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NASRA Nats - Nov 16-20, Mach 1, Spout Spring, VA


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#26 Bill Seitz

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Posted 27 November 2022 - 12:55 PM

We sometimes look back on the late '60s and '70s as the golden age of slot car racing. Honestly, there were very few tracks still around that could support a major racing event at all, so the racers then raced on anything that wanted to host them. It took building different cars for the different tracks, and I'm sure some of the racers were better on some tracks than others. If you wanted to race, you raced wherever there was one. Things started improving in the '80s, and with more tracks, it seems like the racers got more selective. If they only raced on Kings, then they didn't need to build a bunch of different cars, one style worked pretty much everywhere. I think some of what we've lost in recent years is seeing how racers adapt to different tracks. It makes a lot more work , though, and adds to cost. You also lose the quest for ultimate speed which seems for some to be the reason they race.

 

Ultimate speed also takes on different meanings. It can be the absolute fastest lap possible on a given track. It can also be the ultimate fastest lap with a particular style racing vehicle. Some aren't satisfied with anything less than a world land speed record. Others just want to have the fastest garden tractor in the country. It's amazing how we accommodate such diversity, but there may only be a couple racers at some of the events and a couple dozen at others (even no other racers at all). That doesn't seem to faze those that want to race that way.

 

It's become apparent that an ever smaller group of racers are able to keep up with the increasing speed. Slowing down might be for the greater good, but there's always that faction that's in search for the next record. I see the dwindling number of names in G7, guys that've decided for whatever reason it's not worth it to travel to the race. It's not cheap, either in terms of what the racing equipment costs or in just getting to the racing venue and being at the race site away from home for several days. The only real benefit is personal satisfaction and small recognition in the community which has to be weighed against the personal cost. As we age, other factors in our lives rise to importance, and likely meet with all not able to be funded. The lowest priority drops off the list.

 

Maybe, like the world land speed record, we have a periodic event where the racers that want to be the world record holders vie for what amounts to a TQ session. The person with the fastest time wins. It takes an hour. Then the rest of us race something that's more sensible for us to race together, like garden tractors or karts.


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#27 jimht

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 10:31 AM

A doofus thought: a break-out time for every race. 2 winners...one for the most times one breaks out, one for the most laps without breaking out.

 

The ultimate break-out lap total: zero laps.  :laugh2: 

 

Or maybe we should just accept the fact that the only way to stop the craziness is to ban banked tracks and large diameter turns.  :dash2: 


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#28 Phil Hackett

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 12:38 PM

A doofus thought: a break-out time for every race. 2 winners...one for the most times one breaks out, one for the most laps without breaking out.

 

The ultimate break-out lap total: zero laps.  :laugh2: 

 

Or maybe we should just accept the fact that the only way to stop the craziness is to ban banked tracks and large diameter turns.  :dash2: 

 

A highly unlikely person once dropped on me, and I'm paraphrasing, "Phil, the worst thing to happen to (1/24th commercial) slot cars is the swoopy King track."

 

Considering the source of this confession I was shocked.

 

Maybe the saying is correct for our femto-sized industry: "you can't change until you hit rock bottom."


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#29 Bill Seitz

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 01:07 PM

The trend now is to buy a modern King to race Womps and hardbody, pan-chassis cars with 14K, 18K, and 25K motors on. Fewer de-slots. I visit raceways where the owner tells me he's anxious to replace whatever non-King track he has now with a King. Banked and large radius turns aren't just for racing wing cars any more. I have wing cars, and I'd much rather tool around something other than a King. I remember Hasse Kings. With the exception of one in Houston, most of them would be drivers' tracks compared to the latest generation. Yes, G7 can lap the track in under 1.5 seconds, but the reason is only partly the cars; the tracks and track power have greatly helped this. It's also brought down lap times for other classes of cars.

 

When tracks used truck batteries for power, the highest typical voltage was 13.5 and more typically in the high 12's under racing load. The sanctioning bodies now allow 14.3 volts which is only obtainable with Lithium battery technology or power supplies. Theoretically, maximum topping voltage on new lead-acid batteries requires 14.3, but this is nothing like sustainable battery voltage. So, we've upped the track power supply to allow these rocket-fast TQ lap times. During the race, you've got to choke to prevent melting the motor.

