Jump to content




Photo

Racing at Sidewinder 2/17/16


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 rvec

rvec

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,571 posts
  • Joined: 08-April 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oregon

Posted 19 February 2016 - 12:39 PM

Header.jpg

Déjà vu all over again


Before going any further, I would like to thank the proprietors, Bill and Billy Strange for a great night of racing and for the hospitality they showed to a visitor who didnt have a clue. Thanks also to Mike Wright, who was kind enough to lend me two competitive cars for the two distinct contests. Finally, thanks to all of my new found friends, the racers. Sidewinder gets five star rating in my book. It is truly a unique experience. The emphasis is on fun and competition. Yeah, it is great to win but the whole experience brings even the back markers back for more (I know because I am one!).

I was fortunate enough to be back in the Sacramento area for the second week in a row to race at Sidewinder on 2/17/16. Over the years, I have written extensively about Sidewinder. Other articles can be found in the Roving Reporter sub forum of the Electron Raceway forum in Slotblog. These provide an expansive description of the facility, its unique business model and much more. Here is a link to that sub forum. http://slotblog.net/...oving-reporter/ The sub forum also includes an article written about the last Slot Car Convention I attended. Conventions were held annually and attracted builders and collectors of hard body machines in all scales. The prime movers of the event, Larry Shepherd and Rocky Russo are both gone, may they rest in peace, but the memories surrounding the event will live on. The article is worth a look just for the images of some of the great builds brought and raced. Check it out!

Just the Facts


The format and race venue for this latest race would be quite different than the contests of a week ago. The two classes to be run were Group C and Group 5 on Atlanta Raceway Park (ARP is the larger of the two tracks and is shown in the image below). While the Group 5 cars would be an entirely new experience for me, I have raced Group C cars at Sidewinder in the past. The group C cars are low, wide and quick. Back in November of 2014 I was fortunate enough to join 18 other racers in a Group C contest on the very same ARP course. My ride was a Strange family loaner, Jans Mazda 787B. The car was set up beautifully and ran like a dream. I am sorry that its driver (me) didnt do it the justice that it deserved. In fact, Jan piloted this ride to at least one podium finish in the expert division.
Atlanta Raceway Park is a tricky course that takes some time to master (I am certainly not there yet). Timing is critical in negotiating the hairpin at the end of the main straight effectively. The series of S turns require different techniques depending on which lane is run.
 

P1030112.JPG

The race format would be as follows.
  • Racers were seeded into three groups Division 1, 2, and 3 (although Billy kept seeding information close to the vest)
  • As far as I could tell, racers were selected in random order and would run through each of four lanes in European rotation. Cars were moved from lane to lane after each heat (not brought back to the starting line)
  • Heats would be a minute and forty five seconds in length
  • Each racers total lap count was logged and the winner of each division would be the participant with the highest total lap count.

Prelude to the Race


I arrived at Sidewinder in early Wednesday afternoon, race day. As usual I was greeted by Bill and Billy Strange. A few of my new friends were sitting at the pit tables getting their rides ready for the race and were surprised to see me again so soon. Michael Wright let me try out a number of his spare Group 5 and Group C cars and select one from each group for the race. I found that the Group 5 cars were harder to drive than the Group C cars. Group 5 cars are taller and somewhat narrower and needed to be coaxed through the corners. After an hour and an half of practice, I decided on a Capri for the Group 5 race and a Toyota 88C for the Group C race. At around seven in the evening, Billy called 18 participants together for a drivers meeting and explained the rules. The races began at 7:30.

Group 5 Race


The grids included a diverse number of makes and models including, BMW M1, Porsche 935 (both short and long tail versions), and Ford Capri. Since racers were selected randomly, the division results were very hard to follow. All one could do was keep track of the current king of the hill in terms of total lap count. Since I would be racing head to head with others outside of my division, my strategy was to run clean and somewhat conservatively avoiding unforced errors. For the most part I was able to do so. However, in one heat, there were two identical Ford Capris, one piloted by me, the other by Mike Grummitt. At the start of the heat both were set close together. For some reason, I had my eye on Mikes car. Thinking it was mine, I began racing. This led to a few spectacular wrecks until someone was kind enough to point out my error. Anyway, the top four finishers were within a couple of laps of each other. Vince Puleo, Billy Strange, Don Hunter, and Michael Wright were first through fourth respectively. Only winners of each of three divisions stood on the podium. These were Vince Puleo (Division 1), Joe Hiner (Division 2) and Rich Vecchio (Division 3). See images below for the podium and racing action.
 

