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


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#201 stumbley

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 06:27 PM

I'm very happy that you have a successful program going on but I wish we could help to bridge the two scales together and build on that.


Oh, Nesta, I agree with you wholeheartedly! It's what the ISCA that I mentioned before was meant to be all about. The problem as I see it, is that there are essentially two groups of people involved in the slot hobby: racers and what I would call "model racers". The two have pretty much antithetical ideas of what the "hobby" is about. Racers like the competition and speed; "model racers" like to race with cars that realistically embody their 1:1 counterparts. It's not that those of us who are "model racers" don't appreciate the speed and technical wizardry of say, a 1/24 wing car, it's just that it's not what "slot racing" is all about to me. Even many of the D3 cars don't look like real cars to me—they're squashed and too wide and not terribly well detailed for the most part, and that's what I like about 1/32 scale. But I don't begrudge those who love to race wing cars or D3, or retro, or anything else. The trouble is, most (not all) of the "racers" at "commercial" tracks don't feel the same way about 1/32. It's not true of everyone, of course; I've seen Cukras and Steube and Tore race 1/32 and be very happy doing so.

But the question that started this thread was "Why did slot car racing fade so quickly in popularity in the '60's?" I gave what was my opinion—the dichotomy between the two approaches to slot racing I've outlined above. Plus, we all grew up and had other stuff to occupy our time, and the newer generations had easier and less expensive ways to "enjoy" small scale motorsports. Not to mention the lack of cooperation between slot manufacturers, the lack of promotion (as KC has indicated) and the lack of business sense of many slot car track owners. It got so many hobby shops would not carry slot cars simply because they thought the hobby was completely nonexistent and that even if there were still slot cars being manufactured, nobody would buy them.

I like to think that I was instrumental in getting Allied Model Trains to begin to carry slot product in the early 90's. I bugged Brian there to consider slots so often, and made him look on the internet for the wealth of information and manufacturers' websites and club sites so much that he was pretty much forced into believing that there was a market for slot stuff again. So Allied started selling slots up until very recently, when the shop was sold to someone else who wanted to carry only model railroad stuff.

But as I've also said before, this has been done to death in a bunch of different slot forums over the years. I believe the real problem lies in the mindset of most "commercial" track owners that 1/32 is too toy-like to mess with, because the bulk of their clientele are "racers" who couldn't care less about smaller scale stuff. It's why I believe (like PdL does) that the club scene will endure, and that the 1/24 "commercial" tracks are doomed, unless the track owners who are stuck in the past realize that "racing" is not what they're actually selling. It's entertainment, and they've got to compete with girls, movies, video games, iPods, and everything else that young people can find to occupy their time these days.
Stan Smith
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"No one is completely useless - you can always serve as a bad example." -PartiStan

Democracies endure until the citizens care more for what the state can give them than for its ability to defend rich and poor alike; until they care more for their privileges than their responsibilities; until they learn they can vote largess from the public treasury and use the state as an instrument for plundering, first those who have wealth, then those who create it -- Jerry Pournelle.

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Things that are Too Big To Fail sooner or later become like Queen Bees, the Alpha and Omega of all activity, resulting in among other things, the inability to think of anything else but servicing them. - Richard Fernandez, The Belmont Club




#202 Tim Neja

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 10:22 AM

Ok--I'll go back to why racing died in the 60's! Simple, the COST of racing went OUT OF SITE!! When we started racing, it was CHEAP cars and motors-- and everyone had a GREAT TIME racing what we could get our hands on. As the SPEED ADDICTS got involved, the cars got faster, but the COST of racing escalated rapidly. Technology and parts started getting very expensive, and as a result, priced the VAST majority, OUT of the hobby.
Simple, economics when cheap allowed a large population of racers who enjoyed racing with each other and did not have to break the bank to go fast. Slot racing SHOULD be about racing each other--NOT trying to set a new track record every time a race is held.

To STAN'S point, the racing is about ENTERTAINMENT, and when the COST of this entertainment became no longer acceptable to most people, only the "hard core" racers were left. And there's not enough of them to "fund the hobby" and keep it profitable.

