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Thread: Slot Car Racer Today

  1. #3796
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    127
    I think we are all awaiting a personal retrospective from Slotcar Racer himself.
    Seems like he went missing after GT 12. Perhaps he succumbed to the effects of the 6 foot Burrito?

  2. #3797
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,201
    I'm most interested in the Mack speed chassis with .047 rails and how it ran ?
    Motors By Mic B
    Balance By PoppaPower
    A Clean Slot Car is a Happy Slot Car
    Garden State ISRA Club Home of the Anaconda
    Tires by the Hermanator
    www.TheISrausa.com

  3. #3798
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Richmond, CA
    Posts
    1,279
    It’s good to know that readers are interested in my recent trip to Southern California. For me it was one of those painful, yet necessary experiences as a racer. When I left Berkeley at Noon on Friday, I knew what I was getting into, namely a weekend on a new track I had never driven on. Hermanator said, “It drives just like Frank’s track”. Later that day I was to find out that the shape of the track was vaguely similar to The Testarossa, but it did not drive anything like it.



    I picked up The Hermanator in Livermore at the Comcast Castle at 12:45 and we departed for Interstate 5 South which would then turn into “The 5” once we entered Southern California. We reached Valencia at 5:00 and raced through the San Fernando Valley with only a few slow downs. The much anticipated Friday afternoon wall of traffic was around Dodger Stadium and we crept along until reaching the maze of interchanges for “The 60”, “The 10”, etc. and saw a freeway travel time sign saying “I-605….55 Mins” and “Rte 91….70 mins” (that was our exit to The Cave). I noted that the signs did not say, “The 605….” and “The 91….” even though when we called 511 they gave those royal designations. Inconsistency and lack of coordination between the phone people and the sign people. Anyway, the traffic was so hideous and we needed a pee stop that we got off Atlantic Ave and quickly discovered we were in the heart of East Los Angeles. Hermanator suggested we keep the car moving and for sure do not exit the car. Suggestion was duly noted. We drove down Whittier Blvd which eventually ends up in…..Whittier. One of those long boulevards. Things looked better as we proceeded through Montebello to the point at which we could pull into a Mickey Dees where we downloaded past coffee and uploaded new coffee. From there it was more slogging until we eventually reached “The 91” and got to The Cave at 7:45pm. Hermanator contacted the owner, Todd, who said club members would be there until 9:00, so we could off load our stuff and maybe run a few laps. When we got there Chris Radisich, Casey Scott, Tim Hould and some others were at the track. We set up our pit spots and then got in a little track running. I started practice with a Bulldog 3 with a Starfighter (training wheels) on the black lane. I could immediately tell that this track was going to be a steep learning curve.



    Rewinding back through the rest of 2013, this was the third new track I had been on. The first was The Jersey Devil at the Scale Nats. Second was the UK Black in Pennsylvania. So this was the third new learning curve, and I have to say it was by far the hardest. The Jersey Devil has a good rhythm and some places you can really hammer it. I call those “rest areas”. Where I probably lost most of my time on The Jersey Devil was the little squiggles before the driver’s panel, but I felt pretty much up to speed. Nevertheless, I left the Nats feeling like I could have used more time on the track to learn it more. Next new track was the UK Black. This level of difficulty is similar to The Jersey Devil, in fact perhaps a bit easier. I was losing most of my time at the end of the back chute going into the technical section. The racers who did well went really deep into the end of that back chute and carried more momentum going forward to the lead on. Overall that was a fairly easy track to learn.



    Then comes The Cave. The track has a long straightaway, the red panel is on the right, black on the left. And the purple and black panels are actually wrapped around the deadman. When you are watching someone race on the red lane, it looks like they are actually on orange. On black you are looking directly at the straightaway. To see the end of the banana straight seems like you almost need binoculars….it is very remote. After the deadman is a set of shallow esses across the first bridge which present no real problem in getting used to, but they do set you up for the main theme of this track: “No Resting Allowed”. Instead of a straight shot across the bridge, you have esses….it slows you down a bit and you have to think a little. After the esses a lefthander takes you across the second bridge to the “donut”. The donut is not exactly a traditional donut, it is downhill and essentially a 180 degree horseshoe followed by a short tangent. The effect is you have to drive, you cannot just punch it. If you punch too much, you deslot on the tangent. After this short tangent you duck into the tunnel under the two crossovers and go through the Ninety. I saw very little deslotting on the Ninety, it is fairly banked and this is perhaps one of the only areas I learned to “rest” a little. The back “banana straight” is treacherous, particularly with open wheelers. It is a banana with a slight kink in the middle of it. I ended up double pumping it with the open wheel cars. I know that other racers said they just go through there not at full throttle, so I probably had it all wrong there.



    Finally, like many flat tracks of similar design, after the banana straight you enter a “W” shaped set of esses bringing you back to the main chute. I think the W was not symmetrical like on my home track, The Testarossa. I think I lost a lot of time in the W in hindsight. On the Testarossa, a car set up really well can almost be full punched through those turns and it is amazing to see how it works. I felt a lot of trepidation on the W at The Cave.



