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World's largest wooden slot car track?


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#51 don.siegel

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 03:26 PM

Yes, but that's how it started for me, Pappy: Auto Show in Chicago, 1962, big AMT turnpike layout and all we got to do was watch.

 

But it really created a yearning in me, which resulted in 50 years of slot racing... All you've got to do is plant an idea in a kid's mind, or wake up a slumbering idea in an adult's...

 

Don 


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#52 MSwiss

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 03:41 PM

Gary, that's the problem with this. You don't get to race the cars, someone pedals the bike that creates 4 volts and everyone else watches the cars go around.

 

Unless I read it wrong, the cars already run at 4V and the spectators get to "turbocharge" them with the bicycles.

Anyway, like I said before, any exposure is good exposure.


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Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)

Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL)
 
Chicagoland Raceway
17B West Ogden Ave
Westmont, IL 60559
(708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516. Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#53 Big Durl

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 03:46 PM

For heaven's sake, the same pathology surrounding this stuff has been going on for at least 20 years, and little has changed. The simple truth is that this is a very niche hobby and will continue to be so. So what? Enjoy it while you can.  

 

Wanna "promote the hobby"? Wear your T-shirt from your favorite track as much as possible. Be visible. When somebody asks you what you've been up to, don't say "ehh, not much", tell 'em you were racing toy cars. Engage friends and strangers. Either they'll take an interest or they won't.

 

Other than that, it's up to the tracks to figure out how to promote themselves (a subject that has also been beaten to death on these boards). They either figure it out or eventually go under. Tough world, out there, kid.

 

Maybe, there'll be recurring waves of retro-centric fascination with this. Maybe not. 

 

For what its worth, I went to a race at Eddie's a couple of weeks ago, after a year and a half hiatus from all things slot car, and there's pretty much the same number of racers that there've always been (8 or 9). At least half were guys I'd never seen before. They replaced some of the regulars that ain't so regular, anymore, I guess. I took that as a good sign. How sad is that?

 

Now that I'm slowly getting back into the game, I'll go check out Frank Sarkela's place and see what he's doing these days.

 

As I've mentioned endless times (because this conversation never seems to stop), the only reason I got back into slot car racing was because of an article in the SF paper about Slot Car Raceway (Frank's track). I'd never seen ads anywhere for tracks, even in the yellow pages (remember them?).

 

So anything, ANYTHING that triggers an interest or memory in this ridiculous subculture is a good thing. Is it "just like racing"? Who effing cares? That's not the point!  GM gave us a tiny something that might help us out. Try to be grateful for a small gesture, however inadvertent.


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#54 MSwiss

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 03:54 PM

There was a two-year stretch at the Chicago Auto Show where they had "normal" slot car tracks.

In '91, Dodge had a 75'-95', eight-lane, Ogilvie Lazy 8, promoting the Daytona. Poorly-maintained flexis with vacuform Daytona bodies.

The next year VW had a 60'-75', four-lane track, IIRC, to promote the re-release of the Bug. Easily, the most beautiful slot track I've seen. High end furniture finish, like a wood sculpture, but curiously, a surface like 80 grit sandpaper.


Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)

Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL)
 
Chicagoland Raceway
17B West Ogden Ave
Westmont, IL 60559
(708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516. Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#55 Rick

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 04:35 PM

 I used to take an oval around to oval tracks (in the summer months) around here. Both asphalt and dirt. Was a decent return for my time. I handed out hundreds of flyers about my track etc.

 

Never got a single, not one person to ever come in the store from the promotion. One of the tracks was just 15 miles from my track, to boot??? I had the cars painted like the local popular drivers cars, hoping to set the hook...


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#56 MSwiss

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 04:40 PM

Rick,

My post #27 depicts Jerry Kulich having virtually the exact same lack of results.

OK financially, almost zero on the promotion level.

Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)

Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL)
 
Chicagoland Raceway
17B West Ogden Ave
Westmont, IL 60559
(708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516. Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#57 Pappy

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 05:20 PM

When I had my first commercial raceway we spent about $600 for a flyer in a pack with a bunch of other fliers that were dropped off house to house. I forget how many thousands of them went out. They were worth 15 minutes of free track time with a controller and car so people could see what slot car racing was. I think we got two of them back.

I spent about $2,300 on radio which probably got us a half dozen customers.

Jim "Danger" Dunaway aka Butch
 
Danger is my middle name, that's why I race slot cars.

 

Anything is possible IF you don't know what you are talking about.
 
"In the beginning of a change, the PATRIOT is a scarce man, and brave and hated
and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it cost
nothing to be a PATRIOT." - Mark Twain, 1904

 

 


#58 Samiam

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Posted 16 July 2015 - 07:07 PM

I mentioned slot cars to a customer the other day. He was amazed they still existed. Told me he was into it big time in the '60s. Even rewinding his own arms. Showed him my Retro cars I had with me. He loved them but then I opened the ziplock bag with all my chemicals and he was hooked. The smell brought it all back. Gave him a card worth 20 min free rental and told him to come down on Wed night when we race Retro.
 
