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Wing cars? What makes them so popular?


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#51 Phil Smith

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:58 AM

For your info, Mill was a pro racer of certain stature in the late 1960s and his opinion does not show as much disdain as simply looking at the facts the way they are. While 300 (or maybe 325, who cares?) people in the USA play with wing cars, MILLIONS today play with incredibly precise MODEL CARS.

I think plastic track racing has very little to do with commercial track racing. I think they're two entirely different hobbies. While some commercial track racers are also into plastic track racing, most are not. None of my commercial racing buddies are into plastic track. At least if they are, they're not into it much, because they've never mentioned it.

So I think the commercial / home track comparison is meaningless.
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#52 Phil Smith

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 12:03 PM

My response to your comment regarding the size of retro racing is based on some hard numbers, for example, the initial run of 750 Warmack chassis kits that sold out within something like 30-45 days and which have now (I think) been re-run in a volume that is unknown to me.

Greg,

Wow! I didn't know Bryan made and sold that many chassis. That's incredible. Retro must be much bigger than I realized.
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#53 Cheater

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 12:21 PM

Well, I'm trusting my memory here and it is not getting more reliable as I get older. If I am off-base, I hope Bryan or PdL will correct me.

Gregory Wells

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


#54 The Number of

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 12:28 PM

Todd Radke and JK have indicated that the initial run of F7s sold out far quicker than any other Falcon production run, which would suggest that retro is growing strongly.

Do not think you can use FALCON 7 production as a base for retro popularity. My local track has three classes that require Falcons, and so far none are retro.

So if somebody can prove that retro has one more participant than wings or vice-versa can we declare a winner? Why can't we all get along! :lol: :drinks: :friends:

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#55 Cheater

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 12:48 PM

Bill,

Yes, but after multiple production runs of Falcons selling out in roughly similar timeframes, the fact that the last batch went in record time suggests (not proves) that retro is the reason for the increase.

And, please, there's no winner or loser involved in my question. I'm just asking Roman if he has any hard evidence for his opinion, that's all.

Unlike most other forms of leisure-time activity, slot racing is largely a market of unknown size, except for the 1/32 Europlastic market, where some numbers are available. I can easily locate reliable market size estimates for hunters, fisherman, bowlers, video-gamers, etc., etc., but not for 1/24 slot racers of any stripe.

If Roman or anyone else can provide supporting evidence for 1,000 or 2,000 active wing car racers, I'm betting that info would be of interest to a number of people in the industry.

Gregory Wells

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


#56 Ron Hershman

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 12:48 PM

Depends on how you break down the number of racers/players racing wing cars... I would say there are probably 100 or so "hardcore" USRA type wing racers in the US racing monthly regional series races and at the Nats. Not saying all 100 attend the Nats as more stay home than go. Then there are probably another 100 or so regional racers in the US that race wing cars from time to time. Then there are many "players" who have wing cars and race here and there in weekly events at their local raceway. If you add up the wing racers in Brazil and Europe, then there are probably at least 1,000 or more wing car racers/players world wide. A small group in the big picture of slots, but they help the overall industry in numbers. While I respect Paul's estimate, he is probably estimating numbers based on his sales of his product. If you were to ask Koford the same question, he would probably estimate a much larger number.

It was reported here that the initial run of Warmack kits were 250 and at the time they were not sure of a second run. As for F7 motors selling at a faster rate... that happens when your new motor has 50 to 75% less life than the previous version. Same number of racers, buying more motors due to shorter life.

As far as wing body sales go... if Outisight was only making wing car bodies... then it would have been shut down a long time ago. Yes, wing car racing is declining and has been for many years for most of the reasons already mentioned in this thread. But I can also tell you that based on the number of wing car bodies we sell to the body painters... somewhere out there... there are a lot of wing cars being used or raced.

While Retro is growing very nicely... I don't think it is as large as wing cars yet and nowhere near the size of stamped steel Flexi car racing. YET!!!!!

Homeset/Model Car racing is a entirely different industry that stands on its own without commercial racing or commercial tracks. Retro at this time is dependent on commercial tracks.

#57 Cheater

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 12:54 PM

Ouch... I have remembered the Warmack chassis number wrong. It was 250, not 750, mea culpa. Thanks for that correction.

