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Opening soon: Thunder Mountain Raceway in VA


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#1 stickkman99

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 03:17 PM

Opening by mid-summer 2013 in downtown Norton, VA 24273.

An 8,500 square ft facility, the tracks: 155' King, 110' tri-oval, 1/4 mile dragstrip,1/8th mile dragstrip, 49' Pinwood Derby track, and a 55' Hot Wheels track.

Will have full stock of cars and parts available.

If everything goes good with these tracks and people in the area support this raceway, I'm gonna install a 350' Indianappois style oval... this should be fast, fun, and one of a kind.

Road frontage will feature a 2,000 square foot toy and hobby store stocked with a full line of toys and hobbies.

I will post updates as work progresses. Anyone can email me and I will answer as soon as possible.

 

aubreystapleton@comcast.net


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Aubrey Stapleton
Thunder Mountain Raceway




#2 SlotStox#53

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 04:00 PM

Sounds an awesome new raceway! Good luck in your venture and hope it's a great success!! If the family are ever in the neighbourhood will stop by.

-Paul



#3 Samiam

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 10:03 PM

Good luck with the raceway. All us slotters thank you and all the other track owners for making our sport possible.

The mega oval may be a white elephant. I raced on a 90' oval and had a blast. A flat road course may be a better choice. But this is just my 'pinion; I could be wrong.

Keep us informed. Pictures?

Sam


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#4 macman

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:23 PM

Ditto on the monster oval.


Ben Kernan
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#5 stickkman99

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 06:32 AM

Would the monster oval be a bad idea??? I'm kinda new at all this but I've done it for years... Like the raceways do not stay in the area long and the ones that stay are hundredss of miles away making it hard to support them on a regular basis...

 

Please reply with input... good or bad and explain... just wanna know...

 

Thanks...


Aubrey Stapleton
Thunder Mountain Raceway

#6 Cheater

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 06:42 AM

Aubrey,
 
I agree with the other posters regarding really large ovals. Once an oval gets above a certain size, it simply becomes a horsepower track and most folks won't race on it regularly. 
 
My personal preference for oval tracks is for one that's 80-90' in length, with one slightly banked end and one very flat end.
 
IMO the trick in designing an oval slot car track is to try to balance the lap times between red (the outside lane) and black (the inside lane). Black will have a much shorter lap length than red, but if the flat turn is tight enough on black, that advantage can be largely nullified or equalized.
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Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap

#7 Samiam

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:37 AM

I had an idea for a way to equalize lanes on an oval. How about a crossover? It's still LTO and the section could be removed if not a hit. Raced on a road course with one in the '60s.

I agree with Greg. One flat turn is the way to go. With a very wide outside gutter/runoff.

Sam
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#8 stickkman99

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:12 PM

Ok, I understand what you are saying with the lane advantage but when you change lanes doesn't everyone get the same advantage... or is it to much to overcome?

Of course this is a future track... so far I'm gonna put in a King track and a 110' trioval.
Aubrey Stapleton
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#9 Dennis David

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:21 PM

You might want to add a four-lane club track for 1/32. Lots of places I've seen do not know how to do this and lose out on that segment of the hobby.

 
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#10 Samiam

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:21 AM

Aubrey,

It's not so much making the outcome of the race fair but making the racing during that heat closer. On road courses this is attempted by equal lane length but it's not perfect. It's still the guy that totals the most laps after eight heats but we always end up racing the guy next to us.
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#11 Don Weaver

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:43 AM

I wouldn't worry so much about equalizing lanes. Race against the guys next to you and it all evens out in the end. Just make it so it's fast and furious. Oval racing IS different than road course racing...

Don Weaver

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#12 stickkman99

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:12 AM

OK coool... I'm understanding this now... we want a race all through the race itself... right?
Aubrey Stapleton
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#13 Cheater

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 08:18 AM

Hey, it was just my opinion...

