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Average retail price for commercial track time?


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#1 Garry S

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 01:54 PM

For those who own or visit commercial raceways, what do you pay for track time?


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#2 Les Boyd

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 02:58 PM

It will vary but many are around $10 for a day pass.



#3 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 04:03 PM

Many use a 'walk-in' rental rates for the separate car/track/controller for time periods as well as the 'racer practice' rate of a flat day fee.  Many use at least an hourly track rate as the day fee as the racer runs on a track for 5 minutes, then changes parts and does another 5 minutes to check the improvement - or failure.  An hour of track time can take a few hours and generate some parts sales as well.

 

A common practice 20 years ago was a punch card for track time sales.  It would have 15, 30, or 60 minute punch options and the whole card sold for the hourly rate while individual 15 min blocks usually sold for a higher price.  A handy specific use gift card and raceway investment.


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#4 Mattb

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 04:43 PM

$5  all nite , use your own equipment.


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#5 slotbaker

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 05:22 PM

$5  all nite , use your own equipment.

:huh: Sounds too cheap. That means the track owner could have just 8 customers and make $40 for the night!!

 

My preferred commercial track charges $2 per 10 mins, using you own equipment.

 

Club racing is $10 per event. 8 lane, 2min brackets, 90 second lane change.


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#6 Garry S

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 05:29 PM

I think I've discovered why raceways are not successful... !


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#7 Mattb

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 05:31 PM

I agree it is too cheap.   I mentioned in another post that an evenings entertainment ought to be worth $20-$30.   It is for most other forms of entertainment.

That's why I think the whole "business" side of slot racing is the problem and it starts with the local track management in a lot of cases.


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#8 Garry S

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 05:36 PM

Look at it this way: A Blue King takes up 1000ft² by itself (app 20 x 50ft), and lease rates are at least $7ft²/yr.  So that track needs to generate $583/mo just to justify its space - at no profit.  


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#9 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:06 PM

Space around Chicago can be over $20/sf, but there are some bargains where locations allow.


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#10 Brinkley47

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:09 PM

Too cheap in my opinion. I spend more getting to the track then I do in entry fees.
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#11 Garry S

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:16 PM

Average prices are clearly WAY too low.  I'm beginning to think that slot cars and business sense are mutually exclusive.  :D   

 

But seriously, if your local raceway charged twice their current rate for track time, would you still pay it?  


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#12 MSwiss

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:17 PM

C'mon, Larry.
Space can be $30 a sq. ft. but no raceway has ever paid $20 or $30 sq. ft.

Did you get the birthday party going at the fieldhouse?

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#13 MSwiss

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 09:36 PM

Average prices are clearly WAY too low.  I'm beginning to think that slot cars and business sense are mutually exclusive.  :D   
 
But seriously, if your local raceway charged twice their current rate for track time, would you still pay it?

If people aren't flocking to the raceways with cheap prices, somehow you think if the prices were doubled, people would be convinced it must be twice the fun, and come out more? Lol

One guy around here, about 10 years ago, tried the expensive route.

He was in the basement of a bowling alley, about 2 blocks from my current location.

He paid someone who built railroad layouts for rich guys, to put up 3 beautuful, landscaped 1/32 layouts.

I think I saved his ultra-professional advertisement card, touting their $350, $475, $650, standard, golden & platinum birthday party packages.

I don't think he lasted a year.

I'm guessing he pissed away $30-75K, overestimating what people would pay to slot race and book birthday parties in his super-impressive looking facility.

My wife and I, sometimes after I close on Friday night, go to that same bowling alley.

We spend a little less to bowl for 75-90 minutes. then I would charge 2 people off the street, to do a casual rental for 45 minutes.

Or we go to the movies, and kill 2 hrs., for less than half the price , again, a 45 minute rental would be, by me.
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#14 Garry S

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 10:04 PM

I'm certainly not saying to build ultra-fancy layouts, that's completely different than what we call slot racing.  

 

I am saying that if a business undervalues their product, their customers tend to agree with them.  


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#15 NY Nick

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 10:09 PM

20.00 for a hour

Some nights 15.00 until close.


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#16 MSwiss

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:24 PM

I'm certainly not saying to build ultra-fancy layouts, that's completely different than what we call slot racing.  
 
I am saying that if a business undervalues their product, their customers tend to agree with them.