But I do know that Bryan must made another batch, as I was distinctly told the first batch had sold out and that they might not be re-run. Yet, this clearly has happened, as vendors who were out and initially couldn't get any more Warmack kits now have plenty of them. And numerous places seem to have the bare Warmack pan now.

Not sure I agree with your assessment fo why the F7 run sold out so quickly, but it's as valid as mine, I suppose.

Gregory Wells

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


#58 Phil Smith

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 03:04 PM

I think Ron makes a good point about why F7s sold so quickly. I don't see how it couldn't be true. It might not be the only reason, but it has to be at least part of the reason.

That's got to be very profitable for JK. Let's hope the other suppliers don't adopt this short motor life strategy. ;) :laugh2:
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#59 Jaz

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 07:27 PM

It seems the original question of "What makes wing cars so popular?" has changed to "why not many racers race wing cars anymore". While there are still alarge number of hardcore wing racers still around, their numbers have certainly dwindled. I myself ran wing cars from their inception in the '70's thru the mid '90's, having started running opens back in the late '60's.

I don't believe they are as popular as they once were due to a few major circumstances that affected the 'wing car world'. Back in the '80s we had 3 USRA classes. G7 and G27 were unlimited classes except for the armature rule for 27s.

International 15s were the true builders class - Ceramic C-cans and wire chassis, that had a retail limit of $35. Towards the end of the decade, there were several builders selling I15 equipment 'under the table' for prices that were far above the rules of the times. Oh - the USRA did nothing but turn a blind eye to what was happening. The problem was, their stuff worked and if you wanted to remain competitve, you had to shell out the $$$$. Then the raceways started selling I15 rollers for $150 built by these people and new racers could buy into a winner right from the get-go. I saw the beginning of the end, then....Racers were showing up for Friday nite I15 races and changing motors every heat - to win a $30 gift certificate.

It all came down to who could spend the most amount of money to be the fastest....not who was the best driver.

In the '90's, the concept of driving went out the window with the advent of the "full punched king track". The days of setting up a car to cope with different tracks and driving skill were gone. Racers who couldn't keep up with throwing out the $$$ to keep up dropped out.

Look at a modern wing car today: Aluminum chassis (identical for every class), no body movement at all - pinned directly to the chassis(like in the '60's!!) tires that cost almost $20/pair and motors that run into the multiple hundreds of dollars.

Do the returns justify the expenses anymore??

Yes, they are incredably fast - now approaching the breaking of the 1.4 barrier, but on the same hand, we are all *ahem* getting older, and have any of you recently run a G27?? I know I can barely follow it. Now imagine 7 others at the same time and, Oh Yea, still having all the screaming going on all around you - hahah :laugh2:

I'd love to run the new retro stuff, the D-3 class seems ideal, but my local raceway owner just laughs when I ask him when he's going to start running D3. Instead, he tells me he having a new Gerding King built to regain the world records he lost since his Olgilvie is outdated.

Oh well.....looks like I'll stick to my mountain biking :rolleyes:

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#60 68Caddy

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 12:17 AM

This is great, but it seems to me that most of you just like different type of racing at different times, and that's all
good to me. :laugh2: :laugh2:
I have to admit that I do enjoy magnet racing, and I think it takes lots of skill in doing that even if it's argued, but know
I'm a good old boy and I race with a lot of glue ( for me it's the liquid magnet ) as long it's not bogging down my BIG DOG. :laugh2: :laugh2: :laugh2:
So what's the point? Let's us have fun, it's like arguing about Nascar or F1; who cares, let's enjoy. :laugh2: :laugh2:
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#61 endbelldrive

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 11:22 AM

My friend Rob calls it a "science experiment" It is basically a science project to see how fast a projectile can be made to travel a fixed track." Guys like it because it is so fast.

Swoopy Kings are part of the "science experiment" too. Racin' is racin' so it's all legit to me. I'm impressed with how fast wing cars go but also impressed with how good 1/32 Eurosport drivers get around those flat tracks. By the way...I think I still have my old Box Stock 15 from the previous century. :blush:
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#62 RomanK

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 09:01 AM

Yes, but after multiple production runs of Falcons selling out in roughly similar timeframes, the fact that the last batch went in record time suggests (not proves) that retro is the reason for the increase.

And, please, there's no winner or loser involved in my question. I'm just asking Roman if he has any hard evidence for his opinion, that's all.

