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Where did you race as a kid?


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#26 Steve Deiters

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 10:41 AM

Didn't Tag Powell market a line of slot car products under the brand name of "Mini Wheels"? I seem to remember a line of tires and wheels. Anything else?




#27 gascarnut

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 01:32 PM

I grew up in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa.

The first commercial track there opened in mid-1964, with a track that was built by the owners. It was 30 minutes ride on my bicycle to get there, and about 20 minutes home (there was this loooooong uphill section on the way to the track ;) ).

The raceway survived until the late 1970's, mostly as a result of expanding into Radio Control and converting from being purely a Raceway into being a full-service Hobby Store. When they moved from their original store into a new Mall store, they sold the track, and a local club bought it, and restored it. These are the photos of the restored track:

Dunnottar_1.jpg

When the track was in the store, it had a black chalkboard paint surface. The drivers' panels were on the right of the picture, along the kinked straight section. The track had one of those cool old "pin-ball clicker" lap counters mounted on a pole right above the bridge section. Take a look at that bridge section - it was monstrously steep. There was a catch basket hung on the wall behind the uphill for the cars that did not have enough brakes - I think we all had at least one car go into the basket at some point.

Dunnottar_2.jpg

When the club restored the track, they took out the big banked turn that used to be at the end of the main straightaway - at the bottom of this photo. In the 1960's nothing we had for cars would punch the bank, but eventually our 1/32 scale wing cars would punch it on pretty much all the lanes.

The track was replaced by a new one around 1985 as I recall, and I think this track was donated to a local Air Force base, but whether it was ever put to any use I'm not sure.
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#28 slowjim

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 04:07 PM

Scott's Family Raceway, Fremont, California, 1962 to 1964. Located in an old warehouse next to the Fiberfab kit-car company, and down the street from a pickle factory, with huge open-topped vats that added to the smell of burnt end-bells and 3-in-1 oil. Other racers there were John Chotia and Todd Radke.
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#29 tonyp

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 04:22 PM

Sebring sport Center in Irvington NJ was my home track and where I started racing. After about 6 months I started to work there until it closed 18 months later. Then on to Nutley raceway..., Clementon, and then BIR until I stopped racing.

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#30 MrWeiler

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:47 PM

There were lots of places but these were the closest and since I went by bicycle where I went most often.

(1) An American tracks franchise next to the 5 freeway in Tustin

Then I moved to the San Fernando valley

(2) Race-a-rama on Devonshire in Chatsworth--then when they closed.
(3) Trackside raceway at the intersection of Roscoe and Tampa in Reseda.

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#31 The Bugman

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 12:52 PM

as a kid ? ? ?,,,lol,im still a kid,just a few years bigger now,and alot more $$$$$ nowadays too,and my home track is Buena Park Raceway,alot of us 50+y.o kids race there these days,lol :laugh2: :laugh2: :laugh2:
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#32 Randy Tragni

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 01:13 AM

I had a COX BRM and a Dynamic Chassis Red Ball Express Indy Car. I started racing my pals at RPM Raceway in San Jose, CA. It was behind Kiddie World on Stevens Creek. I raced there twice before they closed down. If I remember correctly they had 4 tracks.
Next, I moved on to Rex's Pit Stop in Santa Clara, then to Checkered Flag in Santa Clara. Checkered Flag had a pair of mirror image tracks.
Anyone remember these places?
Randy

#33 chaparrAL

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 02:22 AM

In So Chicago suburbs ,NW Indiana mid 60 s , Dildines on Calumet Ave in Hammond was first, Then Illiana in Lansing and the track at state line on Ridge road i think was Georges and it had an American Orange and Black.About 67 a track opened in Hammond on Kennedy Ave,about a mile from my childhood home. A&E raceway first had a couple sub par tracks, But when the track used for the ARCO race became available they got it making it one fine raceway with a King track and a Aurora tub HO track.Met Bill Metros there.Also in bicycle range was G&G in Griffith with an American Black and an Aurora tub.Dr Gamma raced there too. Also about that time,read in Car Model about Carl Dreher s HO club in East Gary. So a good guy that was from my neighborhood ,Steve Medanic [ MADD Bodies]and I started racing HO s with them. This lead to my first entry in the first year Car Model Indiana HOPRA 1969 finished forth. On vacation i visited Speed &Sport and Pismo Beach but had my HO cars, :blink: :laugh2:
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#34 chaparrAL

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 02:29 AM

A&E's King track wound up in Hartford MI and was well worn last i heard in Sawgutuck.
Al Thurman
"Everything you love, everything meaningful with depth and history, all passionate authentic experiences will be appropriated, mishandled, watered down, cheapened, repackaged, marketed, and sold to people you hate." Von Dutch [Kenneth R. Howard] 1929-1992
."If there is, in fact, a Heaven and a Hell, all we know for sure is that Hell will be a viciously overcrowded version of Pheonix." Dr Hunter S Thompson 1937-2005
"Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?" - Jack Kerouac 1927-1969
"Hold my stones". Keith Stone
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#35 don.siegel

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 05:01 AM

ChaparrAL - do you remember a place called, I think, Tri-State Raceways, somewhere near the Chicago-Indiana-?? state line?

