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Retrospective - Slot Car Convention 2004


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#1 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:05 AM

The 6th Annual Slot Car Convention was held in the spring of 2004 at RadTrax in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event was the second convention I attended (the first was in 2003 at the same venue). I brought along my newly minted Kodak digital camera set to record many images. Unfortunately, I filled the digital media with only 62 shots and had no way to download these because I did not bring my computer along. I will share some of these images in a reply to this original post. In addition, I was there to have fun and did not really think about writing a narrative about the event (unlike the 2005 convention where I took notes and had reference material from PDL and Bob Scott).

The July 2004 issue of Scale Auto Racing News published an article about the 2004 Convention written by Shawn Smith. Fortunately, I kept that particular issue; however, the article was printed on a gray background and is very hard to read from a scan. So, with a lot of free time on my hands having to shelter in place due to the Covid 19 crisis, I decided to simply retype the article (Unfortunately, the images are grainy). So, here goes!

The 6th annual RadTrax Slot Car Convention is now in the history books and this review will serve several purposes. Within this review I’ll hope to capture the sights, smells and excitement of the event as well as cover the scheduled race results and many of the amazing cars that were brought to the show. Hopefully, for those of you with an interest in the event yet without the means to actually go, this report will satisfy some of the questions about the event, the racers and atmosphere in general.

First, let me start by thanking Jon and the entire RadTrax staff for hosting the event and putting up with the multitude of personalities who attended this years’ event. The RadTrax staff graciously, opened their store, provided free track time, free race organization, free space to set up, display and work on your slot cars as well as be around to ask any questions or assist with anything else you might need. This was a 10:00 am to 10:00 pm event and from what I saw they were all there from dawn till dusk just so slot car fanatics like me could participate in the event. Thanks again to all who helped set up the event! You guys ROCK!!
 

King.jpg



Upon arrival I couldn’t help but notice that from the outside RadTrax appeared to be nothing more than an ordinary strip mall store. It wasn’t until I opened the door and walked inside that I realized everything was as I expected it to be only cooler! Quickly scanning the store I couldn’t help but be drawn to the overwhelmingly large King Track taking up the majority of the floor space in the middle of the store.

Searching Jon out I promptly introduced myself and was instantly welcomed with a handshake and an announcement over the speaker system that S.J. Slots, reviewer for Slot Car Garage, was in the house.
 

Display.jpg


For the next couple of hours I spent the majority of my time walking around and looking at nametags trying to associate faces with names as well as get in a few peeks at the types of cars that had been brought by these “Wise Men” of the hobby. Some of the attendants couldn’t help but stand out as I had viewed pictures of such slot car celebrities as Professor Fate (Rocky Russo), Larry Shephard, Rich Vecchio and many others both in previous years, convention pictures and other miscellaneous places on the web. They were truly a great group of guys.
Not only were nice people in attendance but they also had some really nice cars and displays of cars. Here are some of the first day one pictures I took. I should have taken a lot more but I think I was too excited to even think about it.
 

Larrys_Cheetah.jpg
 
F1.jpg
 
Cobra.jpg
 
Porsche.jpg
 
962.jpg



Meeting and greeting pretty much out of the way it was becoming increasingly apparent that the first of the weekend’s events would be getting underway shortly. Convention attendees were told to pair up for the event and pick out which paintjob of car they wanted to run as well as pick up their lane stickers that would be used during the event. Here are the race results. (Editor’s note: My recollection of the initial event was that it was a handout race for 1/32 cars held on a plastic track set up)
 

132_HandoutRace.jpg


The rest of the night was all about driving anything you wanted and having fun with the others. Even though it was marketed primarily as a 1/32 event the 1/24 cars were not to be denied. Here are a few of the 1/24 cars lined up for a practice run as well as some of the guys having a good time driving.
 

Table.jpg


Saturday morning, I walked in to a RadTrax a little after 11 a.m. and the place was already bustling. The mix, mingle and having fun part of the format was in full swing and people were running a little bit of anything and everything. I took the time to work on my 1/24 TSRF entry for the 5:00 pm race and it was a good thing I did. Getting track time on the large King Track as well as the smaller “Lazy 8” proved that I had several issues to work on.
Besides the normal slot car convention attendees there were also some new people walking around the store that morning. A production crew from the Discovery Channel show Monster Nation was in attendance to record some of the days’ events and talk with participants. With multiple cameras to capture varying angles as well as a production manager, the crew made sure to record lots of racing action and footage of the various racers and cars being run at the convention. They also decided to record one of the actual scheduled events and it was almost time for it to begin.
 