P1030137.JPG

P1030113.JPG

P1030127.JPG

P1030128.JPG

P1030131.JPG

P1030134.JPG

P1030136.JPG
 


Group C Race


Again, the grids were quite diverse and included, Porsche 962, Porsche 956, Toyota 88C and Lancia. Again, since racers were selected randomly, the division results were very hard to follow. All one could do was keep track of the current king of the hill in terms of total lap count. Some of the hot shoes were Vince Puleo, Justin Colvin, Bill and Billy Strange, Mike Grummitt, Don Hunter and others. One could see that in their respective heats they were quite a bit faster than others (sorry if I missed anyone. I did not get image of the results). Again, my strategy was to race conservatively and try to avoid offs. I managed to run the entire race cleanly and finish first in Division 3. Vince won Division 1 and Bill Strange won Division 2. Below is an image of the podium and some of the racing action.

[center]P1030155.JPG

P1030139.JPG

P1030144.JPG

P1030147.JPG

P1030150.JPG

P1030153.JPG

Rich Vecchio





#2 Bernie

Bernie

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,275 posts
  • Joined: 11-March 09
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mundelein, IL

Posted 19 February 2016 - 03:40 PM

Great report. Track looks like a real challenge. If you guys are not aware, Vince Puleo was one of the BEST Kart racers in North America back in the 80's and into the 90"s! Never raced against him myself, but knew all about him. Seems he is a pretty fair slot car racer as well :)


  • garyvmachines likes this
Bernie Schatz

#3 rvec

rvec

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,571 posts
  • Joined: 08-April 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oregon

Posted 19 February 2016 - 05:18 PM

Great report. Track looks like a real challenge. If you guys are not aware, Vince Puleo was one of the BEST Kart racers in North America back in the 80's and into the 90"s! Never raced against him myself, but knew all about him. Seems he is a pretty fair slot car racer as well :)


The track is fun and challenging but you will have to hurry if you want to race on it. A new track has been designed to replace Atlanta Raceway Park. The new track should be operational this summer.

I did know Vince raced Karts but unaware he was that good. As far as slots are concerned his are one of the best prepared cars of the bunch

Rich Vecchio


#4 tonyp

tonyp

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,299 posts
  • Joined: 12-February 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sanford, FL, land of lizards and big roaches

Posted 19 February 2016 - 05:19 PM

Great looking raceway.

"And if my thought-dreams could be seen they'd probably put my head in a guillotine. But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only." - Dylan

1965 "Evil Bucks Racer" Team
Revtech Team Trinity
Retro East co-founder
American King track single lap world record holder & 40 minute total lap record
First IM Nationals Champion
Arco Champion
Car Model Magazine Series Amateur Champion
2016 ORS Anglewinder Constructors Championsh
ip


#5 eshorer

eshorer

    Race Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 699 posts
  • Joined: 25-August 07

Posted 19 February 2016 - 06:57 PM

I've got to get up there for a race! Nice report.

Eddie


Eddie (not so Fast anymore) Shorer
Team Boola (circa the '60s)

#6 Dennis David

Dennis David

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,387 posts
  • Joined: 05-April 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SF Bay Area

Posted 19 February 2016 - 07:11 PM

Ed, tell me when you are going, I can meet you on a Saturday.

Dennis David
    
curb-line2.jpg
 
gph_sm.jpg
   


#7 Tom Eatherly

Tom Eatherly

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,059 posts
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SoCal

Posted 20 February 2016 - 10:38 PM

Eddie, can you imagine what Jay Henry would think of these!? You guys would be there in a second!


Tom Eatherly

#8 Dennis David

Dennis David

    Posting Leader

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,387 posts
  • Joined: 05-April 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SF Bay Area

Posted 09 April 2016 - 10:02 PM

Was just there at Sidewinder today (Saturday) where they have a special rate of $10 for a whole day of track time. All they ask is that you don't race more than 15 mins at a time if there is anyone waiting. Nobody just leaves their controller hooked up and everybody has a turn at the track. Was talking to Bill and Billy (father & son) about their races and before each race they test different cars that people may race so that besides the basic rules (Racing Class, minimum roof height, max weight, motor RPM, etc) they develop BoP (Balance of Performance) adjustments that are then published. 

 

This may seem like a lot of work but the reward is a wide assortment of cars that people can choose to race and still be competitive which is very important to scale racers. The car/livery that is only available from Company A will not be at a disadvantage to the person racing Company B. Sure the fast guys still win the majority of the races but everybody is happy when they get to dice it out racing the "car of their dreams". 


Dennis David
    
curb-line2.jpg
 
gph_sm.jpg
   






Electric Dreams Online Shop