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Retrospective Slot Car Convention 2005


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#1 rvec

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 07:24 PM

Slot Car Convention April 15-17, 2005
At Cruzin Hobbies Plus in Chandler, Arizona

By: Rich Vecchio 12/2012
The 2005 slot car convention was held at Cruzin' Hobbies Plus (CHP) in Chandler, Arizona. Unfortunately, this facility no longer exists. CHP was owned and operated by Bob Scott, a long time slot head, track owner, builder and friend. Bob is a great guy with a real love for the hobby. The facility was 7500+ square feet with several tracks and plenty of pit space. The centerpiece of the facility was a swoopy Blue King track built by Bob in the summer of 2004. In addition to the Blue King, the facility also had a large Tri oval, squiggly L, scale quarter mile drag strip and two HO tracks. Dave Deuble set up his AZGR 1/32 track for some great magnetic racing. Images of the tracks are shown below.

KingAndTri.jpg

SquigAndDrag.jpg

HOandDave.jpg

Slot Car Conventions were an annual event. Many were held at the now defunct Rad Tracks facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2005, the Convention was held at CHP. The Conventions continued at Buena Park, California. Conventions were informal meetings of vintage collectors and scratch builders from all over the country. The events attracted what I will refer to as scale enthusiasts. Bodies were a mix of resin, plastic and Lexan but in all cases the focus was on a scale look with scale looking wheels (no stamped steel cars with squashed Lexan or wing things). The 2005 Convention was well attended with about 25 hard core enthusiasts and many locals joining the fun. Most of the races were pretty low key and pitted diverse chassis designs, motors and bodies against one another. In addition, there were always informal challenges pitting one type of chassis, body vintage or whatever. There was also plenty of time to play with any car on any track between races. Some of the more interesting cars are shown below.

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More than just the racing, conventions were great for visiting with others that share a passion for the hobby. The cast of characters included Larry Shepard, Alan Schwartz, Doc P (Philippe de Lespinay), Professor Fate (Rocky Russo), Terry Hreno, Al Weiss, Dennis Samson, Jim Cunningham and many others. All convention participants were very generous with their equipment and many offered test drives of some great vintage rides including era pro cars. Speed secrets were also shared, well at least some of them. It was surprising to me how well some of these scale machines handled. On the other hand, some early slot cars that had a hard time negotiating the Blue King. As usual there were some beautifully restored early cars and great looking modern machines. Al Weiss, Jim Cunningham, Larry Shepard, Dennis Samson and others went all out on detail beautiful paint jobs and more.

I was saddened to learn about the recent passing of both Larry Shepard and Rocky Russo. I considered them to be the elder statesmen of scale model racing. Larry was a bug for details and created some really great looking cars. Rocky was the consummate technician and more interested in chassis design, building and racing. I spent many hours with both men over the years and they will be missed. Rest in peace friends. Below are a few images of the Statesmen and there machines.

RockyAndLarry.jpg

LarrysCheetahAndPorsche.jpg

LarrysPitAndPontiac.jpg

Larry'sBMWandRockysDodge.jpg

RockysCobraAndCharger.jpg


CHP had a very spacious pit area that was perfect for the convention. Most participants had a small (or gigantic) display of their cars and some were diligently tuning or repairing machines. Below are some images of the pits at CHP.

AlAndRich.jpg

DanaG.jpg

DocPandCunningham.jpg

QandStan.jpg

LarryAndRockyPits.jpg

I was so busy gawking and racing that I didnt have time to summarize the race results. Bob Scott and Doc P. did an excellent job of this and some of their comments coupled with images are shown below. Forgive me, but I am sure I left some races and individuals out and I am sure that I have not reported the order of the races properly. It has been a long time.

The first race of the weekend was a PROTRACK/REVELL IROC race. Protrack co-sponsored some cars for a recent model race event and Bob Scott outfitted the rollers with some leftover Revell "Make n Take" 70 Chevelle SS 454 model kits. In bone stock form these cars were a handful. The addition of static brass pans would have improved the handling immensely. However, it made little difference, everyone ran this challenging set-up. The race was run on the 60' Tri Oval at 5 p.m. Results and images follow.

