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Restoring Howie's rocketship... circa 1964-65


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#251 Bob Emott

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 01:38 AM

Who is Mr Draht who is crediting himself with the building Howie's multiple race winning chassis and with explaining all that was wrong with the original design? He has done some nice sketches of the chassis though... I never did any drawings of the design, I just borrowed a piece on my dad's aluminum channel and thought this might make a neat slot car chassis. My first ever slot car was made from a piece of aluminum sheet and was powered by a Pittman 704 with the magnet facing forward. It was raced with Howie at Polk's Hobbies where I eventually became the manager until I had to go into the service...
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#252 Jairus

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 02:01 AM

Who knows? I just got through checking it out. He sure likes posting multiple angle pictures is all I can say.

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#253 Alan Draht

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 02:06 AM

In the future, read posts more carefully and thoughtfully before jumping to conclusions. Refer back to post #179. Beginning there you'll find that I'm not taking credit at all. I've read through this topic thread from its first post and thoroughly enjoyed what Mr. Robert Emott, Jr., -- creator of Howie's all-time winning slot car -- had to say about its history and racing pedigree, along with what he's had to say on other topics about all of his other famous creations, cars built for himself and Howie long after I left the hobby, after new designs superceded the alumimum-framed chassis.

I just got through talking about admiring the original car and being motivated enough to build a decent copy of it in 1965 for myself to have and to hold, then sold it in 1966, and now today, re-creating a small fleet of them, updated, all for my personal non-racing amusement and private ownership.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. You did indeed build a very neat slot car with that piece of aluminum channel years ago. So did I, a copy of yours.

Sorry to offend anybody, step on any toes, get anyone's nose out of joint, gore any sacred cows! :D

#254 Alan Draht

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 02:17 AM

Who knows? I just got through checking it out. He sure likes posting multiple angle pictures is all I can say.


whatever

#255 Alan Draht

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:34 AM

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#256 Uncle Fred

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 09:53 AM

Alan, I'm sorry I am just catching up with your posts. Our paths crossed many times according to what I have read. I remember the Sebring (Glen Oaks)/EMMRA day very well. I raced at Sebring all the time and ran for them on their inter store team (hated the team bowling shirts!) but unfortunatley opted to run EMMRA that day. I couldn't afford to run both races and felt that EMMRA was the more prestigious event although I was much more competative at Sebring. I knew Howie and Sandy and Bruce and Nicky. I remember Billy showing me the new track that they were building downstairs at Steinway street and talking of plans for an enduro on it. I too was at the Bridgehampton Can Am race. Bruce Clark and I spent 1971 and 1972 campaigning a Top Fuel dragster. Great to hear from you.
Fred Correnti

#257 Alan Draht

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 03:54 PM

Hi Fred,

It seems we have a lot of catching up to do my friend.

Something you mentioned about you and Bruce Clark campaigning a top fuel dragster in 1971 -72 jogged my memory in the context of slot dragster racing in the mid- 1960's. Look at this link, "Manuel Maldonado's 1966 Rod & Custom award-winning "Car of the Meet" 1:24 scale fuel dragster".

http://bracket500.co...intage/vin.html

Back then I had a copy of the January 1966 Rod & Custom magazine Manuel's car was featured in. Its gorgeous side rails are machined from 1/16 inch thick magnesium. Exactly as with Howie's car, I wanted to build a slot dragster just like Maldonado's to own for myself, even though I had only raced one once and there were very few places around me to run it. That one race, for decent prize money, was with a primo car I borrowed from Bruce Clark. Bruce's car was supremely fast, and it should have won handily against Sandy Gross' car that day, but I lost by overthinking the christmas tree.

Anyway, I was thinking about that dragster race, the long gone R&C magazine article about Manuel's dragster and trying to remember exactly what it looked like while I was trolling eBay recently for Pittman motors, armatures, original 1965-1966 sports and F1 bodies and so on to build a reasonable facsimile of my old car, when I came across and snapped up five beautiful pairs of these K&B dragster front wheels:

009.JPG

For me, such things are slot car building dreams made of.

The eBay seller is a Dallas track owner and slot racer himself. Jay sent me the R&C magazine article link and the original builder's webpage, as linked here, without me asking for it, soon after I bought the first batch of wheels from him. Jay sent me the link simply based on me casually mentioning in a side email something about how the first few pairs I'd bid/ won would be used someday on the front ends of slot fuel dragsters with "gorgeous machined aluminum siderails" similar to what I'd seen back in their day. These are not coincidences; the internet makes possible such turns of events.

Well, it turns out it wasn't aluminum but magnesium that Maldonado's car siderails were made from, which makes perfect sense. Thankfully, magnesium sheet is readily available in various thicknesses. And I've already got the wheels.

For the current project, it was also from Jay that I obtained some of the original killer bodies I was specifically looking for and figured I'd never find, including the Lotus 30 Ford and the Lola T70, both pictured above somewhere.

