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


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#101 TSR

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:03 PM

But I don't see any reason why 1/32 plastic chassis cars can't be raced on the existing tracks at raceways.

Most home-racing cars don't run too well on commercial tracks out of the box. Some are slow as death because the 12-volt power is not enough for them, most will de-slot at every corner especially if the track braid is recessed, and after a few laps their tires will be coated with track debris and will have lost all traction.

We ran two races of 1/32 scale Scalextric Vipers and 1/24 scale Carrera Ferraris at the Slot Car Convention two years ago. The Scalex cars desperately needed longer guides simply to make ANY corner other than parking them at very low speed, and the Carrera cars had the same issue. We were able to fix the Carrera cars by installing a 1/4" aluminum spacer over their drop arms, so that the guide could actually penetrate the slot. We could not fix the Scalecric cars, they needed a TSR guide and major surgery. No time to do it.

The only home-racing cars that fairly run well without changes are the Slot.it. But even then, they need better tires than what is provided as they come.

Philippe de Lespinay
 
"We are the D..., uh, the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile"





#102 Vay Jonynas

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:19 PM

Interesting. Scalextric, Monogram, and Fly cars run quite nicely on the two wooden tracks at my local shop. I'll have to ask Ernie what kind of surface the tracks have.

:unsure:
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#103 gascarnut

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 02:07 PM

If Ernie's tracks have minimal braid recess then the guide depth problem is reduced. If the tracks surface gets no glue then that helps, too.

I think though that Ernie's tracks are probably not representative of what you would encounter at most commercial raceways - up to .030" braid recess and the remnants of foam-tire racing both detract from the performance of out-of-the-box 1/32 cars.

Dennis Samson
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#104 Vay Jonynas

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Posted 10 January 2008 - 01:25 PM

Philippe:

We ran two races of 1/32 scale Scalextric Vipers and 1/24 scale Carrera Ferraris at the Slot Car Convention two years ago.

With magnets?

Gascarnut:

If Ernie's tracks have minimal braid recess then the guide depth problem is reduced.

I talked to Ernie. Not only is the magnetic track braid minimally recessed on his two tracks, they are also coated with a latex paint surface which he says provides even better grip than plastic.

He also discourages/forbids the use of any traction compounds on tires because of the gunk they potentially leave on the track.

With a flick of a switch he can also increase the voltage delivered to more than the standard twelve.

It seems to me that most wooden tracks can therefore readily be made Scalextric plasti-car friendly with these simple measures. Am I wrong?

:huh:

Interesting as well is that Ernie is about to install a track for 1/43 scale cars. What I really miss though is the dragstrip he had at his old location on Steeles Avenue.

:(
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#105 sportblazer350

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 11:17 PM

Mr P is pretty much correct about trying to race any of today's RTR 1/32 and 1/24 plastic chassis cars on commercial tracks. however Vanquish Can-Am cars work fine on wood tracks. The track surface must be clean, and glue and tire residue free for home track cars to work properly.

The main reason I stated that commercial raceways should assemble plastic sectional track race courses is to show their customers what they can assemble with what they are buying for at home, and when they bring their home cars to the raceway, they will perform exactly as they do at home. The raceways can provide a racing series that can be much more than the smaller clubs can do. The raceways need to tap into the home/club racers segment of the hobby.

To tell you guys the truth, I am really tired of trying to promote this hobby, only to take constant negative criticism in return. Hey: if I am wrong, and all of you guys are right- then why is the hobby (commercial slot car raceways) not-so slowly dying out, and 1/32 plastic cars and race sets growing??

Thanks to a few who agree with even some of my comments. The rest of you guys... don't come crying to me when your local track closes...

Glenn Orban
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#106 Prof. Fate

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:58 PM

Hi,

The mother of the owner of the local track, which is just a room in a full-service hobby shop, decided she didn't like racers. The "noise and attitude". For a while, she was convinced the racers were shoplifting in other sections!

So, the track went from five races a week to zero all at once. THAT was a killer.

Then seven years ago, a friend of the family convinced them to do a Saturday program for plastic cars. "For the kids". I suggested, being on good terms with the family, that if they sell cars offering something the racers couldn't get at home might be a good thing.

This has been only a moderate success. Summers, races might be six people or cancelled. Most winter races run twelve or so.

Initially, they ONLY ran the cars stock out of the box, and banned any "racer" version with vac interiors, hotter motors, and aluminum wheels. Last year a new race director took over, and observed that as the track SOLD stuff, that the approach was wrong. Customer complaints and all. So, they changed the rules allowing the regular cars to be upgraded to "Slot.it" standards, with aluminum wheels and good gears.

They keep the track super clean, no glue, no cleaner, nothing. Oddly, the track is so slick that most stock motors are all the power you can put down. Ironically, people take Slot.it cars and put in milder motors!

The track is a Hasse-built 125' Hillclimb, with the mid straight replaced with a set of esses to weave around some load bearing pillars, .020" braid recess.

Stock out of the box, most cars are a pain. Better cars, out of the box stock, LMPs by Fly, Scalex, and Ninco (Nincos are usually best out of the box), with do 18 laps in a three-minute heat. Experts, doing a few obvious gluings, blueprinting and the like, will get 20s. Adding aluminum wheels and a few other bits, 21s and 22s.

By comparison, a Womp does 25s and a Flexi 33s.