You are ignoring that this "businessman" went with the charge high prices tact, and failed miserably.

If people weren't willing to pay high prices to race and host birthday parties on these super-fancy tracks, what makes you think they would be willing to pay high prices, to race on my non super-fancy tracks?

We are a 1/4 mile away, so we obviously are/were both drawing from the same clientele, which includes the 39th, 63rd, and 99th most affluent towns in the USA.

When I book a during the week, scouting event, and tell the organizer the price per child, usually I get a reply like, "Great, that's about what we hoped to pay", or "OK, that will fit in our budget". Or occasionally , they'll tell me upfront, what is in their budget, and it's exactly what I had planned to charge.

Regardless of having a household income of over $200K a year, it's just a night out with their kids, not a trip to Disneyland.
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Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#17 NSwanberg

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 12:45 AM

JB at Downriver Speedway in Lincoln Park Michigan charges $5 per half hour with the track supplying a Parma rental car and a Parma resistor controller. JB just loves repairing rental cars and controllers.

 

I think $10 for a half hour would be reasonable with moms always free.


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#18 willy wonka

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 07:22 AM

Either 5 or 10 bucks run all day using your own equipment.
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#19 don.siegel

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 07:30 AM

What's the breakdown on track rental income/parts sales income these days? I seem to remember it used to be about 1/3 - 2/3... 

 

If I understand correctly, rates are no long a buck an hour, or $1.50 on the big track... 

 

Don 



#20 Steve Deiters

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 08:36 AM

First of all let me state I'm a died in the wool capitalist who firmly believes there is no such thing as a "free" anything.

 

One thought I would have during the slow season if I were a track operator (which I am not) is when there is no one at or on my track(s) and they are as empty and devoid of people as the pit area what should I do to get people in here to be on it?

 

What do I have to do to get people (my regulars and nebies) on the track(s) running their cars? 

 

What happens when cars are running on the track(s)?  They like all slot cars have been since the hobby started are spinning themselves to being worn out so they can be repaired, upgraded, replaced, or the racers "fleet" of cars is expanded.  Net result?  More parts sales.

 

How do I achieve this?  Have "open track days" that are adequately promoted where the track time is free. Yes....free. That way the racers come in, there is activity on the track (shows the casual visitor to the track/hobby shop) that things are alive, well, and vibrant.  At the same time your regular racers are hanging out more at the track.  Wearing their equipment out.  Buying spares.  Building new cars.  All of which are things that deepen their commitment to your establishment.  A win/win for all concerned.  Icing on the cake?  You have experienced hands in the shop not pressured by the time constraints of a weekly or monthly race who can lend a hand to newbies who need help and explain to people who have stopped by what slot racing is all about.

 

Remember what I said about "free".  While the track time may fall in the category the sales of the parts certainly isn't.  Just a thought....


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#21 jimht

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 09:14 AM

If track times rates are low anyway, making time cheaper or even free won't help.

 

Folks either come to play or participate in organised racing.

 

Racers won't/don't use track time to wear out their race cars.

 

Players soon discover the current product line is composed of high priced and/or self-destructing race cars that are not amenable to hours of play.

The profit margin on time is 100%. Why trade that for a much lower margin on parts?

 

You want to see why the 1/24 tracks aren't full of players? Look at the product line, not at the cost of track time.

 


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#22 Steve Deiters

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 09:18 AM

The profit margin on zero track time being booked is.....zero.  No people in the place is not a good thing.


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#23 jimht

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 09:38 AM

 

 

The profit margin on zero track time being booked is.....zero.  No people in the place is not a good thing.

A statement that has nothing to do with profit.

 

I've got over 40 years of experience with profit margins on a slot car track and I'd rather sell high priced track time and 2 $40 cars to a player than one $80 race car and cheap track time. At least when you break a cheap car, if you've got 2 you can still play.

 

It's not about track time, it's about what's done with it.

 

If running a car on a slot car track destroys the car no-one comes back to play.

 

We sell fun not track time or parts. To attract players that fill the track having fun, the product line has to change...wouldn't hurt to change the tracks, too.


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#24 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 09:56 AM

For the past four years, my Dad and I have found quite a bit of success with our track time model.

$5 for 15 minutes.
$20 for a year long membership.

What's been determined through that is that when practice moves from a budgeted expense to something you can pop over and do at any time for our locals, we see them much more often as we've become the equivalent of "I'll stop in and say hey to the guys at the bar while I'm out."

