driver (1:1 cars), and still races slot cars, competing in ISRA on the highest level.

After a long pause in my slot car activities, my friend Christian invited me over to see a new raceway in town. They had a small four-lane track and the racers were very competitive. Some new guys and some old dogs, too. Christian gave me back my Parma controller (which was highly modified over the years) – the same one that my dad gave me as an Christmas gift – and convinced me to join the program. They were racing Group 12s and it was shortly after that I moved back to Brazil from Los Angeles, after completing a postgraduate program at UCLA. Which gave me the chance to call Dan DeBella to order some commutators and other stuff. I was hooked again. Over the next two years, I got all my tools back, won some races, and had fun for a while until It became an obsession. It was taking most of my day and compromising my career. I was fortunate enough to realize what was happening and to step back from slot car racing.

In 2014, when my wife and I decided to move back to California, I was looking for an activity to practice my English-speaking skills. So, I went to the Culver City Senior Center as a volunteer. No luck there; I tried several times and apparently everybody wanted to practice their English. I found out about Big Lou’s slot car track. They race 1/32 cars, mostly using magnets. That was my way back into the hobby. I thought it would be only a one-car thing, some tools on the side – but after less than a month, my mom was shipping my box of tools to me here.

Later I discovered the great Farrout club and started to race among those guys. I really enjoy the non-magnet 1/32 hard plastic genre. Finally, Eddie Shorer invited me to come race at Buena Park in the 2017 Summer Western Classic. Eddie handed me an old Kamo chassis and I did what I could at that race. Later Eddie introduced me to the Hardbody group, managed by the amazing Keith Tanaka and I really enjoyed racing with them. With much room for innovation, the cars are great to drive and the group of racers is extraordinary.

After seeing his race reports and pictures, I called Lineo Fernandes, who’s a slot car builder/legend in Brazil. He’s our Tonyp, our Dennis Samson. I exchanged some info with him and he came up with a very nice chassis. I tried and tried but it wasn’t that good. Two months later, he had a new concept, based on my reports. That one worked very well and I was able to break the total lap record and win my first race at BPR. We continued to exchange information and he sent me a third chassis. With it, I won the GTP race at the Nats, breaking the total laps record again, tying in again with my friend Ed Shorer.
2018 Hardbody Nats - Lineo’s third generation chassis.

The Checkpoint experience was really amazing to me. I got a nice chassis kit from Bryan Warmack several months ago, but I was only able to work on it this month. As soon as I realized that it was an easy kit to assemble I offered cars to Jim Wiseman, Ed Shorer, and Phil Nyland. Bryan sent me three more kits. I hit the track for the first time two weeks before the race, but only my car was ready. It was a nice shakedown. I had the opportunity to try different sets of tires, in different sizes. I also experimented with the chassis, trying to make it stiffer. I was able to use everything I learned that day on the other cars – they are all very similar. On Friday, the day before the race, I was there doing more testing. The track seemed a little faster and I was able to hit some 3.8s with my and Eddie’s cars. Jim’s car had a slower motor, but it was doing 3.9s. Phil kept his car and developed it with Mill’s help.

I stayed late and finished my car on Friday. So I just had to break-in the motors and find a good one the next morning. I was the first one to arrive on Saturday. I got the motor from Eddie at the counter and before starting the break-in process, I measured the RPM at 6 volts. Two motors were at 23,000 and one was at 25,000. After two hours (I never used the water/liquid/Simple Green trick), I installed my “25” motor in the car and ran for four laps. It was the only lap bellow 4.0 recorded at the computer. I pulled it off and said to myself, “That’s it.”

This car was not built only based on my knowledge. I was fortunate enough to have Duran Trujillo sharing his precious experience with me. Sam Rackham also answered all my questions regarding measurements, distances, parts, and everything else at trackside – no hesitation. Thank you very much, guys! Mill Conroy gave me a side note on a gear from Ukraine that was lighter. So I drove 100 miles round trip on a Wednesday morning to Ventura to pick up the crown gear that turned to be 0.2 grams lighter. Everything counts, right? Eddie, who has become a great friend, was there during testing and specially during the race, helping me with great pit work and rooting like an ecstatic cheerleader. Same thing for Jim Wiseman, who’s probably more happy than I am.

So, I am telling you all this to assure that this victory at the Checkpoint Cup was not out of thin air. Slot cars are an important part of my life. Besides the technical aspects and the craftsmanship that I learned at a young age, which I use every day, slot cars are always teaching me that discipline and dedication can help you win in all aspects of life. It helps me to grow confidence in stressful moments and to conquer whatever challenge I have in front of me. It was decisive in the development of my professional career. At this point in my life, I don’t know if I am gonna have a son, but if I do, I’m pretty sure that he will be racing slot cars.

My car at the Checkpoint Cup 2019 – notice the colors on the body?
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#697858 Husting dragster resurfaces after 52 years...

Posted by TSR on 26 October 2017 - 12:47 PM

The LASCM's latest acquisition: a "lost" marvel, one of Gene Husting's most famous 1965 dragsters, the "Hustler," featured in period magazines such as Car Model and Rod & Custom.
Came without motor internals, gears, and rear wheels, but fortunately the LASCM has the original parts from... the Gene Husting dragsters box donated by his estate.
This is a fabulous car, of which the light alloy body was painted by none other than Bob Kovacs, famous for his "Kustoms by Kovacs" paint schemes on any kind of products, from toys to refrigerators. In fact in direct competition with world's famous Kenny "von Dutch" Howard for the craziest 1960s paint jobs...
It was missing most of its body screws but I just happened to have a good supply of perfect nickel-plated 2-56 jobs matching the remaining originals... 






The car was modified several times by Gene, constantly looking to improve its 1.2-second 1/4-mile pass. The picture above proves it to be the real thing. Unusually (and thankfully), the magnesium chassis plates are painted, saving the car from the usual ugly surface corrosion.
Lovely machine that made its mark before Husting introduced the anglewinder concept in 1/24 scale professional racing in America.
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#664099 All Riggen stocker

Posted by Mbloes on 04 January 2017 - 11:57 AM

Chassis pics:










  • Cheater, endbelldrive, slotbaker and 15 others like this

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