At least on THIS track, plastic can be raced and be fun, but it hasn't produced a huge surge in participation. The "experts" in the local group were the same "experts" during the Flexi and Scratchbuilt days.

Fate
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#107 Vay Jonynas

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 03:39 PM

The mother of the owner of the local track, which is just a room in a full service hobby shop, decided she didn't like racers.

There comes a point when every man must stop listening to his mother. It's part of the maturation process aka growing up.

;)
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#108 Cool Games

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 05:15 PM

The main reason I stated that commercial raceways should assemble plastic sectional track race courses is to show their customers what they can assemble with what they are buying for at home, and when they bring their home cars to the raceway, they will perform exactly as they do at home. The raceways can provide a racing series that can be much more than the smaller clubs can do. The raceways need to tap into the home/club racers segment of the hobby.

Thanks to a few who agree with even some of my comments. The rest of you guys... don't come crying to me when your local track closes...

READ MY LINKS...

I did close and am again trying to do as you suggest.

I had a beautiful late model Ogilvie hillclimb which was extremely popular. My own sons were young teens and so I sought to catch up with what had changed since the late '60s. Then we actually had a slot car club and a track at the elementary school. It is in my 1969 year book on the same page as me in the driver's education class.

That track was a bone of contention when I felt the early race was for kids then later older racers. I would ask the veterans to marshal. For awhile that worked but then they started monopolizing the track for races.

The words flew and I dismantled the track for an oval which was easier to race and looked great with hard bodies. A third plywood track from the sixties was my favorite but racers hated the figure 8. The middle-skilled were resilient and stayed for a long time. Home cars like Carrera, Fly and Scalextric ran great on the level and lightly banked track.

I started selling home sets in 2003 and set up a stock plan of the Spanish Catalunya 6 feet by 20 feet. I suggested a monthly all track time for monthly club membership. That caused mass exodus and so I started migrating plans to "cars, trains, and robots". The location was terrible for walk-in traffic but was 40 by 80 for the price of 20 by 50. Three tracks for the cost of one.

I now run an after school activity and some curiosity exists as to the slot cars but not enough.
I want to do a dazzle location that transforms constantly to different home plastic courses.
My largest is my photo. It is a 20 by 40 Daytona Rolex 24 lane that I can run RMS or Digital.
I use DS200 for dragstrip with tree as well.

Headed to Barcellona to see Cric Crac and F1 race.

I plan to read this and other boards from hotel room.
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#109 MadMax

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 05:31 PM

... How do you make them want to?

Hello, Unfortunately most of the 1/32 scalers I have come in contact with won't race at scale tracks for these reasons:

1) Unwillingness to support commercial raceway becasue they charge track time
2) Unwillingness to support commercial raceway because the commercial track "charges for races".
3) Unwillingness to to support commercial raceways because they have rules that do not allow multiple magnets.
4) Demands by 1/32 scale groups that tracks run races for them for FREE and without charging them for same.
5) Demands by 1/32 scale racers that commercial track operators "discount" the cars to internet sales costs.

These are just a few of the many reasons I have been told by 1/32 scale racers over the past years. It comes down to MONEY and some afficianados wanting to race for free while not supporting their local tracks.

Sorry, but this is what I have into the past ten years at three raceways. Sure, some may get pissed but this is my experience and what people have told me.

:( :(

Too bad, as I would love to hold 1/32 scale races for these racers but I can not do it for free or if they won't buy from my stock and support my track.

Or when they want me to discount an already-underpriced slot car to match someone on the internet or eBay. But it comes down to making money and if I can't make a few bucks on the items it is not feasible to carry same.

No issue with eBay or Internet for me as I understand and utilize same. But when the local 1/32 scale crowd won't support the local track or tracks at one time it makes it hard to carry 1/32 scale parts, cars, and so forth.

That is why we cater to the 1/24 racer and the drag racer...

#110 KTM300

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:27 PM

After reading this thread fully the big question seems to be "How do we bridge the gap between 1/24 and 1/32 RTR?"

I love running 1/32 scale cars on big wood tracks. In my opinion, the bigger the track the better. I'm not going to try and answer the question for everyone, I can only speak for myself. What the big tracks have to offer, I can't get anywhere else. That is the only reason for going to a commercial track. Why would I travel a few or many miles, and pay money to race on the same track I have at home? If I were to spend the money and use the space in my house to build a track, I certainly would not want to spend more money to race at a commercial track even if they had a plastic track on site.

Another aspect is the social event that home track racing is. Friends get together and have soda and beer, pizza, and burgers and the racing is an added bonus and it can last until dawn if the wife does not object. The person that has the track doesn't have to turn a profit. It's nice when the racers pitch in a few bucks to help cover the cost for the race that night, but after that the garage door goes down, the lights go out, and no one has to worry that enough money was made to cover the rent that month.

A big problem for someone that wants to run 1/32 RTRs on wood is that there are not many places to practice and tune cars and none that sell parts for them. I do it because I really enjoy running those cars as fast as I can make them run on as big a track as I can find within a distance I'm willing to drive. Right now that is about one hour from my house.

Making those small hardbodied cars run fast and handle is not easy and a few cars will be destroyed durring the learning curve but I don't destroy cars any more and have become a good driver because I don't want them smashed to pieces.

