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Where did you race as a kid?


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#51 Durf

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 12:54 PM

I may be able to add a little to Gil's recollections of the Cue Room . I was (and still am) an HO racer born and raised in East Hartford . I got into slot car racing during the Christmas season of 1962 hanging out at Woolworth's on Main St. and playing on their demo Atlas set . After Christmas I went to work on a couple of snowy Friday nights cleaning off cars and made enough to buy myself one . My family moved that summer to a different part of town where I met a bunch of other guys with HO sets .We had a club and raced at at least 3 different guy's houses starting in the summer of 1964 . I became aware of the Cue Room that fall because it was about a good 5 iron from where I went to church and because even at 10 A.M. on a Sunday there would be a crowd of kids there , some even milling about outside . It would still be a year or more before I ever went there . My first 1/24th car was a Monogram Lotus 38 . That has to fix the time as late '65 or somewhere in '66 as the real car debuted in May of '65 . You could call and make a reservation for time or go down and sign in to get a turn . Gil is right . You got whatever lane on whichever track came open when your name came up .The timer control panel was in the front left hand corner of the building behind a couple of glass display cases and the register . There was usually a small mob around the counter looking at the new cars , parts , and motors . Lots of Cox and Champion stuff as I recall .
By the time I started going there there were 2 tracks in the back third or so of the building . They were behind a wall that partitioned the room and connected through a pair of shutter style cafe doors . Looking at the other thread I think the two tracks might have been a Windsor on the left and a Royal on the right . Early on it was always a mob scene and there were very few "racers" and lots of kids just fooling around . Lots of crashing contests and other such pursuits . There was even one guy who used to buy time on the bigger track to drag race people on the straight . Later he got into wheelie cars ...
I went there on occasion for a number of years , evolving through the La Cucaracha (sp ?) era into the inline style parallel brass tube scratch built type chassis with Dynamic "handling body" McLaren M6 and Ford Mirage shells . By this time the Cue Room was nearly deserted and it was unusual to see more then maybe 6 or 8 lanes out of the 16 available in use . I didn't really care because we still had the HO club and there was an Aurora Tub track at Manchester Hobbies on West Center St that held races on Saturdays . This was around 1970 . While racing HO stuff on West Center St I found out there was a big large scale commercial raceway on East Center St under ther bowling alley . I started going there and never went back to the Cue Room . The Cue Room lasted until somewhere into the 70's . Once the pool and slot car "fads" had run their course the place got seedier and seedier . It's reputation became such that I believe most kid's parents would no longer have their kids going there . If memory serves me right there were a few gambling and drug busts there . It just faded away and then was gone .
I continued to race large scale cars in Manchester through the end of High School although , by then , the costs (mostly motor prices) had driven me out of any chance of being competitive . There was one guy who won every week I can remember (was that you Gil ????) . I remember him because he had a little sort of rack in his box with a number of motors indexed by wind and pinion count . He gave me a few of his blow-ups and I cobbled them into one . One of the last races I ran there I came within 1 corner of beating him only to be nerfed off by the son of the guy who loaned me the car I was racing . Such is life !

Thanks,
Durf
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#52 don.siegel

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 05:29 PM

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


Ernie,

If you still can't find anything, I'll take a look in my magazines. This was a pretty big deal at the time, and there were a few articles in period model car and trade magazines.

Don

#53 CruzinBob

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 10:32 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


Randy,

My sis and family lived in Santa Clara and I moved there from Eureka, CA in '66. I had raced at a raceway in Eureka, had some stuff and after awhile found a raceway on El Camino Real, either in Santa Clara or Sunnyvale (?). I only went there a few times and wound up giving all my slot stuff to my nephew when we moved to Chico, CA in '67.
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#54 Alchemist

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 10:48 PM

Hi Don,

Thank you for offering to look thru your magazines. I sent you PM!!

Ernie
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#55 Vannerlee

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 11:57 PM

Well,

I am not sure I am allowed to post in this thread. I never raced as a kid. A late bloomer. I started with a bunch of young engineers at work racing 1/32 plastic cars on basement floors in 1958/1959/1960 not really sure. I was active in the boom years but my job required a lot of travel. The Hoffman box was always in the trunk of the company car. I spent most of my time in the Detroit area and spent the evenings fussing with toy cars or finding a different track in the Detroit area. I never did enjoy the Groove, they were 10 deep waiting for a lane. I did enjoy some of the 200+ foot monsters that were in the area. I got off the roadwork job in '64 and took advantage of all the Tom Thumb types in the Dayton area. We had a lot of local racing. Crash went the boom. Started again when the track in Centerville opened. Never raced much on the Hassie King Bill had but loved running Whomps on the American Black. I think I won the Whomp race when Bill had the Nats in 83, Maybe 2nd, age takes its toll, did finish well. Another dry spell and I found a slot drag racing track in the area. T/R Motorplex as it is currently called. I retired in 1997 and drag raced from coast to coast in some of the larger Drag races. Conned the wife into several extensive vacations and she dropped me off at the track in the am and some times, if she remembered, picked me up after the race in the evening. Drag raced for many years until Rick got a road course. The new G11 King is a ball with our flexie class. I still play with the 1/32 toys on the T/R 6 lane plastic track. Stopped the drag stuff several years ago.Its been a very fun hobby for close if not over 50 years. You will only take the "controller out of my cold dead hands" LOL
Lee
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#56 MrWeiler

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 04:26 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.


