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Thread: Keeping tracks open

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    137

    Lightbulb Keeping tracks open

    i might not be very popular after this this post but oh well.i've been into slot cars since the 60's racing with my dad,very popular until the late 70's now the tracks come and go because of lack of interest and money.one thing i've noticed is that all these companies have made non-track owners the freedom to buy stuff on-line and i really feel that that is affecting the hobby.i spend my money at the local track and am happy doing so,just to keep them open and not to save a buck or two.what do you guys do when your local track goes under?drive 200 miles buy a 20 dollar track time card to get your fix? and then go back in a couple of weeks?cant blame the vendors they are hungry too.tell me your opinions.i have a king in storage and would like to open a track but i need peoples business , 1,2 hour track cards dont pay the bills.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Clitherall MN 56524
    Posts
    118
    Quote Originally Posted by fester View Post
    i might not be very popular after this this post but oh well.i've been into slot cars since the 60's racing with my dad,very popular until the late 70's now the tracks come and go because of lack of interest and money.one thing i've noticed is that all these companies have made non-track owners the freedom to buy stuff on-line and i really feel that that is affecting the hobby.i spend my money at the local track and am happy doing so,just to keep them open and not to save a buck or two.what do you guys do when your local track goes under?drive 200 miles buy a 20 dollar track time card to get your fix? and then go back in a couple of weeks?cant blame the vendors they are hungry too.tell me your opinions.i have a king in storage and would like to open a track but i need peoples business , 1,2 hour track cards dont pay the bills.
    where are you located?? I'm starting to feel the same after a 8 year absence from my local track- which is now only open friday and saturday

    I too am looking to start a raceway/general hobby store..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    NorthWesterner now in Philippines
    Posts
    9,648
    Fester & Zac....

    I know you two guys are new here on OWH, so you may have no idea how many times this and similar topics have been discussed here in the forums.

    At least you have started off asking for positive input on how to keep tracks going... rather then the negative alternative of asking why raceways closed. The endless discussions of "what killed slot racing" and "why raceways fail" etc etc have been beaten to death here on OWH... and I have still seen them even recently on other forums as well.

    If you search through the Track Owners forum (among others), I'm sure you'll find some and see what I mean.

    For that reason, (among others), I am hoping that this thread can stay on the focus of positive suggestions & discussion on how to promote slot car racing, and how to keep raceways alive and thriving.

    PK @ OWH
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Paul Kassens
    OWH Slot Car Talk "Mom"
    The Old Weird Herald
    email: paulk@oldweirdherald.com

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Fulton, ny
    Posts
    100
    Well put Paul I have driven as far as georgia to the old Electric city raceway to race and loved having three at one time local tracks near to me.I believe the determining factor isnt always money on either end (owner or racer) but time to spend making your car as good as the guy or guys that win every week.Knowledge of the track, gearing,straightening etc takes time to figure out,Dont get me wrong i am not in any way full of time on my hands either I just love to race period and I dont get discouraged when im beat by another racer.Even if you build a spec class car and hand them out to ten different people at race time someone will be discouraged when they lose.A new track has opened very close to me so every chance I get im there helping them out so they succeed and continue to be open, the base group that has started running on friday nights is content running sealed motors for now and we have an interest in group ten and B-production so they should do well being the only track in central new york.The other thing is spending alot of money on advertising its expensive and your targeting a very small sector of hobbyists.I to hope that this thread will bring positive ideas to help track owners thrive and slot racers a place to race.Fatboy
    TEAM B.O.W
    In memory of Gordy Root a great mentor and friend
    One time at Slotnerds camp

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Norcross, GA
    Posts
    891
    FB, if you drove to GA to race at the late, lamented Electric City Raceway, you went too far. ECR was in Anderson, SC, about 25 miles from the GA line... LOL!!!

