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How can slot racing's visibility be raised?


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#1 Cheater

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 01:02 PM

This is a thread that is being spun-off from the "World's largest wooden track" thread to discuss what might possibly be done to increase slot racing's visibility as a viable hobby. And please do not confine your thinking to just one aspect, i.e. 1/24 wood track racing. Lets cover the whole gamut, from HO to wing.

 

What doesn't or hasn't worked is not the subject. Please keep that in mind.

 

Gentlemen, start your opinions!


Gregory Wells

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





#2 Grant G.

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 02:26 PM

Brewpubs and microbreweries are booming across the US. If I were to open one, i'd stick a hillclimb in a corner to give the kids something to do while the parents socialized.

Grant Goerner


#3 DOCinCocoa

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 02:30 PM

Social Media, like Facebook, etc.


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#4 Fast Freddie

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 02:32 PM

We need more commercial raceways. Why is RC so popular?  It's more expensive than sot cars and slower.  You don't need a track to practice your skills and test your equipment.  My next door neighbor is out in the evening and on weekends tuning and practicing with his RC car right in our court.  He only goes to a track if he wants to race in competition.  If your into HO slots you could make a fairly nice track on two pieces of 4x8 plywood to practice with, I'm not into HO.  It would easily cost over $1000 for a modest 4 lane 1/24 scale track that could be fitted into a garage or basement.  We don't have basements in my area because of the water table, but I have seen big tracks in basements.  What we really need is more commercial raceways.  If you were to compare how many tracks were around in the late 80s early 90s you'd find were down about 75%+ today compared to then.  Just so you'll know, no I will not open up another raceway.  I learned my lesson the first time.


Fred Younkin

#5 Mattb

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 02:42 PM

TV still has a somewhat captive audience for commercials. Targeting specific groups by viewing habits might gain the most exposure.

Maybe a commercial showing people playing at home with plastic track racing on 2 lane plastic, leading to club racing on bigger plastic tracks and the fun guys and gals can have playing with toys!

For commercial centers, maybe free visits and short spots on tv showing the hobby as fun and not as competitive.

All that said, I doubt there is much that will get young people into a commercial center. Getting old racers back into it seems about all they can expect.

For home racing, there might be a better chance to get kids into it.

The days of us kids being outside all summer, riding our bikes everywhere and doing/creating things is gone. Today, a majority of kids are probably inside most of the time. Who would let their kids take off in the morning and be gone all day like we did 50 years ago? Who buys model kits today? Who is the average commercial racer? When guys play in the basement, how many young people join in? Just looks to me like there are two basic groups to reach.

I know there are exceptions to all of this, but I think it is fairly accurate.
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#6 Steve Deiters

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 03:25 PM

When you see someone young or old wander into the track you may be practicing at and they look curious reach out them and start conversation. 

 

If you see a "newbie" who is obviously struggling with a car and/or a controller that just isn't right reach out to them with a helping hand, some friendly advice, and a little encouragement.  Getting a slot car running right isn't rocket science, but to someone who's mechanical aptitude may be close to zero and is getting no guidance it might as well be.  A little help goes a long way to keep them coming back which is what we all want.

 

These people...interested newcomers and racers from the past.....are the low hanging fruit we should be aiming for and reaching out to.  They just may simply need a nudge.


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#7 Mark Wampler

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 03:34 PM

Should be exclusive by invitation only, like secret societies.  Very few can actually hack racing slot cars consistently.


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#8 Samiam

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 04:20 PM

One simple move.......

 

Print the words "Slot Car Racing" on premier event T-shirts.

 

I'm looking at two shirts,Fall Brawl 4 and R4 2014. Nowhere on either shirt are the words "slot car". I don't bother to wear either shirt outside of a slot car track. I do wear my Slots-A-Lot shirts though. They say in bold "SLOT CAR RACING".


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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:

#9 PCH Parts Express

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 05:45 PM

This would work...

 

The Big Bang Theory has the guys (and Penny) go to a slot car shop on one or more episodes. We need slot cars to be on TV commercials and shows.   


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#10 Pablo

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 06:16 PM

I think if there were more professionals actually making a good living from building and racing, that would generate a lot more interest.

But I'm not holding my breath waiting.....