Do you remember a place in Groton in about 66-67? I used to bring my cars from CA when I visited relatives in the summer. There was an HO track in New London during the same time...

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#57 don.siegel

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 06:12 AM

Ernie - remind me in a week or so, after the work rush is over, in case I forget!

Lee; thanks for sharing those memories. I'm sure you're not the only one to have started this as a young adult - see Ecurie Martini! Were you racing Scalex or Strombecker cars, or both? Interesting to hear about the 10-deep lines at The Groove too...

Don

#58 Vannerlee

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:53 AM

Don,
They were Strombeckers. The Groove also limited the length of time you could rent a lane in order to give the customers some time on the track. The locals sure could make their lead sleds fly.
Lee
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#59 Dennis David

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 04:11 PM

I visited the San Francisco Model Car Raceway but it seemed to have gone in the blink of an eye. :mellow: I also remember going to Fleishhacker Pool, the largest swimming pool in the United States at the time. It had saltwater if I remember correctly. Life seemed simpler back then ...

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#60 Mopower71

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 04:52 PM

First track I ever went to was in Hopewell Junction, NY in the early 70's. I was a little guy in cub scouts, and we went there. I don't remember much of the place. We all had rental cars, and I only remember seeing my car a few times. Mike K might know the name of the place, it was located where Geeks Place is now, on 376, across the street from the Hopewell Inn.
Then in the late 70' I got into it down in Fishkill, NY at Raceworld. I think I spent every weekend there with my friend. Mom would drop us off and come back later for us. They had a King track, and one that was reverse of a king and with no finger. I remember my Monogram 40 Ford P/u coming off in the bank turns. Lost some door handles and mirror's in that turn.
I remember them always having boxes of cars from the 60's for sale, all around $15, every week I would give them $2 until it was mine. That's how I got my 40 Ford, Revel Ferari, The corvette body for it. A Lola/Mustang kit.
The guy that ran it for the owner was big into Midgets,he use to race them in his younger days and his wife was the announcer at the track. He had quite a few there slot car midgets. I wonder what ever happened to all his stuff?
I tried my hand at the late model races, but on my budget I couldn't compete. First one I ran was a Hard body 55 Chevy with an extended womp chassis. That car would smoke the motor most times. The next one I scratch built, and had a Merc Marauder body on it, with a 26D called a Banshi.
The car was quick, but I still couldn't compete with the guys down there.
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#61 don.siegel

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 05:42 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

There you go Frank, it was pretty easy to find after all; this was in my index, but I think there are also a few articles in the period trade magazines that will be a little harder to track down.

I didn't move to SF until 1978 and it was long gone by then...

Don

#62 Jeff Buyer

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 09:12 PM

I first raced at Ace Raceway on Paramount Blvd. in Lakewood, CA. My best friend and I loved running on their figure eight track. I also raced at Checkpoint where I used to watch Bill Steube rewind arms - that was a real treat.

JB

#63 Alchemist

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:39 PM

Hi Don,

I really value your assistance - Thank you very much for posting that article on the San Francisco Raceway!!!!!

Ernie
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#64 68Caddy

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 10:59 PM

For some reason I lost the pic on the early post but here it is? :laugh2:

Posted Image

Man I sure got ugly. :laugh2:


Nesta
- Gabriel
Nesta Szabo

In this bright future you can't forget your past.
BMW (Bob Marley and the Wailers)

United we stand and divided we fall, the Legends are complete.
I'm racing the best here at BP but Father time is much better then all of us united.
Not a snob in this hobby, after all it will be gone, if we keep on going like we do, and I have nothing to prove so I keep on posting because I have nothing to gain.
It's our duty to remember the past so we can have a future.

Pistol Pete you will always be in my memory.

#65 CruzinBob

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 01:55 AM

:
Posted Image

Man I sure got ugly...


Nesta, Nesta...you are as cute as ever! IT'S YOUR HAIR THAT GOT UGLY :unsure: :laugh2: :shok:
Bob Scott
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#66 n.elmholt

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 06:31 PM

In 1968 me and a friend started club racing in Herning (Denmark), but unfortunately I have no pictures of the track (which was a mirror copy of the track shown below). But in 1969 we moved to the track in Silkeborg - a 6-lane 50 meter track with banking etc. a great track and probably the best track I have driven on (memory can seduce you):

Posted Image

Posted Image

The pictures are from early 1970's - the track was closed in the late 70's and does not exist anymore :-(

Niels :-)

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www.racecars.dk - my Picasa Photos


#67 68Caddy

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 12:56 AM

Niels way cool pic's, did you guys travel international when you guys where young, and do you have more pic's, have to say love the
hair dues. ;)
Cruzin B. I'm still ugly but my mom loves me. :laugh2:

Nesta
- Gabriel
Nesta Szabo

In this bright future you can't forget your past.
BMW (Bob Marley and the Wailers)

United we stand and divided we fall, the Legends are complete.
I'm racing the best here at BP but Father time is much better then all of us united.
Not a snob in this hobby, after all it will be gone, if we keep on going like we do, and I have nothing to prove so I keep on posting because I have nothing to gain.
It's our duty to remember the past so we can have a future.