I've raced on a lot of different ovals over the last 25 years.... big ones, small ones, banked ones, flat ones... and the ones I remember as being the most fun to race on were as I've described.

Really big ovals with lots of bank on both ends are often mostly full-punch tracks, especially with lower-power motors, and I never found that very interesting. Big ovals also tend to tear up a lot of equipment.
Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap

#14 Andy Watkins

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:52 PM

Good luck!

#15 stickkman99

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:53 PM

the king track a good road coarse....right....seems like they are a lot out there??


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#16 Dennis David

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:20 AM

Too many

 
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#17 Half Fast

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:28 AM

I also agree with the above posters on the oval, it does Not need to be huge. Why waste your money on such a large track. Slot cars are a very tough business, conserve your resources.

 

All the best on your endeavors!

 

Cheers


Bill Botjer

Faster then, wiser now


#18 macman

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 12:04 AM

If you want a good, fast banked road course, get a '90s era engleman 220; fits in about the same or less space as a king & IMO a lot more pleasant drive.


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#19 stickkman99

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:00 PM

what would be a good road coarse to install that everyone likes to run on.........??


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#20 Dennis David

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 12:18 AM

I always liked some MTT derivative.

 
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#21 CruzinBob

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 01:27 PM

Aubrey,

 

8500 sf?!  You got room to move thats for sure.  One things about a slot car raceway today is that you have a plethora of types and methods of operation.  Today is a time of melding Home and Commercial racing as business minded individuals are opening mini raceways in their garages and commercial raceways are opening with plastic tracks...just a lofty observation ;)

 

Starting out with such a large operation will be a huge task.  Need a 3 headed dept - Raceway mgr, Promotions/customer relations and Party coordinator.  Connect and solicit help from local nonprofit organizations.

 

Keep an eye on 1/32 scale but it is definitely a different world than 1/24 scale unless you try your hand at European 1/24 scale.


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#22 stickkman99

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:59 AM

where would i find this track??

If you want a good, fast banked road course, get a '90s era engleman 220; fits in about the same or less space as a king & IMO a lot more pleasant drive.


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#23 macman

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:30 PM

Look in the tracks for sale section... One was just posted today
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#24 John Streisguth

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 05:13 AM

In your original post, you listed a king rack, a 110' oval, and a drag strip.  If you are still planning on those tracks, I would suggest a small road course like an American Royal.  They are fairly simple and much easier to learn than an MTT-type track, but the emphasis is on driving and handling rather than horsepower.  It would round out your track selection.

If you're not set on the king, an Engleman-type track would be a great choice.


"whatever..."


#25 stickkman99

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 07:10 AM

john...im for sure the tri oval...and the drag track.....im undecided on the king...tring to decide which is best.......here where im located slotcars are not popular but could be if i got this started onthe right foot.......a king track was close by about 12 years ago.......and i think there are a kingleman about 60 miles away in a club track.....im tring to build this from scratch but i want to keep everyone interested and not discourage them by putting in a track where noone can run on it being a novice.....and let it grow and maybe later on maybe put in a more drivers track....and i do want to put in a kinda big footage track....along with the small ones........i think i got my words right......any input from anyone would be greatly appreciated........thanks

In your original post, you listed a king rack, a 110' oval, and a drag strip.  If you are still planning on those tracks, I would suggest a small road course like an American Royal.  They are fairly simple and much easier to learn than an MTT-type track, but the emphasis is on driving and handling rather than horsepower.  It would round out your track selection.

If you're not set on the king, an Engleman-type track would be a great choice.


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#26 John Streisguth

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 08:45 AM

The only problem I would see with that Engleman that's advertised is the "blip"  just out of the deadman.  But that section could be replaced so it's straight.  Otherwise I think it's not a bad choice as that configuration is easy to learn. 

The small Royal-style track is a good track for novices, since the speeds are not as high.  I prefer the Royal over the Regal...same track, the Royal has the esses banked just slightly which makes it easier to drive.

