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It's not just the seen, it's the unseen


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#1 Rob Voska

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 11:12 AM

A track owner is worried about the $10 rent money he didn't get from a racer. Does anyone find it interesting that he's not concerned about the $13 wasted by the racer paying his rent?
 
If he was paying attention he would have seen the unseen. For every action their is an equal and opposite reaction.
 
Anyone buying motors and throwing them away in bulk is money that could not be spent on racing, track time, testing, buying other parts or paying his rent. 

 

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

 

How much money was invested in the sport with no return on investment? But in fact has led to endless locked threads?  The racers (customers) are screaming and the leadership is ignoring them... until it affects them.
 
How many people have sealed motors driven away from the sport? How many got tired of spending their rent money on $13, throw away, lottery tickets? How much work, time, money and ultimately frustration and disappointment did they experience? What option does the racer have other than to buy more? Change classes or quit are the two that come to mind. Lots of areas don't even have the change classes option.
 
Racers "invest" in quality equipment. If any other part in their program had a high failure rate you would use something else because it's not worth the hassle. Time spent futzing with all this stuff is fun... until it isn't. If one wanted to gamble there are casinos in most towns.
 
We all say we want to get new people involved yet put an insurmountable obstacle in their path. One that experienced racers can't overcome. The beginner has a steep enough hill to climb and we are making it harder. We lock them into not learning. They can't learn/experiment at their own pace. They end up over driving a slow motor, fall off, bend car, get discouraged and fade away.
 
We better come to an agreement about playing with toy cars and quick. What we are doing isn't working.
The never-ending equipment and never ending classes, parts, bodiss, gear ratios, and endless other changes are driving people away, not attracting anyone new. 
 
I believe the "seen" is endless posts about the same problems. The "unseen" is declining participation that leads to lost opportunity and income for all raceways.


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#2 Noose

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 11:26 AM

Rob, a majority of racers today just race to race. For the fun.

You comment on the never-ending classes, parts, blah, blah, blah is wrong plain and simple since almost all of the stuff used today in Retro racing is the same for the last 11 years. So I sure don’t get the endless other changes comment not attracting anyone new.
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#3 MSwiss

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 11:33 AM

Rob,

Get off your high horse how much you hate the $13 motors.
 
Racers prefer them. Sorry you don't.
 
No one is making you enter races where they are run.
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#4 Racer36

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 11:53 AM

"Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain, and most fools do."

Another Franklin quote that seems appropriate to the entire motor conversation we have been enduring.


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#5 JerseyJohn

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 12:07 PM

I dont see what you're saying, Rob, here in Retro East, NERR, GRRR, we are continuously having new racers join us in our programs. Over half the chassis I sell are to guys who are just getting into Retro. With the Hawk motors even the lower main races are competitive and fun. I I speak as someone who has been involved in Retro since it started here 11 years ago. 

 

I don't see any constant change in equipment you talk about. The only items that seem to be appearing are European controllers. Beyond that things are very stable. 

 

Seems to me most of the complaining is from people who have a grudge against the IRRA®  and don't race with us.They don't have the guts to say what they really feel. 

 

Why are they so concerned with what we are doing? Perhaps to draw attention away from the fact that their program is failing? 

This is so BS. If you have no skin in the IRRA® race groups. other than twice a year. pipe down. Most all of us are having fun and enjoying the competition. I don't see the need to change our rules to satisfy a handful of racers for two races a year when we are running the entire season. 

 

PS.. When I went to the Check Point Cup and several R4s I followed their rules. Very simple, I didn't try and change them to suit what I wanted. I was a guest in there sandbox. If I was so opposed to their rules I could have saved my money and perhaps invested it in my local track.

 

JJ


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#6 kvanpelt

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 12:48 PM

Rob, I love sealed motor racing. :heart:

 

When I started racing slots about 15 years ago, the Northern Illinois Falcon Series was going strong in our area. We ran 3 sealed and 2 builder classes. I loved the speed of the builder classes, but even back then those 2 builder classes were the least participated of the five. I don't know what the politics were if any at the time,(didn't care) but I had fun and the competition was good. Builder classes took more effort than the other three. I have the tools, from the Hudy comm truer, hones, slugs and zapper, but never enough time to work on the stuff and keep it as fresh as needed to allow me the time to race as much as I would like too. I've used the services of the local guys to help with the work load, frequent customer of Fast Ones, Speedshop and George Russel in recent years. It's still easier to buy a motor or two off the wall, break them in and go racing. They are not all equal, but neither are the 6 motors I rebuild or get back from my "GUYS". Never are or never will be.


