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R4/10 - great!

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#1 slick in the slot

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:55 AM

This year's R4, to me, was the best slot car race i ever attended. Mike and crew ran an excellent program, kept to a schedule, and provided a very professionally-run event. With all the potential for problems with new procedures it was outstanding.


I didn't talk to everyone, but all I talked with liked the hand-out motor program. It provided a very exciting dimension to the racing, very close competition, and a dramatically-reduced cost (for me). Coupe FK, Senior Can-Am and Senior F1 provided three distinct formats. Too often different classes means just changing a body, but not at this year's R4.


I believe once the word gets out, next year's event will even have more attendance. Just don't change anything! :)

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Gil Pataky

#2 Butters37


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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:49 AM

Only one change needed... If you win Seniors you are banned from running it for five years. LOL.

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Jason Engel

#3 willy wonka

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:00 AM

The hand-out process went very smoothly and the show was run rather well. Although I don't like hand-out races I don't think it could have been run much more efficiently. The 7R motors were very competitive to one another. There was a lot of close racing this weekend throughout all the mains.

I'm glad I went and got to see a lot of folks I only see a few times a year.
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William Custer
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#4 Matt Sheldon

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:03 PM

My take on what I saw and experienced -
To start I had mentioned earlier that in my opinion I had confidence in this race simply due to the people and facility holding the race. It is honestly what sold me on making the trip and participating (OK, Rowdy pushing me helped). Mike is a by the book guy and stays true to his word and that discipline and consistency is what it takes to be successful. It is the exact same principal that has made the IRRA® the gold standard in slot car racing in my opinion. Tom Thumbs tenth premier event, always a "must go-to event" for the majority of top drivers, you don't think he hasn't figured this out a little by now? Mike and his family have consistent structure and their attention to detail is impeccable! A great sign of this is his meticulous organizing of parts and supplies and bins as well as constant cleaning of the restroom. This event was extremely well thought-out and every damn worker/volunteer was obviously prepped on the itinerary because all were on the same page.
The voodoo magic in the room while everyone was breakin-in motors was pretty darn cool. I think I will hear Tom Adams break-in box in my head for a month, but I am good with it! I did not hear one complaint, not one across the pits. Everyone I talked with stated that their hand-outs equaled or outperformed what they had brought with them. I did not talk to either Wills however about what they ran in F1, but I will take a guess that they both were well-prepped with motors they brought.


What a lot of people quickly learned is that they stressed over getting six motors ready when the majority really only concentrated on three-four motors because that is all that was needed. The other perception was that you would have to thrash to get it all done on Thursday and that simply was not the case. You technically had three days at 1.5 hours each day to work on your Can-Am motors. Once the anxiety died and rationalism set in, the atmosphere was fun as always.


The only complaint that one could have was that you had to stand in line two additional times to get your motors out of impound, but even that was flawless and honestly I witnessed people in line introducing themselves and putting faces to the forum names. I know that I met a lot of great "Lazy Locals" that were incredible people while standing in line. Another great thing that I witnessed was Mike walking the pits and talking with everyone. Asking how everything was going and listening. All smiles and taking mental notes, really hard to find fault in his true objective with every square inch of this event.
The racing was great I thought in all the mains. The A Main guys were really pushing it in Can-Am and F1 and the deslots and crashes were signs that all these guys are actually human. Some of the top guys making the same mistakes that they shake their heads at us lower main guys for doing, LOL. Willy is a monster! He showed that he can just lay down the laps at will (no pun intended). He showed he has matured quite a bit and was well-prepped for this race. Brinkley's F1 qualifying was extremely impressive, but the performance Ricky Jr. put down in F1 was incredible. The car looked great on the track and he drove it perfectly.


And then there is Cap, the kid that you just can never count out. He too has matured and watching him dig and dig in Can-Am to pull it off after having some troubles was awesome. The podiums were younger due to the senior classes, but the standout to me is 17-year old Jimmy Williams. You have to pay your dues to get around Tom Thumb's King and Jimmy making all the As his second year there showed what this kid can to. This kid has the goods, that is pretty evident. And watching Matt and Ryan Bruce battling to make the semi together in the same race in F1 was a great moment. Matt may not have had the best weekend, but he should hang his hat on how he felt when they did the announcements, his smile was for sure a proud dad moment.
As always my weekend would not be, without the continued support and friendship of Rowdy always looking out for my best interests. Cap, Josh, and Tony P. always taking care of me no matter what I need. Big props to Mike and Cindy McMasters for not only pulling it off, but for successfully setting the bar in all aspects of hand-out racing. Their incredible staff - Jessica, Eric, Rick and Bill Fulmer - tech was spot on!!!. The ladies that feed us non stop and whomever the coffee elf is that keeps the pot percolating. The Bartos crew, The Boogie Crew, The HVR crew, the Bruce family, the No Fun Zone, the SERRA crew, The Chayas,  Diana Dyckman, all you damn "Lazy Locals," and everyone else in the building, it was a pleasure meeting all of you and hanging out. Also to all the sponsors that contributed financially as well as materially, thank you! It is always fun to win something you were not expecting. I had a great time no matter how much Cap berated me.  :)
To all those that wanted this event to fail, shame on you. We are all in this together, there is no way that handout racing is the end of retro.
See everyone next year.