In one sense, learning to drive plastic cars on wood has really caused me a lot of problems racing D3 or even Flexis. I am overly cautious when driving 1/24 scale cars when I know they can go much faster but it's hard to break the habit of trying to stay in the slot at all costs as opposed to letting loose and going for fast laps. For myself I have already built the bridge and crossed it. No one had to do anything special for me. I just looked at what was available and made the best of it. The mindset that I have is what it would take to make things happen, but only if enough people want the same thing.

A track owner can only provide what the most people want or the track dies. I like to race and the most racers in this area right now want D3 or its equal. The plastic cars I do for fun and the added bonus is seeing people's jaws drop when they find out that a Slot.it can turn fast five second laps on the King.
Mike Chavez

#111 idare2bdul

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:48 PM

For those of you that haven't seen Mike Chavez race his 1/32 homeset cars, they are much faster than you would expect. I enjoy 1/32 scale cars.

If my wife doesn't kill me I'll be racing the 1/32 C-can Euros on Sunday of this week. With three days of the convention last week and this Saturday's RetroPro race I'm pushing my luck. :unsure: :help:
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#112 JimR

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 06:22 AM

Hello, Unfortunately from the 1/32 scalers I have come in contact with, most won't race at scale tracks for these reasons:

(etc. etc. etc.)

No issue with eBay or Internet for me as I understand and utilize same. But when the local 1/32 scale crowd won't support the local track or tracks at one time it makes it hard to carry 1/32 scale parts, cars, and so forth.

That is why we cater to the 1/24 racer and the drag racer...

Not the 1/32 crowd that I know - BUT - can't argue with you here. Screw 'em.
Jim Regan

#113 Cheater

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 07:51 AM

Just to chime in, I've known of several commercial raceways that had plastic 1/32 tracks set up and almost without exception, they were never used.

So, Glenn, in my experience the 1/32 plastic car racers won't patronize raceways even if plastic tracks are available, same as KC found.

Gregory Wells

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


#114 don.siegel

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:27 AM

On the other hand, here in Paris (can't speak for the rest of Europe), the only "commercial" tracks around are plastic, and they are being used. Of course, this may be because it's the only thing most racers here know, not to mention the fact that wooden, 1/24 slot racing has pretty much disappeared in France, so any of the hard core racers switched to plastic - and the new generation knows only that.

It's not really a legitimate comparison, because these are all stores that happen to have tracks, and not commercial raceways per se... At the one near me, for instance, track time (four-lane Ninco, over 100 feet) is free, and racers only pay an entry fee for the weekly races. In other words, it's more an adjunct to their sales than a profit center in itself.

Just logically, it seems to me that I'd only be willing to pay/frequent some place that offers something I can't get at home, or in a club situation if there is one: clubs are more the norm in Europe anyway - and that's its own kettle of fish!

Don

#115 MadMax

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:19 AM

We had a four-lane plastic 60 foot 1/32 scale track. It was far better than anyone's "home raceway" when it was in the raceway. And we could not get the 1/32 crowd to come on a weekly basis or even a monthly basis to hold even one race. After almost six months with that Carrera track taking up space we removed the track. No commitment from the 1/32 scale racers to support the track when we carried everything from cars to tracks to Slot.it parts and more.

It was decided to utilize the magnetic braid feature of our second track the past few years. But guess what? I again tried to organize races on a weekly or even monthly basis for the 1/32 scale crowd. But again, the same objections arose as I stated previously.

Yes, it is obviously cheaper to run races at someone's home. No argument there at all. Especially if it is club situation or the owner does not charge to race.

Unfortunately the experience here has been the lack of support (which is defined as money spent in the raceway purchasing parts) has not happened. And the support from the same racers in wanting to participate in organized races never materialized either. Both failed because of the reasons stated before.

Unfortunately for most areas of the country the lack of support by the racers and the public has led to commercial track failures. Now the raceways and manufacturers have to share that blame, as most do nothing to get the word out about this hobby via advertising or promotion. Again, the same reason raises its ugly head:

No one wants to spend money to support the raceway/business or their hobby.

So when you can't get customers to spend money either by holding races or selling parts. OR when the raceways or "manufacturers" won't spend money advertising their products, something has to give, doesn't it?

The white flag is raised and an industry dies a slow agonizing death for the people who love the hobby...

History backs me up as other hobbies, activities, and businesses have made the same mistakes and long since faded to a memory.

A business person who loves this hobby will only support this hobby as long as he does not lose money. Most raceways run on a shoestring budget by owners who also are enthusiasts. But even enthusiasts lose their patience when the same customers they cater to everyday bitch and moan about everything. And those same people fail to participate in the organized races or purchase their parts from that owner's stock unless the owner discounts it to them. So the racer/participant seeks to save a few pennies by purchasing elsewhere. Again, no issue with saving a little money. Unfortunately "elsewhere" does not have a track to race on...

As NSCSRA, USRA, and other racing organizations have said for years: support your local raceway!

"We have seen the enemy. And it is us"... (not my quote, I can not remember where I saw it. No, it is not a Political Party postioning statement.) :laugh2:

#116 Cheater

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:43 AM

KC,

The quote, which is a wee bit different from your citation, is from Walt Kelly, the cartoonist who used to pen "Pogo".

Walt Kelly first used the quote "We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us" on a poster for the first Earth Day in 1970.