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#7 gc4895

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 01:57 PM

Great topic!  In my tiny little teapot of a race forum/program we run almost all "built motors" vs. sealed.  Specifically, the only sealed we are currently using is the JK Mini-Brute.  It works amazingly well and has been quite popular.  Why?  Because, it's used as the motor in a flat track spec class - consequently, "speed" of the motor is among the least important ingredients in terms of making laps when 80% of the track is made up of flat turns.  Downforce (the corruptor of rewarding skilled driving) is regulated by specifying ONLY JK LMP bodies are legal.  So...and this is a big so... you only need purchase a single $13 motor to participate on a "level playing field" basis with all the other cars on the track because there are so many other factors at work in terms of determining success.  Generally speaking, one JK Mini-Brute is about the same as the next on the flat track.  To my way of thinking, this is where the sealed motors "shine" - where horsepower doesn't rule. 

 

Perhaps this is a bit like Group 12 racing on a flat track with low downforce bodies where the motors horsepower is necessarily throttled back at the drivers panel with chokes.

 

The genesis of the use of the JK Mini-Brute originated from the NorCal Retro series where Mini-brutes are the spec motor for both F1 cars as well as stock cars.  Both of these classes shun downforce provisioning bodies by design.

 

So, what to do on King tracks or equivalent motorways where straightaway speed can be the dominating factor?  Our local answer is to reward motor builders, though this is not without measurable side-effects.  First, racers that tire of being non-competitive sometimes resort to "outlaw" armatures.  [Since we don't perform any formal "tech" inspection, the only limits are those imposed by each individual's conscious and, perhaps, the mild disdain expressed towards obvious exploiters of the rules by the balance of the group.]  The most punishing effect, frankly, comes from competitors who never (or seldom) make the podium - they sometimes quit!

 

I would say that, again - in our remote little teapot - competitors that quit are the most damaging event that can occur to the racing program.  They are devilishly difficult to replace and the entire program suffers.  So, would our speedway racing be better with sealed motors?  Likely not.  The podium crowd would buy in quantity to skew the likelihood of sourcing better equipment.  The rest would not and would remain randomly powered. 

 

Flat tracks and strict management of body downforce seems the best formula to reduce the lure of horsepower.  As always, YMMV.   


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#8 garyvmachines

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 01:57 PM

I raced in the " Build Your Own Motor Days" ....... Never could build a motor to to keep up with those GUYS.... !!!

So I paid BOW (RIP Monty )  Big $$$$$ ....

Now I buy cheaper motors ...... Still Mid Pack.... But having FUN ..... !!

 

GAV    


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#9 garyvmachines

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 02:01 PM

P S This is why this Hobby has Something for Every ONE !!!!!....

 

GAV


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#10 mgerbetz

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 06:50 PM

This is just a general comment;

FUN, all I care about is FUN......

Oh, and winning. LOL
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#11 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 07:01 PM

Speaking with my shop owner hat on and my series director hat off, cheap disposable motors are not at all impeding the growth of my customer base.

 

The biggest obstacles are price point ($75 for a brand new entry level car is feasible for many, but in my eye the sweet spot would be a car and controller in a carry case for $100) and advertising. 

 

The industry needs to solve this issue before we start to address whether or not a disposable motor is a good thing: Why is the public response to discovering a slot car track always "I can't believe people are still doing this!" 


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#12 MSwiss

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 07:46 PM

What they say by me is "I can't believe places like this still exist".

And I answer "Me either".

And then attest to it being the world's worst business model, and teach them a new non-word, "unlucrative". Lol
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#13 Phil Hackett

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 08:09 PM

Mark, I made a post in another forum about whether the high-horsepower speed tracks were the problem with the sealed motor idea. I was accused of trying to shorten the racing schedule and penalize track owners.

 

So I agree with your post but don't expect the racers to get behind twistier and more skilled-driver tracks. The King track is the king of all slot car tracks and there's nothing we can do about it; it's the "standard" and is what is "the" track most people brag about being fast on or winning on.

 

What is needed is putting a G27 (or something equally ridiculous) in a Retro car... with no air control and skinny tires.... the drivers who are tops would still on top AND there'd be NO motor complaints since the chassis and body limitations would make all the extra power useless.


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#14 Samiam

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 08:17 PM

What is needed is putting a G27 (or something equally ridiculous) in a Retro car... with no air control and skinny tires.... the drivers who are tops would still on top AND there'd be NO motor complaints since the chassis and body limitations would make all the extra power useless.


Just put Retro bodies on 1/24 Eurosport cars.
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#15 Phil Hackett

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 09:05 PM

I think Eurosport chassis are in another universe from Retro.
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#16 n9949y

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 10:27 PM

Sealed motors have underwritten our program for 30 years now. Members' NASCAR car collection: Super Stock (1960s,)  and contemporary.
 
nascarsall.jpg
 
NASCARS, all_2.jpg


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#17 Phil Hackett

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 10:56 AM

I'll bet the membership doesn't complain either about motor performance. Short twisty tracks take away freaky motor advantages.


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#18 Justin A. Porter

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:29 AM

It's a good illustration of something else important. 