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Matt Sheldon









#5 slotracer43



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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:51 PM

Couldn't agree more with Matt about how well organized this event was. I think like many others, I was skeptical with how smoothly it could go doing handouts for two classes and having to impound cars and motors for 50-60 racers. But Mike had this very well thought out and he and everyone at Tom Thumb executed it perfectly. If this is something he would decide to do again for future races, I would not hesitate to participate.


I agree with Matt as well, that it was very interesting to see everyone's take on what is the best way to break in their motors. You definitely had to use your time wisely in selecting motors and having your cars prepared for tech and racing, but I found this to be a challenge that just added to the fun of this event.


I really enjoyed my first R4. It was great to meet and race with some new people and was great to race on an American King for the first time. It was definitely a challenge to get used to the track, but was a lot of fun. It was really impressive to see how hard the top racers could push their cars on this track.


I certainly plan to attend this race in the future, hand-outs or no hand-outs Im sure it will be a great event either way. 

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Adam Chaya

#6 Pat Skeggs

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:04 PM

I think a lot cats don't like hand-out motors races because they feel the top cats have a special way of breaking-in motors. When I became Pro it happened to be a hand-out race. I broke my motor in water for about 5 minutes then put it on the power supply on 4v for about 15 min then put it on the track. Once on the track I do 20-25 laps stop let it cool, do this three or four times then spray with Pure. I don't know if I got lucky but it worked.


It would be appropriate if some cats put down how they break their motors in to ease people's minds. I think it does not matter, hand-out, no hand-out, the top cats will still be the top cats.

#7 Cap Henry

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:13 AM

Thank you to the McMasters family and crew for another awesome R4!


First, Mike caught a lot of crap over the hand-out motors, but he did an awesome job and it seemed pretty flawless! I hope they keep the format next year, I really enjoyed it! Eric and Bill did an awesome job with tech!

It was great seeing so many people you only see once a year, the entire Bruce family, the Williams, Bobby Robinson and the Georgia Gang and Will Brinkley. I also got to pit with a great group of guys, between the Bennardos, Greg Fox, Steve Koepp, and Bud. I was always laughing! Rowdy and Matt also kept me laughing and out of trouble! LOL.

Thanks to all my sponsors that make everything possible. I couldn't do it without Parma, Precision Slot Cars, JDR, and Duffy HMI.

Congrats to Rick Starkey, Bud Bartos, and Ricky Jr on their wins, plus all the main winners! Can't wait til next year!!

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#8 Steve Deiters

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 12:23 PM

Many thanks to Mike and Cindy McMasters, their extended family and friends for putting on the R4/10.  Everything came off without a hitch. What more can be said other than that?
On the technical side of things a special thanks for all the extra effort put forth on the tech end of things and cataloging all of the entries Eric Balicki and Bill Fulmer. The much talked-about hand-out motor policy worked out just fine.
While we don't give awards for such things I did want to give two shoutouts to some racers from this R4/10. 
Local racer Joe Eliot is new to the slot racing hobby by less than a year. He won the open Class Concours trophy with his reimagining of the famous Lee Gilbert "Sundance" paint scheme that graced the cover of Car Model magazine decades ago. He also didn't waste any time on the track running a strong third place in his Can-Am group, keeping it near the front for the whole race. Not a bad "day at the races" for him.
Second year competitor Nate Graham gets the "award" for Most Improved Mechanic & Driver. Nate arrived at the track with his cars very well prepared and tuned and turned it into reality on the track finishing second in his Can-Am group with a lot of time spent out in the front on the track.  Solid experience last year provided a solid performance for this year. The bar goes up a little higher next year...
That is what slot racing is all about.

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#9 gfox


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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:57 AM

I don't know how but Mike snd his crew make this event better and better every year. Already looking forward to next year.


I think the hand-out motor program worked fine; a little more track time would be appreciated but it was the same for everyone. I ran the same motor in Coupe and all three races in Can-Am.


Congratulations to the winners, piss off to the whiners, and see you next year!

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Greg Fox

#10 gfox


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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:30 AM

One thing I would like to see is Group 1 and Group 2 rotated either Sat. or Sun. so I could sleep a little longer at least one day! LOL.
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Greg Fox

#11 Shooter7mustang


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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:45 AM

Huge kudos to Mike, Cindy and the rest of the crew for an amazing "first experience"!


As a first time "big race" attendee and a relatively new Retro racer I was thoroughly impressed with not only the way the event was managed but also with the willingness of some of Retro racings biggest names to help some of us less experienced drivers. A huge thanks to Will Custer and Cap Henry as well as a slew of other racers whose names my "chemo brain" can't recall at the present time.


I look forward to attending another IRRA® event in the near future and thanks again Mike and all for the hospitality and a great experience !



In Christ,



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