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Why did slot car racing fade so quickly in 1967-68?


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#1 Foxhound

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 11:33 AM

The anglewinder changed nothing beyond the commercial tracks, and affected only a handful of "pro" racers. It didn't change the course of the hobby, it just was an added fillip of design that a handful guys had to copy to keep up. At the same time, the hobby was losing participants left and right.


What do you think was the main reason that slot car racing faded so quickly in popularity in 1967-68? Had technology evolved so rapidly that the typical ten to fourteen-year-old did not have the money to buy what was needed to stay competitive, let alone the metal cutting and soldering skills required for scratchbuilding?

Or was it simply a case that popular culture very suddenly evolved away from models, cars, etc., so that even pre-teen fellows wanted to play in rock bands like the Beatles and the Stones instead of being car nuts/grease monkeys?

:huh:
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#2 TSR

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 11:50 AM

Neither. Most of the raceways simply closed because the economics were not sound and the owners were going broke.

The people who sold the franchises (AMRC) simply lied to the franchisees. Once the raceways closed, the kids had no place to go and were simply forced to quit the hobby, many of them very disappointed that there were no places to go play anymore.

Nothing to do with the cars, technology, or money.
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#3 Jairus

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 12:03 PM

I disagree that it is that simple. Much of the hobby was made up of Baby Boomers and you cannot expect a 15 -20 year old young boy to continue spending his income/allowance on toys, when girls, cars and a first job are also competing for his time. I believe it was more likely a move to other interests. For instance, the Van craze was the Boomers searching out affordable transportation and a "bedroom" on wheels.

The static model car hobby also experienced a huge drop in sales during this same time and that could not be explained simply by over reaching hobby shops closing up from lack of money. Kids just stopped buying models because their interests branched out to other things. I think Vay may be more correct in his last paragraph that you think Dokk. On the other hand I do not deny your statement about raceway economics but think the two are actually inexplicably linked.
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#4 TSR

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 12:09 PM

Jairus,

That would imply that there was only one generation growing up, not the case... :D
In my own case, I saw EVERY ONE of my "home" raceways closing out one after the other, pushing me somewhere else until there were no more.
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Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#5 Cheater

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 12:15 PM

Vay,

Here's my view.

I believe you're looking at slot racing from the wrong direction in considering it to be a cultural phenomenon that grew on its own. A better context for the growth of slot racing in the 1960s is to look at it from the business perspective.

Electric model car racing had been known well before the '60s and had not grown to any appreciable extent until American Model Car Raceways (and others) began "packaging" slot racing into franchise operations "tweaked" to be an attractive entertainment product for the times. Some say slot car raceways as businesses were the "tanning bed salons" of the '60s, in terms of how they were marketed to potential investors. As the business was relatively inexpensive to get into, lot of people bit and opened raceways.

As the number of raceways blossomed in a fairly short period of time, the toy makers began to take notice and the number of products created to sell to this new "industry" began to accelerate.

The house of cards began to tumble when raceways owners discovered that, while slot car racing was initially interesting to a large number of curious people, few took it up as a longer-term hobby. Inevitably, even during the middle '60s, raceways owners discovered that patronage tended to decline over time. Thus while many raceways were initially profitable, that situation did not last for long for the vast majority of facilities.

I believe this "epiphany", the lack of long-term profitability, occurred to a large percentage of the quickly-opened raceways in roughly 1966-67 or so, just as the manufacturing community was bringing large of amounts of slot car products to market. Raceways began closing at a high rate just as hundreds of new cars, kits, etc., flooded the market.

With the numbers of raceways rapidly declining, to move product, the panicking manufacturers slashed prices and sold their products anywhere they could (hardware stores, Western Autos, etc.), and as we know now, much was never sold and continues to appear from dusty storage on eBay. Some slot car goods were even buried in landfills just to be rid of them.

That's why the "crash", in my opinion.