    I agree with you that time is the biggest factor. We let the commercial hobby morph into something that requires more time than many can devote to a leisure-time activity and until we address that issue, the numbers aren't going to go up very much.
    Last edited by brassy; 12-07-2010 at 10:54 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Fulton, ny
    Posts
    100
    Yea thanks for the correction Im a siv at times lol
    TEAM B.O.W
    In memory of Gordy Root a great mentor and friend
    One time at Slotnerds camp

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    137
    i like your input,and would love to open a track but i need people to buy from me not on-line besides after shipping are u saving that much?after you spend a 100 buks you dont pay shipping.ok what if i said no tax if you spend over a 100 bucks?ideas?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    florida
    Posts
    109
    Im in the same boat as you fester i bought a paperclip acouple months back and ive been brain storming, trying to figure out how i can get people in the track more often, i dont plan on opening a shop until next year sometime, ive been thinking alot on how to get people to buy track time in a bulk to get free track time, i like the spend a 100 buck's and save tax idea. when you think about it if you get a new person to buy a RTR and a turbo controler there at 100+ bucks, or instead of saving tax you could give them an hour of track time thats around 12 to 15 dollars, and there driving there car using up tires and smashing the wall. ive been thinking heavely about 10 bucks gets you all night track time evry night, thats what the track i race at does every thursday which is an hour and a half away from where i live, and say if you did a buy 5 nights of racing for 50 dollars get 2 nights free, you get a 50 dollar buy in, and your customers get 20 dollars in track time, that will get the guys that wanna practice and get better a chance to break stuff and buy stuff to make them faster.I am also going to talk with my local boy scouts and give them free track time to get the younger people in, to try and help with birthday parties. i figure the boys scouts are more into building stuff than other groups of kids, and in the boy scouts the parents spend time with there kids so maybe id get some dads that like the slot cars also. another thing i see at the track i race at is he's got a hillclimb track and a little oval track and the locals love the small oval better than the hillclimb so im going to try and find a small oval, its cravy they love it. the only problem with a second tarck is needing a bigger location but it looks like it pays for itself. keep me posted with any of your ideas. thanks brandon

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Sacto,Ca
    Posts
    202
    Hey Fester! Keep reading the blogs and get ideas from there. I would love to see you open a raceway that includes your king and some other track, either a hill-climb or a flat-track. Apparently Dwight at Fast Track Hobbies has decided to rid himself of the king in his possesion, that leaves Slot Car Raceway in Roehnert Park near Santa Rosa as the only near-by King. Hey Fat-Boy! I have a cousin in Oswego, Where is the nearest raceway to you as I may be visiting her later next year. I know they have a "Nascar Track" in town as I saw it myself while visiting two years ago. Gus in Sacto.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Fulton, ny
    Posts
    100
    Its in Fulton actually and its called Redneck slotcar speedway come on up when you get here its alot of fun,I dont know where the nascar track is but i may know what your talking about and thats a home built and run track// FB
    TEAM B.O.W
    In memory of Gordy Root a great mentor and friend
    One time at Slotnerds camp

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Victorville, CA
    Posts
    1,725
    There are no bargains to be had online !! Racers are usually looking for items that the local shop doesn't stock. Unfortunately, as long as they're on the website, they may buy the braid and stickers too.

    The key to competing with the online or mail order vendors is to stock greater variety. Many racers and/or hobbyists want to try every tire, chassis, or body they can find, and enjoy putting together their own 'super combo'. The advantage YOU have is its already under their noses, no waiting on the mail or UPS. Is it expensive to have a large inventory? Yes, but it is made up in better sales. Parts, once acquired, must be tested, so track rentals improve too.

    Make it easy for your customers. Constantly offer to do special orders. Ask the more experienced ones if they think you're missing something. You may be well aware that 4 different brands of bearings are essentially identical, but stock 2 of each instead of 8 of one. Tires, leadwire, axles, and even braid follow the same logic. If your hotshots start to favor certain brands, just stock those more heavily.

    Believe me, all this strategy works. Been there, done that. Kept a raceway for 7 years in the late 70's - there weren't even decent RTRs available in those days. Managed raceways throughout the 90's - so much more stuff to sell, more classes to race. It was all good. Now, add vintage racing, good flatrack growth, less competition from RC or full scale racing ('cause those all cost too much), and good deals on storefront property, and a raceway sounds very tempting IF you put some personal energy into it.

    Closing point: all the online and mail order sites are open and operating raceways as well. Many have been open for a long time. Go online yourself - the business model works.
    A clean slotcar is a happy slotcar!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    NEW LOCATION COMING SOON
    Posts
    248
    Well Said monty!! That is exactly why I have shopped online. I want what i want and I will have it one way or another. It's important for the tracks to listen to the racers and not just some nut behind the counter. Tracks in AZ fail constantly and 90% of the racers purchase from PCH, mid America ECT because it's thought that racers want cheap parts. Racers dont want to pay the same price for inferior products when better can be bought for the same price. It is very tough to limit your orders when there are so many product to try in 1 location.