ONE of the reasons D3 racing is SO attractive, is the cost per car to build and race. It's far less money to build and race a FUN car with D3 --then many other forms of racing. In the early 60's--which many would agree was the highpoint of participation in slot racing, cars were CHEAP, and racing was FUN> then lot's of motors started becoming available, then re-winding--then magnets--then better brush's etc etc etc. And the COST to compete went out of site quickly. That's why racing died.

The same thing happened to 1/12 scale electric RC racing, and 1/10 scale off road racing. Its' the economics of entertainment--and unless we KEEP IT REASONABLE, this hobby will NOT grow.
FWIW
Tim
She's real fine, my 409!!!

#203 Cheater

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 10:42 AM

How many young people are involved in 1:1 motorsports beyond the go-kart phase?

Meant to make a reply to this question a few days ago and never did it.

My contention is that there are far more people in the US involved in low-buck 1:1 motorsports (i.e hobby stocks at the local bullring, sports car slaloms, etc., etc.) than are involved in 1/24 commercial slot racing. And if you agree that's the case, it certainly can't be that 1:1 racing is less expensive and/or less time-consuming.

Anyone wanna take a stab at suggesting why this might be the case? (If you agree with my contention. Remember, I'm not including HO or 1/32 slots in my claim).

Gregory Wells

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


#204 stumbley

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 11:04 AM

Anyone wanna take a stab at suggesting why this might be the case?

Sponsorship? Promotion? More direct involvement with the vehicle being raced ("hands-on" feel, etc.)?

I would also venture to say that the "kids" we need to "grow the hobby" of slot racing are not the same kids that are racing in the venues you're talking about, but I'm probably totally wrong.

Plus... more people understand the internal combustion engine than the electric motor, and you can pay somebody else to weld. Most young people (heck, most older folks like me!) don't know how to solder.

My .02.
Stan Smith
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"No one is completely useless - you can always serve as a bad example." -PartiStan

Democracies endure until the citizens care more for what the state can give them than for its ability to defend rich and poor alike; until they care more for their privileges than their responsibilities; until they learn they can vote largess from the public treasury and use the state as an instrument for plundering, first those who have wealth, then those who create it -- Jerry Pournelle.

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. - George Washington

Things that are Too Big To Fail sooner or later become like Queen Bees, the Alpha and Omega of all activity, resulting in among other things, the inability to think of anything else but servicing them. - Richard Fernandez, The Belmont Club

#205 Cheater

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 11:09 AM

Stan,

I'm not saying that I know the answer to the question posed.

However, if one agrees with the basic claim, it strongly suggests that costs and the panoply of alternative leisure time activities (video games, etc.) are not the main reasons slot racing participation is at such a low ebb right now.

Gregory Wells

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


#206 don.siegel

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 12:11 PM

The original remark was that cost was a major factor in the decline of the hobby in the '60s, and from my personal experience I'd have to disagree with this. It was getting more expensive, sometimes outrageously so, but that only applied if you were at the top level of competition, and that only applied to relatively few people - who could probably find the cash if they were really into it.

I don't remember the cost of stuff discouraging me from racing in 1967-early 68, say, the last time I was doing this actively. I was in a quiet residential neighborhood in Chicago, but that may be more typical of the times than the hot-shots in SoCal and NY...

There was also the fast-paced development, but in a way that was the exciting part of things! At the time it was still mostly home-made stuff, and while the motors got very expensive, it would be a while before everything else did - at least enough to be a deterrent.

Just one view from down in the trenches.

Don

PS: And why did I stop? The usual, i.e. getting ready to go away to college, and the particular, i.e. I got fairly sick my senior year of HS...

#207 KTM300

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 02:37 PM

ONE of the reasons D3 racing is SO attractive, is the cost per car to build and race. It's far less money to build and race a FUN car with D3 --then many other forms of racing. In the early 60's--which many would agree was the highpoint of participation in slot racing, cars were CHEAP, and racing was FUN> then lot's of motors started becoming available, then re-winding--then magnets--then better brush's etc etc etc. And the COST to compete went out of site quickly. That's why racing died.