The more difficult question is why slot racing is unable to retain, as longer-term participants in the hobby, a higher percentage of the people who are exposed to it.
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#6 Jairus

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 12:49 PM

Jairus,
That would imply that there was only one generation growing up, not the case... :D
In my own case, I saw EVERY ONE of my "home" raceways closing m out once after the other, pushing me somewhere else until there were no more.


No, you are correct that there are many generations growing and evolving at the same time, each is as diverse as the next. Generations come in waves based on events in the past, some cataclysmic and some less so. Boomers came about from the end of WWII and the prosperity which developed during the next decade. However, there is no denying that Boomers have been and continue to be the most dominant current generation marketers concentrate on. For example the current advertising push for drugs, retirement programs, exercise equipment, powered wheelchairs, upper-level cars and all the other trappings of a graying affluent generation.
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#7 slotcarone

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 01:21 PM

Neither. Most of the raceways simply closed because the economics were not sound and the owners were going broke. The people who sold the franchises (AMRC) simply lied to the franchisees. Once the raceways closed, the kids had no place to go and simply forced to quit the hobby, many of them very disappointed that there were no places to go play anymore.
Nothing to do with the cars technology or money.


:D This and all the other answers given are all very accurate. I would like to add that being in the New York Metro area at that time there was almost a raceway in every town. Many were franchise set ups and were not owner operated. This being a cash business with at that time no real way to track the amount of business done - you can see where I'm going with this. Basically the hobby faded because of the raceways closing.
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#8 bradblohm

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 01:25 PM

Hello all,

I'll throw out two more possibilities to add to the mix: Cars stopped looking like cars, and "rules".

Slot car racing didn't die in Europe as it did here because (at least I think) cars always looked like cars. They didn't transform into wedgie door-stops in the quest for all out speed as they did here. A Ferrari looked like a Ferrari, and a Jaguar looked like a Jaguar, and a Porsche looked like a Porsche. Look at the popularity of D3 now, which I believe is because bodies used are the Can-Am cars of yesteryear. Emphasis on SCALE that also can run, NOT door-stops! I will ALWAYS think that people more identify with cars, not speed. There will always be some speed-demons, but...

And then there's rules... Look at what's been flying here that last couple of weeks. People want to race with like-minded people. Some want inline only, while others want side and angle-winders. Some want rigid chassis while others think there's nothing wrong with hinges. Until some over-bearing fascist FORCES us to play the same rules (and since neither JPVR nor PdL are strong enough to do it (no offense Philippe)) it's unlikely to happen. We're pack animals, and we'll always get pissed off, splinter into our own like-minded pack, and play with ourselves. Uhhh, scratch that! Play by ourselves. Yeah, that's what I meant!

Now, there's no denying what's been said earlier, but I believe these are also contributing factors.

Brad "please don't hit me" Blohm
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#9 Lee Jet

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 01:27 PM

From my insular perspective, as one who was very actively slot racing in the
So Cal 'Golden Era', the fade was brought on by strangulation due to its own extremely rapid techo-growth.
In fact I payed my bills mainly from selling motors, cars and race winnings during '67 and '68.

Then the cars got too fast for most people with normally-endowed reflexes, the slot shops closed (for the reasons noted by others in this thread) and people went on to other interests...

So I am thankful at this season, for D3 Retro slots! :rolleyes:

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#10 Mark Wampler

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 01:37 PM

I think the lust for speed grew at such a rapid curve that many kids didn't want to or have the means to keep up. From what I understand about the real Can-Am series that ended in 1973 drew a good parallel to slot racing. There were very few rules and just a few guys by comparison were overtaken with going faster, that by the early 70's the hobby flamed out. By then, imposed rules were perceived by some to choke out the essence of going faster. If you can't go faster, then why race at all? Wing cars eventually took over scale racing for the most part and now there are these "models" that don't look like real world race cars anymore and no more association with any recognizable real racing machines. I also think that the profit/square footage for track owners was a severe pinch for their profit as rent increased , much like skating rinks and bowling alleys that were also closing their doors.
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#11 idare2bdul

