Ready,set, go - slot car racing! Buena Park Raceway featured in the Buena Park Independent Newspaper!

Slot car designs have come a long way since the first commercially-sold cars were introduced by Lionel Corp. in 1912. They now come in hard body, Lexan, drag cars and more.

The basic concept involves cars built in a 1:24 or 1:25 scale powered by a motor. The vehicle is guided by a groove or slot in a track. Car designs are modeled after actual vehicles.

“We sell model kits,” said Debby Watterson, who, along with her husband, Jim, owns Buena Park Raceway. Their business is located at 6161 Lincoln Avenue at the corner of Hoffman. “The plastic hard body kit is white. The owner can paint it and add a sticker kit that comes with the car.”

“We also sell Lexan kits which are softer, controllers, and parts,” continued Watterson. “You can get a starter kit that is ready to go for $50 and a controller for $72.”

As with most hobbies, the price can vary depending on the collector. Kits, paint, motors, decals and more can be customized.

“Depending on how much speed you want in your car, they can vary from $50 to $200, and even $500 for competitive, custom cars,” said Watterson.

“The average car goes four-to-five seconds around the track. We had a competition recently and one car in the 27 Lites class went 2.062 seconds. That’s the best time this week.”

“The best time ever here was in 2003. A car owned by a guy from Germany went 1.654 seconds.”

“We have competitions and weekly events. Also, groups can have parties. They can rent cars from us and have an hour to run the cars on the track, then have an hour for their party. We had a retirement party event recently that was fun.”

While most of their customers are adults, sometimes children come in with parents or grandparents. For only $15 a newcomer can rent a car with controller and have a half hour of track time.

“We have discounts on Groupon and Yelp, check online,” said Watterson.

“I wanted to play with slot cars when I was young, but my brother wouldn’t let me. He said it was a boy thing,” said Watterson. “When he comes over, I tell him he can’t play.” Then, she laughed.

“We bought the business from the couple who owned it in 2010. The man died and his wife sold it to us.”

She was interrupted frequently by customers who were working on their cars and needed to purchase parts. Quite a few of the men brought special boxes along that held their cars and supplies. The raceway has tables and chairs so the hobbyists have a workspace.

Bryon Nakahara was purchasing some axels and axel-spacers for his drag cars. He has been coming to the track since 2010. His workspace held a box filled with drag cars and supplies.

“This car is 50 years old,” said racer Robert Gomez. “I got it from a friend who died. It was a model car he had that I converted to a slot car/drag car.

“This place is awesome,” said Gomez.

Buena Park Raceway is open Wednesday-Friday, 3p.m to 9:30 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Drag racing is every Wed. and Sat. evening, road course racing is Thurs, Fri, and Sat.

The raceway publishes a schedule of events online and has printed copies in the store. Check the website at for details or call the store at 714-827-9979.

Recently, a group that comes once a month on Sunday, was lined up, ready to compete. The Race Director, Keith Tanaka announced, “Track’s clear, power coming on.” The race began, with cars flying so fast it was startling.

The Sunday group included: Michael Kale, Tim Ballmer, Hector Gonzales, Mel Moon, Jay Henry, Victor Dubrowski, Roger Uustial, Daniel Cabeza de Baca and Carlos Peniche. Most of the group members stop by multiple times each week to race and work on their cars.

Asked what she likes about the raceway, Watterson said, “The people, you build relationships.”

Then, she sat down and started working on hand-painting small driver bodies that racers will purchase to install in their cars. Happily painting and stopping to talk to racers, her enthusiasm for slot cars was evident.

Turns out, slot cars are not just for boys.

Original Article Here: Ready,set, go- slot car racing!