Alan

#258 Uncle Fred

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:02 PM

Alan, that's what Bruce and I had in common, we both loved dragsters. I built five magwinders. So once we started driving we went to the drag strip a lot, usually racing Bruce's street cars and eventually buying a front engine top fueler which I drove. In 1972 we built a new rear engine car pictured below.
1972.jpg
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#259 penske

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:17 PM

Alan, I'm sorry I am just catching up with your posts. Our paths crossed many times according to what I have read. I remember the Sebring (Glen Oaks)/EMMRA day very well. I raced at Sebring all the time and ran for them on their inter store team (hated the team bowling shirts!) but unfortunatley opted to run EMMRA that day. I couldn't afford to run both races and felt that EMMRA was the more prestigious event although I was much more competative at Sebring. I knew Howie and Sandy and Bruce and Nicky. I remember Billy showing me the new track that they were building downstairs at Steinway street and talking of plans for an enduro on it. I too was at the Bridgehampton Can Am race. Bruce Clark and I spent 1971 and 1972 campaigning a Top Fuel dragster. Great to hear from you.


Hi Fred, I have been reading all these posts. I read all 9 pages of them. I sent alan an email today but as of yet he hasn't answered me yet. If he was at First Place then I should know him, or raced against him. I learned that Bob Emott had something to do with first place. When I was working there the manager's name was Bill Grayson.
I sort of forgot about the track downstairs. I dont think it was ever finished, let alone run an enduro on it. We did run a 12 hour enduro on the track upstairs. I have a great picture of the start of the enduro with Howie, Bruce Clark, myself and Nick .
Alan if you read this, get in touch with me.........Roger Ruggieri
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#260 Uncle Fred

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:32 PM

The track downstairs was fantastic but as you said never finished. Billy was talking about a 12 hour enduro and George Blaha and me started thinking about teaming up run it but never happened.
Fred Correnti

#261 Alan Draht

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 10:19 PM

Hi Roger,

I received your message earlier. I can't wait to renew contact, savor the thought of beginning an in-depth conversation, and will respond later with undivided attention just as soon as I can.

I remember you very clearly. You are an outstanding driver and were nicknamed Penske back in the '60's, too. Me and at least a handful of other area racers, including Nicky Eliasoff and Bruce Clark, were big fans of yours, watched you race, believed in and hoped that you'd beat/ de-throne the pro- and semi- pro racers, if you only could get the right equipment.

Although I've mentioned the 12 hour enduro at Steinway a few times in connection with my aluminum-framed car, telling the story of cutting school to feverishly prepare the car, taking it to Steinway, and participating for 12+ hours as a driver is something I've been putting off deliberately.

We did race against each other in the enduro held on the upstairs track. I came in last place, although I was gaining at a pretty fast clip on 5th place in the final hours. This turnabout annoyed the hell out of the 5th place team whose car during the race was consistently slow but lit up properly at night. It forced them to drive much harder at the bitter end just to hold on to 5th and modest bragging rights.

By dawn the team massively ahead of us in laps had 5th place seemingly locked up. These guys felt comfortable and confident enough about their lead, in fact, to stop running for awhile and leave Steinway as a group for breakfast. The gap was big enough they reckoned, that they could eat and return to the track in plenty of time to finish the race while still solidly in 5th place.

I was having none of that. I stayed put, hoping to unlap myself and the car out of last place, redeem something out of the grueling experience, and spank the breakfast club.

Towards the end of the enduro, In a state of exhaustion, after an around-the-clock marathon of rebuilding and prepping the car, racing and pitwork, I was in a trance, reeling off TQ-pace laps on autopilot like clockwork. Someone from the opposing team's camp noticed this and ran outside to let someone know what was happening. In disbelief the 5th place team returned and, having had their victory breakfast cut short, grumbled back on track and resumed racing.

In short order I had unwound a sizable lap deficit. The car was on pace to unlap itself out of last place. I was exhausted but in the zone and oblivious to pain. The 5th place team mobilized and jumped back into the race. My well-rested teammates, absent during the nighttime hours, arrived at the track just as the race clock was winding down in the eleventh hour. One or two of my guys briefly took over driving duties, but had difficulty getting up to speed. Watching the car lose ground then was painful. I took over driving for the final stint, got the car's speed back up to where it had it been pegged before. The finish was close as I recall, but I don't remember the final lap count. Maybe someone can establish that fact.

I recently procured the same Lola T70 body I painted and rigged for lights in preparation for that race; photos are posted above. Among other things, I plan to build a replica of my enduro car.

I guarantee this much, that the battery-powered lighting system/ wiring harness will be bullet-proof this time around. It'll still be period-accurate, however, with grain-o-wheat incandescent bulbs; no LED lighting.

The Pittman-powered car was stable and had that wonderful "planted" feeling perfect for enduro racing, based on how it felt that evening on Steinway's track during practice and warm-up leading up to the start of the race.

It's just that with the race starting in darkness at what?, 9 pm, the store lights were turned off soon after the race began, and once we were all ordered to switch on our cars' mandated on-board lighting systems, that's when the race for our team literally went haywire, pretty much right from race onset.