The same thing happened to 1/12 scale electric RC racing, and 1/10 scale off road racing. It's the economics of entertainment - and unless we KEEP IT REASONABLE, this hobby will NOT grow.

Tim,

On this we completely agree. I raced several different types of R/C but what killed them all was the cost. Things just became a big money pit so I stopped spending and gave up the hobby/sport.

The cost of batteries, motors, tires, and gas engines or even just rebuilding parts for gas engines just got too expensive to be fun. The 1/10 scale gas trucks were the best value until the engines became 200 bucks each to be competitve instead of 70.

I like D3 because it is still cheap and because that is where the most racers are right now.
Mike Chavez

#208 Tim Neja

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 03:37 PM

WOW-- I can't believe you would equate racing little toy cars on a track guided by a slot with REAL RACE cars as a cost justification?? Say it isn't so!! :laugh2:

Of course, there's FAR more interest in real racing cars than slot cars, and the people that race them can AFFORD to do it. How many of them do you see racing slot cars? WHY? What would bring them to fantasize about race cars when they have the real thing?
Hobbyists are really that, people that LIKE to have fun with toys, and some like it scale, others just want to RACE anything they can. But they aren't the same people necessarily that go full size racing. And bringing KIDS into our hobby would be the best for it. When I raced in the 60's-- I DID do it at the highest level. Taking that level away with frightful expenses is what turned me OFF to racing by 1968! I was in high school, and NO WAY could I afford to spend what those guys were on a silly SLOT CAR!!!
You know what I did?? I bought a 55 chevy for $250 in Santa Ana--turned it into an NHRA JR Stock Race Car, for LESS than $2500.00-- and went out and won my class at the 1969 Winternationals. I WON, $3800.00. So it PAID for the car the first major race out. I would have had to spend $1,000.00 for my Slot Racing cars back then-- and get what?? $200 for winning a race. Doesn't seem to compute does it.

Hobby's and real cars don't necessarily mix, but spending money on a hobby is always a choice, and families can not afford to go racing anymore-- and especially in 1960's. The highest levels of racing USED to be affordable, when they got out of hand, we lost the bulk of our customers / participants. It's easy, follow the money-- they went somewhere else.
FWIW
Tim
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#209 Rick

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 04:11 PM

For the most part, I would guess, it was a fad and lived longer than most fads do.

On the other hand, Tim has a point about escalating costs. That's why I quit in 2002.

Something I encountered more than a few times when I owned a track. New men would come in and watch the cars and racing. Several times they asked, do you bet on these things? I told them no, and they did not believe me. LOL Maybe they were on to something.

Second thought, the price of admission to an event may indicate what you have to offer. Drag racing at the 1169 Winter Nationals required a ticket and money, slot cars are given away free.

When the RC craze was still in the fad state, there was a hobby shop in the area, matter of fact, a few, That not only had to turn away entrants, and charged a buck or two to get in to watch the races. They would be 6 or 7 deep at the wall to spectate. They are all gone today, but it was something to see.

I don't think there is any one definitive answer to the why. A culmination of many things. With that said, it won't change the past but the raceway owner that figures out how to get every racer they had in March to return in September, will have found the secret of success. How many other raceways owners have had newbies come in during the winter and jump in with both feet and spend a lot of money for all the equipment and never to see them again, come the next fall?

May have drifted off topic, but this topic always gets the wheels turning.............
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#210 Tim Neja

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 04:29 PM

Well I think your right in some ways Rick, FADS do come and go. And slot racing was sure a fad. But I'm OLD now--and ALL the hobbies/fads I have enjoyed-- the only one that has stood the test of time has been racing sailplanes. ANd that's primarily because I will always be a TOY NUT!! BUT, it is also no more expensive today than it was 25 years ago, and I can still compete at the highest levels in the sport without breaking the bank!

Slot cars--- $ got WAY TO HIGH for the kind of cars I could build / race.

