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.