 

Very hard to know in advance what the local crowd will like.  You may end up with predominantly drag racers, or oval guys, in which case the road courses may collect dust.  There certainly seems to be some retro racers nearby, so that can be a group to try and tie into. Then again, you may get people who like the speed of wing cars.  Your plan seems to cover all bases.


"whatever..."


#27 stickkman99

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:25 AM

well i have lots of people interested around here in it......and 90% of them are gona be novices racers for a while.....i think from what i here it will be a split between drags and roadcoarse......most drag racers will do the roadcoarse on different nights,,,,,,,,,,but i dont no about the other way around.....and i understand cause i love them both......i want a track for speed.....which i think the trioval will do that........but i also want a roadcoarse where u have to drive the coarse......am i thinking right or am i way off??


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#28 John Streisguth

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 12:52 PM

As long as the track is not terribly difficult (like an MTT track), it's probably a matter of "if you build it, they will come".  Any of the widely used tracks will be good.  Just don't expect wing cars to work well on a small hillclmib  LOL

 

If you do a king or engleman, small to medium oval, small but simple road course, and a drag track, you have all the bases covered.


"whatever..."


#29 Guy Spaulding

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 01:33 PM

Wanna make your King different/unique?

 

Construct the drivers stand on the oposite side of the track, between the fingertip and the donut.  It will create a unique perspective for drivers accustomed to the king track design, and makes it much better for martialling your own car during practice. (Not as far to walk around to the far corners)  This makes it a better rental track too.


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#30 macman

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 10:03 PM

Guy, I heartily disagree with this!!! You are thinking if the Concord Cobra... All drivers are totally blind coming out of the bank into the deadman. Challenging to the experienced driver like yourself, but IMO a disaster for rookies who really do need to see their car in that abrupt transition from high to low speed.
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The Englelman: a truly superior design.
 

#31 stickkman99

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 08:56 AM

I'm looking for some glass showcases... tables... chairs... banners... anything else you think I might need to open the raceway... send me a message or post...

 

Thanks!


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Thunder Mountain Raceway

#32 stickkman99

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:23 AM

what are the best classes to start with if 99% of your racers are gona be novice.....dont wanna start out wide open and cause people to be discouraged....i want to build a raceway and racers thats gona last for years and years and keep it interestimg and always competitive.......any advice......thanks....Aubrey


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#33 Rick Crutchfield

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 12:55 PM

Aubrey, I am guessing you are in NASCAR country.  If I owned a track and I do (Central TN Raceway in Lavergne TN).  I would suggest starting out with 4" Champion Turbo Flex chassis with sealed Parma 16D motors and some kind of bodies that NASCAR races. Truck, COT or Nationwide bodies.  Reason being is that the chassis is a tough durable chassis.  The Parma motors are sealed so that everyone's motors are fairly equal.  Champion has a Ready to run car ( $44.00) that comes complete without a body or with a body for $50.00.  Here @ CTNR I keep them in stock for the newcomers.  I only stock the ones without a body so that the customer can purchase the body that we are racing.  Here we race a different body every month. That was a suggestion from the racers.  They wanted to change very now and then so everyone would be happy.  We have run COT bodies, GT1 bodies, Nationwide bodies and next month we will run Trucks and in July Dirt Late Models.  There are other chassis (JK Chettah 11) that handle better than this one but in my opinion they are not as durable. We race those in the experienced class with Pro Slot 4002 motors.
 
I want to make it clear that this is only a suggestion.  I know some other racers will have different ideas and they will be good also. 
 
My wife has family in Tazewell, TN.  When you get open and we go visit them, I am going to make a trip to your track.
 