Racing.jpg


The TSRF 1/32 race was originally listed as a “handout” race but discussions with Philippe de Lespinay promptly corrected that mistake and racers were told that if you wanted to run in this race you needed your own car. Here are the final results:
 

132_TSRF_Field.jpg


132_TSRF_Results.jpg


With the TSRF race in the books it was time for one of the many preplanned challenges discussed in the event emails that were sent around by participating racers. This one was a great one to say the least. The diversity of cars both in the looks department as well as the performance category, made the race an exciting one and there was a lot to keep your eyes on. Handicapping helped even the field as some of the cars were noticeably quicker than others but all of them looked great no matter how fast they were going. There was also a nice mixer of “vintage” stock cars and more modern versions. Here is some of the field (Editors’ Note: My recollection is that there were nearly 30 entries. Some were the old style ProTrack brass chassis with Cheetah motors, some were scratch built brass and wire chassis with Deathstar or S16D motors. All but one entry had plastic model bodies. Jim Cunningham used a handicapping system that rewarded consistency above all else. The system worked quite well. You might guess I would say that because I ended up winning)
 

Stock_Car_Field.jpg

 

124_StockCar_Results.jpg


After the Stock Car event it was time to get the 1/24 TSRF cars ready for action. This was one race where I personally had a lot at stake. Being my first real attempt at building a true “race car”, I had picked up a TSRF chassis, painted a plain white Carrera hard-body Panoz and spent a few extra dollars buying foam tires mounted on TSRF aluminum wheels, an aluminum axle gear and a bit of weight to tune the car. Here she is in all of her pre-race glory.
 

Panoz.jpg


Sadly, both practicing and running in the race taught me just how much I still need to learn about building a competitive racing slot car. I finished near the bottom of the heap and by all rights should have been dead last in the event but luck was on my side as one racer dropped out to keep from damaging his car and another seemed to be down on horsepower.
Here is the field.
 

124_TSRF_Field.jpg


Here were the final results.
 

124_TSRF_Results.jpg


Sunday mornings’ mix, mingle and have fun became more of a vintage “show and tell” and that was fine with me. A large table was selected near the back of the store and it was soon filled with tons of amazing and unique looking cars. These would be the last pictures I would take at the event so I went a little crazy with how many I took. To be honest though, I couldn’t help myself as there were too many beautiful cars. Enjoy!
 

ProTrack_Field.jpg
 
Drivers.jpg
 
Can_Am.jpg
 
Indy.jpg





Unfortunately for me the weekend went entirely too quickly. Seemed like as soon as I got there it was time to leave. It was however a wonderful learning experience and an amazing time that I am thankful that I could be a part of. I have a lot of work to do though before next years’ event so I’ll have to get started pretty soon. You would think 365 days would give me plenty of time… but with some of the amazing cars and experienced drivers at the event I have no time to waste if I want to come up with anything worthy. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions and I will be happy to answer anything that I can. Happy Slotting!

Editors’ Notes: I was flattered to have my name mentioned with the likes of Larry and Rocky. My contribution to the hobby is just a footnote. Many others in attendance formed the backbone of the hobby. Perhaps, Shawn had visited one of my websites. At that time there were not that many slot car websites and I had created a few to promote a high school slot car club in Prescott and chronicle how we built the track from scratch.

Since I had attended the 2003 Slot Car Convention, I knew what to expect in 2004. I kept up with Larry Shephard’s emails and prepared cars for four of the more formal (but informal) events. The Stock Car event was mentioned in the article and drew the most participation. I wish Shawn had posted a few more images of the cars entered in this race. There were some amazing machines.

I was also interested in the Sports Car race and a Trans-Am race (which turned out to be just a battle between ProTrack cars). An image of the ProTrack grid is shown as the next to the last picture in the article. My car was the 69 Camaro. The Chrysler was built by Jim Cunningham (Jim also ran the Chrysler in the Stock Car race). The 70 Camaro was built by Alan Schwartz. The Dodge belonged to Rocky.

The field for the 1/24 TSRF is shown in the article and the race featured 13 entrants. As best as I can recall, Bob Scott and I both ran the multi-colored 962s. Shawn Smith entered the yellow Panoz. Phillipe’s car was the white BMW.


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Rich Vecchio





#2 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:23 AM

Images of some of Alan Schwartz's cars.

 

ASchwartzCamaro.jpg

 

ASchwartzCollection.jpg

 

ASchwartzGT1.jpg


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Rich Vecchio


#3 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:25 AM

Some of Al Weiss' cars.

 

AWeiss.jpg

 

AWeiss70Mustang.jpg

 

AWeissLola.jpg

 

AWeissLotus.jpg

 

AWeissLumina.jpg

 

AWeissMustang.jpg

 

AWeissMatador2.jpg

 


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Rich Vecchio


#4 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:26 AM

A couple of Bob Scott's cars.