Unlike most other forms of leisure-time activity, slot racing is largely a market of unknown size, except for the 1/32 Europlastic market, where some numbers are available. I can easily locate reliable market size estimates for hunters, fisherman, bowlers, video-gamers, etc., etc., but not for 1/24 slot racers of any stripe.

If Roman or anyone else can provide supporting evidence for 1,000 or 2,000 active wing car racers, I'm betting that info would be of interest to a number of people in the industry.

Multiple production runs of F7s selling is also indicative of the increased popularity of this motor in non-retro type racing. Two tracks in my area have started Falcon-powerd classes and with 20+ entries weekly and motors rarely lasting more than two races (competitively) I suspect they've added to the total as well.

Along that same line, I own three of the Warmack chassis kits yet have only raced in one retro race, do you count my three chassis when coming up with your estimate of retro racers?

So far as an accurate estimate on wing car racers, my estimate is based on Nats attendance, series race attendance, and some firsthand knowledge of on-going programs. Surely you can't believe that Koford (major wing car parts supplier) could still be in business if their entire customer base consisted of 300 racers or less world wide. Ron posted that he felt it was closer to 1,000 and since he is in the business, I would think he has a better idea.

With all that being said, going back to my initial involvement in this thread, I'll ask again, who cares how many it is so long as there are some and they are spending money to help the hobby stay afloat? Why does someone always have to come out of the woodwork with some goofy off-the-wall comments about their personal preference and comparing them to other types of racing and saying it has nothing to do with driving, and adding emoticons :laugh2: :laugh2: to indicate their thoughts and defending their off-topic posts by telling someone who they once were, and that they once were good at this or thought they were, and quit cause it didn't go their way, etc., etc., etc., all of which has NOTHING to do with the original post which simply asked "why are they so popular"?

Huh? Why is that? ;)

Roman Kormeluk


#63 CruzinBob

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 10:41 AM

I always regard a wing on a slot car as a negative. Quite simply I know the thing will break off at some point and then it will be a pain in the butt to glue back on to the car.

Secondly, it seems that the existence of the wing makes the application of a traction compound onto the tires almost essential. But many/most track owners hate the resultant gook on their tracks.

So what's with wing cars? Why are they so popular with many racers?

I'm so preoccupied these days with survival that I'm not as conversational as normal. ;) Would like to offer up my experience regarding wing cars, however.

I'd like to preface this with an observation learned through experience of being an avid racer, owning raceways, and most of all doing events with mobile tracks. People are attracted to objects that look like real cars and play with them through the excitement that is inspired from the thought of simple fun. Once they pull the trigger, that thought is replaced with an adrenalin rush powered by the speed and quick reaction of the little bullet. Wing cars offer the ultimate in the rush.

When I got back into slot cars in 1988 I raced Boxstock 15 (Wing Cars) for several years in SoCal USRA. After about two years Gil Gunderson let me run a Gp 27 at Bullett Raceway (Mark LaRue) in Bellflower, which I will never forget. He set it down on the lead on and said "punch it". I did, but lost sight of it in an instant and after what seemed a millisecond, it was already in the deadman... I then took a few quick laps trembling with adrenalin rushes, :D

What I've experienced from watching people casually playing with slot cars in raceways and while exhibiting with my mobile tracks is that most like to have some SIMPLE FUN. They want to go fast, but not look stupid - as in not crashing. Wing cars are best for this. I personally find it repulsive when I see someone speeding around a race course punched - but at the expense of not looking stupid, they love it! We racers find that so hard to believe, but most PLAYERS want some rather mindless thing to occupy their time. Kids love to have a car that whizzes around the track full speed while they smile, turn their back to the track, and hum mindlessly.

When I opened raceway #6 in Far East Mesa, AZ, 2002 (now Tuff Trax) I had the opinion that wing cars had contributed to the demise of raceways for various reasons. I had a wing body pinned to the wall and told people, "We will not tolerate the use of this type body!" Silly, yup! What I found after much reflection was that I was just pissed that I could no longer compete due to rapid product development (cars, parts as well as tracks) and the expense. There is so much more to the story than this, but I don't care to go into more detail here.

I now believe that, as someone coined, Wing Cars ARE the F1s of the slot car world and rightly have a place for those who can afford the time and expense of participation.

Addressing the thought that wing cars require glue, etc., Paul Pfeiffer of Alpha (Formula 2000) has proven that this is not only not needed but can work very well.