Wehavemet01.jpg

Rather timely, I'd say, considering Earth Day 2008 was yesterday...

Gregory Wells

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


#117 Prof. Fate

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 12:03 PM

Hi,

One of the things I see around the country (you guys who know me know my road trip thing) is related to my aphorism that rules are written out of fear.

Overwhelminly the home racers have no idea why or how the cars actually work. When they go to a commerical track, they see a level of expertise in any Flexi racer that frightens them.

If you go to "SlotCarIllustrated" you will see threads on the line of "I have these identical cars and one is faster, why is that?". And no one will actually listen to the answers! And some of the answers are laughable.

Most of the home racers are also drawn to the cars as "diecasts you can race". What that means is that when KTM shows up with his cars, they look bad to their eyes! Eurosports might as well be from Mars.

To illustrate, during the dark ages, I was making a regular trip to run with these guys running old Revell and Monogram cars, before the current RTRs were around. So, I ran my old Revells in practice, they were all happy, but kept asking about the cars I didn't run. These consisted of the Dynamic anglewinders we speak about elsehwere on the board, and a couple of then current ECRA spec cars. I begged off. Finally, the track owner and his best friend insisted on trying the cars. So, the short version is the ECRA won, the Dynamic was second, and the club started arguing about this type of car... and the discussion led to the club collapsing. Most of the racers were out of their comfort zone when not running scale Revell cars, And a couple of the others were "hooked" on the easy driving and the speed.

This second attitude runs into the "big frog in the little pond" syndrome. Whatever the prejudice of the big frog in the group, unless they are careful will destroy the club.

We complain that D3 has too many near relatives, in plastic cars, nearly every club races to the standards of "the big frog". And that means organizing with a track for alien approaches that "the frog" doesn't control wrecks the idea. Plastic has way more politics than D3.

Fate
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#118 MadMax

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:05 PM

Cheater,

Thank you. I could not remember where I saw or heard it. But it has stuck with me...

Too bad this hobby can't get organized to save itself. Too many people wanting to do it only their way and no one willing to give an inch. I guess when this whole industry collapses like the economy has, then maybe we will all learn... :mellow: Probably not, as the mistakes of the sixties were repeated the last seven years.

On another subject, did you watch the mini series "John Adams"... Certainly would help the idiots in Washington to understand history.

Same with the racers and particpants of slot car racing... we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past if we forget the past...

#119 Vay Jonynas

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 01:06 PM

Cool Games:

A third plywood track from the sixties was my favorite but racers hated the figure 8.

But why? Looks great to me! Did they hate figure eights in general or just yours?

:huh:
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#120 Cheater

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 02:23 PM

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

- George Santayana (1863-1952), The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

:)

Gregory Wells

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#121 jimht

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 03:05 PM

"I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus."
The Firesign Theatre 1971
:P

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#122 Tex

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 03:42 PM

I may be slow, but I'm stupid.
Richard L. Hofer

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#123 idare2bdul

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 11:23 PM

I've worked my way up to half fast. Or a similar spelling.
The light at the end of the tunnel is almost always a train.
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#124 Tex

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 06:25 AM

Ba-da-boomp! Tsshhh!!!!
Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#125 Fred_J

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:27 PM

I may be slow, but I'm stupid.

I think I found my new motto!
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#126 Jaz

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 03:57 PM

"I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus."
The Firesign Theatre 1971
:P

"My mother used to be a Bozoette in high school!"
Jeff Morris

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#127 MantaRay

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 04:33 PM

Here's a clip CLIP...

"You gotta start young, if you're going to stick it out."
Ray Price
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#128 Jaz

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 06:16 PM

Just remember, Fud's first law of opposition states: "If you push something hard enough, it will fall over."
Jeff Morris

"If you push something hard enough, it will fall over." Fuds 1st law of opposition

#129 MantaRay

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 06:52 PM

Teslacle's Deviant to Fudd's Law:
"It comes in, it must go out."
Ray Price
11/4/49-1/23/15
Requiescat in Pace

#130 Jaz

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 08:13 PM

:rofl:

Hey, What are you guys doing in my car?
Ahh, the foxtrot. You can have the next dance!
Jeff Morris

"If you push something hard enough, it will fall over." Fuds 1st law of opposition

#131 MadMax

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 10:25 AM

To KTM who wrote:

A big problem for someone that wants to run 1/32 RTRs on wood is that there are not many places to practice and tune cars and none that sell parts for them. I do it because I really enjoy running those cars as fast as I can make them run on as big a track as I can find within a distance I'm willing to drive. Right now that is about one hour from my house.

Making those small hardbodied cars run fast and handle is not easy and a few cars will be destroyed during the learning curve but I don't destroy cars any more and have become a good driver because I don't want them smashed to pieces.

We used to have a full line of 1/32 scale parts and cars as did other raceways that were in the area previously. Same with HO stock and cars. Neither made sense to carry because neither made more than a few dollars for the entire year.

Reason being from MY experience (others may have different experience so don't get your controller wires twisted)... the 1/32 scale racers did not support the track or tracks for the most part. Neither in buying parts, ordering parts, race participation, or buying cars from stock. The ones that did want to do so wanted discounts, complained about the prices, did not want to pay for track time, did not want to pay race entry. or spend money. So I ask you, if let's say McDonald's had a sandwich like the Big McBuffalo Burger and no one asked for those items, would they carry it anymore? So that is why we do not carry 1/32 scale for the most part.