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 03:37 PM

There were lots of reasons slot tracks went out of business as pointed out above. The lack of vision in promoting slot cars was a big problem. It's hard to remember that golf and tennis weren't very big deals until winners started bringing home big bucks. Having a championship based on RTR type cars, not scratchbuilts and a million dollar purse might have sustained or built more interest. It didn't happen and as the cost of opening a commercial raceway keeps going up fewer people are tempted to invest in this business. Too bad because unlike my other hobbies you don't need good weather or a big bank account to go slot racing.
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#12 Noose

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 04:06 PM

As Cheater says, I suffered from the fumes... gasoline fumes from the cost of the real car, perfume from the girls, and most of all motor fumes cuz having to change motors in between heats was just plain stupid. So in 1971 I stopped.

When I came back for a short time in '77-78, I didn't get into it seriously and at that time R/C was starting to take over.
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#13 Tom Thumb Hobbies

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Posted 23 November 2007 - 11:43 PM

Although I was very young (7 years) when my parents first opened our raceway I have been involved in its operation in some way on a daily basis since day one. As I grew older I became more involved until I started full management in the early-eighties. In my experiance many of you are correct in your opinion about why slot racing declined.

When slot racing was new there was the "wow" factor. I remember opening on weekends at 8:00am to a full parking lot with some people waiting hours for one of our then 16 lanes. Our first couple of years we started taking reservations weeks in advance for groups as large as 30 racers. Many local businesses would bring their entire staff to race and many would purchase cars for everyone. We first noticed a decline when some of our casual racers became "hobbyists".

At first everyone was at the same skill level. When you showed up and ran your car it was anyone's chance to be the "champ". You had fun no matter how you matched up against others or how badly your car was wrecked during the day. Then some racers became more serious about going fast. They invested more time, effort, and money in their cars than many of the others. More often this smaller group were the ones winning the races now. And because of their added investment and effort they were less likely to laugh off the abuse their cars may endure at the hands of the casual racer. Many slot racers did not want to invest the time and money required to keep up with the "serious" group. And without making that investment they could no longer compete for the bragging rights of winning. It wasn't as much fun racing for third or fourth or whatever.

As the group of "serious" racers continued to fine tune their cars they required less and less product. They either had most everything they needed or made it themselves. Hence less sales for the raceway. At the same time some of the casual racers were moving on because, for some reason, it just wasn't as much fun anymore. This whole process was so subtle that it went almost unnoticed by anyone. If you look at most other competitive hobbies there are very similar scenarios being played out everyday. I have seen it first hand in R/C carpet indoor most recently in my area.

Obviously the cause wasn't helped when stores like Woolco, Woolworth, Sears, Western Auto (in my area), who had no investment at all in the square footage needed to house a race track, started selling cars and controllers for our commercial raceways. It was a case of short sightedness on the part of manufacturers. Short term profit but the hobby almost died.

I don't feel there was any one big reason that slots faded away. There were dozens of small ones. And they are not unique in any way to slot racing. Sometimes track owners, manufactures, and even racers were/are their own worst enemies. Mistakes have been made and opportunities lost. But hindsight is always 20/20. Slot racing has always been a cyclic business. I can go back through our 44 years of P&Ls and find, most often, six years cycles of feast to famine in slots.

Admittedly the current lull is deeper and has lasted longer than in the past. I am hoping the the D3 / Retro concept will breath some much needed interest into the hobby. At best it will bring some old racers back and introduce new ones to the hobby we all love. At worst it will help delay its demise. I am optimistic. The racers who lived through the glory days of slot now are in the period of their lives when the past becomes more precious and they have the money to revive their memories.

I am honored to be hosting the first IRRA Retro Reunion Race in March. Since finding out about D3/Retro racing I have thought about little else. I am a 51 year old man who is starting to feel like a teenager again. Who said you can't go traveling back in time ??? :D How about we set aside all the squabbles about motors and tires and rules etc and concentrate on the magic of reliving some of the best times of our lives.