Now we have more opportunities to speak with customers, and not only are they considering new parts purchases more frequently but they're consuming parts on a more frequent basis.

It may sound crazy, but our customer traction and our parts sales tell us that it works.
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#25 gjc2

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:37 AM

I successful raceway owner once told me that when he sees what a raceway charges for track time he know how much their rent is.

 

I don’t know what the formula is. 


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#26 Garry S

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:43 AM

You are ignoring that this "businessman" went with the charge high prices tact, and failed miserably.

If people weren't willing to pay high prices to race and host birthday parties on these super-fancy tracks, what makes you think they would be willing to pay high prices, to race on my non super-fancy tracks?

We are a 1/4 mile away, so we obviously are/were both drawing from the same clientele, which includes the 39th, 63rd, and 99th most affluent towns in the USA.

When I book a during the week, scouting event, and tell the organizer the price per child, usually I get a reply like, "Great, that's about what we hoped to pay", or "OK, that will fit in our budget". Or occasionally , they'll tell me upfront, what is in their budget, and it's exactly what I had planned to charge.

Regardless of having a household income of over $200K a year, it's just a night out with their kids, not a trip to Disneyland.

I haven't heard your experiences with raising prices for track time, but would like to.  Please explain.

 

"Fancy" vs "Average" tracks is a topic that hasn't been discussed, here at least.  I don't think that the customer appeal of a track lies in its landscaping, I think the experience is more important.  I am much more attracted to a King than a fancy English 1/32 track, and I think this would hold true with most Americans.

 

You seem to be equating track price with track time priceand I don't think customers do this.  You are also equating one (alleged) businessman's experience with yours, and again I don't think they are equivalent.  

 

Don't you think you have more to offer than Mr. "Ultra-fancy Business Card"?  I think you do, and I also think you're too apologetic about your business.  When I was 10, my local raceway seemed like Disneyland to me!


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#27 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 12:43 PM

Looking at this thread I see two different Questions being answered.

 

1 how much for rental car track time?

 

2 How much for track time with the drivers equipment? 


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#28 MSwiss

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:18 PM

Don't you think you have more to offer than Mr. "Ultra-fancy Business Card"?  I think you do, and I also think you're too apologetic about your business.  When I was 10, my local raceway seemed like Disneyland to me!

To be clear , it wasn't a business card.

It was a laminated 6x9 rate card / advertisement, with Jeff Gordon's Rainbow Warrior on it.

When I was 10, or 12, I thought the slot raceways were Disneyland, also, but I didn't have an iPad.

I don't think you had one either. LOL
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Mike Swiss
 
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Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990)
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17B West Ogden AveWestmont, IL 60559, ( 708) 203-8003
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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.


#29 jimht

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 02:13 PM

Garry S said

"I am much more attracted to a King than a fancy English 1/32 track, and I think this would hold true with most Americans."

 

Yes for you, no for most Americans looking for fun and not organised racing, both during and after the fad in the Sixties. This is why IMO raceways based on Kings and even bigger tracks have had a failure rate that is higher than raceways with smaller, slower more space efficient tracks (which also have a failure rate that is nothing to be proud of).

 

You do know that AMCR recommended not using the King for organised racing, eh?...because it promoted speed, expensive equipment, demolition and needed a bunch of marshals.   :laugh2: 

 

Big tracks were impressive and an easy sell during the fad because of cheap floor space but since then the high cost of floor space means big tracks are usually relegated to retail space that doesn't get much walk-by traffic.

 

It's the casual walk-in customer that we don't have tracks or cars or locations for. The family that comes in to play for a couple of hours and buys their own cars because they want to save a buck and go faster than the rentals, which should be fun and expensve, $20-$40/hour. As long as the cars are inexpensive, and the track doesn't destroy them, higher track time rates are feasible...$15-20/hour.

 

I'm not picking. on you Garry, this stuff has been discussed umpteen times by those of us that have been around for years. The essential problem is that the market we aim at is too small to support most raceways seven days a week.

 


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#30 Garry S

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 02:53 PM

You're right, there may be a potential customer base for fancy 1/32 tracks, but this is so far from what I (and I believe many others here) see as "slot car racing" that I hadn't really considered it.  

 

If a King track is golf, then to me landscaped 1/32 tracks are miniature golf.  I like both, but their marketing issues are completely different.  