At sunrise the next morning, we were allowed to switch our car lights off and run in daylight, which by now was streaming through the store's plate glass storefront.

Naturally, once the handicap of the car's faulty lighting system was removed, it spent zero time in the pits and rapidly started unlapping itself. The car was easy to drive.

That's what gutted me about this 12-hour race ending with a last place finish -- the fact that the car was dominant, and that except for one dysfunctional sub-system within an otherwise reliably perfect slotcar package, a system totally unrelated to the car's speed and handling, it would surely have finished on the podium.

Fellow racers knew that the car was awesome and made it their business to protest early and often, whenever my car's lights flickered more "off" than "on", or at all even. The frontrunners protested less stridently than the backmarkers.

All night long the car was on the razor's edge of getting black-flagged. Either it was on track unlapping itself or it was in the pits for more lighting repairs. Battery-mounts inside the body's balsa wood pontoons were loose and hastily-resoldered wiring connections kept shorting and breaking. Frequently during the night, the car's lights would dim or flicker depending on the track corner, which way the car was leaning, even on straightaway's and during braking, presenting different symptoms following different temporary fixes. It was very funny. The car was either on track gobbling up lost laps, always on the verge of getting black-flagged, or it was in the pits.

A do-over would be nice. A re-match would be fun. Any chance of organizing something like this? Thoughts?


Alan

#262 penske

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:52 AM

Hi Alan. I certainly remember the 12 hour enduro at 1st Place. My partners were Vince Fairbrother and Mike Nelson. In fact I have the race report that was placed in the NY miniature car racing news. I can't remember all the other racers and unfortunately your in that group, sorry. I had a lot of fun racing there and won tons of racers there. Nick was a good friend of mine plus a great racer.

Last year I ran in a 6 hr enduro. the first ever for retro east. I am looking forward to this years enduro this summer. they were 4 man teams, that were randomly picked out of a hat. The chassis were all the same. built by Tony P. and we all ran the same motors. It produced very close racing. In fact the first and second cars were only 3 or 4 laps apart, after 6 hours and over 3000 laps.

To be honest I don't know if I could take a 12 hr race again. I truly enjoy racing retro and with retro east. Great racing & great guys

Roger
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#263 Alan Draht

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 04:39 PM

Roger,

I'd be interested in seeing a copy of that NY miniature car racing news article on the race.

Not long after that event I stuck a fork in slot car racing.

I sold the car complete with the enduro body to one fellow, and the rewind from my one surviving car to another. After that, I pulled useful tools out of my slot car box, and dumped it and everything in it down the incinerator. Trophies followed a year or so later.

Getting back to racing will take time for me.

The hook for me to get back into the hobby takes the form of building and testing a replacement of a specific car I stupidly sold years ago, its logical off-shoots, and some new ideas.

For me, building the replacement car and its offshoots allows me to pick up where I left off when I quit the hobby.

Today, scratchbuilding race cars for no racing purpose may strike some as odd, a perfect waste of time. This doesn't bother me at all. The offshoots and new ideas are the cars I would've built to race against other cars and other racers' new ideas at the time, if only I had then what I have now in terms of tools and resources. When I'm done with this project, then I'll see what's next in slotcar racing for me.

I never quit any other hobby the way I quit slotcar racing in 1966.

I do not have the experience of Fred and many others who have before or do today particpate in and race 1:1 motorsports. I envy that.

On the other hand, I do have a decent amount of previous mid-pack 1:8 R/C gascar race experience, every last tool and piece of equipment, tons of parts and my proven cars only five years old to race this coming spring and summer.

For example, every time I view last year's Winternats A-Main race video, posted earlier in #248 and below, I get the urge. This is 1:1 racing miniaturized in every mechanial, vehicle-dynamic. and racecar-engineering aspect to 1:8 scale. The drivers are incredibly-talented human beings able to drive a perfect line every single lap by remote control. Lapped drivers' cars courteously move off line and out of the way without fuss. Everyone on the driver's stand is not only hyper-aware of his own car but of nine other cars in racing action around him on the track.

What makes possible the caliber of this or any other such driving, including that of the best slotcar racers I've ever seen performing under pressure, has always fascinated me.

2011 Winternats A-Main / Mike Swauger USA leads start to finish (yellow car, black side-stripe):

<iframe src="http://www.youtube.c...pIp-qss04?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" width="640"></iframe>

Everything I learned about building slot cars in 1965 and 1966, got applied to building cars in other scales thereafter. I'm returning to revisit and finish what I started in 1965.

The way I look at it, in varying degrees, every car we build and race is an artistic expression of who we are, or were, at a certain time in our lives.






.

#264 Alan Draht

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:52 PM

I begin with this:


aluminum extruded 6063 T52 bare channel:

...from left to right.... 1 pc. of 1.0" x 0.50" x 0.125", 1 pc. of 1.0" x 1.0" x 0.125", 2 pcs. of 1.25" x 1.25" x 0.125" ....... all pieces are 24" long....

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I use a bench band saw to cut the channel into 4" long pieces.


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I end up with this.