Paul Wolcott

#11 smithspeedway

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 06:21 PM

Nationally, I don't know.  What we've done locally is to tie in to local stock car racing.  We replicate the cars people might see at their local speedway.  They all want to race, but can't afford a real car, or don't want to risk the injury.  They can do it on a slot car track.  Claremont Speedway gave us tickets to give as race prizes.  We advertise there.  I have done local radio shows to talk about our sponsors and our racing program.  Once per year, an area newspaper visits and does a full page article about our program.  Push slot cars on social media.  We have more outlets today than we used to, but it does take work.  Raising visibility nationally can happen as the cumulative effect of hundreds of us doing this locally, across the country.

 

Steve


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#12 Dennis David

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 06:31 PM

Something that I see you do and is done a lot in Amateur radio is keeping track of media mentions and going out of their way to produce press releases or something similar for every event, etc.

 

Every track might want to consider an open house event where track time is free.


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#13 MSwiss

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 06:40 PM

When you see someone young or old wander into the track you may be practicing at and they look curious reach out them and start conversation. 
 
If you see a "newbie" who is obviously struggling with a car and/or a controller that just isn't right reach out to them with a helping hand, some friendly advice, and a little encouragement.  Getting a slot car running right isn't rocket science, but to someone who's mechanical aptitude may be close to zero and is getting no guidance it might as well be.  A little help goes a long way to keep them coming back which is what we all want.
 
These people... interested newcomers and racers from the past... are the low hanging fruit we should be aiming for and reaching out to.  They just may simply need a nudge.

 
I've been lucky my guys are real "Rah, Rah" vs. being bent on World Domination.

Especially with the Saturday night Hardbody gang.

We had 25 Hardbody racers last Saturday which is unheard of in the Summer.

A lot of those guys were just guys screwing around on Saturday afternoons, with various flexi's and wing cars, but got approached by, and/or sucked into the enthusiasm of the Hardbody faithful.

PS: Slot racing can use more exciting racing action and awesome wrecks like the one on the below animated video.


Mike Swiss
 
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#14 Pablo

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 06:44 PM

:laugh2:  Sell those parts, man !!  :D


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#15 MSwiss

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 06:49 PM

:laugh2:  Sell those parts, man !!  :D

As Jerry Kulich would say "Good for beezeniss".

What's strange is someone made the effort to do that awesome video and seemingly didn't bother to promote it, certainly not to the slot racing crowd.

Only 160 views, and zero thumbs up or down, when I found it totally by accident.

Mike Swiss
 
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#16 Half Fast

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 07:10 PM

The animation is always what I thought hard body racing would be! :D

 

Cheers


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#17 Bill from NH

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 07:27 PM

Only 160 views, and zero thumbs up or down, when I found it totally by accident.

 

I had not seen this  video before tonight. In my opinion, it doesn't show much of anything positive about slot cars. First, you don't have cars in the next lane running in the opposite direction unless it's during some special crashfest event. And the cars don't fly apart on contact as if they were make from eggshells. It now has one thumb down. :heat:


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You have to be odd to be #1. :laugh2: 


#18 MSwiss

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 07:44 PM

I thought it was obvious that I was being sarcastic.

I found it by accident trying to find the the slot car references on BBT.

I just posted it because I never saw a slot car animation and thought it was pretty well done.
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Mike Swiss
 
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Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516
Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#19 Half Fast

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 08:04 PM

After reading post #17 i gave it a thumbs up, very well done animation. Whether it has any positive to say about slots has nothing at all to do with the purpose of posting it.

 

We are taking ourselves much too seriously for a bunch of Grown (i.e. Old) men playing with toy cars.

 

Cheers


Bill Botjer

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#20 MSwiss

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 08:23 PM

Yes, I don't think anyone will think when they go slot racing the cars will disintegrate and a football player will rise up out of the track.

Mike Swiss
 
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
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Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder
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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.


#21 Bill from NH

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 08:27 PM

Maybe it's because I now only race hard body cars is why I don't find ii as humorous as you do.  Like me, you are entitled to your own opinion whether I agree with it or not.. :to_become_senile:


Bill Fernald

 

You have to be odd to be #1. :laugh2: 


#22 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 08:42 PM

With the current condition of the hobby being visible is the easiest thing there is, but that is true to almost any objective with the free opportunities of social media.
 
