Jump to content




Photo

Should we go to more races?


  • Please log in to reply
83 replies to this topic

#26 Samiam

Samiam

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,660 posts
  • Joined: 18-January 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Long Island, NY

Posted 21 June 2015 - 04:23 PM

If a track owner represents a "RTR" car as "Ready to Race", then he is not being 100% honest with his customers. Any respectable owner/manager should fully explain the differences between Ready to Run and Ready to Race. And they should also be told that many of the guys he will be racing against have been doing this since the Nixon administration.

 

If he still wants to race after being told the truth then most of the racers will help him. But after a disappointed newbie looks at me after I tell him what needs to be done to be race ready and says "But the  guy told me it was ready to race", what do I say? I can't call the owner/manager a liar. So I help the guy as best I can to get his car correct and tell him to come back next week and we will help him some more. After all,the more entries the larger the pot.


  • garyvmachines likes this
Sam Levitch
 
"If you have integrity, nothing else matters, and if you do not have integrity, nothing else matters."
     Robert Mueller, special counsel (2013)




#27 Mayberryman

Mayberryman

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 180 posts
  • Joined: 16-June 13
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richmond, VA

Posted 21 June 2015 - 06:17 PM

Sam, I agree with you but looking at it from the new person's perspective the task is daunting and most see the learning curve as too steep and expensive.  When I was involved behind the counter of a slot track we had two different types of RTR cars, (1) The Basic Parma unit with the cheap controller, and stock car.  The second we had were cars that were put together from parts off of the wall to include the proper tires, gears and the motors and bushings were soldered in, plus they got a proper guide flag and TQ wires complete with the brass tabs with the wires soldered on.  This worked the first year and into the winter of the second year and then came the dreaded knowledge of knowing that we had a core group of 8 to 10 racers who won 90% of the top spots.  Would they help the new person, yes to an extent.  They helped this person to the extent of their having enough knowledge to stay out of the way of the go fasters.  There was an old saying in the shop that the established racers would help you to be 80% competitive and the rest was up to you.  Now, don't get me started on the established racers who would sell their antiquated and bent junk to the new people in the parking lot.


Spencer Wilkinson

#28 Samiam

Samiam

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,660 posts
  • Joined: 18-January 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Long Island, NY

Posted 21 June 2015 - 09:06 PM

I would only help newbies. I would not build them a new car. That is what the track does. How much more than %80 can a racer give? More than that and you're taking money from the shop. It is up to the track to train/teach newbies. The racers are there to race,compete and win. Not set everyone else's gear mesh and guide depth.


Sam Levitch
 
"If you have integrity, nothing else matters, and if you do not have integrity, nothing else matters."
     Robert Mueller, special counsel (2013)

#29 John Streisguth

John Streisguth

    Johnny VW

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,862 posts
  • Joined: 20-November 08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bangor, PA

Posted 21 June 2015 - 09:31 PM

One thing that worked really well when I was racing the local Friday flexi races was the "race bucks" were not given to the top finishers, instead they were given out by raffle, so everyone racing had an equal chance of taking something away at the end of the night.  Nothing discourages repeated participation quite like thinking that you are subsidizing the racing of the few that constantly take the top spots.  This really alowed people to enjoy the competition, knowing that no matter where they places they may get a "bonus" at the end of the night.


  • NSwanberg likes this
"Whatever..."

#30 Samiam

Samiam

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,660 posts
  • Joined: 18-January 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Long Island, NY

Posted 21 June 2015 - 09:31 PM

And this is NOT expensive. Racing R/C is expensive. Racing 1:1 anything is expensive. This is cheap as chips compared to any other competitive hobby. Including Bingo!
  • macman likes this
Sam Levitch
 
"If you have integrity, nothing else matters, and if you do not have integrity, nothing else matters."
     Robert Mueller, special counsel (2013)

#31 John Streisguth

John Streisguth

    Johnny VW

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,862 posts
  • Joined: 20-November 08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bangor, PA

Posted 21 June 2015 - 09:33 PM

Unfortunately, some people just don't have the desire to learn how to set up their cars, no matter how much you may encourage them. These people will not last long.
"Whatever..."