Wing Cars rule in a world of speed. Scale cars should be just that but Model Slot Cars have helped slot racing the most.
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#64 MadMax

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 10:59 AM

They are not... :shok:

#65 W. J. Dougherty

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 04:03 PM

Not what???
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#66 kuni123456

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 10:22 PM

I like wing car racing the best because I started to race wing cars in 1973. There was only three USRA classes; Pro, Semi-Pro, and Amateur. The cars had very small side dams and spoilers. They looked like cars, but very large air control was added in 1975.

I still race wing cars, but also race D3, scale cars, and HO slot cars. I like wing cars the best, but you need to support the local raceway or you will have to fly to another city to race your cars. I believe that the raceway needs to survive and it will not with only one form of racing. I do not think that one form of slot car racing is better than another. It is only a hobby and not a sport. I have played with slot cars on and off since 1964 and hope to continue race for a few more years. I have even purchased two 1/24 AA/FC cars and raced one at BPR in December, 2007.
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#67 RomanK

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 07:40 PM

They are not...

KC, the topic is "Wing cars, what makes them so popular", not KC's opinion of wing cars. If you don't believe they are popular, no response would have been appropriate.

It is very apparent that you have not been able to take advantage of the spending potential of Wing Car racers and seem to be carrying a grudge because of that. That's a shame but others have done quite well with them.

Actually, IMHO, with your attitude, I'm surprised you've managed to stay in business at all, kudos to you sir, you must have someone snowballed.

Roman Kormeluk


#68 Rick

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 08:05 PM

Wings cars just give ya a rush like no other can. If you ain't careful you will find yourself driving on your toes to keep up with it...

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#69 redbackspyder

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 01:34 AM

I'm so preoccupied these days with survival that I'm not as conversational as normal ;) Would like to offer up my experience regarding wing cars, however...

Bob, I agree with you, and I apologise to Roman for seeming to knock his winged group. I was simply making an observation, which I still think is valid, that the growing numbers of racers are going to groups like D3 and sure there is room for all in slot racing. If people want to spend exhorbitant amounts of money, where better than the slot car world to support the manufacturers. I will not believe however that wing cars promote more young people getting into the hobby than do the 1/32 scale cars. You can hardly run a wing car unless you have a commercial raceway somewhere nearby, whereas you can run 1/32 and 1/24 scale on Carrera track all day long and not be dependent on commercial raceways.

Wing racers are the ULTIMATE speed rush. I bow down to their dedication, their ability to build a motor and chassis, and to have their own fun. I never denied that they do not deserve to be in slot racing, and you, Roman, are right in the fact it does not matter what or who someone is or was. I just hope that the hobby stays alive long enough to see a new generation come up to enjoy the hobby like I did as a kid, and it does teach something, it teaches mechanics and dexterity. It is all entertainment, in one form or another, and I did not mean to sell short the racers that support it. But if you really believe that it is the growing segment of the hobby, then I think you do need to re-evaluate your view. The hobby is large enough for all facets to prosper, but to personally attack some for their opinion does not do even the largest hobby any good.

Once again, I APOLOGISE to any wing racers that I offended with my own opinions. Just my opinion, I could be wrong

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#70 JEngland

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 12:43 PM

You get high racing them. I walked into a raceway last year, expecting to watch a USRA Div 1 race.

I got talked into racing. They gave me a car. Hey, I'm a family fun type Flexi guy who just enjoys racing. It's not about winning with me, I just like to race and have fun and if I'm lucky, I win every now and then.

So anyway I raced in Box 12, and I immediately begin to get a buzz on. I was dizzy, high, what ever you call it. By the end of the race I had a full adrenaline buzz going on. Wing car racers are adrenaline junkies. My neck and shouders were very sore from all of the musle twiwching from driving faster than what I was used to. I respect them.

It's a great segment of the hobby but for me, I like cars that look like cars.
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#71 RomanK

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 12:09 PM

But if you really believe that it is the growing segment of the hobby, then I think you do need to re-evaluate your view. The hobby is large enough for all facets to prosper, but to personally attack some for their opinion does not do even the largest hobby any good.