For those of you attending our event I will be the guy with the huge, permanent grin on his face sometimes heard to giggle to himself as he tries to remember how to drive these things. :D :D
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#14 bradblohm

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 08:12 AM

Hello Mike,

Don't you go closin' now! I recently took a job with Limitedbrands in Gahanna and have wanted to stop for a while. Thanks to your post I'll be stopping by next week. Any evening better than another to stop by and run vintage cars?
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#15 CruzinBob

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 11:30 AM

Mike McMasters,

It's great to hear input from one who has actually been directly involved in the operation of a raceway for so many years. Would you answer a question?

You focus on the "racing" element in the main part of your post. How has the birthday party and "walk-in' rental side of the business been? What type of advertising have you done?

The reasons stated here for the decline of slot car raceways are all great points. A few ring more important than others.

One thing I've been telling people from my perspective is that it is a fad for most. Some are enthused for a time whether it be for competing or just coming in to rent cars. The competitors fad away for reasons stated above and renters find other things to do or just plain forget the joy they had while they go on to other things.

Secondly it is becoming increasingly harder to get customers and one of the reasons is the fact that most raceways only last about a year or 2. I've opened 8 raceways since 1992 and for every one there was several potential customers who immediately asked "How long you gonna be in business!?"
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#16 Tom Thumb Hobbies

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 07:18 PM

Don't you go closin' now! I recently took a job with Limitedbrands in Gahanna and have wanted to stop for a while. Thanks to your post I'll be stopping by next week. Any evening better than another to stop by and run vintage cars?

Not to worry :) I don't think we are going anywhere soon. The track is almost finished (we are rebraiding it) and we hope to reconnect all the taps tommorrow. Between a UPS lost roll of braid, a crappy replacement roll, and a busy holiday season we are running a little behind. You might want to call ahead to make sure we are finished.

(614) 274-5150

Thanks,
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Mike McMasters
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#17 Tom Thumb Hobbies

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Posted 24 November 2007 - 10:23 PM

Mike McMasters - It's great to hear input from one who has actually been directly involved in the operation of a raceway for so many years. Would you answer a question?

You focus on the "racing" element in the main part of your post. How has the birthday party and "walk-in' rental side of the business been? What type of advertising have you done?

It has been decades since we did parties. It is something we hope to return to in the near future. And our location doesn't lend itself to much walk-in traffic. I am as guilty of failing to capitalize on opportunities as many other track owners. What helps keep the doors open is our full line hobby business. Frankly, we stay so busy with the other hobby categories that we seldom have time to devote to slot racing promotion. We ain't rich but we ain't starving either. Advertising is a tricky thing. We have done radio, print, direct mail, and a couple of other ad "gimmicks". We have NOT advertised our slot racing except as a addition to another product ad. Do I think we have got our money's worth?? The quick answer is NO. Very few coupons were returned and our informal poll of new customers didn't indicate many saw our ad. BUT, it is possible that the ads increased awareness of our store which may have led to future visits beyond the time frame of the ads.

You said I was focusing on the racing element. Not really. Anytime two or more people hook up a controller its a "race". You don't have to have a race director or a counting system. They still measure themselves and their cars against the other. During open track hours how many times have you had a new inexperienced racer pull his car or not buy more time when the "fast" guys show up? They say it's because they don't want to be in the way. Maybe. But they also don't want to look so slow next to the others. Human nature.

I have always felt that a slot track needed to be run with the mindset that it is more an "amusement" and less of a hobby. Not that there isn't a place for the slot car hobbyist. Heck, I IS One :D BUT, the "amusement" customers will generate most of the $$$ which will keep the doors open and enable us hobbyists to enjoy slot racing in our own way.
Since my dad's passing last year, my wife and I decided to completely "re-invent" the business. My goal is to get more casual "runners" while not alienating my serious racers. Talk about a balancing act. :D I have been contacting, for example, the managers of local Firestone and Goodyear dealers and offering a monthly "employee get together" racing slot cars. Also the local Ford, Chevy, etc. dealerships. I want to get a good group from each and pit them against each other with bragging rights to the winners and "The Wall of Shame" to the losers. They will all race on different nights and their group's combined laps will be compared to the other groups to determine the winners. That way each dealership will work together as a team to try and defeat their competitors. Maybe even award a monthly "Manufacturers Cup". A traveling trophy??