ProTrack/Revell - IROC - TRI OVAL - 12 VOLTS - 2 MINUTE HEATS

Laps Driver Fast Lap
256 Rich Vecchio 3.067
254 Dave Deuble 3.070
254 Dennis Samson 3.019
253 Larry Shephard 3.239
251 Terry Hreno 3.129
251 Mark Polley 3.070
248 Bob Smith 3.019
236 Stan Smith 3.239
222 Dana Govolich 3.138
220 Bob Jobes 3.077
206 Mark Alton 3.129

ProTrackR1p1.jpg

ProTrackR1p2.jpg

At 7 PM a gathering of 1/24 Carrera enthusiasts called for a race on the 60' Squiggly 8. Track has 3.5" lane centers. We dialed the power supply up to the max 15 volts to get 'em going! The cars looked great but the handling left a lot to be desired hanging the rear end out was the order of the day. Results and images below.

Challenge Race - 1/24 Carrera - 60' Squiggly 8 - 15 volts. 2 minute heats.

Laps/Driver/FastLapTime/Make
149 Stan Smith 5.441 Porsche 906
143 Rocky Russo 5.539 '63 Vette
139 Terry Hreno 5.650 XKG
137 Al Weiss 5.769 '62 Vette
120 Dana Govolich 6.259 XKG
113 Mark Alton 6.101 '62 Vette
Cameo by Jim Cunningham 5.990

CarreraChallengeP1.jpg

CarreraChallengeP2.jpg

Next we ran a model sports car race on the Squiggly 8. There were 4 modern machines and 6 vintage sports cars. These cars were a mix of Lexan, resin and plastic. Results and images are shown below.

Modern Sports Cars - 60' Squiggly 8 - 12 volts - 2 minute heats.

Laps/Driver/Fast Lap/Make/Motor
225 Rich Vecchio 3.789 Lotus, Deathstar
223 Bob Scott 3.519 - Sauber Mercedes w/modified JK C7 4.5", Deathstar.
219 Al Weiss 3.789 Lola, Deathstar
216 Ed Ellis 3.789 Porsche 917,?

Vintage
Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
197 Larry 4.061
171 Rocky 4.778
168 Dennis 4.878
124 Stan Smith 4.829
88 Jim Cunningham 4.718
17 Terry Hreno 5.160

SCSquigP1.jpg

SCSquigP2.jpg

Next was another Chevelle IROC race. This time the race was conducted on the squiggly 8. Bob Scott divided the rather large field into two groups The less experienced Challengers and the more experienced Masters. I got a kick out of watching the kids compete. They were fearless and not at all intimidated by running with the adults. Results and images shown below

ProTrack/REVELL IROC - Squiggly 8 - 11 volts for Challengers, 12 v for Masters. 2 minute heats.

Challengers

Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
172 Chris Jr 4.500
163 Jeremy McKnight 4.389
163 Bob Smith 4.667
159 Mark P 4.562
158 Michael T 4.886
154 Jim T 4.777
141 Zach 4.621
123 John 4.668

Masters

Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
183 Charley 4.609
182 Jim C 4.609
182 Rich Vecchio 4.562
178 Dennis 4.452
176 Doug 4.449
171 Mike Lisciandro 4.339
169 Stan 4.769
166 Ed Ellis 4.448

ProTrackR2P1.jpg

Day one was capped off by a Ninco Box Stock race and some Nostalgia Drags. Sorry, no images. I must have been asleep. NINCO BOB sent a few cars for prizes and we mustered up a NINCO race!

NINCO BOX STOCK - Dave's 60' 1/32 track w/Magnatech Braid - 12 volts - 2 minute heats.

Laps/Driver
59 Jim Armstrong
57 Stan
52 Jeremy
51 Dave

We also had a Nostalgia Drag race which drew little attention from exhibitors but hoots and hollers were heard on a regular basis as 27 entries spun rubber.