Once again, I APOLOGISE to any wing racers that I offended with my own opinions. Just my opinion, I could be wrong

Mill, no apologies necessary, (to me anyway; I'm not nearly that sensitive ;) ) But to expand, no, I do not believe that wing car racing is the growing segment of the hobby nor have I said so and in fact I personally believe that the wing car racing that I now know will probably die with this generation. That's a shame but we are our own worst enemy and will not admit it. We'll continuing doing what we do until we run off all but a few who will then probably move on to something else. Just my opinion.

BUT, we are here now, we are a reasonable number and we spend A LOT OF MONEY. Commercial raceways need money and I feel that an owner would be foolish to ignore the spending potential of this group. There are raceways that have figured this out but others who would rather cry about not being able to pay the rent then come right back with "we don't allow them damn door stop wing cars in our place." I don't get it. Nobody is forcing anyone else to do it, as far as I know the Glue Thugs have never raped or pillaged (I did say as far as I know right) so why not GET THE MONEY ?

Generally speaking, when the Mid-Atlantic has a race at a raceway, we work with the owner and make sure that they don't over-order inventory, many racers have a self-imposed minimum spend of $100, many racers never cash their race winnings, our race payouts are in favor of the raceway (60%), we assist any local racers interested in participating, and we clean the track when we leave. We rarely steal the women and children and I really don't recall us ever burning the village down... well, there was that one time, but nobody was ever charged. :rolleyes:

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#72 Cheater

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 12:41 PM

... Commercial raceways need money and I feel that an owner would be foolish to ignore the spending potential of this group. There are raceways that have figured this out but others who would rather cry about not being able to pay the rent then come right back with "we don't allow them damn door stop wing cars in our place." I don't get it.

Roman,

I agree with the quoted comment.

Over fifteen years ago, a well-known hobby figure opened a raceway in the Atlanta area and even though he had one track that could be used for wing racing, he told all and sundry that he would never allow wing cars in his raceway. I thought it was a stupid thing to do then and I still think so.

That particular raceway owner burned a lot of bridges by taking that position and, as you might imagine, his facility lasted the typical three years before closing.

Gregory Wells

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


#73 Mark Greene

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 06:38 PM

Your one smart guy Roman!

Even though I've failed miserably at getting any kind of regular wing program going. I've always wanted to and always try and provide a quality place for wing racers to play. We've also managed to turn a few guys on to what fun it can be.

I think our down fall has been one of economics and the amount of preparation it takes to compete. It was nice to see a couple of the series try and do something about that(one motor racing) The mid-atlantic being one of them. Sad to see it didn't seem to work as well as we all had hoped.

In any case, The Mid-Atlantic guys have always been a fun bunch to play with and will always be welcome here.

#74 Mike Walpole

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 01:15 PM

I have to say this is a very interesting read, I enjoyed reading it. We are getting into Wing racing at TR MotorPlex on the new G11 track, so it helps to know what we are potentually getting into.

I started racing 16D GT1 Flexis on our Windsor about a year & a half ago. Since then I also got into Retro racing some too. I really like racing the flexis and I gotta say racing the Retros is a lot of fun, especially on the original King at Tom Thumb. Since the new track is designed for wing racing and we got a dozen Koford RTR cars in to start a G12 series with, I bought a couple of those too. I'm having fun doing all of it. Right now I'm having my best luck with the flexis though. I'm kind of flailing at retro.

Hopefully, we'll get the G12 series going soon. We plan to run an spray glue and limit to one motor to keep costs down. From the practice I've had with the cars on the G11 track it should be fun. We've talked about racing the G12s one a month and running the flexis the rest of the time. We have a wing car race at TR on the 16th for G12 spray glue, G27 Lite, OMO and G7, which I hope will get things started. I've learned in practice that a setup that turns the fastest laps in orange & blue has to be driven in the other lanes, especially the gutters. I'm definitely looking forward to the race if for no other reason than just to see what it will take to be competitive. Now I just need to figure that out that competitive thing for retro.

#75 Elite Racing Products

Elite Racing Products

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:56 PM

Wing Cars are simply amazing .. to be able to go that fast around a track is next to nothing .. its really fun to race . its awsome to build your own high end cars and all that kind of stuff and also most racers who are serios about it are good nice people in my opinion .. when i used to race flexi cars it was all about winning winning winning and a bunch of jerks atleast where i was racing .. with the wing scene the people where more knowledged of what the sport was and it was just a much better time for me

but best part is they are stooooooopid Fast !!
Carl M. Labbadia Jr AKA C.J.





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