    After adding .025”-.030” of guide spacers for all my cars, I got in a little practice on Saturday morning and then racing started with JRL Indycar. The next race was LMP with Falcon motors using USRA rules. And finally was GT12 using a spec body, the RF Audi R10. When I think back on those three races on Saturday, I have to say that none of the races went badly, but they didn’t go all that well. I think I finished mid pack all day. The cars were good, but perhaps not set up optimally. I was to learn later on that the trick to this track is loading it up with a ton of lead and gear it lower so the motor can pull the weight. In hindsight that sounds like a good strategy, but time was so short there was no testing or tuning. So, I ran the first two races in the B Main and the GT12 race in the A Main so I saw improvement as the day went on.



    The real problem for me started early on Saturday….really early, like 4:00am. I woke up and could not get back to sleep. I pretended to sleep until around 6:00am when I decided I had had enough of lying there, so I got my iPhone and started playing with the flashlight app to try to trick Hermanator into thinking there was an alien spaceship landing outside on “The 91”. Not sure if the trick worked, but he did wake up and we got ready for the day. The effect of not enough sleep is fairly profound on me. I end up feeling pretty wiped out towards the afternoon, pretty out of it and kind of depressed. If I get enough sleep, on the other hand, I feel like I will have a good day. So, by the time we finished GT12, I was pretty much toast.



    When all racing was completed on Saturday, we had time to test eurosport cars for the next day. I got out my 1/32 scale cars, the F1s and the 1/32 Sports and immediately knew the track was not ideal for running narrow tracked vehicles. The 2.518” track is pretty weird on a lot of rubber laid down by 3.25” tracks. Todd discussed the pros and cons of cleaning the track, but I think he had made up his mind early on to leave it alone for the 1/24 Eurosport race.



    Here is where I am going to be very honest with you, my readers. I found it extremely hard to drive the 1/32 scale cars, but I saw others who had more track time getting around the track really well. I was starting to make a decision to ditch the 1/32 scale races the next day. The reason? Why drive 450 miles, lose sleep, then not enjoy what you’re doing? I had asked myself that question in the back of my mind before at other races, but this time it crossed over to the front of my mind. It became, “Why not ditch Sunday?”



    So, we returned to the hotel and I was really not in a good mood. Poor Hermanator needed a beer to calm down, but I vetoed it by driving straight to the hotel. I had become a slotcar racer meany. Then it happened again….woke up at 4:00am. Right then and there I decided that I was not going to race 1/32 scale cars, I was just going to dismiss the whole day. So, the same routine, lying there staring at the ceiling, the flashlight app, the aliens, then taking Hermanator to The Cave and dropping him off.



    I returned to the hotel and went back to bed waking up more refreshed at 1:00pm. A few minutes later my younger daughter called and we talked quite a while about her first week at the new job in New Haven. After the call, I got up and decided to handle some things I was neglecting at home, namely washing the car. So, I found a good car wash in Yorba Linda and for $24.95 they literally detailed the Camry. It took a good hour at least! I then drove next door to the Valvaline oil change place and got the oil changed. Following the oil change, it seemed to be a good idea to stuff myself with more burrito materials, so I found a good Mexican restaurant in Yorba Linda and had Ray’s Special.



    While eating, I looked at Google Maps and this inspired me to an exploration of the Chino Hills and a drive through Carbon Canyon Road which took me way up and then down a twisty section to Chino. The weather was very cold with the wind blowing, so it was one of those Southern California days where you could see for several miles and the San Gabriels were close enough to reach out and touch. It was a neat drive. I got back to the hotel late in the afternoon and watched a movie on the TV until The Hermanator called to be picked up.



    When I returned to The Cave around 6:00pm, I did so in order to pick up Hermanator, but I also had to clean up my pit area from Saturday and load the stuff in the car. For me, it was totally unfamiliar territory to go back to a raceway to collect my stuff after a day where I had not participated.



    In terms of internal self reflection of the narcissistic variety, I think going to races at unfamiliar tracks has had a cumulative effect for me this year. Too many steep learning curves has taken its toll until I reached a breaking point. I am pretty good at learning tracks, but this particular track was the proverbial straw.....Ditching the race on Sunday was an unusual step for me, yet it was necessary and felt like a great relief. This week I am regrouping and examining what I’m doing with my slot car program. On Saturday I will get up to Slot Car Raceway to race 1/32 and 1/24 Eurosport on my familiar home track. It should be therapeutic and I look forward to it.