RC Cars-- another fad--but in 1977 when I started-- I could race the whole weekend for about $50 in tires and batteries and I had a TOTAL investment of $300 in the car, in 1/12 scale electric. By 1994 when I stopped after the Nationals at Phil and Jim's Raceway in Riverside, the average weekend for a racer-- would consume $150 in tires -- and the investment in batteries motors and tires -- along with fancy chargers etc. was now way over $2000.00. For the same 1/12 scale car!!
Fortunately for me, I was sponsored all those years by Associated-- so the cost was literally near 0$!! But the average family guy--with his car and a son's-- he would have tied up about $4000.00, in accessories, cars, radios, and parts to compaign two cars. That's a HUGE difference--

RC 1/12 scale racing is DEAD in California-- as a result.
Slot cars are nearly dead as well,-- because it's too expensive-- and we can't get new people to stay in it--
STOP changing the rules-- changing the motors-- to go faster-- and create more D3 style class's-- and RACE with cheap motors. When the investment is small relative to the entertainment value-- we'll bring more people back to racing and new people into racing.
IMHO
TIm
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#211 idare2bdul

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:18 PM

... miniskirts, Rock concerts, shrinking bikinis, cheap 100 octane gas. Put any damnspeed part on my car I could make fit. Honda 750's, Kawasaki Triples. Lions Drag Strip, street racing guys you lined up on Van Nuys Blvd, listening to the Doors for free outside the Whiskey. The pier at Santa Monica on a weekend summer night.

The golden age of slots is now but few care.

As far as slots being too expensive I think golf and a lot of other leisure activities are a lot more expensive. For less than $500 you can have a controller and two different class cars to race.
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#212 Mopar Rob

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:42 PM

I wasn't yet walking born yet so I don't have first hand knowlege, but.....


Didn't you all get drafted and go off to fight in Vietnam? Didn't the summer of love in end in 67 and the world change to events like Altamont & Chicago Democratic Convention? I would imagine there were more pressing issues for teens and parents of teens than going to play with toy cars.
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#213 Rick

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:43 PM

As far as slots being too expensive I think golf and a lot of other leisure activities are a lot more expensive. For less than $500 you can have a controller and two different class cars to race.


Not if you live in PGH, and race in Tulsa, it ain't! LOL

Mike, C'mon out to Oakmont Country Club, where they hold the Masters, now and then, and then tell me how economic golf is..........
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#214 Cheater

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 06:03 PM

How many other raceways owners have had newbies come in during the winter and jump in with both feet and spend a lot of money for all the equipment and never to see them again, come the next fall?

Which suggests to me that we're missing something in terms of what customers of slot racing experience.

There's some factor we're neglecting, some inducement, tangible or not, that causes slot racing to not retains participants for long periods of time. A lot of people get into it, but few stay for very long. Only a miniscule percentage of crazies continue with the hobby for any significant time. If we could figure out why and increase the hobby's "attractiveness", we'd be ahead of the game.

As I have posted before, I don't think one or two raceways owners working together are going to be able to figure out the "formula" that will stabilize and grow participation in commercial slot racing, which I'll define as a level of attraction and retention of customers that will generate sufficient revenue to make owning a raceway a profitable business proposition. Let's not kid ourselves into thinking of any other goal will suffice. Is this an achievable goal? I think so, you may not.

As Mill posted elsewhere, if scrapbooking can get 1/2 hours TV shows, slot racing has some room to grow.

Gregory Wells

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


#215 stumbley

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 06:27 PM

Just speculating here, but...

I've been thinking about the difference between racing with my club and racing at a "commercial" track. Club races involve much socializing, beer and / or soda drinking, and snacks. Races at "commercial" tracks consist mainly of....racing. Club races are generally (certainly not always) free of angry competition, and seemingly more "laid back" than the races I've seen at "commercial" tracks.

Is this the real differentiator? That there's not a lot of the "social" happening at commercial tracks? I'm sure that the successful venues like BP and others are VERY social, just based on the dialog that we see here on the board, but is that true of EVERY track?

In our club, we have members who race very well, tune their cars superbly, and who are willing to share their "trade secrets" with others in the club. Is that true of most commercial racers? In other words, when someone visits a commercial track, are they welcomed? Do the racers in attendance notice someone new and say, "Try my car, it's fun?" We do at the club. "Loaner" cars are provided for those "newbies" who haven't yet gotten their own cars. These "loaners" are often prepared by the best racers in the club, and are virtually equal to those racers' own best cars, yet they are provided at no cost to visiting racers. Does that happen at a commercial track? Not likely, because there's no immediate profit in it.