Saturday's racing was fast and furious as we spun through 10 races @ 99 entries!

At 11 AM racing began on Dave's twisty 1/32 Garage Track. . There were six entrants in this race. Jim Cunningham was kind enough to lend me his great handling Porsche 917. The car was a dream to drive and was really stuck. Competition was fierce. Jim and Dave D. battled it out, but in the end, the home track advantage was too much for the challenger. Dave D. prevailed. I didnt embarrass myself and drove the magnetic car fairly well. Results and images are shown below.

1/32 Euroscale - Dave's 1/32 Garage Track - 12 volts - 2 minute heats. Magnatech braid.

Laps/Driver/Car
98 Dave Deuble Fly Classic, 2 magnet, silicones.
97 Jim Cunningham Fly Classic, extra magnets. Ferrari 512
91 Rich Vecchio Fly Classic mod. Porsche 917
87 Dokk P TSRF 32 2 magnets, foam.
79 Dennis Samson Slot-it Mod, rubber.
77 Jim Armstrong TSRF Stock, foam.

EuroScaleRaceDavesP1.jpg

EuroScaleRaceDavesP2.jpg

Yet another NINCO and PROTRACK/Revell race followed (sorry, no images). Results are shown below.

1/32 NINCO

Laps/Driver
70 Jim Cunningham
68 Dave Deuble
65 Stan Smith
63 Chris Rodriquez Jr
56 Jim Armstrong
52 Steve Hill
48 Bob Smith

This particular PROTRACK/Revell IROC race drew the most attention for the weekend as 20 participants jumped with both feet into the '70 454 Chevelle and put pedal to metal. Again, Bob Scott divided the field into two groups that competed in separate races - Masters & Challengers. Results are shown below (sorry no images).

ProTrack/Revell IROC - 60' Tri Oval - 12 volts - 2 minute heats.

Masters

Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
284 Jim Turner 2.849
280 Paul Sterrett 2.910
268 Doug Sharpe 2.959
264 Roy Hood 3.020
261 Dennis Samson 2.909
259 Mark Poller 3.020
256 Rich Vecchio 2.968
249 Greg Wells 3.019
243 Al Weiss 3.068
237 Dave Deuble 2.910
235 Stan Smith 3.238

Challengers

Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
268 Chris Rodriquez Jr 3.069
250 Jim Tibbetts 3.019
247 Michael Tibbetts 3.019
245 Bob Smith 3.129
240 Bill Swift 3.129
234 Dana Govolich 3.019
207 Mark Alton 3.020
194 Derek Jones 3.239
188 John Gullickson 3.070

For me, one of the highlights of the weekend was the Hard body, Brass/wire race on the Blue King. I was interested to see how our Prescott groups (PASA) cars would fare compared to other designs. Our Prescott contingent included me, Ed Ellis, Al Weiss and Mark Polley. The Prescott racers ran Bob Hanna designed and built rattle or hinged chassis. I lent my backup car (Hanna Chassis) to Jim Cunningham who did an excellent job driving this car for the first time. Bob initially reported that my car ran a S16D Rotor. This was incorrect. The car ran like a dream with a strong sealed Deathstar. Results and images are shown below.

Hard body (Brass/wire & Deathstar unless otherwise noted) - 155' Blue King
- 13.4 volts - 2 minute heats.

Laps/Driver/Car/Fast Lap Time/Motor
144 Rich Vecchio - Crown T-Bird - 6.370
133 Jim Cunningham Corn Flakes Chevelle - 6.761
132 Ed Ellis - Interstate Batteries NASCAR-6.539 (S16D Rotor?)
129 Paul Sterrett - #29 Dodge - 6.859 (36D, and quite fast, I might add)
129 Al Weiss - 6.421 (S16D Rotor?)
125 Mike Tibbetts 6.980
120 Mark Polley #90 T-Bird 6.699 (S16D Rotor?)
118 Jim Tibbetts 7.359 (ProTrack/Plafit)
114 Dave Deuble 6.762
95 Jim Armstrong 7.640
42 Dokk - Black Lexan NASCAR - 7.250 (TSRF 24)
28 Doug Sharpe 6.921

NASCARraceP1.jpg

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The following paragraphs were quoted from writings of Doc P.