The real issue is what does it take and what are you willing to do to retain them once you have their attention? Personally I think there is a recipe or a checks and balances that make some establishments and regions hot, and others that are not. First off is your current group of racers and or regulars "groomed" enough to not scare off the potential new member? It is my opinion that one or two "nice guys" is not enough to attract and keep new members, but one or two overbearing "know it alls" are enough to get the exit door swinging. First impressions are key and the new member does not need to hear how great you were in the '60s and '70s on their first trip. A simple "hey if you need any help, just let me know" is all that is needed initially. I have seen and been victim to the bloated ego "hey look at me" types and it is a turn-off. Typical scenarios are great raceways with all the cool tracks and well stocked inventory that for whatever reason cannot get traction vs the band aid establishment that has tracks that are barely hanging in there and orders parts as the racer needs them that seem to have a decent racer turn-out. Neither makes enough to survive as they are missing the other key ingredient. I would venture to say that there are a lot of raceways that even if they sold everything on the walls, they still would not break even that month, that is a problem. 
 
Now I also believe that you can do everything right and still fail miserably at this. Just because you have the greatest game plan does not mean you have the greatest market share regionally. If an area has not had success within the model building sector, I would venture to believe that growing a new market will be difficult. I think you either need a hobbyist or an automotive enthusiast to really have a chance to build a mainstream establishment. Square foot rental prices is a huge issue as it is not consistent throughout the US. The floor space required is astronomical when you are talking razor thin profit margins. Professionally it is a raceway's biggest enemy. Another seemingly bad trend on the rise is entrepreneurs that have never raced a slot car buying tracks because it looks cool and there is nothing in their area and they want a raceway, only to go out of business within 8-12 months. This is worse for the hobby than not having a track in your area! New racers invest money, only to not have a raceway a year later. They then dump their investment. New raceway comes a year later and they are still too damaged to want to have another go at it.
 
OK thread drifted a bit and probably crossed the line of what Cheater was not looking for.
 
Personally I disagree with the topic! I think that slot car racing is visible and viable. Commercial slot car raceways and racing may not be, but slot cars are. In almost every region a consumer can see and buy a track and/or cars at any Hobby Lobby or Hobby Town. HO racing seems to be picking up in popularity again, hell, I even dusted off my Scorpion and have been doing laps in the basement. But the home-based racing keeps people out of commercial raceways except for "big" races. Manufacturers/distributors sell to the basement groups and cut the throat of the commercial raceway which to me is wrong and does nothing but reduce the value of a commercial raceway. Wing car racing created it own demons with faster, faster and loose rule sets. It appears recent changes are making wing racing very attractive again. Group F wing cars are a blast and a great way to get a new racer up to speed quickly (no pun intended). Retro is solid and more than likely the glue that is currently keeping a lot of raceways active with racers. But from the looks of it, 1/32 plastic slot cars are the current hotness. They are mainstream and like it or not dominating the slot car sectors. Internationally they are like a fresh boy band and the Euro's cannot get enough of them. 
 
I can tell this topic has been eating at Greg recently as he has made many remarks about it, the wheels have been turning. Personally I think if you wanted to make a run at rebuilding/revitalizing slot car racing within the US it would need to be with 1/32 plastic cars. Personally I dislike driving them, but my opinion is based off the fact that you need an influx of new competitors. You are not going to gain them with Lexan bodies, you will however gain them with realistic plastic bodies. The experience in most of you will quickly argue that they do not handle like a 1/24 car and again I agree, but globally you just cannot argue with the success and continued growth of 1/32 racing.

Lastly to me the biggest hole in our hobby is true competitive Flexi racing. Personally I think it is poorly promoted; the rules change too often and many times without reason. It could be much larger and without a lot of work in my opinion. I put partial blame on the sanctioning bodies but the majority on the manufacturers. The manufacturers are terrible at marketing new products as well as their product lines in general (do not confuse that with they make bad parts). Marketing their products through all the available media resources including press releases and product news as well as utilizing the great talent that is out there using their parts. This is where the R/C industry not only kicks the slot car industries ***, but many other industries. They do a great job at keeping those in the hobby in it and even a better job of getting the newcomer enthused. The slot car industry is an older clientele and there is a severe clash with this stuck in the '60s meshing with the modern youth/young adult. The R/C industry while led by some veterans and legends, overall is a generation or two younger.
 