Just saying that the atmosphere at some (NOT ALL) commercial tracks is not necessarily conducive to encouraging a novice to return.
Stan Smith
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"No one is completely useless - you can always serve as a bad example." -PartiStan

Democracies endure until the citizens care more for what the state can give them than for its ability to defend rich and poor alike; until they care more for their privileges than their responsibilities; until they learn they can vote largess from the public treasury and use the state as an instrument for plundering, first those who have wealth, then those who create it -- Jerry Pournelle.

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. - George Washington

Things that are Too Big To Fail sooner or later become like Queen Bees, the Alpha and Omega of all activity, resulting in among other things, the inability to think of anything else but servicing them. - Richard Fernandez, The Belmont Club

#216 Mopar Rob

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 08:40 PM

Just speculating here, but...

Is this the real differentiator? That there's not a lot of the "social" happening at commercial tracks? I'm sure that the successful venues like BP and others are VERY social, just based on the dialog that we see here on the board, but is that true of EVERY track?

We race 1/32 commercial type cars at the club track I race at, but it's very social. A couple of beers, chips & salsa, a just talking slot cars and racing. At one point a couple of years ago all of the club guys were participating in a the same traveling series at commercial raceways. The atmosphere and communication was completely different yet we were the same people. I guess when we stepped into the commercial raceway, it was the quest to win.

While I probably will never attend a Nor-Cal D3 event because I live in the Midwest, their events look enjoyable. I see more photos of people BBQ'n, eating, and BS'n in their race results than pictures of cars or actual race results.
Rob Hanson

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Rob was right!


#217 Rick

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 10:18 PM

Social event, you bet.

For 15 years after our Saturday night racing, all were invited to go out and have a burger and beer with us. We many times had 20 plus people in the party and it was very popular as many of the wives would come in around the last race of the night to join in the after race BS session and dinner. We did this also after the Tuesday night oval racing for years. Maybe that helped us hit our 15th Anniversary but I am sure it didn't hurt.

As to getting everyone back, I never figured that one out, or I would be rich.

As to the racing: It tends to get serious and people, are by nature, competitive. Paybacks are really a bad thing and retro is treating this correctly, IMO. Racing is serious, playing with a gameboy is fun. Keep it fun and they race longer. Make it a family atmosphere and they stay longer, get Mom involved and there is no budget. LOL ...............
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#218 JimR

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 06:21 AM

... listening to the Doors for free outside the Whiskey...

Wow.

But I digress.
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#219 stumbley

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 09:39 AM

... listening to the Doors for free outside the Whiskey...

Yeah, those were the days, all right...Cream playing for $5 at the Student Union, the Yardbirds in our dorm cafeteria(!), Jimi Hendrix in the auditorium (also $5), Santana playing for free (!) at our fraternity house because one of the brothers was Carlos' buddy, Robert DeNiro doing a one-man show in the auditorium for free (! — of course, nobody knew who he was at the time...), Michael Douglas doing student plays with me in the tech crew...

...but my mother gave away all my slot stuff while I was in college :angry:
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Stan Smith
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"No one is completely useless - you can always serve as a bad example." -PartiStan

Democracies endure until the citizens care more for what the state can give them than for its ability to defend rich and poor alike; until they care more for their privileges than their responsibilities; until they learn they can vote largess from the public treasury and use the state as an instrument for plundering, first those who have wealth, then those who create it -- Jerry Pournelle.

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. - George Washington

Things that are Too Big To Fail sooner or later become like Queen Bees, the Alpha and Omega of all activity, resulting in among other things, the inability to think of anything else but servicing them. - Richard Fernandez, The Belmont Club

#220 Cheater

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 09:47 AM

Of course, there's FAR more interest in real racing cars than slot cars, and the people that race them can AFFORD to do it. How many of them do you see racing slot cars? WHY? What would bring them to fantasize about race cars when they have the real thing?