 

Maybe it's time we lower track power. We'd still go plenty fast on 12.6 to 13 volts, motors would be less likely to melt, and we might reduce some of the popping out problem which will still occur with current power and 50+ gram cars. I have my theory about that, too, and it's called capacitors and battery chargers for power supplies.



#30 Bernie

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 03:26 PM

I'm happy Mike Swiss posted about this situation. In my opinion, G7 is effectively dead in United States. Most of reasons have already been discussed. I have floated the idea of sensible minimum weights in everything from OMB to G7 but all I ever got was "yeah but".... Aluminum or steel, a sensible minimum weight would solve a lot issues in one fell swoop. Just take a look at the latest modern 27L chassis. It is obvious, it's a one hit/race wonder. Super thin rails will not take a hit. Gets pretty expensive when you have to replace a $200+ chassis every race.. 

 

I'm having fun racing in The Florida Wing Car series now where we use older, longer, stronger chassis on a wide variety of tracks. Turnouts are pretty good and the racing is competitive. Don't recall anyone dropping out due to a bent chassis either. Hopefully sanity will return to Wing Car racing soon or I suspect it will fade away into the history books.. 


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#31 jimht

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 03:58 PM

Bill said: "Maybe it's time we lower track power. We'd still go plenty fast on 12.6 to 13 volts, motors would be less likely to melt, and we might reduce some of the popping out problem which will still occur with current power and 50+ gram cars. I have my theory about that, too, and it's called capacitors and battery chargers for power supplies."

 

 

The problem is that it's just as easy to make an electric motor that will blow up on 12 volts as it is to make one that will blow up on 14...and still turn the same rpm either way.

 

Bernie is right, minimum weights allow stronger heavier chassis to be competitive.

Paul Pfeiffer established Formula 2000 because he saw all this coming, eh?

 

The Swoopy Kings allowed faster more fragile cars with less demolition, but the expense of time and money just keeps increasing.

 

Now that we have the tracks we obviously can't just junk them so heavier more durable chassis with less glue and less air control  might work.

 

The other factor that is becoming more relevant is the cost of good retail space for big tracks.

A smaller track and a drag strip will generate more revenue than a King.


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#32 MSwiss

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Posted 28 November 2022 - 07:04 PM

I'm happy Mike Swiss posted about this situation. In my opinion, G7 is effectively dead in United States. Most of reasons have already been discussed. I have floated the idea of sensible minimum weights in everything from OMB to G7 but all I ever got was "yeah but".... Aluminum or steel, a sensible minimum weight would solve a lot issues in one fell swoop. Just take a look at the latest modern 27L chassis. It is obvious, it's a one hit/race wonder. Super thin rails will not take a hit. Gets pretty expensive when you have to replace a $200+ chassis every race.. 

 

I'm having fun racing in The Florida Wing Car series now where we use older, longer, stronger chassis on a wide variety of tracks. Turnouts are pretty good and the racing is competitive. Don't recall anyone dropping out due to a bent chassis either. Hopefully sanity will return to Wing Car racing soon or I suspect it will fade away into the history books.. 

You may of witnessed one of mini tirades when I talk about the good old days of wing racing, running with a lot of guys, that always end with "I thought we were having fun......... Maybe we weren't". LOL

 

Speaking of dropping out, when I raced, even when my car was badly bent, and I didn't  have a chance at anything, I almost always tried to fix it, and get back on the track.

 

Partially because it was good practice, and partially because I thought it was important to be racing at the end, standing at the panel, to congratulate the winner, as the race ended.

 

Even if I pulled during the last heat, because I thought I was in the way, I would stand at the panel to the end of the race.
 


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Mike Swiss
 
Inventor of the Low CG guide flag 4/20/18
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave., Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 692 Citadel Drive, Westmont, Illinois 60559


#33 NSwanberg

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Posted 29 November 2022 - 01:58 AM

I think it is important to race for the best place you can finish in as long as your car is not a hazard. Dropping out of a race because you realize you can not get first place can change the outcome. With a car off the track and an empty lane somebody is getting a free pass. I will always remember a line I heard as a kid at Malibu Raceway in Michigan (circa 1968) by one Mike Draw, "Second place is not a good as first but it sure beats the hell out of third place."


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#34 russm2002

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Posted 30 January 2023 - 09:41 AM

So is NASRA still a thing? Any word on Nats this year?


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