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

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#526 Michael Jr.

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 09:41 AM


Do you meet with the pack leaders of each small group to work out "equitable" acceptable for that group's formal racers? Say such-and-such bodies, chasses and motors?



The races are all based on the house rules.... everyone with the same rules.

I simply promote relations within the larger group. It's a principle I learned doing some church work. People are going to gravitate to them anyway so I am simply accepting that and planning races to accommodate the schedules so that they can race together. But they don't become their own speedway with different rules.

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Michael Cannon

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#527 NSwanberg


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Posted 01 October 2020 - 10:58 AM

Racers do what racers do and that is to continuously raise the bar. Keeping it all even is almost an impossibility in our world. Best of luck to you!

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#528 nomad2race


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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:25 AM

Michael Cannon brings up a critical point:


In a raceway, it is not enough to give good customer "service"   ie; "the customer is always right" approach.


As a raceway matures track owners must master customer "management".  Otherwise your "best" customers, those enthusiastic frequent racers can be come your "worst" customers.


Over time raceways usually develop a competitive core group that can discourage and intimidate newcomers. It is the newcomers who do most of the purchasing that keep the doors open.


Experienced racers also develop outside sources and sometimes even their own product lines, actually competing with the Raceway.


The most competitive are sometimes not helpful to beginners, sometimes even openly disdainful of them.


Personalities can be toxic  just as there are sore losers there are winners who flaunt domination.


I believe this phenomenon is at the core of the pattern of raceways opening strong and fading to insolvency late in their second year.  Parma produced a booklet of advice given to new raceway owners and prospective owners with advice intended to address the problem, and reduce their many experiences with raceway bankruptcies.  Their advice was "never sign a lease longer than 2 years. If you can still pay the rent at 18 months, start looking for your new location to move to.  Your new location should be far enough away from your previous one that your existing customer do not follow you there.  It is important to to start with at new customer base." (Quoting from memory) 


I think this advice assumes that the issues listed above are nearly inevitable and the once the inmates have taken over the asylum, the business is doomed. 


Having raced in over 50 difference raceways since 1964 I have certainly seen this play out in most of them. So, I am certain that this was a factor in the decline that is the subject of this thread.


A few astute raceway owners have addressed this well with beginner series, teaching, support, comradery, family times and by enlisting select hard core racers to mentor newcomers. Some have the good fortune to have racers who do this naturally. I was able to do this for 13 years at Nomad Slot Racing before other factors caused us to focus on producing outside events.

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#529 Vay Jonynas

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 01:46 PM

Their advice was "never sign a lease longer than 2 years. If you can still pay the rent at 18 months, start looking for your new location to move to.  




Do you really mean "can" instead of "can't"?



Your new location should be far enough away from your previous one that your existing customer do not follow you there.  It is important to to start with at new customer base." 



That's strange. I thought the idea would be not to move so far that you lose your existing customer base but just far enough that different casual drive-by or walk-by traffic and thus potential new cusomers are exposed to your track.



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#530 jimht


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Posted 11 October 2020 - 02:52 PM

Location: the right location is where you always have enough casual traffic with RTR sales, rentals and parties that you don't have to rely on weekly organized racing as the primary revenue source.


Leases: should be renegotiated downward after one year, ;-), not run longer than one year with options for renewal and not based on the normal landlord's assumption that revenues constantly increase.


Moving: slot car track sections should be made with wheels attached. LOL If moving is necessary because of lack/loss of business, the culprit is that the customer base was too small to begin with.


Large spaces in Malls at reasonable prices are readily available nowadays, but, the lease will probably have a "we've got another tenant, pay more to stay or you're out of here" clause.

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Jim Honeycutt


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#531 Paul Lindewall

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 03:22 PM

I've got new racers coming every week still. That's one point.  It's early so I can't tell you how many stay with it but they are coming in and buying a car and racing.


To a person they all talk about how affordable this hobby is. They buy a RTR car and a Koford controller under $140


Most have already gravitated to a small group of racers and each small group has a pack leader that is herding his little racing group. I am promoting that approach tbh.


So I don't think commercial slot car racing is doomed nor do I think it is so expensive that people find it to high a mountain to climb. 


I really have to get down there now that work on my track is completed. How's the turnout in the Hardbody class? I remember way back when when Monogram and AMT made model car kits that you could build as a detailed static model, or use the body on a slot car chassis. It was a lot of fun hanging the tail end out on those.

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