#32 Bill from NH

Bill from NH

    Age scrubs away speed!

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,503 posts
  • Joined: 02-August 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Boston, NH

Posted 21 June 2015 - 10:05 PM

I did my share of traveling to slot car races in the '70s and '80s. Now that I'm older and all the commercial raceways in this area have closed, I tend to stay close to home and occasionally run with a local hardbody club about 12 miles away.

Bill Fernald
 

"I'm not short, I'm just down to earth."


#33 Bob Chaney

Bob Chaney

    Slot Car Hobbyist

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 266 posts
  • Joined: 08-October 08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NorCal

Posted 22 June 2015 - 12:01 PM

I've spent most of my life trying to be in a position to race at a local track on a consistent basis. The ongoing volatile state of the hobby, real world job opportunities, family, finances, and all that other "stuff" held that opportunity at arm's length until the last decade ,,and then life stepped back in such that regardless of proximity and finances, time and responsibilities still determine what is possible. When my responsibilities are under control, and time demands allow, I go racing.  It's not what I want, but it is more than I had for 30 years or so.  I go when I can, and do what I can to be competitive ..the results are sadly, not mixed, but I still go to tracks I'm not comfortable with, compete for placement in the second grouping, try not to be last or be embarrassed by 12 year-olds :0)

 

..and I ramble. A lot.


  • macman likes this

Ô¿Ô bob chaney :: slot car hobbyist

.. how's it going? too early to tell, too late to do anything about it :: Q>
.. it will always be easier to create penalties for violation, than reason for conscience

.. one thing's for certain, nothing's for sure .. everything is possible, nothing is likely
.. (early advice from HT) .. don't just write there, say something!
.. if it wasn't this, it would just be something else .. no good deed goes unpunished
.. we are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us .. damn bukowski


#34 Pablo

Pablo

    Builder

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,757 posts
  • Joined: 20-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Johnson Bayou, Mississippi Gulf Coast

Posted 22 June 2015 - 12:29 PM

Back in the good old days, more people had disposable income.  :)
  • Race O' Rama likes this
Paul Wolcott

#35 Mark Wampler

Mark Wampler

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,028 posts
  • Joined: 17-July 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Santa Maria, CA

Posted 22 June 2015 - 01:40 PM

I agree with John, that there are some who lack the desire, however sincere their initial interest may appear, to set-up, practice, and achieve a level of competitiveness.

For sure, you won't last long if you have a thin skin. Our politically correct culture is too sensitive with many being so offended. One wall shot is all it takes and the newbie may never show his face again.
You can quote me.

-Mark

#36 jimht

jimht

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,258 posts
  • Joined: 16-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The Alamo City

Posted 22 June 2015 - 03:06 PM

I've written and tossed several responses since this thread popped up... here's the latest one:
 
A slot car raceway can't survive off of organised racing, but the question always comes up as to how that can be done. Where's the button to push that says "The business model doesn't work"?

 

There's no way to make a long term successful 1/24 scale commercial raceway that has races with huge fast tracks that require expensive fast cars.   :dash2:
 
Be more concerned about how to make money when there are no races. If the place is full of players having fun on the tracks, the racing will take care of itself, if there's time to fit it in.
 
I could go on and on and I have before, so I won't.


  • Cheater and Race O' Rama like this

Jim Honeycutt

"I don't think I'm ever more 'aware' than I am right after I hit my thumb with a hammer." - Jack Handey [Deep Thoughts]


#37 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 23,128 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 22 June 2015 - 03:40 PM

The problem is getting people to listen to what you're saying, Jim. To put it bluntly, there are many who simply refuse to believe what you're telling them.
 
Here's a little factoid that might put things in perspective for some.
 