Tim,

I know a number of people who either used to race 1:1 cars or who race slots during the off-season. It isn't hundreds but might be dozens. Start with Lou Cicconi. We used to have a couple of roundy-round guys who would race slots at Ray Gardner's Bullet Raceway in the '90s. And Central in Nashville would sometimes see a racer who spent some time in Winston Cup.

And I do have to disagree with you that "the people that race them can AFFORD to do it". In fact, I think a case could easily be made that a lot of people who race 1:1 cars can't afford to do it, but they do it anyway.

Gregory Wells

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


#221 Hworth08

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 11:20 AM

Lou can supply accurate figures but unless the car he drives is bound by tire rules, I would estimate the total cost is 800 to a 1000 dollars for a typical Saturday night 50 lapper. Tires would be about $600 per race, normal wear and tear a couple hundred, even pit passes for a crew of 4 would be a $100 but that does include un-limited insurance.

The biggest problem I see from a driver's standpoint with slot cars is there is no opportunity to move up to higher divisions. Till there is some paid advertisement (TV) there isn't going to be any money in slot racing. No money, no advansing into what would be the Cup levels of racing.

My answer to Greg's earlier question of why people compete in the lower divisions of 1:1 racing, just to sit in the seat a few times. To find out for sure if they are the next Dale Jr., Jeff, or Tony.
Don Hollingsworth

#222 Prof. Fate

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 12:04 PM

Hi

Hmmmm. We are obsessed here.

Lets see: atmosphere. Stan, glad your club is nice. I probably have a little more experience doing club races all through the dark ages up to today. The vast majority of clubs are NOT like yours. Often, they are "closed shops". There is always one or two dominant guys who run the program and decide who is allowed in the sandpile.

Locally, the biggest of the three clubs is one I started back in the 60s, and NONE of the original racers are allowed in the club! "It isn't fair that you have all these secret parts and expertise, we decided to 'grow' the club by only running with new racers and stock cars".

There are a lot of clubs that suffer from the "big frog" syndrome. That is you have some nebbish who has lots of problems in his life and uses his CONTROL of the club to validate himself. So, he tosses anyone who doesn't knuckle his forehead and say "yes, master".

In general, Stan, I can say I have more of the problems you experienced in LA in clubs than commercial tracks.

The costs:
Well, everyone is thinking wrong on this. It isn't how much it costs, but how much the racers are willing to pay. If you think a 40 buck motor is too much for the fun you have, it is too much. It isn't an absolute cost, but a perceived relative cost versus perceived value. You should have heard the locals whine when 50 buck fly cars became 70 buck fly cars. Or when I showed up with a hundred buck NSR that the local track refused to carry. But at the same time, the same people and same track were selling 300 buck collectibles that were NEVER going to be run.

Unlike most, my 1/24 pro racing in the late 60s and early 70s paid my rent, and "fun" wasn't the issue. My 1/32 club was started because we wanted to do some fun scale racing. My first exposure to 1:1 racing, I was an underage kid wrenching for a factory team (no one was carding me). So, "real" racing started for me as a job. I did some SCCA when I was later "legal" but I could not shake the idea that it was work not fun. There was no "move up" for me.

My D production racer needed about 20 hours of bench for an hour of track and COST money. With school and women and work, I was running short of the TIME all the the time. Not an option for me.

But I could go race a gp 15 wing car with almost no effort. And relax.

Thus, most of the "why I quit" didn't happen at all to me. Oh, and I had a wife who thought it was very cool for me to go off and race. And she loved the stories that I would tell afterward.

I have no "unified field theory" on why slots failed except...except, the problem was that slots are deceptively simple. they SEEM simple, buy a flexi and WIN. Well, not. The machinery at any level requires more expertise than newbies realize. And the driving... Zimmerman makes it look smooth and easy, but I ain't Z, or Cukras, or Steube, or Sterrett or.... And most are not.

If you are racey and you come to realize that you don't drive like Cukras and you cannot build like Dennis, you might just quit.

It might be no more complex than that. Slot car racing looks easier than it is.

Fate
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#223 stumbley

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 02:34 PM

Rocky, I am more and more realizing how lucky we in the OTHG club really are.