No clue what I just said!
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Matt Sheldon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#23 Half Fast

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 08:54 PM

Well said, Matt.
 
Bravo.

Bill Botjer

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#24 Bill from NH

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 09:54 PM

Matt, are you involved in relocating the former Greeley King to whatever town it's going to? :)

Bill Fernald

 

You have to be odd to be #1. :laugh2: 


#25 CoastalAngler1

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 09:59 PM

Can you say, "Reality TV"?


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#26 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 10:04 PM

Matt, are you involved in relocating the former Greeley King to whatever town it's going to? :)


I tried to purchase it from the people that purchased it from Wes. As of the message that I received from the owners on July 9, they were still actively searching for a facility to put it in. 
 
That being said I have 16 lanes of track scheduled for delivery on the 22nd and looking for 8 more to complete the puzzle.

Matt Sheldon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#27 Samiam

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Posted 17 July 2015 - 10:27 PM

A national Track Owners Group.
 
There, I said it.
 
Talk among yourselves.
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:

#28 NSwanberg

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 12:14 AM

How expensive is to Ustream? I think it would be a good idea to Ustream every race in commercial raceways.


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#29 MSwiss

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 01:50 AM

I'm pretty sure Sano 2 was the first race U-Streamed, but I can take it or leave it.

Some people get offended by the salty language, which I've been guilty of, and regret, but if there aren't any kids around, it's hard for me to deny adults enjoying themselves.

That all said, my biggest problem with U-Stream, is the eavesdropping aspect of it.

I've heard too many things that were private conversations that the participants had no idea was being heard.
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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
17B West Ogden AveWestmont, 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.


#30 cookie4524

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 02:42 AM

U-Stream and service like that would be really cool, but I don't think it will have much of an affect on the amount of racers at commercial tracks. However, TV commercials, newspaper ads, heck, even facebook ads would definitely bring at least a few people. However, with TV commercials, I have only seen maybe one or two ads that do look very well done, but another idea is to ask a local news station to do a short "snip it" on the raceway. But nowadays, people want cheaper things that they can just buy and play with.

Friendliness is also a huge factor when people first walk into raceways. People should always be friendly, offer help to newbies if they need it, or at the very least, don't try to be a show off. There may be some times where it is appropriate to show off your prestigious car collection, or stunning laps times, but not every time.
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#31 Bill from NH

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 07:35 AM

A national Track Owners Group.

 

We had the TOAA & TOA..


Bill Fernald

 

You have to be odd to be #1. :laugh2: 


#32 Pappy

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 07:54 AM

Unless one person takes the bull by the horns to promote slot car racing on a national level it ain't never going to happen. 

 

I nominate "Cheater".  :clapping:  :clapping:  :clapping:  :good:


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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.
 
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#33 Samiam

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 08:42 AM

We had the TOAA & TOA...


What happened to them and why?
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:

#34 smithspeedway

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 08:57 AM

The TOA - http://www.gofastest.com/toa

 

No idea what happened to it.

 

Someone said "reality tv".  If you could find a track with an interesting racing program that the public could relate to, that is a great idea.

 

I'm not sure the commercial track model is the thing to focus on.  We are in a very sparsely populated area.  There is never going to be enough "on track" business to support a track.  We know this because I wasn't the first one to open a commercial track here,and all failed.  Hybrid club/commercial ventures (like us) allow you to scale your cost and labor to something manageable.

 

Steve



#35 hiline2

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 09:12 AM

I'll weigh in, Im following several Tracks/groups overseas and it appears that they arent having any problems attracting public to watch and or participate.

 

Also arent home tracks/groups surviving well  here? Again, if you bother to  track things on Facebook just type in "slot car" or any variant and start see who/what/where pops up ! Also setting up ant public events such as car shows, fairs etc will also stimulates interest but it takes  much dedicated follow through to birth more . 


Paul Bass

#36 Pablo

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 11:12 AM

Unless one person takes the bull by the horns to promote slot car racing on a national level it ain't never going to happen. 