I know a hobby shop that's been around since the '60s that also has a slot car track and they do hold organized racing and a big race or two. Last year the owner shared this bit of info with me...
 
The revenue from his non-slot car sales for the two days before Christmas and the two days after Christmas (i.e. just four days) signficantly exceeded the revenue from the slot car segment of his business during the entire year!
 
As I have posted numerous times, the revenue generated by organized racing activities in a commercial raceway is typically 15-20 percent of sales, and very rarely as much as 25 percent of sales. Yet racers and, more importantly, the raceway owners usually feel that organized racing is what pays the bills at a commercial slot car raceway.
  • Samiam likes this

Gregory Wells

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


#38 Dennis David

Dennis David

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,380 posts
  • Joined: 05-April 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SF Bay Area

Posted 22 June 2015 - 04:21 PM

I could not agree more. Most track owners I have known were old slot car racers so it would only be natural that their viewpoint would fall along those lines. Most commercial tracks that call themselves hobby shops don't carry much in the way of hobby merchandise. And the tracks they have are the same inefficient ones they loved to race on.
 
If a hobby shop has a hard time making a go of it what chance would a commercial raceway have, slim and none. Make your place an entertainment center or hobby shop and have one or at most two tracks as one of your revenue streams but not the main one. Organized racing should be your last resort. LOL.

Dennis David
    
curb-line2.jpg
 
gph_sm.jpg
   


#39 NSwanberg

NSwanberg

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,057 posts
  • Joined: 01-April 09
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Canton, MI

Posted 23 June 2015 - 01:35 AM

At Downriver Speedway JB is getting a lot of walk in traffic and rentals. Seems every day a new family comes in to try the track. The old Parma rental car is serving him well. The Whisper Jet as I call it. No gears, just belts. I am sure it is paying the bills for him.
 
The best racing is on Wednesday RETRO night. The Grandstand track is a fun course and although not new it races well, however, when it has had a full day of rental cars, with the urethane tires, it leaves the track slick for the racers. It takes an entire race on each lane for the track to come back in to shape. I am sure the rental cars are pulling the rubber off of the track. The racers realize we have to put the renters first as they are paying the bills. Still it means lane assignment often determines the winner as if you start low on the track (blue on down) the track is in better shape than orange on up as the rentals prefer the higher lanes for it is easier to reach the cars from the driver station. 
 
I wonder how other tracks handle this seeming conflict between racers and renters?
Remember the Steube bar!
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL RACEWAY!!
"The denial of denial is the first sign of denial." Hank, from Corner Gas
Nelson Swanberg

Peace be with all of us and good racing for the rest of us.
Have controller. Will travel. Slot Car Heaven

#40 Mayberryman

Mayberryman

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 180 posts
  • Joined: 16-June 13
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richmond, VA

Posted 23 June 2015 - 07:23 AM

Dennis and Cheater have hit on a very important factor that hastens the failure of many slot car tracks. 

 

From what I have seen in the past 45 years a large percentage of slot track owners open a business for one of two reasons. 

 

(1) They are fairly long time and avid slot car racers who want to have a local place for himself and other racers to race. 

 

(2) They are fathers or grandfathers of young people who have raced slot cars and love the hobby so they want a place for their kids or grandkids to race in a clean and safe environment. 

 

You might ask as to what these two reasons for opening a slot racing track have in common. For the most point they open their business with the mindset of a racer and not one of a businessman. I really think that the main thought of the slot track owner should and has to be of different types of ways to generate revenue and not just what type of cars will be raced on the typical two or three race nights of the week. As has been stated several times, depending on racers to keep your track open is a plan that will lead to disaster. The second way to give a son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter the place to race is even more likely to fail as we all know the attention span of young people and if providing a place for them to race you had better have that back up plan for when they loose interest.

 

It would be interesting to get a successful business person to look at and attempt to formulate a business plan that could make a commercial slot track a viable business.  My guess is that the only way he could ever see to do it would be to open a business that can generate revenue and then open your slot track as a parasitic business that could survive with the help of the revenue that the first business could generate.