Ultimately, there's NO good or "unified field" answer to the decline in slots—I agree with you there. I think it's a number of things, but mostly the "fad" nature of the '60's, and the fact that a lot of us who raced then "grew up" and had no time for slots until later in our lives. And since the bloom was off the slot race rose, it disappeared from public awareness. Now, many hobby shops refuse to carry slot stuff because they were "burned" at the end of the craze, and were left with tons of unsold inventory, and those hobby shops that are new don't even know about or remember slot racing. So it's out of the public view...a niche hobby with few adherents and no manufacturers rich enough or willing to support a trade organization or mass advertising.

Fortunately for the 1/32 scale guys, Europe's club scene is keeping the smaller scale alive, and we reap the benefit.
Stan Smith
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#224 redbackspyder

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 02:39 PM

It might be no more complex than that. Slot car racing looks easier than it is.

I agree with you, however, why then at the Mecca of SoCal racing, Buena Park, is there very little in the way of entry level racing? Many of the racers feel it is beneath them to race Flexi cars which actually out- handle the D3 cars. It is as if you are looked down on by owning these, yet the only way you will actually advance is to start somewhere and work up to scratch building. No one starts out building a D3 kit no matter how technical or gifted they are.
We lost a lot of racers due to money in the late '60s as Tim points out because not everyone could afford to compete, and the Mom bringing her kids to the track for an all day Saturday could not afford to keep them competitive. Our track had impromptu races for free track time, and everyone loved the crash and burn format. But race nights were not broken down then into classes of motors. It was run what ya brung, whoever had the Steube or latest Thorp had the best chance. It shows you that we are still arguing over motors to this day, even in spec classes.
Slot racing will never see another glory age like before due to the lack of unified support. Pet Rocks will never enjoy the rage they once had, R/C racing out moneyed itself, and just like other fads, Guitar Hero will eventually be replaced. We that enjoy slot racing do it for FUN , and many still have not gotten over the fact that even though they now may have the money, they still can't beat Steube, Warmack,PDL ETC... OBVIOUSLY, in 40 years, no genius has found the magic answer to return slot racing to the podium, but the hobby survives as a cottage industry to those of us that still play. The difference is now , more people are sharing the secrets they learned so that more can realize their dream to move up and compete more easily. Also, slot racing gives us something to vent about, as is witnessed in this blog, because God help us if we lost because we found out it was our lack of driving skill. It is all about the fun, and there is just as close racing in the C main as in the A main. And, in the D3 class, you are only racing for bragging rights.
To bridge the rift between 1/32 and 1/24 would help to prolong this hobby, and maybe start to get it more attention, but honestly, most club racers prefer it the way that it is. Rocky is right about the Big Frog, small pond theory that proliferates through many clubs and commercial raceways. But that is just human nature unfortunately. Go to any SoCal neighborhood basketball court, there are always the hot locals that must be appeased before outsiders are allowed to join the mix. The 1/32 manufacturers got something right, as they continue to mass produce prolific amounts of product on a regular basis, and do not obselete past customers with older equipment. Tim Neja was right about the affordability being a killer, because look at today's cost of Wing racing versus ANY 1/32 scale racing. Cost is a major factor, or there would not be a handfull of wing racers left versus multiple countries full of 1/32 scale clubs and racers worldwide.

Slot racing will never completely die because of 1/32 scale. HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF IF THERE IS NO CHANGE. If Buena Park closed tomorrow, how many of it's racers would continue?????? Just my opinion, I could be wrong

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.


#225 TSR

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 04:40 PM

Mill,

That is because slot racing has changed and evolved into something different. Today, slot racing means "home racing" and is using plastic track and plastic cars with 1-dollar Chinese motors. MILLIONS are produced every year and sold all over the planet, as... toys.
What's left as far as "commercial" racing is based on 45 years of flawed thinking, and the Flexi system serves as a crutch since hardly anyone has the talent to actually build something from scratch anymore, due to changes in education and craftsmanship over the past 4 decades.
What we are doing with D3 is calling the old folks who used to know better and putting them back to do what they always loved. If younger folks follow our steps, it means that we are winning some of the battles.





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