GOOD LUCK with your new raceway.  If you need to ask me about anything feel free to send me a message or call.  Rick
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#34 W. J. Dougherty

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:29 PM

There are two really good beginner ready-to-run (RTR) cars on the market today, the Champion Turbo Flex and the JK Cheeta 21. Both are well built, sturdy, solid plate chassis that make the motor easy solder to and handle very well. If I was to buy one for my child, you can't go wrong with either. As for price, with a NASCAR body, Parma Deathstar motor and 1/8" axles, from Eagle Dist, the TF is $50 and the C21 is $59. That is quite a bargain for a starter car. Be very specific when ordering parts from your distributors and don't accept any substitutes or you may be stuck with them forever. 
 
One thing to consider however is body choice. Beginners want a car that can handle well and is easy to drive. NASCAR bodies are not always that forgiving. Lots of beginners start off with high downforce GTP bodies that will plant the car to the track. Once they have developed some confidence and skill with the car, then you might consider changing up the bodies to GT1/LMP bodies and ultimately the NASCAR bodies.
 
Lastly, at least offer some kind of classes/mentoring to your folks on how best to maintain their cars. Some folks might think these these things are indestructible, but parts do wear out, get bent or blow up. However, with a little TLC they will last longer and you will keep more folks in your raceway...
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#35 John Streisguth

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:30 PM

Absolutely agree with Rick on everything. 

Keep the motors totally stock, not even brush or spring upgrades. The only modification I would allow is good angled pinions like the ARPs... the stock pinion wears out and than that takes the spur along with it. If you're going to change the pinion anyway you are better off with one that gives better longevity to the mesh.

Change out the wires (because the stock wires have very little conductor in then and they break), and add clips to attach to the guide, decent tires, and that's a great beginners class.
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"whatever..."


#36 John Streisguth

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:22 PM

BTW: based on my experience, the JK cars are pretty much "ready to race", whereas the Parma/Champion cars need to replace the rear tires, spur gear, and change the lead wire/add guide clips. Whatever the heaviest JK chassis is may be the better option for a car you can take out of the box and onto the track.


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"whatever..."


#37 Chris Barnes

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:33 PM

Aubrey,
 
I think one of the best things you could do is stay in touch with Rick Crutchfield. He has a good system going now and has dealt with all levels of driver skills.
 
As for classes, those will change as the experience increases. Rick has a lot of experience in keeping the racers happy and showing up.
 
If you ever have a chance, you should go to LaVergne and see him. Just a little place, but racers from all over the Nashville area show up because they have fun there.
 
Chris Barnes
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#38 Larry Labounty

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:55 PM

Chris hit the nail on the head - it has to be FUN!!!

Sometimes I think we try too hard to get everyone into the racing part of the hobby. Which turns out not to be everyone's bag. Finding ways to keep the non-racer coming back to a raceway and enjoying the hobby has been the million dollar question that raceways been trying to answer since the mid-'60s.

Larry
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#39 stickkman99

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:32 PM

Thanks everyone for all the input... I do appreciate it!

Everyone feel free to put in their input... and any other ideas anyone has to help this survive for years to come and be fun for everyone?

I want the place where it sticks in your mind... and you can't wait to go back. Maybe I'm expecting too much... but I'm willing to put 100% into it and not just take... am I wrong???

Thanks,

Aubrey
Aubrey Stapleton
Thunder Mountain Raceway

#40 Randal

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 07:26 PM

Good luck!! Can't wait to come up from Kingsport to race.

Randal
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#41 Cheater

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 07:43 AM

Disclaimer: As was recently noted here, I've never owned a raceway so you can take the following suggestions with a grain of salt, if you so desire.

 

First, the key idea you must embrace is that a slot car raceway is an entertainment business, not a racing business.

 

Second, one of the hardest tasks will be to balance a number of different revenue streams, such as:

 

the "walk-in" who may only come in a single time just to give slots a try

the "partier" who wants a hold a fun event for the invitees (birthday, corporate, or otherwise)

the "player" whose main interest is in the casual leisure-time diversion of running his slot cars

the "racer" who places much (sometimes too much) importance on winning races (and this class is further subdivided into the different kinds of slot cars) 

 

It varies from raceway to raceway which "class" of customer will provide the largest revenue stream, but I think it is accurate to say that in most raceways it is not the "racer" who generates the most revenue.