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#31 NSwanberg

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:39 PM

We sell fun!

 

This ought to be posted over the entrance of every commercial slot car raceway in America.


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#32 Mattb

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 08:19 AM

"We sell fun" is great for us guys that get together and play with our slot cars.   What I see of the organized racing a lot of the guys do not have fun.   There are cars broken, controllers thrown against the wall and guys that throw their stuff in their box and leave mad.       Back when we started the commercial side of slot cars in the 60's, us kids went to the track and played and had fun.   Not sure that is so common anymore.    The fun is what brings me back.   Maybe that really needs to be emphasized again.

 

I can only speak of the one raceway I am familiar with.

 

I still think invitations and free racing to kids groups is maybe the best way to get them in the door and maybe 1 out of 20 will want to come back and have their own cars.   The trick is to get 2-3 kids having fun together by giving them competitive easy to race cars.  Maybe the invite needs to go the parents so they can bring a couple kids in and see the basic costs and fun level.   Let the fun bring them back as paying customers.


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#33 Mark Crowley

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:12 AM

For the past four years, my Dad and I have found quite a bit of success with our track time model.

$5 for 15 minutes.
$20 for a year long membership.

Does this mean your track time is $20 for the membership plus $5 per 15 minutes?  Or does the $20 membership give you unlimited track time?

Mrk



#34 Rob Voska

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:21 AM

One thread is about the availability of parts racers want to buy, how those parts are available / distributed to get them in the hands of racers & the next is how much for track time.....

Cheap track time lets guys test and wear out parts so they buy new stuff..... if it's in stock to purchase.........

A lot of things in life are zero sum games.

Raise track time & guys don't practice so track gets nothing.

Cheap track time so a guy wears out his tires & they are available to purchase the track makes money on parts.

If they are not available right then and there he pulls out his phone & goes online & they show up at his door in a couple of days & the track looses money.

Maybe the hobby / sport is so fragmented, equipment so varied and specialized that distributors can't keep it all in stock, end up getting stuck with obsolete items and the track simply can't get it.

The racer will figure out how to get it. 

 

With no leadership, no stability and so many classes and rules and variations thereof all these little fiefdoms are the biggest part of the problem.

 

As adults we can either agree to play with toy cars under a fair standardized set of rules or continue another dead end topic thread.


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#35 Garry S

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 11:47 AM

I can't see cheap track time = more worn out parts = more profit, at least as a "goal".  Yes, wear is based on time used, but I don't think any racers will say "Those expensive tires sure wore out fast, but at least it was cheap to do it.  Sell me some more!"  

 

I can't think of any other small business that would even entertain the "logic" that pervades slot car racing, and I can't help but think that logic is fundamentally flawed on some level.  We hear endless stories of the "plight" of the sport and the "cause", but virtually none on the hard business facts and real efforts to deal with them.  

 

This thread is such an attempt.  I'm trying to gather actual numbers to evaluate the true feasibility of commercial raceways in today's business environment.  This crucial step is present in most other industries (other than many restaurants lol), but seems almost totally absent here.  Someone buys a track, leases a building, wonders why he can't make any money, and everyone reacts as if he has a right to succeed.  I love the industry too, but there's nothing sacred about it - the rules of finance still apply!

 

To be clear, I have no intention of opening a raceway myself.  But I am a successful entrepreneur, and I do think this Forum has the resources to approach this problem on a logical level, and perhaps provide some solutions for those who do want to be successful in this business. 


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#36 Steve Deiters

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 11:56 AM

Garry Stoner:  As you dig the thing that will come to the front almost immediately is the big foot print of the actual tracks.  Everything else flows from there......



#37 MSwiss

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 12:23 PM

Garry Stoner:  As you dig the thing that will come to the front almost immediately is the big foot print of the actual tracks.  Everything else flows from there......

  

Garry S said
"I am much more attracted to a King than a fancy English 1/32 track, and I think this would hold true with most Americans."
 
Yes for you, no for most Americans looking for fun and not organised racing, both during and after the fad in the Sixties. This is why IMO raceways based on Kings and even bigger tracks have had a failure rate that is higher than raceways with smaller, slower more space efficient tracks (which also have a failure rate that is nothing to be proud of).
 