025.JPG

#265 MSwiss

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:24 PM

I like the little bench band saw.

Looking forward to your checking out your build.

Are you planning on putting the diff on it?

Mike Swiss
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#266 Alan Draht

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:25 AM

I plan on putting diff's in every one of these cars.


I created the illustration used here and in earlier posts at the suggestion of a few people interested in the building process. Normally, I never use sketches, drawings or illustrations, much less engage in the process of contemporaneously reporting on things I build.

For purposes of this project narrative, I'm using the base 1:24 illustration to show the scale of the car's major components, as a general visual aid.

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In the next two photos, the idea is to use inverted channels, one 1.25" wide channel inverted over a 1" wide channel. The upper frame is attached to the lower frame at the chassis' centerline by two pivots. One pivot point is located at the front edge of the bottom frame, the other is behind the rear axle. They're positioned on the same plane as the chassis "plate", close to the track's surface. The two pivot assemblies each consist of a threaded steel or brass ball stud and a nylon or plastic ball cup / link. The frame assembly can be dismantled by unscrewing the ball studs (as opposed to "popping" off and deforming the the ball cups.)

The chassis "plate" surrounding the lower frame or T-bar is attached along the wider inverted upper frame's bottom edges, lengthwise. The car's body is mounted to the plate. The attachment of the plate to the chassis' core inverted frame assembly can be managed in a number of ways. Plates of different materials can be used. A mechanical fastener system -- say a pair of 90-degree fixed-position hinges with removable wire hinge pins machined along and incorporated into the upper extrusion's lower edges, allowing different plates to be mounted for different bodies and different tracks, or removed entirely for F1, switching to different front ends with different guide flag positions and wheelbases -- can be designed into the chassis for ease and flexibility of use.

The outline of today's retro chassis superimposed on the base illustration shows the arrangement of pivoted inverted frames and the plate. This chassis can accommodate different motors. There is an endless variety of ways to handle front suspension design and damping.

Besides its machinability, I especially like aluminum for its natural vibration and "noise" damping properties.

031.JPG

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The bottom of the car will be flat and resemble the bottom of the 1:12 car pictured in an earlier post above, aerodynamic, contributing to low cg.

043.JPG




I ordered some Belleville washers specifically to build this project's series of diff's. Part of that order arrived the other day.

037.JPG

Each washer is rated at 15.3 lbs. max. Another batch of the same size washers is on the way rated at 6.75 lbs. max.

Someone please pm me If I'm over-explaining. The same goes for questions.

#267 havlicek

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:49 AM

Yikes! Well this is all rather cool! Thanks for taking the (considerable) time and effort to illustrate the build Alan.

-john
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#268 Alan Draht

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:12 PM

Thanks John.

For clarity, in terms of priorities, I want to emphasize the fact that the chassis design concept outlined immediately above gets constructed only after I build a replacement of the car I sold in 1966, with its enduro body and set-up, close to what it was when it came off the track at the end of Steinway's 12-hour race. I'm looking forwards to that part of the project most of all. As I mentioned earlier, I'm building one replacement/ prototype of my original car as it existed in its final form when I sold it in 1966, and two pairs of nearly identical chassis -- one set for sports car/ prototype/ GT/ endurance/ Can Am cars, and the other pair for F1 cars. Manufacturing and construction of the newer design concept outlined above will occur at the same time as I'm building the stable of replacement cars faithful to the original design.

This is by way of partly explaining what's behind the sizes and quantities of aluminum channel I cut yesterday.

I've been thinking about the front end of the original car and how to build it. After I rough-machine a few pieces of the 1" x 0.50" channel to shape, I'll turn my attention to building the front end's T-shaped brass tube assembly and guide-flag drop-arm assembly. I think I'll use high-temperature silver alloy brazing and maybe a machined lug to join the axle tube of the "T" perpendicularly to its stem tube. I'll use a full oxy-acetylene fuel set-up with a Smith Welding "Little Torch" precision torch, same as the one shown in this model-maker's hand, for brazing all of the critical structural joints in the car's front end/ suspension.

050.JPG

The silver alloy brazing material I plan to use is harder and stronger than the brass tube it is joining.

058.JPG

#269 Alan Draht

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 04:33 PM

The rear axle and diff will be based on my 1:12 scale R/C electric car's.

Mirroring the 1:12 car, the 1:24 scale diff assembly will be situated inside of the right rear wheel hub. The wheel hub is coupled to one half of the diff. This wheel and one half of the diff freewheel on the axle. The diff's other half is affixed to the axle. The thrust bearing located between the two halves allows the rear wheels to smoothly rotate imdependently of one another, tracking separately though corners. Tightening or loosening a threaded nut or bolt against the Belleville spring washer(s) adjusts the amount of pressure applied to the thrust bearing. This in turn controls the degree of diff "slippage" desired. Diff slip just like clutch slip can be used to adjust for a number of different major variables, including motor size, torque and other power characteristics.

With a diff, in straights and in corners, the geartrain/ rear axle drives both wheels, while the diff housed within the right wheel hub does its mysterious mechanical thing, transmitting power efficiently and uninterruptedly, with full traction to the track.