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#36 chaparrAL

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 09:46 PM

Don . I remember the name but never made it there. It must have been in north Hammond out of me and my friends bike range at that time. Otherwise we would have been all over it . Dr Gamma may know about it.
Al Thurman
"Everything you love, everything meaningful with depth and history, all passionate authentic experiences will be appropriated, mishandled, watered down, cheapened, repackaged, marketed, and sold to people you hate." Von Dutch [Kenneth R. Howard] 1929-1992
."If there is, in fact, a Heaven and a Hell, all we know for sure is that Hell will be a viciously overcrowded version of Pheonix." Dr Hunter S Thompson 1937-2005
"Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?" - Jack Kerouac 1927-1969
"Hold my stones". Keith Stone
My link

#37 hiline2

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 05:05 PM

There were 3 tracks I recall in the St Louis area,. I went to GRand Prix Raceways off of St Charles rRock road, it was biggest and most commercial grade. 3 Tracks an American Lemans, Sebring and small one (cant recall type).
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#38 Dr. Gamma

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 07:34 PM

Hey Mr. Don and Al, TRI CITY RACEWAYS, Riverdale, Ill. It was on Indiana Ave, about 146th or 147th in Chicago street numbers. BIGGGGG place, had a western style to building, and tracks were named like Bonanza, Wrangler. Had 4 nice tracks. Its the Elks CLUB now!!! The Bonanza was 220 feet in lenght. Thats when I got glasses, could not see the flat turns at the bottom of the BIG banked turn. Destroyed my first QUICK scratch built car on banking there, when I hit a Cox Dan Gurney 121 Ford Sock car that was SIDEWAYS on banking. My poor little #88 purple Pacesetter-Eagle was in pieces all over track and floor. A guy named Ernie ran and owned the place. Just found the remains of that chassis in my parts collection a few weeks back!!!! Tony at Illiana was the best back then, he was the first owner that banned me from racing after a small run in with little rich kid, greg steverson!!! Rocky, Bee, and Larry at G/G were the BEST!!! I stop in and see Larry when I go back to Chicago!!! Bought all my scenic stuff and trees from him for my HO track out here!!!!

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#39 chaparrAL

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:40 PM

146th and Indiana Ave was a long long way from Hessville!
Al Thurman
"Everything you love, everything meaningful with depth and history, all passionate authentic experiences will be appropriated, mishandled, watered down, cheapened, repackaged, marketed, and sold to people you hate." Von Dutch [Kenneth R. Howard] 1929-1992
."If there is, in fact, a Heaven and a Hell, all we know for sure is that Hell will be a viciously overcrowded version of Pheonix." Dr Hunter S Thompson 1937-2005
"Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?" - Jack Kerouac 1927-1969
"Hold my stones". Keith Stone
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#40 don.siegel

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 05:02 AM

It was even a long way from the South Side of Chicago where I lived, but luckily there was Dave and his Corvair who could drive us kids over there...

Thanks for the details on the address and tracks Dr. Gamma! I only went to Tri-State a couple times but was very impressed by all the big tracks, and I didn't remember about the names at all. The one race I entered there, for newcomers/beginners, was on the American Red track, not the big Bonanza. I won it with a brass strip chassis under a Lotus 40 and my own 16D rewind...

There was also a guy named Al, a thin black guy about 30, who raced at both tracks, Tri-State and my home track in South Shore. He always had very fast cars, with 26D motors, and when we asked him what he had done to the motors, he always answered: "Strictly stock guys..."!

Don

#41 Jaz

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 06:26 AM

During the 60's, here on Long Island, it seemed as though almost every town had a slotcar center with multiple tracks. As far as I can remember, there must have been at least 30+ places to race. Everything from small custom club stuff to large comercial raceways. One of the biggest was in Hicksville, under an Agway. They had 7 tracks where you'd rent time and you got a 'ball' and you plugged into any lane available on any track. I remmeber Levittown had Hobbytrack with twin mirror imaged Englemans. 16 lanes tigether on the straights going either left or right at the banks. Aurora in Hempstead had a huge place - you got a chubbie when you walked in there. They had 5 or 6 tracks upstairs and a huge 300' monster downstairs. My local track - Worldwide in E. Williston had a King and a 185' Engleman. Then there was EMMRA - a 475' monster. I got to race there a few times and would go to see the big races held there.

There were just too many to list....also I can't remember either....duh!

After the crash of '68, all that was left were Glen Oaks, Crawleys and Buzzy's in Brooklyn. Oh yeah, can't forget Nutley's original location. By that time it was all and only G7 racing.

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#42 Gil Aubin

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 11:04 AM

The Cue Room in East Hartford, Connecticut. They had a small American track (Yellow maybe) in the back. We kids would line up outside on Saturday mornings waiting fro them to open, it was not unuasual to wait 4 hours for track time if you did not get there early. No organized races, just open track time.