You do know that AMCR recommended not using the King for organised racing, eh?...because it promoted speed, expensive equipment, demolition and needed a bunch of marshals.   :laugh2: 
 
Big tracks were impressive and an easy sell during the fad because of cheap floor space but since then the high cost of floor space means big tracks are usually relegated to retail space that doesn't get much walk-by traffic.
 
It's the casual walk-in customer that we don't have tracks or cars or locations for. The family that comes in to play for a couple of hours and buys their own cars because they want to save a buck and go faster than the rentals, which should be fun and expensve, $20-$40/hour. As long as the cars are inexpensive, and the track doesn't destroy them, higher track time rates are feasible...$15-20/hour.
 
I'm not picking. on you Garry, this stuff has been discussed umpteen times by those of us that have been around for years. The essential problem is that the market we aim at is too small to support most raceways seven days a week.

The above 2 posts say it all.

It's a niche pastime with an inherently bad model.

Lots of floor space needed for the track(s).

A successful business owner of a mainstream business,wants to offer advice.

Slot racing isn't music.

It's not a traditional component of a child's upbringing, in quite a few household's.

You never hear a child bemoan/comment, "Sorry, Joey, I can't go to the playground. My parents are making me take slot car lessons".

Mike Swiss
 
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#38 Mattb

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 01:02 PM

I take slot car lessons every Monday nite.   I  still haven't learned anything!


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#39 JimF

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 01:24 PM

Mostly great thread. Here's yet another anecdote. One of the raceways on our NorCal Retro circuit is in a not exactly affluent neighborhood. He has offered free track time with your own stuff and (I think) $5 for a rental car for decades. He also works with his customers on keeping their costs down by being lenient in tech on tire size and clearances.

 

This may seem goofy but in actuality, it works for him. Many of his racers are older or on fixed or limited incomes. They can come out on Sat or Sun, get away from the wife for a bit and hang with the guys. They run when they want and may not spend any money on a given day. But, they'll have to buy tires or a body or a motor occasionally and because the rest of the day's expenses are minimal.........they do buy some parts and race every week.

 

Yes, this takes a slim slice of the pie but in reality, if it weren't low cost, those guys might not come out at all. The owner knows his clientele and in his own way, he does go out of his way to see that guys with limited resources can still have a good time.


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#40 Rob Voska

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:10 PM

Merging the two threads and their ideas along with the other 50 that are all going to save the sport.

 

1. Smaller track footprints so we should move to 1/32 cars or even smaller.

 

2. Most tracks don't have enough participants to warrant an 8 lane track so 4,5 & 6 lane tracks should become the norm saving floor space.

 

3. Can't make any money at it so with smaller track footprints a "club" with memberships becomes the only viable option.

 

4. Parts availability issues so a standardized rule set would help with that and obsoleting equipment.

 

5. I think I just described racing in Europe where it is growing.

 

So to summarize, the next successful track should be a 1/32 scale track, with 5 flat lanes, in someone's basement or back of their business that sell memberships to cover overhead, that only run 2 classes (F1 & Coup) so the cars handle differently and it's easy to stock parts for and rules will be stable for a period of 5 years without changes.  OK I just saved the sport with all these can't miss ideas. (yea right) :dash2:    Next problem? :sun_bespectacled:


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#41 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:16 PM

Does this mean your track time is $20 for the membership plus $5 per 15 minutes?  Or does the $20 membership give you unlimited track time?

Mrk

 

It is $20 for a year's worth of unlimited track time. 


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#42 Garry S

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:27 PM

Garry Stoner:  As you dig the thing that will come to the front almost immediately is the big foot print of the actual tracks.  Everything else flows from there......

Covered that here, Post #8.


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#43 MSwiss

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:19 PM

OK I just saved the sport with all these can't miss ideas.

I thought it was commercial racing that was supposed to be saved.

 

I think everyone pretty much agrees people will be slot racing in basements and garages, forever.

 

Even if all the manufactures shut down tomorrow, there's enough equipment floating around, that slot racers could run for quite a long time.

 

I think the first name for my Wednesday night Group F wing racing, was, "Junk E-bay Wing Car Racing". LOL


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Mike Swiss
 
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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) 
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Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#44 Phil Hackett

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:41 PM

Here's a similar type of activity.... kinda... you rent the lanes and if needed the equipment. I'll bet the insurance and overhead is higher than a slot car track... they usually have a waiting list to use a lane. That one of the big differences: volume.

 

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