It's kind of hard to explain how a diff like this works unless you're holding it in your hands, demonstrating it.

If a diff can be manufactured fairly easily, why not build a few? They can be swapped out for standard axles and wheel hubs. The diff will be small, negligible in weight, so keeping one on the car as part of a chassis' standard equipment, even if conditions (high traction, for example) necessitate locking it, makes sense to me.

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#270 Alan Draht

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 05:18 PM

Info on Belleville spring washers, from "Machinery's Handbook" (25th edition), p. 327:

093.JPG

#271 Alan Draht

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:29 PM

I re-photographed the image in post #255 with the correctly-sized Belleville washers in lieu of the over-sized one pictured before.

053.JPG

#272 Alan Draht

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 09:21 PM

Explaining further,

.... axle, crown gear (brass in this example, but any kind will do) and diff components, arranged in the same order as described and shown earlier, analogous to the 1:12 car's....

.... the right-hand rear wheel is missing from this view to better show the diff in its location at the end of the axle.

In assembled form, the diff is actually located deep inside the recess of the wheel well. (The 3rd photo in this post shows this in plan view).

204.JPG

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....a plan view of various components, sizes, scale, spatial relationships and "fitment"....

095.JPG


To repeat, this arrangement is based on a 1:12 scale car, in which the diff is housed within the right rear wheel and the wheel itself is "coupled" to one half of the diff, while the other diff half is coupled to the axle/ gear train. The rear wheel and the diff "freewheel" on the axle, locked together in unison.

The 3-piece thrust bearing, positioned between the diff's two halves, and under concentrated, concentric Belleville spring-generated forces, is at the heart of what a diff is supposed to do for a car in terms of maximizing grip and laying down power.

For this report, the 1:12 car's diff was handy for me to use as an example. It helped me understand how one worked and to imperfectly describe its unique mechanics and actions. For these reasons, I showed this existing diff mechanism first.

Using it, I've demonstrated how a watch-like, professional-grade diff comprised of identically-engineered, precision-made, interchangeable components can work within the scale and size constraints of a 1:24 slot race car.

#273 Alan Draht

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 11:28 PM

What I'm actually building, however, involves putting the diff next to the crown gear (either side of it fits), within the +/- 1-inch wide rear bracket all slot cars seem to use, as opposed to outboard of it. Less machining is required when the diff is centralized, although there's not that much of it to do either way. It's not the deciding factor.

By using a sleeve or sleeves-within-sleeves on the axle, running the axle/ sleeve assembly through staggered bearing ID sizes, with corresponding frame-hole sizes for these different ID / OD-sized bearings (I'm referring to bearing-mounting holes on the right side of the frame or rear bracket, as compared with the left side), the diff is positioned where it ideally belongs on the axle, at or near the chassis' centerline, the same place it is located on a 1:1 race car, inside its transaxle.

..... photos illustrate spatial relationships, size and scale...

..... sleeves/ axle tubes, axle/ hub-carrier bearings, threaded adjustment bolt/ nut, to name a few things, are missing from view....

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My work is done here.

#274 Alan Draht

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 06:53 PM

Time for machining.


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Two miniature machine tools: a Sherline model 4530 (metric) lathe on the left; a Sherline 2010 (metric) mill on the right. This particular model Sherline mill... "... with eight directions of movement, ...duplicates in miniature all of the functions of the industry-standard mill -- The Bridgeport " **

** Joe Martin, "Tabletop Machining" 1998, p.3-2-3

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Both machines are mounted on 12" x 24" x 5/8" plastic laminate shelves. Each shelf or plank is equipped with six rubber feet, providing vibration-isolated load support platformed off of the desk top. The machines are heavy, so they're kept at this end of the desk, no matter whether in storage under plastic dust covers or in use, over where the desktop is supported by the 2-drawer file cabinet underneath. The machines on their planks can be slid around and re-positioned on the left-hand side of the desktop as needed.

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Everything related to the machines is stored in the lower drawer.

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These are titanium chips left from the last time I used the mill. That project involved machining duplicate/ substitutes of both of my 1:8 scale cars' original kit-supplied steel drive shafts from lighter-weight titantium rod. The mill was squared and aligned, "indicated in", and re-calibrated for that project at that time, and nothing's moved since, so I will not need to go tnrough this laborious process again now.


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#275 Alan Draht

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:12 PM

Using a hobbyist's drafting ruler/ template, and a fineline detailing pen, I draw an X - Y "target" on the side of a 4" long piece of 1" wide x 0.5" tall x 0.1250" thick extruded aluminum channel.


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Afterwards, I visually align a Pittman 196B motor armature/ frame and its rear-axle bracket's bearing holes with the "target". I spot the exact location of where I want the new frame's rear axle-line centerpoint to be.

I use a tungsten carbide tip scriber to scribe a deep pinpoint of the rear axle's location on the side of the aluminum extrusion.

