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Building Electron Raceway


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#1 rvec

rvec

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 10:08 AM

Electron Raceway is located in a finished/heated shop area of about 1,000 square feet within a 2,400 square foot metal sided “pole barn” (image of track is shown below). The finished shop has been painted and dry walled. The floor is covered with black and white checkerboard linoleum. The finished shop is equipped with a large floor model propane heater and includes a small half bath.

Track construction began in the spring of 2006. I completed all of the work myself using only some simple hand tools and power tools. There was no need to rush the project. My slot racing needs were being met by another local track, Spare Time Raceway (STR) where I could race on a weekly basis. After about seven months of part time work, Electron Raceway was completed in August of 2006.

My experience with designing and building tracks spans several decades and at least a half dozen tracks. Techniques improved over time with Electron Raceway being my best effort. Prior to any fabrication, a great deal of time was spent designing the layout. My ideal criteria were as follows.

              The track could have a maximum footprint of about 24 x 18 feet and include only 4 “lanes”

              The design should require a minimum of marshals

              The track should have a “bridge” so that lanes are nearly identical in length

              Lane spacing should allow for even the widest 1/24 cars

              The layout should be what I would call a driver’s course

o       Challenging but not too tight

o       Modest straightaway length

o       Varying radius turns

o       One banked turn

 

I utilized a computerized tool call Tracker 2000 to assist in the design work rather than drawing the designs by hand. This allowed for quick and easy development. Scores of designs were developed over a period of months before I was satisfied with the result.

 

The final design was a hybrid table top/free standing unit. The extra space provided in the table top areas was designed for “pits” and scenery in an attempt to add realism to the layout. The free standing areas resemble commercial tracks with crash walls. Driver stations are situated at various locations around the track.

 

Prior to construction, jigs were fabricated in order to facilitate the build. The track bed was constructed using MDF. Slots and braid recesses were routed using one or more jigs. The supports are either 2x4s or plywood. Track sections were bolted together. Crash walls are hardboard and the paint is epoxy. Lane length is approximately 90 feet with 4.5 inch lane spacing. Track power comes from a 70 amp Rivergate power supply. Timing and scoring is provided by a TrackMate system with dead strips.

 

Shortly after completion, local racers were invited to informal races held on an almost weekly basis. In October, 2006, Electron Raceway hosted its first OSCAR (Oregon Slot Car Area Racers) event. The race was for “Econo” cars and attracted eighteen participants from all over Oregon. My love for the Trans Am Series, led me to develop a Trans Am class based upon Pelican Park rules. In January of 2007, Electron hosted its second OSCAR event for “Early Trans Am” cars. The event attracted even greater interest with 20 participants. In conjunction with the Trans Am race, a “bonus” race was held on Friday evening preceding the Saturday race. The bonus race was for 60s and early 70s prototype sports/endurance cars. By then the track was equipped with “street” lights. Participants were encouraged to add head and taillights to their vehicles. Half of the heats were run using street lights. The other half were run with full overhead lighting. Night racing was a blast and after a while, lap times were pretty close to those achieved with full overhead lighting.

 

Over the first few years, Electron hosted other OSCAR events and I travelled to OSCAR events throughout Oregon and raced at the Pelican Park in Eugene, Oregon. My slot car activity tapered off over time due to home projects and other interests.

 

A few years ago, I became enthusiastic about running slot cars with scale wheels. After experimenting with variations of TSRF, ProTrack, modified 4.5 inch stamped steel chassis, I tried a formula that seemed to be working in the Portland, Oregon area. A cadre of racers had developed a class of cars using the Scholer production chassis, scale wheels, a Falcon 7 motor and Group C bodies. Others in Roseburg got the “bug” and several cars were built. In addition to an awesome scale appearance, we found these cars handled quite well. This class, dubbed True Scale GT1, has become a mainstay at Electron Raceway. Some time ago, the boys from up north added a Scholer based class dubbed TA2 for modern pony cars sporting scale wheels with S16 power. Again, we followed their lead, but we decided to use Deathstar rather than S16 power. These cars look and run great and have been added to our rotation at Electron Raceway. In addition, we allow what we call Historic Trans Am (HTA) cars to run along with TA2. HTA includes cars from the Trans Am series from 1966 – 1971. We have since added a Can Am/Gran Sport class which in Can Am cars and endurance racers from the late 60s and early 70s. Finally, we are experimenting with a sports car class.

 

With this new found enthusiasm shared by me and others, Electron Raceway is alive and well. We will continue to race on a semi-regular basis, usually on Thursdays and I plan to have one “big” Saturday race per year. 

 

 

   

Attached Images

  • Electron Raceway.jpg

  • Peter Horvath, C. J. Bupgoo and strummer like this

Rich Vecchio









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