Scalextrix-USA and TSRF sponsored a pair of races, run with Slot.It Porsche 956's cars for the benefit of the Marconi Foundation for Kids in Tustin, California. Slot.It's Maurizio Ferrari was kind enough to provide his latest tires and advice about their use. We thank them here for their generosity and kindness.

The format was IROC, meaning that the entrants were handed "equalized" cars that had carefully been blueprinted by the technical personnel of TSRF. The lap times revealed that they were indeed very close. The racing was very successful and showed the potential of such machinery for very serious racing, never mind their "plastic toys" image as portrayed by some pro racers. All had great fun racing and the field was very competitive.

The cars were the "Spirit of America" Le Mans Porsche 956 driven by Andretti-Follmer. They had been kindly donated by Scaletrix USA and the TSRF. They were carefully blueprinted and fitted with the P4 tire compound and lower front tires kindly provided by Maurizio Ferrari of Slot.It. They were used for Race One and performed beautifully. The bodies were pre-drilled for mounting on the TSRF "Club" chassis used for Race Two. Eleven teams of two drivers were selected, due to the limited number of cars available. They raced in a round-robin manner, each driver alternating race segments. All entry fees were processed and are being donated to the Marconi Foundation for Kids in Tustin, California. Both races were run in the "Crash & Burn" format, in 3 minute heats with one-minute re-slot breaks.

Race results and images are shown below.

Race One Results

TSRFrace1.jpg

*Indicates Fastest Lap

Race Two Results

TSRFrace2.jpg

*Indicates Fastest Lap

Overall Combined Results

TSRFraceOverall.jpg

TSRFimageP1.jpg

TSRFimageP2.jpg

The open Hard body sports car race was interesting. The race featured many Le Mans prototype cars with a mix of motors (deathstars rotors) as well as a couple of vintage Lexan brass and wire chassis cars with some quick motors. The race was held on the Blue King. Riders were a problem - - a few cars sustained serious damage - - plastic thrown against a wall at 40+ MPH is a bit messy. Frankly, on a big track, I think these cars are too fast for plastic bodies. Results are shown below (sorry no images).

Hard body Sports Car - 155' Blue King - 13.4 volts - 2 minute heats.

Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
150 Bob Scott 5.866
142 Jim Turner 6.038
140 Jim Cunningham 5.108
136 Rocky Russo 5.984
134 Mike Tibbetts 5.882
128 Dave Deuble 6.429
120 Rich Vecchio 6.093
23 Jim Turner 6.429
9 Ed Ellis 6.148

Next we had a 1/24 F-1 vintage race on the squiggly L track. These cars were powered with a mix of motors and chassis. The L has 3 ½ inch lane spacing and with wide, open wheel cars it was difficult to pass or be passed. There were many endos but a good time was had by all. In the end Bob Scott smoked all of us. This was the first time I had raced the Lexan open wheel car with the chassis the Rocky Russo built for me. It was fast and fun to drive. Results and images are shown below.

Vintage F1 - 60' Squiggly L - 12 volts - 2 minute heats.

Laps/Driver/Fast Lap/Chasssis/motor
220 Bob Scott 3.397 (Gugu chassis/Slick 7 mini motor/Maserati)
215 Rich Vecchio 3.730 (Rocky chassis)
211 Jim Cunningham 3.843 ('72 chassis/Mura Challenger)
202 Rocky Russo 4.058 ('66 chassis/Ferrari)
194 Al Swartz 4.222 (Gugu chassis/Slick 7 mini motor/Maserati)
68 Dana Govolich 4.610 (Rocky's BRM)

F1P1.jpg

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The day was capped off with a Hawaiian themed dinner complete with dancing girls (and some boys). Bob and Teri did a great job with the entertainment and food.