After scribing the first mark, I visually re-check the mark's alignment with the motor and bracket. I realize that the first scribed mark is off slightly. I scribe a second, correct mark about 0.50 mm away from the first one on the "Y" axis.


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I use a "center" - drill to drill a perfectly-located pilot hole. "It is a simple fact of life that drills will "walk" when starting a hole that hasn't been started by a short, rigid drill. Center drills are specifically engineered to start holes without wandering." ** [** Joe Martin, "Tabletop Machining", 1998, p. 1-6-3]

I select a center drill, mount it in the headstock's chuck, and place the marked workpiece in a vise. The vise is bolted to the top one of two stacked tooling plates. These plates are bolted to the mill table through its T-slots.


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After securing the workpiece, I move the mill's table with the "X" and "Y" handwheels, positioning the workpiece directly underneath the headstock. The headstock and its cutting tool is located on the vertical "Z" axis. The headstock is moved into position with a handwheel at the top of the mill's vertical column.

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I'm aiming for the second pinpoint slightly north of the first one. I use a jeweler's loupe to help my eyes find it. I precisely position the center drill point over the pinpoint, gently lower the headstock until the drill point just begins to make contact with the aluminum channel's surface. Manually and slowly I rotate the headstock pulley-wheel a fraction of a turn to create the first set of micro-sized spiral chips of the project. I haven't turned the mill's power switch on yet.


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#276 Alan Draht

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:01 PM

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#277 Alan Draht

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 09:38 PM

I optimize the work-holding set-up.

I spread the drilled channel across two squarely-aligned vises, blocked face-to-face against another channel in the vise jaws. After this is all done, I ensure that the center drill point's tip is still perfectly aligned with the hole it started under the previous set-up.


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#278 Alan Draht

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:35 AM

With the hole started in the right place, I use a small-size drill bit, 2.0 mm or 1/16", to drill the first actual hole through the material. I stop turning the "Z" axis handwheel well short of accidentally touching the drill bit to the surface of the channel leg directly below. I use this same procedure each time I ream the hole larger in diameter.


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#279 Alan Draht

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:58 AM

After enlarging the hole with a 0.2010" diameter drill....


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I double-check bearing OD size.... 0.2500".....

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#280 Alan Draht

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 01:34 AM

...I select a 0.2490" diameter (nominal 1/4") drill bit, mount it in the mill headstock's 3-jaw Jacobs chuck....


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.... and drill the final hole.


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#281 Alan Draht

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 02:04 AM

...un-deburred 1/4" diameter hole...


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.... I run a final check with a 1/8" ID x 1/4" OD bearing in place..... The center drill tool used in the beginnning to start the hole, is in perfect alignment with the bearing's center, with the rear axle's center point...


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#282 Alan Draht

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:49 AM

First off, I want to say that for Robert Emmott, Jr., creator and builder of the original chassis (Howie's car is pictured in post #182), to have surmounted the challenges of successfully hand-machining a piece of raw 1" aluminum channel, not once, but multiple times, amazes me as much today as it did back then.

I flat-out ruined one or two pieces of 1" aluminum channel when I first attempted to build a copy of Howie's car myself.

For me, that channel was hard to come by. Back then you had to go to Canal St., in lower Manhattan, to find it. I took the subway to Canal St., and, basically, starting walking east from Varick St. towards Church St. or Broadway, poking my head into these quasi-junk shops, some of which specialized in electronics parts, scrap metal, metal cut-off scraps and pieces, etc. It was hit-or-miss and aluminum channel 1" wide was hard to find.

I had a hand drill, "C"-clamps, files. I did not have a Dremel tool or a vise. The top of a small, re-purposed metal laundry hamper in my room served as a work surface for building cars. To hold work pieces in place rigidly, I "C"-clamped them to the top of the metal cabinet.

After ruining a few pieces of precious aluminum channel, I managed to drill a single 1/4" diameter hole in approximately the right spot on one side of one remaining piece of channel.

With one hole successfully drilled, I now believed that I had the most formidable machining task for me of all, licked from this point forwards. I thought I could use the existing hole to guide and brace the 1/4" drill bit, preventing it from "walking" away from the scribed center-point, as it always tended to do before. I assumed that the first hole would unfailingly position the drill shaft and tip in axial alignment with the existing hole's centerline.

It didn't work out that way. I caught the 1/4"drill "walking" immediately and stopped. I realized that an electric drill cannot be hand-held and achieve much accuracy in drilling a single hole in metal, much less two in perfect alignment axially.

I probably would have given up altogether at this point except for the fact that these other race-proven cars already existed, including Howie's -- proof that hand-machining aluminum channel could be done and that it was worthwhile doing, too. I finished enlarging the second hole to 1/4" diameter by hand using round files, slowly and incrementally, constantly checking its alignment with the first hole, making sure hole centers ended up concentric and aligned axially.

#283 Alan Draht

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 01:32 PM

I sweated every detail of machining that piece of aluminum channel.

Already I had ruined other pieces in ways other than by mis-drilling axle bearing holes. In one instance, I removed too much material from the channel's bottom "web", irreparably weakening the frame structurally.