    ALL tracks can offer the same things. Nobody is cheating just some try harder to succeed. Every track with a high track record or longevity all have 1 thing in common. In 1 form or another they all have Ecommerce sites. If PCH, mid America, Fast Eddies, and others can do it so can you.

    All racers have to start somewhere but as there skill improves and they get more serious they will want different stuff. I to suggestion communication with racers. If you dont take the interest why should they.....except of course they have a track to race at. The buy here or race it on ebay is a horrible attitude to have as a business owner.

    Closing, this hobby is too small for track owners to just exist and not try to do it better then other tracks.
    Gilbert, AZ
    Falcon Wing/G12/Flexi/Nascar/Drag Race

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    DownForce Hobbies, Mesa AZ
    Posts
    2
    Sorry but that is my attitude I opened my shop so I and others could practice and race.
    We can get any product out there, but if I carried every product that every racer wanted I would have a warehouse of items that would be outdated and all I would hear is, do you know how much cheaper I could get that online for! I have only been open about 1 year and I can't tell you how many times I have heard that.

    So that’s why I have that attitude if you buy it online then you can go race it online.
    If you want something let me know and we can get it, But it may not be from your favorite vendor.( No Offense to anyone particular)

    Without tracks to race at, racers don't need parts and Manufactures don't make Money.



    Owner of DownForce Hobbies, Mesa AZ
    Jim

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    13
    Back to a more positive note, it seems to me some direct, targeted marketing may be worth a shot.
    What about setting up a competition between various organizations and corporations in your area. Divide them into groups....cops verses firefighters, car dealers verses car dealers, tire retailers verses tire retailers, spare part store verses spare parts store...McDonalds verses Burger King.....Have some finals and cup series where the best of each group compete in a shoot-out?
    There are all sorts of companies/retailers and so on in your area who could form their own racing group to race against a group from one of their competitors....
    Make it a low cost competition like running Nascar type cars...the store could supply the cars or offer them at a discount to the group....or have a donation tin for vehicle and track maintenance.....whatever it takes to get bodies into the store and money flowing through the register. The cars could be kept at the store so the cost to compete doesn't get out of hand and accusations of cheating doesn't raise it's ugly head.
    Cars could be painted/adorned with each groups colors....have a draw from a hat to pick a car number.....
    It would be good for the organizations from a morale standpoint and good for the raceway owner.....some of the stores may even offer some prizes or assistance with getting it up and running. I'm sure the local media would also take an interest and provide some free promotion.....Chamber of Commerce may also be worth a call....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Victorville, CA
    Posts
    1,725
    " if I carried every product that every racer wanted I would have a warehouse of items that would be outdated"

    Jim,

    I have to respectfully disagree. If you carried every item every racer wanted, you would SELL those items. I didn't say stock volume, I suggested variety.

    " all I would hear is, do you know how much cheaper I could get that online for! I have only been open about 1 year and I can't tell you how many times I have heard that. "

    Again, THERE ARE NO ONLINE VENDORS OF NEW 1/24 - 1/32 SCALE SLOT CAR EQUIPMENT SELLING BELOW msrp to my knowledge. If a racer told you that, they were referring to E-BAY and the purchase was a crapshoot. Yes, those racers deserve the junk they get, I agree. Tell me of a below MSRP price source (use PM, 'cause of course you don't want to promote it), and I'll gladly print my retraction and apology.

    I was attempting to share some methods and policies that WORKED for me, as a raceway owner and manager over a long period of time, and as I understand it, that was the request of the original poster. He understood that there would be differing opinions. I'm being as positive as I can be.
    Flash forward to today, and my experience is that 20 or so raceways stocked my stuff in the past year. They had to be patient, it wasn't easy stuff to obtain, but almost NONE of it is held in stock right now - IT SOLD, OVER THE COUNTER, TO THE RACERS at those raceways. If thats not a win-win situation, using internet and phone sales, please explain why not.
    A clean slotcar is a happy slotcar!!

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