HP1.jpg

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The TSRF 1/24 race had become a tradition at Slot Car Conventions for at least three years. In 2005, 11 participants raced in this event. Results, to a great extent, mirrored driving ability. Of course, mechanical problems, and there were a few, influenced the results. No modifications were allowed on the chassis and all were using TRSF motors. The biggest difference was that some participants were using plastic bodies while others opted for vacuum formed bodies. Doc P. had anticipated this issue and the raw results of plastic cars were adjusted upward to reflect the difference in weight and CG. I had two plastic horses in this race. I drove my orange and blue 962 and I offered my backup white Porsche GT1 to Stan Smith. Dave Deuble and Al Swartz also ran plastic machines. Racing was fun and competitive. Doc P. inadvertently forgot to adjust Stans lap total. If the total would have been adjusted, Stan would have finished right behind me and ahead of Dave Deuble (sorry Dave youll have to return the $500,000 in prize money). Below are the adjusted results as posted by Doc P. and an image of the grid.

TSRF24 Adjusted results

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Prior to the convention, Rocky Russo organized a proxy race for 1/32 scratch built open wheeled cars. The race attracted 17 entries. Rocky selected the Proxy drivers from a field of excellent 1/32 scale drivers (why was I selected?). Most of the cars were beautifully detailed, however, some handled quite well and others not so much. It was a blast driving these machines and we were all careful not to destroy equipment that others so diligently worked on. Dennis Samson had two entries (orange McLarens see the images of interesting cars near the beginning of the write-up). They handled like a dream and really looked excellent. Images of the race are shown below. Sorry, I do not have the finishing order.

ProxyP1.jpg

ProxyP2.jpg

By this time my brain was fried but there was yet another race, actually two 36Ds on the King track. I was prepared to sit this one out but Rocky offered me a car (sorry, I dont even remember which one) and I accepted without thinking. The race was crash and burn and I had no experience with these cars. My friend, Al Weiss smoked the field. Below are the results and some images.

36D Race



Race 1
Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
116 Al Weiss 6.749
109 Bob Smith 7.582
107 Dave Deuble 6.917
75 Jim Armstrong 7.418

Race 2
Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
91 Jim Cunningham 7.523
89 Rich Vecchio 7.471
86 Dana Govolich 7.472
70 Rocky Russo/Bob Scott 7.249

36DP1.jpg

36DP2.jpg

Lastly there were 2 HO. Results are posted below (sorry, no images)
HO X-Traction - 4x8' Jim's HO - 16 volts - 3 minute heats

Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
193 Al Thurman 3.128
177 Doug Sharpe 3.346
174 Jim Munzer 3.223
159 Chris Jr 3.128
140 Derek 3.460

GT
Laps/Driver/Fast Lap
329 Doug Sharpe 1.757
315 Al Thurman 1.757
311 Jim Munzer 1.749
264 Chris Jr 2.30
144 Derek 1.90

What a great weekend. I had a blast. Unfortunately, this was the last Convention I attended. An active slot car group in Oregon kept me busy for a while. I am still racing slot cars but am not as active as I used to be. We have found lots of other hobbies to keep ourselves busy. I do miss the camaraderie and just plain fun we had at these great events. Thanks to Bob and Teri for the best convention ever!
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#2 idare2bdul

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Posted 23 May 2015 - 10:07 PM

The Slot Car conventions we had at Buena Park were not as elaborate, but were still awesome with many of the same cars and entrants. I can remember Rocky and  Larry Shepard handing me museum quality cars and saying, "Here, drive this!" there were also a lot of impromptu races where several cars lined up and someone shouted go and the race was on. It really brought back the joy of just driving a slot car around the track while enjoying the company of friends. 


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#3 rvec

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 12:24 AM

Both Larry and Rocky were great guys. So sad to see them go. Larry was really the motivating force behind the conventions and I know it was a lot of work. Both were more than willing to share cars. Before the 2005 convention, I had Rocky build an open wheel Formula 1 car for me. The car finished second to Bob Scott in the race at the 2005 convention. Interestingly enough I was running the car on my track just a few days ago. It still runs great and I will cherish it forever.
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