Pistol Pete you will always be in my memory.

#68 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:21 AM

When I was about 3 my dad and uncle use to race at a track in or around New London, CT. I do not remember the name, but it was a hobby shop with planes lining the ceiling. I remember them having 2-3 tracks. When we moved to South Elgin, Il we use togo to a track over around Aurora, IL. For some reason HO tracks in our basement replaced going to the commercial tracks, I am glad to be enjoying going to the track with my son these days.
Matt Sheldon

#69 Rusty Pinion

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:27 AM

I mostly raced at Olympic Raceway in Atlanta, Minature Grand Prix on Glenwood rd, East Atlanta Hobby and Decatur SPeedway in Decatur. I also hit every track in the Atlanta area at least once in those days.

Olympic had American tracks....An Orange....a Regal and a Imperial plus a dragstrip. Ray Gardner and Bob Cozine were in there all the time with Team Champion.

Min. Grand Prix had an Oval and a flat roadcouse.

Decatur Speedway had 3 Tracks at the time of unknown origin with really long straights.

East Atlanta had a shortened Windsor to fit the small building.

Milton Bradley had a raceway with about 5 or 6 tracks at Toco Hills shopping center.
They were formica with copper tape if I remember correctly. Bob Rule worked there at the time.

Where's my time machine ?? I wanna go back!

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#70 n.elmholt

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 03:13 AM

Niels way cool pic's, did you guys travel international when you guys where young, and do you have more pic's, have to say love the
hair dues. ;)
Cruzin B. I'm still ugly but my mom loves me. :laugh2:

Nesta


Nesta, there are some more pictures on my Picasa pages: PICASA

and more to come on My WEBSITE

We were very young then (with more hair then :D ) and depending on others for transportation, but we did a couple of trips to Kiel, Germany in 1970 and 1971 and I was also attending the Euro Champs in Uden, Holland in 1974.

Last year I was racing at the 5 liter Race in Neumünster, Germany - that was 38 years since I last raced in Germany.

Niels, DK

Niels Elmholt Christensen, DK
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#71 brnursebmt

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 08:29 AM

Hawk's Hobbies in downtown Gadsden, Alabama. Had an original American red, with humps, an orange, and a black. It was 1975 and I was all of 14 years old. Learned to race with some of the great racers of Alabama. Thom McGuire, Wally Tankersley, and Bill Bowers to name a few. Thom is still one of the greatest chassis builders I ever knew. I wish I could get him interested in retro. My brother had raced slots when he was a kid. He took me down to the track and bought me a Riggen RTR and a Parma "Tiger" controller. He also sprung for a bottle of "Tiger Milk". Those were good days.

Bobby
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#72 Duffy

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 01:49 PM

I gotta ask: anyone remember the track in Santa Rosa, California?

Opened around '64 I think, just across College & Mendocino as I remember; and later moved out past Montgomery Village, over the local teen nightclub--can't for the life of me recall the track's name, and my foggy memory thinks the club was "The Spot" but can't trust that.

It was great on weekends, running cars upstairs & listening to The Knickerbockers, Beau Brummels, & Love whanging away below; and once we were treated to Them, who managed about twenty minutes before packing up in disgust.

Just part of what moved me from a budding career as a racer to a failed life as a musician. Ah well.

Duffy
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#73 Phil Irvin

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:36 PM

Did any one race in El Paso TX. other than me? I raced there from 65 to 72 when the last track closed. :unsure:

OLPHRT
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#74 MrWeiler

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 06:14 AM

Also in SoCal, there was Circle T in North Hollywood. After Elmsford and Buzz-a-rama, Circle T was the 3rd longest running track in the US---I think. After Circle T closed the tracks and fixtures were sold and moved to Santa Paula CA where the new owner operated a raceway for 3-4 years.

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David Horowitz

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#75 Sverny

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 02:15 PM

I am now 56. I used to live in the Santa Ana Canyon Area of Anaheim (before there was a 91 frwy). Back in the 60's I rode my bike over 5 miles one way all the way to Knappers hobby hut on tustin ave just past katella. I still have my cox hand controller and my sidewinder car to this day and I remember not-so-smart kids hooking up their controllers wrong and frying the wires all the time. The track was 8 lanes, 4 turns, with a major back straight-away. I loved going there to get my racing fix. I was always jelous of the older kids who would have the bucks to buy and solder-up custom brass car frames that almost dragged on the ground. I wish knappers was still there. I also visited hobby city.
Scott Van Tine





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