All retailers need to carry items that their customers purchase; to keep carrying a line of products like the 1/32 scale cars or the McBuffalo Burger... no sales equals me not carrying the dead wood and carrying stuff that sells so I can stay in business.

IF any business like slot cars does not get support locally it will go away. There is no support from any manufacturer on a local level for the most part. So the industry is doomed to stay small or just fade to black...

On a side note, It is great that ESPN uses 1/32 scale slot cars to promote NASCAR... How come the manufacturers won't promote in another venue like your local track?

#132 KTM300

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:25 PM

There's really no argument to be made. Our stories are a perfect parallel. You have not been able to get people to support 1/32 scale, and I have not found anyone that wants to take it to the level that I have. Even the guys like Dennis Sampson that have built beautiful 1/32 scale scratchbuilt chassis and added a hardbody have not found too many people that want to race 1/32 scale even in a scratchbuilt setting.

1/32 scale seems to have boomed because of the internet and eBay, so no reason to think that it would change. It doesn't need a commercial track or a hobby shop to survive. I try to buy as much as can from BPR, but let's be real. I'm not going to drive 60+ minutes one way every time I need 10 dollars worth of parts.

When I do make a big purchase, there two places I go on the web. They always have what I want and it shows up on my doorstep in three days, free postage, and no gas used from my tank. Your track offers something that your patrons can't get anywhere else. If that changes, so will your business, for the worst I would expect.

You mentioned that you had a four-lane 60 ft plastic track that no one used. I wouldn't use it either. I can have one of my own in my house or I can go to one of the many other tracks at other people's houses. No one is going to get excited about 60 ft of track but if you look at the track on the NSR website you will see something that gets people out of the house. They have a six and an eight lane track that looks to be at least 130 feet with big banks, big sweeping turns, elevation changes, and long straights. Kind of like a big wood track. I don't know if that track is a permanent fixture or a traveling road show but it sure looks like a track that I want to compete on.
Mike Chavez

#133 MadMax

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 01:28 AM

You mentioned that you had a four-lane 60 ft plastic track that no one used. I wouldn't use it either.

Therein lies the crux of the issue and proves my point. I wanted to attract the 1/32 scale crowd with "magnet racing," as most do not race if the car does not have magnet traction for whatever reason. So we put in a very nice four-laner made from what we felt was the best "plastic track", Carerra. That did not work not because they did not like the track. It did not work because the potential users of the track did not want to spend money for track time or pay an entry fee to race.

So, if a potential customer who wants to race somewhere other than their own living room or garage, won't pay to race or for track time or for parts or for cars, why do I need to stock the stuff?

This is a big issue also with HO. We had at one time thousands in HO parts, cars, and so forth. But again the scrubs of the HO world got their hands on the customers and sold them direct from their manufacturer sources at less than I could buy from the distributor.

Both have led to no HO raceways, parts, or cars available for sale by any retailer for 400 miles west, 800 miles east, and about 1,000 miles north of us. Sure, a few Tyco cars and tracks can be had at some Toys-R-Us or a few hobby shops. But ask them about R/Os or Patriots and they don't have a clue.

So this is really a non-issue. If someone is happy racing on their 20 foot two-laner at their home, then so be it. Don't complain when I fail to carry that latest Scalextrix or Ninco or whatever when you come in to the store. You did not support it when I had those items before... if you want to pre-pay like you do on the internet and it is available, I will order it. But don't expect me to "cheap sell" the item. And yes, if shipping is charged for the item, guess who has the pleasure of paying for that shipping?

Unfortunately, The 1/32 scale model car racers will not look at racing at a commercial raceway the way the larger scale racers and participants do at this time. Again, not an issue with me at all. But don't whine when you come to my shop and tell me I need to carry this and that. And then try to tell me I should not charge for track time, not charge for racing, or discount my parts on the wall for y-o-u... (KTM you understand, the "you" in the response is people in general and not you or anyone in particular)

Try that at McDonald's and tell them they should sell McBuffalo Burgers or that you want to buy that three dollar shake for 50 cents... and you will be asked to leave in less time it takes to get a Big Mac...

Overall it is sad as all factions and supporters of this niche hobby don't try to get along and support it. Unfortunately, that will never happen as it has not happened in the past 50 years... Too many "me first, f@#k you" types in this hobby.

#134 Vay Jonynas

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 02:24 PM

Unfortunately, The 1/32 scale model car racers will not look at racing at a commercial raceway the way the larger scale racers and participants do at this time.

My local track gives every appearance of doing a thriving business in 1/32 scale plasticars. His strategy is threefold:

1) He rents out one of his two big tracks for kids birthday parties. The parents often end up buying Scalextric or Carrera sets for the kids as well as extra cars. This is key because he constantly attracts new participants into slot car racing in this way.

2) He has regular 1/32 box stock with magnets races for kids.

3) He holds races for at least two different classes of non-magnet 1/32 scale cars for adults. These require serious modifications to be competitive. He of course sells the parts to make these modifications possible.

The participants in his 1/24 racing classes all seem to have 1/32 plasticars in their slot boxes as well. Many of them just run them for fun on the big track just to see how well they can get them to run - with and without the magnets.