I am going to throw out the book as far as race format and procedures. I am going to try anything I can think of that is unique and new. If you look back at some of the things that AMCR suggested in their publications some seem a little corny. Hot dog races? Pursuit events? Best team lap racing ( like best ball golfing). But who knows. Anything is worth trying. Once these customers are "hooked" then I will introduce them to "conventional" racing. (ie Challenge Cup or IRRA etc.). If they don't like it, OK, back to the "offbeat" stuff. Those that like it will help grow our regular programs. Euro rotation with 3 on 3 off. Lane stickers required.
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#18 Horsepower

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 09:42 AM

Although I was very young (7 years) when my parents first opened our raceway...

I have never heard it put so perfectly in just a few paragraphs. Thanks, Mike!
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#19 Bill from NH

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 01:05 PM

It didn't fade in all parts of the US in 1967-68. Where I lived, in southern Maine, we didn't have a commercial raceway open until the fall of 1967. The shake-out didn't occur until 4 or 5 years later. New raceways were still opening in parts of New England well into the mid-to late '70s. :D
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#20 Noose

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 01:27 PM

I am a 51 year old man who is starting to feel like a teenager again .Who said you can't go traveling back in time??? :D How about we set aside all the squabbles about motors and tires and rules etc and concentrate on the magic of reliving some of the best times of our lives.

I'm older but it has had the same effect one me! Hopefully the IRRA will enable us to just that. I'm looking forward to being at the race and meeting you in person.
  • 0

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#21 markdshark

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 08:12 AM

As Cheater says, I suffered from the fumes... gasoline fumes from the cost of the real car, perfume from the girls, and most of all motor fumes cuz having to change motors in between heats was just plain stupid. So in 1971 I stopped. When I came back for a short time in 77-78, I didn't get into it seriously and at that time R/C was starting to take over.

Here, in the midwest, we simply transitioned into R/C. If you were looking for a more realistic auto racing experience, R/C was the natural way to go. Besides, some of the early R/C kits weren't that much more expensive, than a competitive slot car. You could buy a Veco .19 engine, for a lot less than a good rewind.
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#22 Mark Wampler

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 09:36 AM

How about we set aside all the squabbles about motors and tires and rules etc and concentrate on the magic of reliving some of the best times of our lives."

I like this quote Noose, but too many people want to be right and spare no heartache to prove their point.
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#23 CruzinBob

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 11:25 AM

...I have always felt that a slot track needed to be run with the mindset that it is more an "amusement" and less of a hobby... Talk about a balancing act.

... I am going to throw out the book as far as race format and procedures. I am going to try anything I can think of that is unique and new...

I very much agree about the amusement part. Jim Honeycutt (Magnatech Raceway/Products) has been professing this mentality for years and I listen to him carefully. As a racer-inspired track owner however, the ease of adhering to established race programs is difficult to shed.

Not many talk about the difficulty of the interaction between "casual" and "serious" participants. We've considered having different tracks for different situations but all that does is limit your potential and present divisions and unease. There are many scenarios I've gone over in my mind over the years and I still don't see how the two mentaliities can coexist.

I also agree that more "relaxed" and "silly fun" type race programs should supplement at least one basic hardcore race program. I am a hardcore racer at heart, albeit a "fedex" racer whenever possible and totally enjoy a well-organized USRA type program. I don't personally like "break-out" programs but believe there is definitely a place for that in a weekly program in any raceway.