It's up to us to promote this. Lets face it. ESPN ain't covering the next Barn Burner, USRA Nats, or RetroPalooza.
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Sam Levitch
 
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Support your local raceway, or you won't have one.
Slot cars are quad-pods.
Support your "Local Racer."
:laugh2:

#59 Michael Cannon Jr

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 10:29 AM

I would still take the monster track in a heartbeat. :)
Michael Cannon
Upstate Speedway
11140 Asheville Hwy
Inman, SC 29349
(803) 341-1982
michael.cannonjr@gmail.com

#60 Cheater

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 12:58 PM

As often happens, this thread has morphed in the direction of "how can the slot car hobby best be promoted to the general public." We all know how fun and addictive it can be, and I think that's the main reason the topic is so often brought up and discussed.

So I am going call for a "cease and desist" on discussing anything not specifically about Chevrolet's #Power of Play pavilion at the Pan Am Games in this thread, a prohibition as the rootadmin I will enforce. I won't lock it unless I am forced to do so.

And I am going to start a new thread in the General Slot Car Racing forum to discuss what has worked to bring new blood into the hobby.

There are a huge number of long-term participants in this hobby here at Slotblog, most of them very smart and intelligent people. Call me an incurable optimist if you will, but there simply has to be a way to raise the visibility of the model car racing hobby to the level many other silly, frivilous leisure time activities enjoy.

Gregory Wells

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


#61 Race Haven Hobbies

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 08:14 AM

Hello Everyone,
 
I am glad to see that my efforts have generated some interest on Slotblog.

 

Let me start by saying that this track is indeed good for the hobby. Although it is not run as a slot car track in the traditional sense it is a great way to show the public that slot cars are still around. Every child that sees this track runs up to the side of it and jumps up and down. Kids are indeed interested in toy cars still... we just have to show them what's out there.
 
I actually learned something reading this thread, I had no idea that the track was "going on tour". When we were building the track I asked many times what was going to happen to the track after the event was over... never was I given a straight answer. I could see the track being used again as long as it is stored properly. 
 
We are halfway through the event now and even though the track is outside it seems to be holding up well. We had a bunch of water come through the tent a couple days ago but we dried it up as soon as it hit the track. It has been a challenge from start to finish but it was a hugely rewarding project.
 
Would I do it again?? Sure, this time with six months to build instead of two. Although I'm sure nobody is ever going to step up to pay for a track bigger than this one...
 
Thanks for the interest guys... good or bad.  ;)
 
Ron
Race Haven Hobbies


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#62 Michael Cannon Jr

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 02:48 PM

Ron! Bring it to Spartanburg!!!
Michael Cannon
Upstate Speedway
11140 Asheville Hwy
Inman, SC 29349
(803) 341-1982
michael.cannonjr@gmail.com

#63 Cheater

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 04:09 PM

Here's the reply I received from Natalie Nankil of Chevrolet Canada, addressing the questions I submitted to her. Thank you, Natalie!

1) How was this concept developed and is there a particular person who can be credited for the idea of this pavilion? Was it an idea developed internally at Chevrolet/GM or something proposed by your agency partner?

 

The idea was developed together by Chevrolet Canada and our agency partners MacLaren McCann.

 

2) I know that a European slot car maker showed a similar idea (bicycle-powered slot cars) on a much smaller track at one of the F1 races a year or so ago. Was the eco-friendly aspect an important part of the concept for GM?

 

We are not aware of the F1 bicycle-powered race track. It was important to showcase the Chevrolet Voltec Battery technology and its many possible uses including this ability to power the slot car track.

 

3) Who actually came up with the unique design for the track and what was the thinking behind the extreme length?

 

A designer from MacLaren McCann first drew the track in AutoCAD with the vision the track would fill the entire Chevrolet tent footprint area. The tent is 66’ x 200’. We also wanted to place actual Chevrolet vehicles inside the track layout to showcase our latest Chevrolet technology and ingenuity power by play. The initial track design was sent to our partner Ron from Race Haven Hobbies who suggested a number of changes. By the time we finished with the 25 versions of our tent layout, the track length is now a confirmed 1,038’.

 

4) Would be interested in the engineering details of the generators attached to the bikes as well as specifics of how they function, i.e voltage, etc.

 

The generators we used are based on an electric bike generator integrated in collaboration with the Little Green Micro Gym, Portland, OR. This generates an output that varies with bicycle speed of up to approx. 50 volts of 3 phase AC. This voltage is supplied to a grid-tied micro inverter provided by Mass Power, Shanghai, China, that in turn feeds our Chevrolet Volt based micro grid currently configured to operate at 120 Volts AC, typical for an outlet at home. The Volt-based micro grid is comprised of five Volt batteries each operating at approx 300-400 volts DC which is integrated with an ABB inverter developed in collaboration with an ABB team based in Belgium and assembled into an enclosure supplied by eCamion based here in Toronto. The entire  system was designed and built by the GM Canadian Engineering team located in Oshawa, Ontario. While operating our slot car races, our Volt battery based system operates 'off grid', automatically balancing between production from our cyclists and loads required to support all of our participants and spectators.