:huh:
Posted Image

#135 redbackspyder

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 08:11 PM

1/32 scale seems to have boomed because of the internet and eBay, so no reason to think that it would change. It doesn't need a commercial track or a hobby shop to survive. I try to buy as much as can from BPR, but let's be real. I'm not going to drive 60+ minutes one way every time I need 10 dollars worth of parts.

When I do make a big purchase, there two places I go on the web. They always have what I want and it shows up on my doorstep in three days, free postage, and no gas used from my tank. Your track offers something that your patrons can't get anywhere else. If that changes, so will your business, for the worst I would expect.

Mike, I agree with you totally on this, as this is what happened at Nomad.

Quadrophenia track was great for a while, and while there was good racing, the limitations put on the racers is what drove the majority of them to leave.

The reluctance of the owner to order certain parts forced racers to eBay or the internet. I tried unsuccessfully to order a tire truer for nine months, and finally gave up. 1/32 racing is at least 50 times the size of 1/24 in the US, and we can race on home tracks at least as nice as most of the raceways that do offer a 1/32 track.

Your expertise in being able to set these cars up for wood tracks is unbelievable, just as tough as Mike S. or Doug M setting up D3 cars. By the way, what are the two companies that you use for 1/32 parts or cars???

1/24 racers are forced to pay to race since there are no home alternatives. Most 1/32 guys enjoy the club scene, and if they saw how well your cars run, would probably get much more excited about running on wood tracks. Setting up a proper Pla-fit SLP chassis is just as difficult as getting any D3 car sorted I am sure.

eBy and the iternet are here to stay, and track owners must deal with it or join in having an effective website themselves. A customer loyalty program, customer service, etc... maybe more people would support local tracks if they were given a little better treatment.

Just a thought - I could be wrong. ;)

Mill Conroy
 

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#136 KTM300

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 09:06 PM

Hi Mill,

The place I found stateside is Fantasy World Hobbies, which I'm pretty sure you know about.

The other is in the U.K. - Pendle Slots. Pendle has an unbelievable selection of cars and parts as well as resin bodies and completed kits. They do not ship free and their prices are not listed in dollars but if you do the math they are equal in price to Fantasy and for NSR and MB Slot they are much cheaper. If I order on Monday I usually get the stuff on Friday. You must be home for the international orders from Pendle because UPS will not leave them; signature required. You must then go pick them up at the UPS station. I think they have very fast shipping for being from Yurrup (as PDL would say). I also like Pendle because they have things that you don't see in the states and they also get the new stuff months before we do.

I think enough people have heard about my wood track stuff so here is a little teaser from my latest project. For those that have seen them sorry to bore you . This is the MB Slot Zonda in the two chassis configs they offer. The anglewinder is still missing a few parts that are currently on the way from Fantasy.

Posted Image
Mike Chavez

#137 Mopar Rob

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 09:07 PM

So this is really a non-issue. If someone is happy racing on their 20 foot two-laner at their home, then so be it. Don't complain when I fail to carry that latest Scalextrix or Ninco or whatever when you come in to the store. You did not support it when I had those items before... if you want to pre-pay like you do on the internet and it is available, I will order it. But don't expect me to "cheap sell" the item. And yes, if shipping is charged for the item, guess who has the pleasure of paying for that shipping?

I guess everyone has a different business philosophy. I would gladly take 20% on something that was prepaid than 40% of zero dollars spent. I wouldn't care if they purchased track time or raced if I had a piece of the pie with zero investment other than a phone call or email to order it.

In the real business world most people work on gross dollars. Slot car shops seem to work off the 40% margin and most of us know the fate of most slot car shops.
Rob Hanson

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Rob was right!


#138 MarcusPHagen

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 12:50 AM

In the real business world most people work on gross dollars.

Sorry to contradict, but in the real business world, people who stay in business work on NET profits. Anything else is an illusion which can bankrupt you before you realize it.

I've seen people who thought they were doing wonderfully well because their gross sales were so high - but they were losing money on each sale. The true cost of a phone call (in time and overhead) can easily exceed the net profit on a discounted sale.

For a steady customer, the occasional loss leader item can be justified. However, those who always want a discount, but never allow the business to make sufficient profits, are cutting their own throats.
Marcus P. Hagen -- see below, my five favorite quotes: applicable to slot cars & life in general.
[ "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.". . Daniel Patrick Moynihan ]
[ "Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its students.". . . . . . . . Hector Berlioz ]
[ "There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness." . . . . . . . . . . . Dave Barry ]
[ "Build what you like to build, they are all doomed." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prof. Fate ]
[ "The less rules the more fun. Run what you brung." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Larry LS ]

#139 redbackspyder

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 01:17 AM

Mike,

As always, beautifully done.

I will try Pendle as there are a few things like the Avant LeMans trio that I would like but can not get anywhere.

My new Hudy tire truer is due on Friday, after I tried to get one from Jim at Nomad for nine months.

Mike, where are you getting your brass sheet stock, from BP? Is this the .032" that you were telling me about?

I spent Monday over at Bryan Warmack's shop and the stories that he and Tore told me were great. They are a great bunch of guys, and we swapped '60s stories and I helped them with some parts for their own projects.

Mill Conroy
 

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#140 MadMax

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 05:07 AM

To Rob who wrote:

I guess everyone has a different business philosophy. I would gladly take 20% on something that was prepaid than 40% of zero dollars spent. I wouldn't care if they purchased track time or raced if I had a piece of the pie with zero investment other than a phone call or email to order it.