I would take "work-in-process" pieces of partially-machined or almost-completed aluminum channel chassis frames (and later, the prototype car itself) to Polk's 4th floor slotcar track and shop to show Jose Rodriguez and Henry Stevens, among others, how my car was coming along. They both worked there part time. Importantly, they were both deeply involved in the NYC slotcar racing scene.

Henry was sly and coy about his comments sometimes, whereas Jose's were always to-the-point constructive. Jose was pretty familiar with Howie's car and would point out my frame's short-comings and flaws by comparison. Later, he did the same thing for my car as it took shape and final form.

All of this rigorous, unflinchingly-critical peer review of my work back then was extremely helpful. Receiving input and instruction from people belonging or close to the "in" crowd of NYC slotcar racers at the time, some headquartered right there at Polk's where I hung out, was an unparalleled learning experience, equal to the best of anything I was supposed to be learning about in school.

And I knew it then, and I know it even more now.

#284 MSwiss

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 01:42 PM

Anyone,

Has there ever been any pics published of the 4th floor of Polk's?

Mike Swiss
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Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)

Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

 

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#285 TSR

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 01:52 PM

Mike,
There is one in my new book, courtesy of archives I got from Polk's. I think that there MIGHT have been a picture published either in an Auto World catalog or in one of the old mags.

I also have several from Al and Marty pollack, and their story is in the pro-racing chapter, the last one i am still working on...

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#286 Howie Ursaner

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 02:11 PM

These are the only photos i have seen and they are from a newspaper article that i still have.

Attached Images

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Howie Ursaner

#287 TSR

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 02:15 PM

Yep, I got the same ones plus the ones that All and Marty sent me... :)
Howie,
name the guys in the pictures!

Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#288 MSwiss

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 02:17 PM

Thanks, Howie.

What does that say on your T-shirt? Fat ?

Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)

Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

 

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#289 Lone Wolf

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 04:50 PM

More important, look how Howie slightly changed his last name in the paper so no one would know it was him :laugh2:
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#290 TSR

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 04:54 PM

Who is that guy "Ursauer" ? :laugh2:

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#291 Howie Ursaner

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 04:58 PM

PDL i will try to come up with names. I can identify Tom O"keefe who is in 2 pics with the cardigan sweater.He raced there with his brother Paul, who played Patty Duke's sister in the Patty Duke Show on TV. John Street i think might be another, i don't think this was Henry Stevens and guy with the hat i am working on. Bob Emott worked there at the time along with Rick R. and Deadly Dudley was store manager. I worked there part time for a couple of years.Notice my slot car box,just like today. See the Towerstat controller.You can see the Steve Vogel Scarab there, powered byPittman 703.The car i am holding looks like it could be one of the Vogel Coopers that i won with at the Wilkes Barre Penn "Cliffhurst" track. At the time Lou Del Rosario was a regular but he didn't like getting beat by a kid and went away and opened his own raceway.

Mike ,FT stands for Five Towns hobbies on Long Island who was hooked up with Steve Vogel. I was racing some of Steve's cars at the time at Polks and Cliffhurst. Steve was Jose's buddy and the three of us hung out, i was only 15 at the time. That is probably the only shirt ever made like that.
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#292 Howie Ursaner

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:00 PM

Who is that guy "Ursauer" ? :laugh2:

My name has been professionally butchered since day one. A lot of people just called me Howie Unser
Howie Ursaner

#293 TSR

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:40 PM

Hey, How-Wee, welcome to the Klub! :laugh2:

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#294 Alan Draht

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 08:12 AM

As long as we're talking about Howie's car, I thought I'd throw in an anecdote about the kinds of things I was learning from Howie about racing right off the bat, indirectly through my first sightings of the car and its owner at Polk's, as an observer myself initially, not as a racer.

The story revolves around this exact same clear plastic body, a highly-detailed, realistically-scaled model of the Lotus 40.


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The first few times I saw Howie's car at Polk's, it was running with this body, painted orange as I recall.

The Lotus 40 is a great-looking body. With exceptionally-deep wheel wells, the car's center and the driver sit really low to the ground.

As a slot car body it was ideal for racing, providing a competitive advantage over the other clear lexan slot car bodies available to racers in 1964-1965. (Actually, what were they?).

I learned about what Mark Donohue refers to as "the unfair advantage" ** from Howie and this slot car body shortly before I even began racing slot cars myself at Polk's. ** [Mark Donohue, "The Unfair Advantage", rev. edition, 2000, 353 pages]

Soon after I discovered Polk's had a new track on the 4th floor, I went to a few races there to scope out what Howie and the local hotshots were up to, to find out what it was going to take for me to get into 1:24 racing myself.

The first race I attended as a spectator was at Polk's. Howie's car was protested before the race started.

This particular Lotus 40 body is unique in that it has authentically molded into it the bodywork "openings" at the lower rear area of the front wheel fenders, where the 1:1 car's fuel fillers are located. This body even has little horizontal "shelves" for the scale modeler/ detailer to attach scale-sized fuel filler caps, like on the real car.