 

5) Would also be very interested in the specific details of the cars used. Were commercial slot car components utilized in their construction? What chassis, motor, and other pieces were incorporated? Who constructed the cars for the display?

 

Chassis - 1/24 H&R Brass chassis kit

Tires - Super Tires 

Motor - Professor Motor Fox 10

Body - AMT Camaro ZL1 and NB Chevrolet Corvette C7

Build by Race Haven Hobbies

 

6) Is this display to be used elsewhere after the Pan Am Games? What will be the final disposition of the track and cars themselves after GM has finished with this pavilion?

 

We are currently exploring a number of future uses for the track and the showcased Voltec Technology.


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Gregory Wells

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


#64 Samiam

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 08:07 PM

At least somebody found a use for those AMT kits.


Sam Levitch
 
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Support your local raceway, or you won't have one.
Slot cars are quad-pods.
Support your "Local Racer."
:laugh2:

#65 Pappy

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 08:30 PM

At least somebody found a use for those AMT kits.

 

Yeah, even those things will stay in the slot on 4 volts. :laugh2:


Jim "Danger" Dunaway aka Butch
 
Danger is my middle name, that's why I race slot cars.

 

Anything is possible IF you don't know what you are talking about.
 
"In the beginning of a change, the PATRIOT is a scarce man, and brave and hated
and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it cost
nothing to be a PATRIOT." - Mark Twain, 1904

 

 


#66 MSwiss

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 08:40 PM

At least somebody found a use for those AMT kits.


I don't think they're AMT slot cars, just AMT bodies.

Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)

Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL)
 
Chicagoland Raceway
17B West Ogden Ave
Westmont, IL 60559
(708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516. Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#67 Samiam

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 08:42 PM

They used the only functional part in the kit. The body. 


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Sam Levitch
 
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Support your local raceway, or you won't have one.
Slot cars are quad-pods.
Support your "Local Racer."
:laugh2:

#68 Cheater

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 10:40 AM

Since Chevrolet's #Power of Play track was snubbed by the Guiness Book, have a look at what they consider to be the recordholding track.

 

On Sunday 16 August 2009 Top Gear presenter James May attempted to recreate the historic banked Brooklands race track, in a stab at a new slot car world record. An army of volunteers constructed a 2.75 mile race track around the original Brooklands race circuit using 20,000 pieces of Scalextric track. The world record was achieved by two slot cars completing the course in two hours.

 

 

Why I haven't posted this video here before is beyond me...


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Gregory Wells

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


#69 MSwiss

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 10:59 AM

I think it, or a link, was posted back when it originally happened.


Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)

Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL)
 
Chicagoland Raceway
17B West Ogden Ave
Westmont, IL 60559
(708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516. Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#70 MSwiss

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 11:23 AM

Earlier in this thread I said "any slot promotion is good slot promotion".

That James May deal may be an exception to the rule.

I don't think I sat through the whole video before, but this time I did.

Talking about reinforcing the toy stereotype.

Kids and cameramen running along with the cars.

Them averaging a whopping 1.375 mph.

Another World Record based on no one else willing to do it.


Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)

Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder (pointless era - LOL)
 
Chicagoland Raceway
17B West Ogden Ave
Westmont, IL 60559
(708) 203-8003
mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address) 
Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516. Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#71 Race Haven Hobbies

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 05:42 PM

I'm not so sure, Mike. If you ask any celebrity they will tell you that any publicity is good publicity. Although I agree that James May clicking together 20,000 pieces of track is a bit of a waste of time... the publicity it got for Scalextric was off the charts.

 

This day and age we need slot cars in the news any way/shape possible. And I will say that with recent builds from Slot Mods, and the crazy money they seem to get for tracks, slot cars have received a bunch of press. This is only a good thing.

 

With three days to go in the event the booth is being called one of the most sucessful trade show displays Chevrolet has ever put on. They are extremely happy with the activation and have every intention of using the track again.

 

I will say that I have watched countless kids see this track and loose their ****! They jump up and down, they run around the track following the cars, they yell out loud for their parents to come see, and more than a few have cried when they are dragged away.  Kids dig this thing... possibly the single most important requirement for our hobby to stay alive and well.

 

Ron

Race Haven Hobbies


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#72 LindsayB

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 07:17 PM

I think the advertising aspect was good, does it matter if the track was a throw away and a marketing gimick - surely with so many people going through the display - there had to be an opportunity for the slot car community to cash in on the momentum, which they would probably do via Google only to arrive here and get hit with negativity.


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#73 Mr. Chassis

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 02:54 PM

"Hmmm, General Motors in slot racing...

 


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