One program you should look into is the format used at Pelican Park (OR). It takes a while to figure out but they use one heat races to qualify for finals. The simple outcome is that some losers can become winners and there is a lot of racing involved.
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#24 Tom Thumb Hobbies

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 04:19 PM

Bob,

It is difficult to mix "casual" and "serious" in the same program/race. That is why I try to NOT put the "casual" racer and the "serious" racer into direct contact until I have had time to hook the "casuals" on the hobby. My idea for the Firestone dealership vs Goodyear dealership was to expose them to racing without the total focus being on winning (yet). My thought was that on "Firestone Night", for example, even though they would be racing against their co-workers the focus would be on helping each other do well and beating the Goodyear teams stats. I am hoping that the cooperative effort to do well will soften the "win at all cost" effect at least until some are as addicted as I am to slots and move to the "Bigs". :rolleyes:

Break-out? We don need no stinkin' break-out. :D :D Like you I am a hardcore racer. I am a co-founder of the "If You Can't Race It, It's Useless Society". Unfortunately a big percentage of slot "runners" don't stick around long enough to contract that disease. Too bad. While not fatal there is no known cure.

Thanks for the link to Pelican Park. As soon as I have more time I will take a look.
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Mike McMasters
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#25 markdshark

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 07:44 AM

In both slot racing and R/C, I've always treated it as a fun hobby, not a competition. I've enjoyed the camaraderie, the travel, and the experience. If I did well, so much the better. If I didn't, I still had a good time.

I think that's the secret, to keep you from burning out! When it stops being fun, then it's time to stop!!! Does this mean I'm not serious about racing? I don't know! Is Frank Kimmel (9-time ARCA champion) not serious, because he's not running NASCAR??? Some of us have found a comfort zone, and are happy with that level of competition. But either way, it keeps us coming back!
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#26 sportblazer350

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 01:41 PM

In reading these posts, and references to Retro racing nowadays (how great it is), reasons why the hobby faded 40 years ago - I see a (maybe?) parallel... now I know this may ruffle some feathers, but let me throw this out for thought: one of the (many) reasons for the hobby fading seems to have been serious slot racers. Comments about the serious racers who (1) did not buy much from the shop owners, (2) built their own chassis and motors, (3) sold their hand-built products to others vs the raceway selling parts and/or RTR cars.

... Now here is a similar situation today: Retro/D-3 racing: scratchbuilt chassis built by the race winners, then these same folk selling their hand-built chassis to others for joining into this class... again, raceways NOT selling chassis and/or RTR cars to would-be racers...

Don't get me wrong here - I am one to be joining into retro and D-3 racing very soon, as well as true vintage 1960s racing. I just happened to notice this similarity in your posts, and thought it might be "food for thought". The retro racing, using RTR or chassis kits sold by the raceways, gets $$$ in their pockets on top of the track time and race fees.

And another 1960s reason for shops closing you others brought up: new rules, causing older products to be non-sellers for the raceway owners - I have seen this first hand, today, at a raceway I know of... where constant rules changes got an owner stuck with hundreds of $$ of products now deemed illegal in retro racing... how does that help an owner to stay in business?? I think the racers themselves, as another posted, can be part of the reason for decline in the hobby. We must take the raceway owners into consideration - no raceways, no hobby, unless it all retreats to garages and basements... :angry:

Another segment of the hobby that is growing each and every month worldwide: 1/32 scale plastic cars. Like them or not, it is GROWING and 1/24 commercial is... not...(?)... at least not at the same rate 1/32 scale is. Again, food for thought and discussion.
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Glenn Orban
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#27 Prof. Fate

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 02:14 PM

Hi,

... then these same folk selling their hand-built chassis to others for joining into this class......again, raceways NOT selling chassis and/or RTR cars to would be racers...

This part isn't accurate. With a few exceptions, the chassis is the ONLY part not sourced at the shop (except most shops carried pro chassis as well), and the shop supplied the drop arm, brackets, pre-fab pans, and the brass and steel.