Other Lotus 40 lexan bodies omit this front fender-opening detail altogether. Their fenders are smooth-skinned, not even the outline or a trace of these openings can be found.

What Howie had enterprisingly done was to cut the openings on this singularly unique body out entirely, and as a result create aerodynamic suction, allowing any air trapped under the front of the car, especially front wheel air turbulence, to escape into the negative pressure zone located behind each arched wheel fender. These negative pressure zones exist only when the car is at speed.

Aerodynamics. Reduced lift. Slot car racing.

A few 1:1 race cars started using this concept, notably the Chaparral 2E, 1 - 2 years later. (Did I just state that correctly?).


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#295 slotcarone

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:13 AM

:) Interesting story Al!!! I played with my slot cars at Polks but never reced there--could never get over the bump very well. The bodies back them were made of butyrate.

Mike Katz

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#296 Alan Draht

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 11:45 AM

There's more left to tell of the story.

I was at Polk's to witness this, my first bona fide slotcar race. I was there as a spectator, interested in racing, gathering and absorbing information.

Howie was at this race with his excellent car and another racer protested the cut-outs on this Lotus 40 body, to the point where the race director (the 4th floor manager), was forced to delay the race's start.

The 4th floor is ** fairly small to begin with and the area around the new track was intimate when crowded. Compared to many other new track facilities with more floor space, Polk's always had the feel of a small club, and its pro shop.


** I say "is" because the narrow 100 year old building on the west side of Fifth Avenue near 32nd Street is still standing. Today, there's a pizza parlor on the ground floor.

#297 Alan Draht

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:17 PM

On the fourth floor at these races, activity, discussions among people, racers and spectators mixed together, were typically within easy earshot and everyone was visually aware usually of whatever was happening around them.

On that evening the question was, What was holding up the start of the race?.

#298 Alan Draht

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:42 PM

The protest was based on the claim that the real Lotus 40's cut-out's exposed the car's fuel-filler tank caps for easy access. The openings on the actual car were not there for any other purpose than to service the car, the protester argued. On the real car, the front fender bodywork openings certainly did not exist for aerodynamic reasons. Howie's having cut out the fender openings on his car's Lotus 40 body, although clearly demarcated/ detailed, had created an "unfair advantage".

The protester wanted Howie's modified Lotus 40 body to be banned, and for the chassis running it removed from the race line-up with that body mounted on it.

Howie refused to change car bodies and countered by saying that anyone was welcome to go out and buy a Lotus 40 body exactly like his and modify as he had done. That being the case, Howie argued, as far as he or anyone else should be concerned with the matter, why would his car's body be disallowed from Polk's race?

#299 Alan Draht

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 01:30 PM

The race director was flummoxed. He balked. He held off starting the race while he tried to figure out how to officiate the protest equitably.

The protester said he had certain knowledge of the fact that some, if not all real Lotus 40's had the same openings, and what their true function was, and what it wasn't.

The race director didn't know himself one way or the other. He formerly raced 1:1 dragsters. Magazine race coverage with photos was pitifully meager in those days. Some people had an opinion, many didn't. I myself didn't remember seeing anything in the car magazines I regularly bought. I had no opinion.

At the same time, however, many knowledgeable actual and would-be racers in the room, myself included, admired the openings Howie cut as innovative, functional, and cool-looking.

I was annoyed when the racer who lodged the protest wouldn't let go of the matter. I had encountered this type in argumentative students I attended school with numerous times before. I didn't want the race start delayed any longer over whether or not the real Lotus 40 had exposed fuel filler caps.

Plus, there were these philosophical and practical questions about the extent to which 1:24 scale race cars can or should faithfully render every single detail of the real car's exterior. These questions could never be resolved before more valuable time got chewed up debating them.

#300 Alan Draht

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 04:01 PM

Amazingly, in hindsight, there must not have been any Cox Lotus 30/ 40 hard body slot car kits around in existence at the time, or Polk's didn't carry any (?) for the 4th floor racers to look at, in order to verify the racer's claims and satisfy everyone's curiosity, to help the floor manager make a decision and get on with the program.

Not that the question of whether or not a scale slot car body's openings should function authentically just like those of the real car's, mattered. An "opening" is an "opening" and if it exists for real, then by all means use it to advantage on your 1:24 race car, if possible.

Ultimately, the race director decided to allow Howie to run his car and its controversial body that night.

He ducked the whole philosophical question. Since there weren't any examples to refer to, he ended further discussion of the protester's views on the degree to which a competitive 1:24 scale slot race car body is supposed to realistically mirror the real car's.

Again, not that Howie cared, I'm sure. At the center of the controversy, he handled the whole thing by himself with aplomb.

After the protest ended and the race started, Howie drove masterfully on Polk's track and won, like he usually did, as if none of the previous drama had occurred.

As a first-time-ever spectator and slot car racing novitiate, I regarded all of this as an eye-opening experience, very high level.

I found out later after the race that the racer's protest had some merit insofar as the "unfair advantage" aspect of it was concerned.





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