    Finally, I need to acknowledge the loyalty of my friend, The Hermanator. I know he was concerned about me and wanted to help, yet I was beyond help. He did really well on Saturday and Sunday, always one of the top contenders. Over the past year his slot car program has really turned around and become more successful than I can remember. It's good to see.
    Journeyman Industrial Slotcar Worker, Teamsters Local 3299 AFL-CIO
    Now with "Improved Karma"

  4. #3799
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    127
    Thanks for sharing your struggles this weekend. I , for one, can relate to traveling to an unfamiliar and technical track and, with limited practice time,
    could only attempt not to embarrass myself when the racing began.

  5. #3800
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    so cal
    Posts
    535
    It was great to have you join us at the Cave this past weekend and we hope you will consider a return visit. I really enjoyed the short time we had to talk and catch up a bit. New tracks are tough to learn on a short weekend....

  6. #3801
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sunny So Calif
    Posts
    655
    It was great to have you at the race. Those F1 tires did TQ F1 Euro...I think You have something there.
    James Grinstead

    TEAM KOFORD

    Why so serious?

  7. #3802
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Paonia, Colorado
    Posts
    1,452
    Nice report, George!

    Greg

  8. #3803
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Richmond, CA
    Posts
    1,279
    OK, time to ride tomorrow. Up to Slot Car Raceway, Rohnert Park, Calif, site of the 2006, 2008 and 2012 USRA Scale Nationals and the last NORCAL Eurosport Club Race of 2013.
    IMG_2253
    Journeyman Industrial Slotcar Worker, Teamsters Local 3299 AFL-CIO
    Now with "Improved Karma"

  9. #3804
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Great Valley,NY
    Posts
    1,227
    Merry Christmas to everybody following the most interesting thread in Slot Car Racing.

  10. #3805
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Richmond, CA
    Posts
    1,279
    Quote Originally Posted by La Cucaracha View Post
    Merry Christmas to everybody following the most interesting thread in Slot Car Racing.
    Thanks Mike, and Merry Christmas from Slotcar Racer to all readers.
    Journeyman Industrial Slotcar Worker, Teamsters Local 3299 AFL-CIO
    Now with "Improved Karma"

  11. #3806
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Great Valley,NY
    Posts
    1,227
    What`s a good setup for a .518 ProSlot 38 degree 16D arm?
    I want something with punch and brakes for LMP Group 10 on an American King at 14.1 Volts. (RT.93 in Akron, Ohio).
    I have a new ProSlot setup from Dan but it has a huge airgap for .560 arm.
    Should I shim the magnets or get something else?

    What is the airgap on the Kelly or Kamen setup?
    http://www.e-slotcar.com/shop/d-can/...d-setup-ke578/

    http://www.e-slotcar.com/shop/d-can/...6d-setup-k600/

  12. #3807
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Richmond, CA
    Posts
    1,279
    Quote Originally Posted by La Cucaracha View Post
    What`s a good setup for a .518 ProSlot 38 degree 16D arm?
    I want something with punch and brakes for LMP Group 10 on an American King at 14.1 Volts. (RT.93 in Akron, Ohio).
    I have a new ProSlot setup from Dan but it has a huge airgap for .560 arm.
    Should I shim the magnets or get something else?

    What is the airgap on the Kelly or Kamen setup?
    http://www.e-slotcar.com/shop/d-can/...d-setup-ke578/

    http://www.e-slotcar.com/shop/d-can/...6d-setup-k600/
    Hey Mike,
    The .560" airgap is great for using a .540" dia arm on a flat track. But on a King you should knock those magnets out and pick up a pair of the latest Kamen C Can magnets. These are the best right now IMHO. For your .518" arm I would hone that set up to .528" or .530". The tight airgap will give you the punch you need on that 155' track. Not sure what they set the airgap at on the Kelly and Kamen set ups, but I would guess in the same neighborhood.
    Journeyman Industrial Slotcar Worker, Teamsters Local 3299 AFL-CIO
    Now with "Improved Karma"

  13. #3808
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Great Valley,NY
    Posts
    1,227
    Will the C Can magnets fit okay in a ProSlot D Can?
    Or do you mean Kamen D Can magnets?
    Thanks

  14. #3809
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, TN
    Posts
    709
    Quote Originally Posted by La Cucaracha View Post
    Will the C Can magnets fit okay in a ProSlot D Can?
    Or do you mean Kamen D Can magnets?
    Thanks
    That was my question too.
    Alan Ingram

  15. #3810
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Chesapeake, Va.
    Posts
    806
    I would think that C-can magnets would make a 16D illegal in any class of racing. My guess is that he probably ment D-can magnets by Kamen. There is another article on the other blog where, I believe, Danny Zona (DZ) talks about using very large air gaps and getting excellent results. Something like .513 arms with .560 airgaps and even some at .600. The larger gap reduces the magnetic bog and allows the arm to spin up very quickly. You can then use smaller pinions to improve the braking and reduce the stress on the motor resulting in a cooler running motor. It also has the added affect of softening the motor out of turns making it more drivable. Try the larger air gap with the FX magnets and see how it works.
    I've done so much with so little for so long it seems like I can do anything with nothing at all.

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