  • macman likes this
Spencer Wilkinson

#41 Samiam

Samiam

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,660 posts
  • Joined: 18-January 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Long Island, NY

Posted 23 June 2015 - 07:44 AM

Parties...
 
And not just birthday parties. Scout, club, and business parties, SAL had the crew from LEGO do a party there. They had a blast.
  • macman likes this
Sam Levitch
 
"If you have integrity, nothing else matters, and if you do not have integrity, nothing else matters."
     Robert Mueller, special counsel (2013)

#42 Dennis David

Dennis David

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,380 posts
  • Joined: 05-April 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SF Bay Area

Posted 23 June 2015 - 09:25 AM

A businessman looks at sales per square foot and that's where large tracks just don't make any sense. The only time all eight lanes are utilized is during a race or party and each can be run on fewer lanes if it meant the survival of the shop. Think of multiple revenue streams with merchandise for every season.

The last thing which maybe hard for some, give priority to the non-racer. So in a sense maybe we've turned this thread inside out. I like racing but frankly I would prefer less races so that I can better fit them into my schedule. I would feel better if the owner wouldn't put the guilt trip on me for not racing every week. It's just not possible for us that have families. I always fear that I'll show up one day and the place will be closed.

Dennis David
    
curb-line2.jpg
 
gph_sm.jpg
   


#43 A. J. Hoyt

A. J. Hoyt

    Race Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 648 posts
  • Joined: 27-March 09
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Louisville, CO

Posted 23 June 2015 - 09:46 AM

 If we set up a Logan's run type of city it could be fantastic. All racers that moved to the designated city would all be within a reasonable distance. After they lose 30 races they go to Carrousel.

 

The problem (a tidbit withheld from us all) is, "There is no Sanctuary!".


Never complacent - striving to race to ever increasing levels of mediocrity!

 

The only thing I know about slot cars is if I had a good time when I leave the building! I can count the times I didn't on one hand!

Entitlement:
The notion that one can have their slot car racing and EAT IT, too!

Former Home Track - Slot Car Speedway and Hobbies
, Longmont, CO, Noteworthy for the 155' Hillclimb track featuring the THUNDER-DONUT - "Two men enter; one man leaves!"


#44 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 23,128 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 23 June 2015 - 10:00 AM

It would be interesting to get a successful business person to look at and attempt to formulate a business plan that could make a commercial slot track a viable business.


What are you calling "a commercial slot track"? I'm guessing you mean a raceway with '60s style eight-lane wooden tracks of any size.

Though there are very, very few of them, there are existing raceways that are viable businesses and generate sufficient income to support their owners.

The basics of retail business are reasonably well-established, Spencer, but the typical raceway owner doesn't follow them well, if at all. If there's a magical plan "that could make a commercial slot track a viable business" for an owner who doesn't advertise and/or promote (even online), doesn't keep his facility clean (especially the restrooms), has little or no stock, isn't open at the listed hours, doesn't have a exterior sign, is located in an area with no foot traffic, etc., I haven't seen it. It's a safe bet that the "very few" mentioned above do these things as a matter of course.

Your question infers you feel that all that's needed for a "more healthy" commercial raceway "industry" is a new raceway business model and I have to disagree.

Having a few more raceways on the list is always good, as there are so few venues where 1/24 wood track enthusiasts can race and play these days.

But having a few more tracks won't do anything for the hobby's invisibility to the general public and the miniscule level of participation.

Ballpark US numbers: 150 commercial raceways, averaging 25 active racers = 3,750. Averaging 50 active racers = 7,500. Averaging 100 active racers = 15,000.

As I've said, commercial slot racing can't be "fixed" from the bottom up. Only a top-down approach would have worked, and I think it's too late now.