Local tracks outside of LA but in driving distance, often sent people to the Arcos in CA to buy chassis from people like Steube and Tore to sell in their shops. Often Steube was being conned. That is, the guys would see some earnest kid, and since they were doing a new set of chassis anyway, would GIVE the chassis to the kids, not realizing that the tracks were sending "shills".

But from the standpoint of the track, the only difference between a D3 racer and the Flexi racer is the cost paid for the chassis.

Fate
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Rocky Russo
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#28 Robert Livingston

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 09:03 PM

I was one of the earlier drop-outs. I started with a Strombecker home set c. 1963, and by 1965 I was racing 1/32 scale, scratch and parts-built cars to Aintree/Southport rules in a club. In 1966 the commercial tracks (as opposed to the hobby store with a store-built four-laner in the basement) started drawing the racers, and I built a car for a buddy to drive. Cars were still scale models. By 1967 my old racing friends had dropped out of the hobby for college, and by 1968 it seemed the hobby had disappeared. I went on to Industrial Design school, and bought out a fellow-student's entire slot car pile of parts and cars from his time at Polk's Hobbies in NYC, a few years earlier. I was still interested in slot cars, but there didn't seem to be anyone racing the way we did in 1965. The slot car parts and cars were gone from the hobby shops.

Over the next decades, I set up floor tracks in my various apartments and houses, off and on, scouring flea markets and close-outs for cars and equipment. I always had friends interested in building models, but mostly of mililtary or railroad subjects. Though these years, I would occasionally walk into a surviving slot car raceway, only to be confronted with ugly, freeway-wide eight-lane tracks, devoid of even an attempt at scenery. Since my cars had been developed on sectional floor tracks, they were pretty hopeless, and lost on these mega-tracks. And the cars that DID race there looked like, well, they looked like they had roller skate wheels, and they looked like they had been built by adults, but designed by children! They were the ugliest, most badly-proportioned models I had ever seen. As a model maker (I had worked as a professional for a while, oddly enough in a place that had a track in the 1960s, and had manufactured slot car parts) I didn't see much value in non-scale models. My background was in scale modeling.

It wasn't until the plastic RTR upsurge that I came back into the hobby full time, and started applying my 1965 slot car skills again. It is good to be back, racing in the club scene again, and running 1/32 scale proxy races through the internet.

To me, the biggest problem slot car racing has had is the non-scale approach. But that's just me, and a few other guys.
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#29 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 11:58 PM

Glenn,

D3 racing here in SoCal is set up to not repeat the mistakes of 40 years ago. At BPR, you'll find that the local chassis builders (Steube, Easterly, etc.) sell their chassis thru Chris at BPR. The revenue generated by our SoCal racing goes thru Chris. The D3 motor we use is sold thru Chris. Legal D3 bodies are sold thru Chris at BP.

Paul Sterrett well knows the pitfalls of the past and has remained steadfast in not giving in to others' wishes. He is determined to be the "benevolent dictator of D3" to steer D3 in the right course and not allow the mistakes of the past to ruin the "rebirth" of the golden years of slotracing here in SoCal.

Let's hope others across the nation and the world for that matter join in realizing the long term health of our beloved hobby depends on supporting (with purchases) our local raceway. Strict control of the D3 rules will always be towards supporting our local raceway, otherwise a repeat of the mistakes made 40 years ago will once again ruin our hobby.

Keith :rolleyes:
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#30 gascarnut

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 03:26 PM

I think that most of us who are building Retro frames for sale to new racers are trying to do so through the local raceway(s). Sometimes it is just not possible, but we all recognize the need to keep the raceways open.

But even if we don't sell everything through a raceway, the frame alone is not the only piece that needs to be bought and it is not the piece that generates the most income for the raceway owner. Motors, tires, bodies, and then all the other running gear, all generate income to the raceway owner, as well as the race entry fees.

Every extra racer is a potential source of extra income to the raceway owner, whether he bought his frame over the counter or not.
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