Bloomfield Family Hobby Center in Bloomfield, CT. Part of an AMF complex, huge place. Then downtown Hartford on the second floor, don't remember the name only that it was a dump. Hobbytown Raceway in Berlin, CT for my first exposure to Open Racing - then the Raceway in Wolcott (don't remember the name) Finally C&C in Coventry, CT where regular monthly races featured racers like Joel (then known as Monty) Montague, Steve Bogut, Jan Limpach, Mich Keil, Russ Boyington, Tony P, Ernie Provetti, Ed Sohl, Rick Boltizar, Big Jim Greenaway, Tom Loudon, Fred daFlash Strauss. I think that raceway kept open style racing alive in this part of the country for several years.
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#43 don.siegel

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 11:31 AM

Gil,

What year did you go to the Cue Room? Just curious because I've heard of places that busy, but never really saw any when I was young...

Don

#44 Gil Aubin

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 12:33 PM

Wow, trying to get those brain cells working. I'm guessing I was 12, so that would have been around 1964? I remember my first car was a 1/32 Strombecker Cheetah if that helps identify the time period. Eventually got into the Classic line and at one time had a Viper, Manta Ray, Asp (my favorite), Astro V, Stinger.

Starting to remember more things - not only was there no racing, you did not get lane choices, you were given a lane based on your order in line or on the reservations sheet. Also remember that you paid for time and bought parts up fron, the track was in the back out of view, I remember lots of behaviour that would not have been acceptable had someone been watching. I also remember going there in the later years and literally having to wipe the dust off the track before you could run on it once the fad passed.
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#45 don.siegel

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 12:58 PM

Sorry Gil, terrible thing asking for one to think on Christmas eve (well, it is here in Paris anyway...) - I'm certainly hoping my in-laws don't expect me to converse or anything - let's just go straight for the duck and foie gras...

Anyway, to answer your question, the Strombecker Cheetah would be at least 1965, maybe 1966, and the Classic cars were mostly in 1966, although the earliest ones came out in 1965 and the last in 1967...

I had always figured the height of the commercial boom was 1966 (and maybe it was), but according to some sales figures I found in a trade magazine for the industry as a whole, the top year was already 1965 - and of course the boom spread unevenly all over the country...

Don

#46 Jerry Ward

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 01:30 PM

1965 at Sandusky Model Raceway in Sandusky Ohio. The owner name was Ray Ozman has a summer home here and is in his home in Flordia for the winter .He built 2 nice tracks a small orange type track and a Big Grand stand with a big bank remember watching him build it. They had copper brade on them. This guy could do just about anything! Still see him in the summer at a car show in Huron Ohio. Asked his wife last time if she had any pictures of the place and she dose. Told me to stop by one day and I could go through them. Dose anyone on the blog ever remember going there? I ended up working for him and it was great. He had it all slot cars,hobby shop ,mini bikes ,snowmobiles had a blast there I was 14 them.The tracks ended up in his fire place what he told me. :laugh2: Jerry
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#47 Tim Tompkins

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 02:32 PM

I raced at home with my brothers. We had a couple of HO sets put together. We wore out a lot of cars before we moved to another town. In 1964 we moved close to a new place on Forbes Street in Riverside Rhode Island. The raceway was owned by Tat White. It was in the basement and was huge, it seemed. I remember it was what I know now to be an orange but it had no esses. I spent the summer pleading with the neighbors to let me mow lawns, wash cars ect. for track time dollars. At the raceway we had a concourse event and I won the show so I got to choose my lane. people had to keep track of the laps with pencil an paper. I learned to rewind motors and balance arms with razor blades and a file. My first car was a Cox Ford GT then I built a couple of my own. Drop arms as far back as possible of course. The switch from hard body to lexan showed me back then the rule of weight is power. I returned a couple of times to this hobby but always the track closed. I have now opened my own and hope to pass the fun down for another generation to enjoy. Tim

#48 Russkid

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 01:04 PM

Parma Model Raceway, Tom Thumb, and various other tracks
in the Clevelnd area circa 1970.
At Parma, they first had a figure 8 for the main track, then
the Parma King.
Bob Fischer
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#49 Roho21

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 03:56 PM

I started on 212ft oval in Hickory, NC. We ran scratchbuilt, hadrbody cars with Mura Group 12 motors. I enjoyed it for the most part, but the top racers there would not help you. I was 8 years old when I started and raced there for 6 years and you could not get a good answer from anyone about how to properly set up or repair your car, sure I figured some things out but didn't have a mentor, so to speak. In 1986, I finally got hooked up with a club track that is still going today and I still race there a few times a year. Now that I am a track owner and run a touring series, I promised myself never to let ANYONE feel the way I did back then. I think those kind of problems are part (not all) of why slotracing has suffered.
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#50 Alchemist

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 09:38 AM

I raced at the San Francisco Model Car Raceway located at Ocean Beach right on the "Great Highway" back in the 60's. I can't seem to find any info on the internet about this location. Would anyone know of a link that has photos of the place please?

Thank you.

Ernie
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