 

I nominate "Cheater".  :clapping:  :clapping:  :clapping:  :good:

 

He's already doing it, isn't he? :)


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Paul Wolcott

#37 Tom Eatherly

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 12:02 PM

At the risk of not suggesting the right idea; get it on i-phones in some manner. If that gets figured out, you'll have MILLION'S of a new generation at least checking it out. Just a thought.

 

Flame suit on.


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#38 Bill from NH

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 01:08 PM

What happened to them and why?

 

The TOAA became the TOA. It died a slow death from the lack of interest & participation as the quantities of distributers, manufacturers, & trackowners decreased. Maybe something similar to them could be resurrected within the IRRA.


Bill Fernald

 

You have to be odd to be #1. :laugh2: 


#39 hiline2

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 01:32 PM

Interesting enough just this morning on the History channel was a program called 60's tech, and the second item in was a short piece on slot car racing. It had Jim Cunningham of Nomad Slotcar Racing expressing views on the commercial era and Ed Harris for home hobby racing, not sure when this was recorded or first aired but it did a decent  effort and representation in a short clip I think. Nice old footage and some current footage. The only downside wasnt showing current racing (home or hobby or commercial).


Paul Bass

#40 PCH Parts Express

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 01:41 PM

Slot cars need a PR consultant. Slot cars needs an advertising consultant. The large manufacturing firms will not pay for what is needed. Slot cars will stay as it is. 

 

If somehow the military installs tracks at some bases, that could be a big step toward greater interest in younger folks. 


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#41 Big Durl

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 01:42 PM

Two words:  bumper stickers!

 

slot_bumper_stickers.jpg


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Darryl Vance


#42 hiline2

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 01:47 PM

If somehow the military installs tracks at some bases, that could be a big step toward greater interest in younger folks. 

Now thats a solid idea ,  how  could we get the manufacturers (heck of a way to promote product) supply military facilities with set ups or even any of the custom builders ?


Paul Bass

#43 Bill from NH

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 02:25 PM

Back in the late 60's & 70's a good many US military bases had one or more commercial grade tracks on it. There was even an article in one of the slot car magazines about a track that had been built & installed onboard a Navy ship. Where did they all go? My guess is that as military personnel got moved around, interest in them waned. I know that's what happened to the track at The Brunswick Navel Airstation in Maine. A few Navy stragglers who remained, came & raced with us at the Lemans Raceway commercial track.


Bill Fernald

 

You have to be odd to be #1. :laugh2: 


#44 tonyp

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 03:08 PM

Maybe we should investigate what Scalextric is doing in the UK. Seems everyone knows about slot cars. In Europe slots and R/C races were considered part of auto racing, not just toy cars. They would get sports section coverage in the newspapers at least for R/C.


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#45 Gator Bob

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 03:23 PM

Track owners .. Offer to host a party for the students of mechanical engineering at your local schools.

 

Advertise on engineering trade sites and blogs ... Precision construction competitions.


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#46 PCH Parts Express

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 03:24 PM

Slot cars protects us from terrorism. We need funding. Let's buy some Congressman and make the commercial media tell that lie over and over again until the masses believe it.  Bam... $550,000,000.00! 


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#47 Randy Tragni

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 04:18 PM

Hot celebrity Hollywood babes to promote slot cars. Get Brad and Anjolie and the kids into BPR and you're there.


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#48 Dominator

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 06:24 PM

A great combination would be a pizza/sub shop with a slot car track. Have the two joined by an door way/arch way. People have to eat which will then bring visibility to slot cars. Also while the kids get introduced to slot cars, mom and dad can enjoy a meal together even if only for 15 minutes.


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#49 Cheater

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 07:24 PM

Maybe we should investigate what Scalextric is doing in the UK. Seems everyone knows about slot cars. In Europe slots and R/C races were considered part of auto racing, not just toy cars. They would get sports section coverage in the newspapers, at least for R/C.


That's the approach that that's been neglected.

Paul Pfanner at Racer magazine is using this tagline: "Slot racing is real racing."

The connection between model car racing and 1:1 racing has never been exploited properly.
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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


#50 Samiam

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 07:42 PM

When I refer to 1:1 or  full scale cars I never use the term "real cars". This reinforces the idea that slot cars are "real cars".


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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:





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