Gregory Wells

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


#45 Dennis David

Dennis David

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,380 posts
  • Joined: 05-April 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SF Bay Area

Posted 23 June 2015 - 06:42 PM

It is too late. In the future we'll be left with clubs and home tracks so you better start building if you want to continue to race slot cars. Model railroads for the most part are either based upon home or club layouts. The only this they have that's different is modular layouts like NTrak which would be an interesting concept for the US.
 
Don't shoot me but I don't think we need commercial tracks to still have a fun hobby. How many commercial tracks are there in England and on the Continent? Maybe a handful and that doesn't stop them.

Dennis David
    
curb-line2.jpg
 
gph_sm.jpg
   


#46 Half Fast

Half Fast

    Keeper Of Odd Knowledge

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,057 posts
  • Joined: 02-May 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NYC, Long Island

Posted 23 June 2015 - 11:55 PM

Bang! :shok:


Bill Botjer

Faster then, wiser now.

The most dangerous form of ignorance is not knowing that you don't know anything!

 

 

 
 

#47 Dennis David

Dennis David

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,380 posts
  • Joined: 05-April 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SF Bay Area

Posted 24 June 2015 - 12:20 AM

I know it's a horrible thing to say but I just don't see the long term prospects getting any better.


Dennis David
    
curb-line2.jpg
 
gph_sm.jpg
   


#48 Race O' Rama

Race O' Rama

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,107 posts
  • Joined: 08-February 10
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Gibsonburg, OH

Posted 24 June 2015 - 01:48 AM

Greg,
 
It is never too late owners just have to change their mindset and be very active and treat every customer as they are the only one it is not easy, but if they remember the personal touch is always the best.

Get to know your customers on a first name basis, make them feel at home, etc. It is a long list and maybe if a new thread on this particular subject (I'm sorry I got off topic) should come up I can share how we do things at our place.

#49 Mayberryman

Mayberryman

    Mid-Pack Racer

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 180 posts
  • Joined: 16-June 13
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richmond, VA

Posted 24 June 2015 - 05:33 AM

Cheater,

What I mean by a commercial slot track is any slot track located in a store front in an area zoned for commercial use. Phase II slot track would qualify for that and it is in a very small (historic slot car bize) building with no track greater than six lanes and both tracks are first class tracks built by the owners. They, at this time, cater to the plastic chasses racing groups that are mostly seen raced in a basement or garage. This business is mostly run by a very nice lady who keeps the place as clean and pleasant as any retail business you will ever see. 

You are also correct on the fact that a NEW business model is not needed because most slot car tracks never opened with any business model other than racers. 

I, also, think that the future of slot car racing lies in the basements and garages where club type racing will survive. You talked about Out Back Motor Speedway being a role model for success and I agree. However, there are other tracks in that area such as Portsmouth Motor Speedway (The Beast of the East) as well as Scale Speed Raceway in Dover, PA, that all have great programs aimed at local interest. 

To be honest if you live in Pennsylvania or along I-81 from Bentonville, VA, to PA and like to race simple oval dirt track cars, you might not be aware that slot car racing is having any problems.


Spencer Wilkinson

#50 Samiam

Samiam

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,660 posts
  • Joined: 18-January 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Long Island, NY

Posted 24 June 2015 - 08:23 AM

I have been hearing about the complete demise of commercial slot racing for around twenty years now. I've also heard people talking about the advanced age of most racers. Both statements are complete bunk. Raceways open and close just like any other business. And check out the age of many of the racers in Retro racing these days. Young blood in every race. A class that supposedly only old farts race to reminisce the '60s.
 
Support your local raceway. Don't buy from the internet when possible. Get friends to the raceway. Not just for racing but also for parties. Get some buddies with hot rods to park in front of the raceway. Post your slots activities on your Facebook page. There is a lot more to promoting this hobby than just showing up to more races. But it couldn't hurt.
  • Half Fast and garyvmachines like this
Sam Levitch
 
"If you have integrity, nothing else matters, and if you do not have integrity, nothing else matters."
     Robert Mueller, special counsel (2013)





Electric Dreams Online Shop