 

BScottCamaro.jpg

 

BScottNASCAR.jpg


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Rich Vecchio


#5 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:28 AM

Some of Chris Briggs' cars.

 

CBriggsCamaro.jpg

 

CBriggsChevelle.jpg

 

CBriggsCollection.jpg

 

CBriggsF1.jpg

 

CBriggsTorino.jpg

 


Rich Vecchio


#6 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:31 AM

A few of D Ashford's cars.

 

DAshfordCamaro.jpg

 

DAshfordGT40.jpg

 

DAshfordPlymouth.jpg


Rich Vecchio


#7 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:33 AM

A few of Paul Sterrett's cars.

 

DCP_0765.JPG

 

DCP_0767.JPG

 

DCP_0771.JPG

 

PSterret67Charger.jpg

 

PSterret67PettyCharger.jpg

 

PSterretCharger.jpg

 

PSterretGalaxie.jpg

 

 


Rich Vecchio


#8 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:34 AM

Jim Butts' cars.

 

DCP_0774.JPG

 

JButtCollection.jpg

 

JButtSportscar.jpg


Rich Vecchio


#9 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:37 AM

Images of some of the race drivers.

 

DCP_0764.JPG

 

Drivers124TSRF.jpg

 

Drivers132TSRF.jpg

 

Drivers132TSRF2.jpg

 

DriversOldF1.jpg

 

DriversScalx.jpg

 

DriversScalx2.jpg

 


Rich Vecchio


#10 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:39 AM

Some of Rocky's cars.

 

FateCharger.jpg

 

FateCobra.jpg

 

FateDodge.jpg


Rich Vecchio


#11 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:43 AM

Some images of the race fields.

 

Field124TSRF.jpg

 

Field132TSRF.jpg

 

Field132TSRF2.jpg

 

FieldMix.jpg

 

FieldOldF1.jpg

 

FieldSports.jpg

 

FieldSports2.jpg

 

FieldSports3.jpg

 

FieldSports4.jpg

 

FieldSports5.jpg

 

NASCARField.jpg

 

NASCARField2.jpg

 

VintageF1.jpg

 

VintageF12.jpg

 


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Rich Vecchio


#12 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:46 AM

Some of Jim Cunningham's cars.

 

JCunningham300.jpg

 

JCunninghamCollection.jpg


Rich Vecchio


#13 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:47 AM

Kevin O'Conner's Cyclone.

 

KOConnerCyclone.jpg


Rich Vecchio


#14 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:49 AM

Some of Larry Shephard's cars.

 

LShepBMW.jpg

 

LShepCollection.jpg

 

LShepFerrari.jpg

 

LShepVette.jpg


Rich Vecchio


#15 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 08:53 AM

Some of Rich Vecchio's cars.

 

RVec512.jpg

 

RVecGrandSport.jpg

 

RVecGT40.jpg

 

RVecMonteCarlo.jpg

 

RVecTBird.jpg

 

RvecTBirdRattle.jpg


Rich Vecchio


#16 Alchemist

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 11:06 AM

Hi Rich!

 

Thank you so much for "making the time" to post all these wonderful pictures - I certainly appreciate it.

 

Thank you for sharing.

 

Ernie


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Ernie Layacan

#17 Cheater

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 11:15 AM

The very best thing about these Slot Car Convention threads, Rich, is that there's not a single pic of me as best I can tell! LOL...

Thanks for posting this great stuff.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#18 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 11:29 AM

Ah, but you are wrong. I am going to post many images from the 2005 convention. I think you are in at least a few

Rich Vecchio


#19 rvec

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 11:30 AM

Thank you so much for "making the time" to post all these wonderful pictures - I certainly appreciate it


Many more to come.

Rich Vecchio


#20 Alchemist

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 11:42 AM

Hi Rich,

 

Looking at these wonderful photos that you are sharing with us, is not only a pleasure to view, it also brings back so many fond memories of my slot car experience at the San Francisco Ocean Beach "Model Car Raceway".

 

If I had the means, I would love to recreate that wonderful raceway and make it the "umpteenth Wonder of the World," then all of you would be invited to the grand opening gala! LOL.

 

What is interesting, is that exact location has been vacant all these years, since Playland at the Beach closed down.

 

Every time I have the opportunity to drive by that location, I can still see in "my minds eye" that awesome raceway, and reminisce about all the good times I had there.

 

Looking forward to more photos.

 

Thanks again for your time, Rich!

 

Ernie


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#21 Modelville Guy

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 03:04 PM

Ernie,

 

At least the Purple Mile is still live and well at Modelville Hobby in Ashland, MA.


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Richard Payne





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