 

A slot car is only fast compared to other slot cars. 

 

Consider the absolute height of the hobby. How many young boys were convinced their Cox Cheetah, their Classic Stinger, their Russkit Black Widow, their La Cucaracha, was the absolute FASTEST slot car you could get because it was faster than a Strombecker Lotus or a Monogram Lola? It was a perception that was absolutely false should someone at their local track succeed at copying one of the Pro race winning builds out of the magazines, but those were few and far between. 

 

For today, the comparison lives in why we have CLASSES in racing. If the only slot cars a new racer has experienced are easy to drive at 5 seconds a lap on a Hillclimb, then he gets excited when he finds the trick that makes him run 4.9. The fact that there are cars out there that can run 2 second laps isn't relevant to him. 


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#19 Bill from NH

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:54 AM

Sealed motors have underwritten our program for 30 years now. Members: NASCAR, Vintage, 1960s, and contemporary.

 

Todd, does Pelican Park still run 16D motors or have some of classes changed the Falcon-like FK cans?


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#20 Half Fast

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 12:04 PM


What is needed is putting a G27 (or something equally ridiculous) in a Retro car... with no air control and skinny tires.... the drivers who are tops would still on top AND there'd be NO motor complaints since the chassis and body limitations would make all the extra power useless.

 

Come on Phil there would be about 3 guys capable of driving them with an expensive controller with a choke.

 

Great way to kill retro. There would be no complaints though, since there would be no racing.

 

Cheers

 

 


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#21 Phil Hackett

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 12:41 PM

Posting ridiculous ideas is a way to move the discussion towards a solution. Rarely are they THE solution.

 

Of course a G27 in a Retro car would be extremely hard to drive.  That's the idea. The G27 motor was used as an example not an actual recommendation.

 

Remove the motor as the *perceived* limiting factor to most people's success and place the importance on DRIVING. I might add that DRIVING is one of two main, chassis being the other, tenents of the IRRA's charter.

 

The idea of running mostly on twisty, short tracks isn't popular either... so I guess the racers prefer to "B" about motors and not encourage themselves to increase their driving skills and car set-up skills.

 

There is your problem.


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#22 jimht

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 12:56 PM

I concur.

 

The horsepower suggestion might really be a little excessive but there's nothing wrong with ceasing the silliness of defining racers capabilities by the equipment they own and going back to their ability to drive it to determine what race they belong in.

 

As I recall, driver classes with common equipment in each worked quite well until someone decided that every class of car local raceways came up with for happy weekly racing needed to be incorporated into the Nationals rules so the hosting raceway could make a buck...how has that worked out?

 

Oops, just a a rhetorical question: umpteen classes = umpteen "National Champions". 

 

All winners no losers, pass-fail slot car racing.

 

YOMV


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#23 Alan Dodson

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 01:11 PM

I agree with Phil and Mark on this topic. I race on a King track in Kansas City and a flat track In Dallas. I race in two builder classes and 4 sealed motor classes. I have easily twice as much money and an untold amount of time invested in the builder classes than in the sealed motor classes. One of the builder classes is on the flat track, and I maintain three motors for it, the other is on the King, and I have six motors and 2 arms for each motor. The King is just more horsepower dependent, regardless of the quality of your car or driving ability. The builder class on the flat track is never determined by horsepower alone, it takes a total package. The real problem then IMO is not the motors, but the venue in which they are used, and that's not likely to change soon! 

Also it seems like the same small group of racers dominate the King, while the flat track has a much larger group of podium visitors! I enjoy both tracks because after all it is slot racing, but the flat track is much more challenging and therefore more satisfying when I do well.


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#24 n9949y

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 01:56 PM

 

Todd, does Pelican Park still run 16D motors or have some of classes changed the Falcon-like FK cans?

 Hi Bill,

 

We've switched over to sealed  Pro-Slot 2002  motors for 11 of our 13 classes; 2004 motors are used for our Super Stock (1960-'75 NASCAR) and contemporary NASCAR classes. While the Pro-Slots have proven to be  a bit more powerful than Parma Death Stars, the latter were more durable. In 2017, I bought 12 2002's from various retail sources. 2 didn't run at all, 2 others smoked, literally, within 10 minutes of use. I suppose with many of my cars weighing 8.75 ounces and up to 10, hauling my cars around our twisty track competitively imposes  low end torque performance demands rather than gearing them for long straight tangents. That low rpm load may explain Pro-slot fragility.

 

The challenge to switching to Falcon like FK's is while Parma and Pro-Slot cans mounting screw holes are vertical, Falcon and their derivatives  mounting holes are horizontal.  As the NASCAR photos show the huge number of just 2 of our 13 classes, the number of cars we have built for our other 11 is very substantial making the transition to  a different motor/axle assembly almost insuperable.


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#25 Bill from NH

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 04:48 PM

Thanks Todd! :)


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