In the real business world most people work on gross dollars. Slot car shops seem to work off the 40% margin and most of us know the fate of most slot car shops.

Good luck to you in supporting a business that way. When the landlord to whom I pay the rent each month, the utility companies, insurance companies, and so forth accept 80% or less on the bill as payment, I might see your point.

Unfortunately in the "real world" we all pay retail for retail space. The landlord does not care as long as they are paid 100%... So if you can negotiate a deal for me and others where the landlord will discount my lease payment, go for it... Somehow I think that has the same chance as me discounting 1/32 scale cars and parts...

And yes... Most slot car shops work on 40%. But... rent, utilities, insurance, upkeep, and supplies (not parts) come out of that 40%. The money made on track rental, races, parties and so forth help out a little. I have made ZERO for my efforts the past two plus years and I am here seven days a week to make this thing work. Not for me... for the people who love slot cars.

So when anyone tries to tell me to accept 20% instead of what I need to stay in business, it is sort of... (you fill in the blank).

That is the real world, Rob.

#141 KTM300

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 06:43 AM

Attn Mill,

BPR has a much better stock than they used to or maybe it's just easier to find because of the new display. So much of it I buy there.

I also get a bunch from Hobby People. They actually have a pretty good stock.

Lastly there is a shop close to my house called Dynamic Hobbies. He used to own two other shops and had an indoor carpet R/C track but has since put everything into one shop that sells R/C cars, planes, boats, trains, plastic kits, and HO.

The brass on the Zonda is .032" on the completed car and .025" on the other one.
Mike Chavez

#142 redbackspyder

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 09:13 PM

Thanks for the info, Mike. I will have to check if there are any R/C shops near me, or a Hobby People.

Do you attach the brass plates with Shoe Goo? Very nicely cut out; were they done on your new saw or by Dremel?

Mill Conroy
 

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Deal me life's toughest cards, without chance for hope nor fame, just let me play this one last hand, and I'll win this whole damn game.

Second Most Interesting Man in the World.


#143 Tim Neja

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:15 AM

It always amazes me that small shop owners think there is no reason to compete with the mail order world or other competitors. That somehow they should be "guaranteed" a 40% margin or better simply because they have "opened their doors and put parts in stock"!

While I can empathize with needing to maximize profits, I've been in sales all my life, and have always had to "compete" for the sale. Be it price, or service, or product, I am always asked to try and "meet the competition"!

Why should it not be any different for hobbies/slot shops? There are plenty of ways to make a sale, service may be one of the most important. Service in this case means knowing what your customers want and stocking it. Sounds like he didn't listen to his customers, one of the largest 1/32 clubs in SoCal is in LA - and NONE of them race with magnets!! All of the home tracks are 40' four-lane tracks and up - some as large as 80 to 100' - no little nothing tracks.

And their diversity is one of the things enjoyed by all. Carrera is NOT the only "best" plastic track, Ninco works very well for bite, Scalextric is very realistic, Artin works well for one of the members. Most of them have scenery for realism. They are all fun. Some have small routed tracks, and for racing, this is the preferred style of track. FWIW.

Tim
She's real fine, my 409!!!

#144 MadMax

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 04:15 PM

Well Tim,

The real world dictates that businesses make a profit or at least pay the bills. Unfortunately since this industry does not help itself out in any way (by promoting or advertising), track owners are left to do that themselves. And most do not, as they don't have the capital. They only make enough to keep the doors open... some for just awhile.

The crux of the issue is lack of support for a dying hobby. No one sees any potential profit in this hobby. That is why no one does anything. Add to that attitudes of slot car people from HO to 1/32 to 1/24 and you have a recipe for disaster.

Lack of support comes in two flavors. One is lack of participation in race programs by any of the race groups mentioned previously. The other is each group mentioned will look for the deal of the century on eBay, the net, or wherever before supporting their local track owner. Both scenarios mixed together make a meal that is not fit to keep a raceway open.

Slot car racing is the CHEAPEST of all the hobbies going. And people bitch about track time (Why do I have to pay to play?), race entry fee (Why do I have to pay to race and how much is the race cert? And if I don't win a race cert, I won't be racing anymore because that guy who won is cheating) and parts cost (You charge retail when I can get it somewhere else for 20% off)...

Maybe it time for slot car tracks in general to raise the fees to more than double to cover costs. We can blame it on the gas cost... Everything and everyone else does...

That way we can chase out the deadwood and deadbeat customers... Oh, we can't do that because then the slot car raceways around the country would have NO customers...

So, Tim, that is reality. Don't support your local track and the track will go away. Parts will go away also as there will be no place to use those parts. Then manufacturers who refuse to advertise or promote will not have any reason to produce product for you to buy.

IT is a vicious cycle that is spiraling downward with the economy... Due to increased gaoline and transportation costs.

I suggest a minimum of 30 dollars a day track rental, an increase in all parts to triple current retail, and race entry fees all be at least 75 bucks a race. How does that grab ya? (I am kidding of course, so don't get your controller wire in a twist.) :blink: :laugh2: :rolleyes:

#145 KTM300

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:59 PM

We can blame it on the gas cost... Everything and everyone else does.

Too many "me first, f@#k you" types in this hobby.

That way we can chase out the deadwood and deadbeat customers.