 

Achieving the necessary balance is not a trivial task, as factors that are important to one group are often not as important to other groups. For example, "racers" largely won't be concerned if the facility is a little grungy and the bathrooms less than spotless, but you can bet that the "walk-in" and "partier" groups almost certainly will.

 

As a businessperson, it will be important for you to understand the concerns and desires of all customer classes and to be equally welcoming and accomodating to each one. That's assuming the intention is to have your revenue cover your costs to the greatest extent possible.


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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap

#42 Dennis David

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 08:23 AM

It's especially necessary for a raceway owned by a slot car guy to put yourself in the other guy's shoes, the person who has never even seen or heard of a slot car. People coming in for a lark so to speak and the birthday/company party people.

Get and maintain good rental equipment.


 
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#43 Les Boyd

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 08:40 AM

Why should an oval have a flat turn? That will only make the track harder on new drivers. The harder the track is to drive the fewer will invest money to stay racing long term. Sure there will be the hardcore slotcar addicts (I claim to be one) but those new to slotcars will become discouraged and will not stay with it.

 

This is what happens all the time year after year, there needs to be a track that new drivers can get into slot car racing. The best I have seen is a tri-oval with banked turns all the way around. After all look at NASCAR they have banked tracks. Sure, you will need more technical tracks for us hardcore but do not forget about the new people and how you as a track owner can keep them coming to the track.



#44 Cheater

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 09:10 AM

Les,

 

Just my opinion, but I think your concerns about a flat turn are a bit overblown. In fact, from my perspective having an oval with one flat turn and one banked turn makes a oval track much more interesting to run. Different strokes, I guess...


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap

#45 Rick

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 10:37 AM

Les "get's it"! Many of the others don't.

 

A real tight pinched turn in an oval makes it hard for a noob; make it too hard and they won't have fun. You can make the banking less but leave some.

 

Being close to Tazwell, means you'll have a strong dirt track presence. You will need to offer cars that these people identify with, Late Models, Modifieds etc. There is a guy that makes dirt late model bodies in Central PA that makes a body that is proportionally perfect to a real car and it fits a 4" FCR chassis.

 

Once you start organized racing, you become a raceway. The longer you can keep them enthusiats and having fun among themselves, the better. Just like a restaurant, keep the menu small enough that you can manage it, until you get some experience under your belt...


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#46 Guy Spaulding

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 11:02 AM

Wide, flat turns are hardly more difficult than tight banked turns. 

 

A couple years ago, we raced on a totally flat quad oval with a 16D-powered DLM. With the right tires, It became a two-blip track, frightfully fast.


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#47 stickkman99

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 09:39 PM

This is one of five tracks im gonna go with... 110 ft tri-oval Tunkel built... is being refurbished by Tunkel... should be as good as new... I hope I have made a good choice... will post a picture of another track ASAP that I'm gonna use....any input on these 2 ive decided on will be greatly appreciated........ps.....these pictures were taken at their old raceway homes before taken down.....will update pictures when i get them finished and setup......whats yea think so far.....yea or nay???

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Aubrey Stapleton
Thunder Mountain Raceway

#48 stickkman99

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 09:47 PM

This will be the 1/4 mile 92 foot Tunkel-built drag strip... Pro 3000 timing with all the best features... will also adapt easily to 1/4, 1/8, and 1,000 ft racing... also has the built-in return lane... with 16.9 volts on each lane separated... best of everything.

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Thunder Mountain Raceway

#49 stickkman99

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:07 PM

The third track will be a renewed 160 ft Engelman...

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Aubrey Stapleton
Thunder Mountain Raceway

#50 John Streisguth

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:43 PM

Nice!!


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