These kinds of comments are not going to gain you any customers. When I look at all the places that I buy from on the web they are in fact all hobby shops, with or without tracks. If you want a piece of 1/32 scale pie you will probably have to start web sales as well. When I buy parts or track time from BPR it's really for two reasons and two reasons only"

Chris and Lenore (owners of BPR).

That's it.

They treat me nice when I walk in and make me feel at home. I spend money even when I don't need anything just because I want them to stay around and to show appreciation for the way they treat me.

BPR is the last track in SoCal, and I'm sure everyone that goes there knows why and feels the same as me. I can only hope your customers say the same about you.
Mike Chavez

#146 68Caddy

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 10:18 PM

Amen.Posted Image

Mike, I really have to agree with you, that is why people are come back because people like Chris and Lenore. ;)

I'm glad that you are also involved in 1/32 slots.

Nesta aka 68CaddyPosted Image
- Gabriel
Nesta Szabo

In this bright future you can't forget your past.
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I'm racing the best here at BP but Father time is much better then all of us united.
Not a snob in this hobby, after all it will be gone, if we keep on going like we do, and I have nothing to prove so I keep on posting because I have nothing to gain.
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#147 MadMax

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 12:36 PM

KTM and other non-track owners: You just don't get it. When people don't support a business... any business... that business goes away. That is the way the business world is in reality. Unfortunately for the SLOT CAR INDUSTRY, the industry does not really exist except because of a few "manufacturers" and "raceways" who operate on a shoestring. NO ONE sees any potential real profit in this hobby to:

1) advertise
2) promote
3) organize
4) charge "real prices" to make a profit
5) invest to make this a business that makes money

I could go on and on, but why?

The slot car "afficianados" do not for the most part support this "industry". Listen and read what actual raceway owners say about paying the bills and making a profit to pay themselves. Most make NO profit, get tired of beating their heads against the wall, and eventually just "let someone else do it".

There is "no one solution" for this industry. This industry is in its death throes and no one anywhere wants to try and organize to keep it viable.

Look at manufacturers who have left the scene in the last few years:

RJR, DRS, SlotWorks, Speed Secrets, Champion (bought by Parma one year ago, but nothing new or availability limited to stock in hand) and the list goes on and on and on. "Manufacturers" are little more than cottage industries who just keep this thing alive. If the remaining people like JK, Parma, Pro Slot, Pro-Track (to name a few) give up the "ghost" so to speak, this thing we call slot car racing will dry up once and for all. That is the way it is, KTM.

Not enough business which translates into PROFIT for them to make MONEY. Sorry, KTM and other wishful thinkers, SUPPORT your local track means spending your money at that track to keep it open. Sure, if you don't like the owner or his "style", don't support him and he will go away. And the ones who did not support him will have "won". You and others have made your point and your local guy is out of business because he was an arsehole or whatever. But did you really win? And what did you really win?

And unless some other person decides he wants to "invest" in a business where he will make no money, work for free, listen to bitching about this and that, have to be the babysitter to a bunch of romper room cry babies who bitch about this guy is cheating or listen to everyone telling him how to run his business and so forth, you ain't gonna have a local track. Only a fool opens and runs a slot car track. OR someone who really wants to do it because he too is an "afficianado" or just plain crazy.

So dream on. Don't support your local track and it too will fold. Don't believe me? Ask the many "afficiandos" who do not have a local track and have to travel to race. Now with gas at almost 4 bucks a gallon, that too is ending. The same reason slot car racing died in the sixties is happening again. No support, no profit, no growth, business goes bye bye...

So please understand that is why slot car racing is dying. No people, no one spending cash, no business, no slot car racing... :mellow: :help: :wave:

#148 KTM300

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 01:07 PM

KTM and other non track owners: You just don't get it.

I get it... perfectly! Good day.
Mike Chavez

#149 68Caddy

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 07:36 PM

That means we are cheap. :laugh2: :laugh2:
I spend a lot of money on this stuff but maybe doesn't help? :shok:
Nesta aka 68CaddyPosted Image
- Gabriel
Nesta Szabo

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

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

Pistol Pete you will always be in my memory.

#150 MarcusPHagen

MarcusPHagen

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 04:53 AM

I spend a lot of money on this stuff but maybe doesn't help? :shok:

It helps wherever you spend it, Nesta.

As painful as it may be for those on the receiving end of it, change happens. There are very few blacksmiths left in the world. Yes, there are a few -- but you may have to travel to a Civil War reenactment festival to see one these days.

In the same way, the economics of slot racing centers probably ensure that any of us who want to race at one will have to travel, unless we happen to be lucky enough to live near one. In addition, just as for the blacksmith, it will probably be a hobby rather than a way of life for most.

That seems to be what the above discussion is leading toward.

The same lack of a sustainable economic model caused our nearby suburban mini-golf course to be converted to an all-you-can-eat restaurant, and is destroying the few remaining outdoor movie theaters in this country.
Marcus P. Hagen -- see below, my five favorite quotes: applicable to slot cars & life in general.
[ "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.". . Daniel Patrick Moynihan ]
[ "Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its students.". . . . . . . . Hector Berlioz ]
[ "There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness." . . . . . . . . . . . Dave Barry ]
[ "Build what you like to build, they are all doomed." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prof. Fate ]
[ "The less rules the more fun. Run what you brung." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Larry LS ]





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