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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a question for all of the racers. What is it that keeps you going to your local track, and what was it that brought you into the Hobby?

I run a track in Lexington KY and the intrest was great for a while but has dropped off. Everyone says they want to race but just can't make it out. What pushed RC racing to the top of your list of things to do?
 

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Whats it take to make a track popular?
Of course you have to have a nice facility thats consistently maintained and ran well. But the most Important part is having an atmosphere where racers young and old can have FUN with there FRIENDS. Thats the trick!
What brought me into the hobby? Well one day I was out driven around and saw a sign that said Sugerbowl Speedway turned in saw what a blast everyone there was havin, HOOKED!
Wish ya Good Luck! with your race track anyone with the :devil: to build and run any type of racetrack is alright in my book.

See Ya! Lee Helander :cool:
 

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Seems people are so busy nowadays that maintaining a hobby gets put on the backburner.When I talk to people about getting into the hobby they say they just don't have the time because of their work and family schedule.I know it gets really hard for me sometimes to be at the track every single weekend,I really only get one weekend a month off,and if I race on any of the other weekends, sat turns out to be a 24+ hour day.
 

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had bought a rc10t and was adopted into the local offroad/oval club, went (dragged)to a larger event our club was hosting - people from 6 hrs away were coming to race oval. I sat at the middle of turn 3-4 and watched the Ruby class drivers during a race, seeing the way their cars handled the turns (Ruby class-1400 batteries-superstock weight- and of course ruby motors) seeing how gear changes could mess up your run time. HOOKED.

what keeps a track popular:
close racing
spectators
location – we moved our meets from a church gym to a rec center located closer to a race track-we have doubled our membership and now have allot more spectors- more father and son teams.
 

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Track

All the comments are true. I have seen many tracks in my locality open and close over the years. I think one of the most important things is the attitude of the racers at the local track. If the locals accept visitors and help them, the track usually suceeds. If the reception is cold and locals don't give good advice or sandbag their answers a new racer is most likely to give up and leave. Without new blood the track dies.
 

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I have to disagree on all your points Fred,

1- Our track is on a main highway with more access than any other track I've been to,we still don't get that many new racers,so location isn't the key, although it helps.
2- Our track is also right next to a nascar sanctioned oval track,so this debunks that theory as well.
3- We race basically all spec classes,which is the closest form of oval racing there is.
4- We have all kinda spectators on any given race day,due to the location of course, but still no huge crowd of racers,larger than most tracks, but not huge.

There has been a lot of discussions on this subject,I personally think it's just the time and effort thing.People will make time to do what they WANT to do,and racing RC cars just isn't high on the list,unfortunately.
 

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I got into this hooby as a replacement for the normal "wal*mart" RCs as christmas presents for my son. While at the hobby store picking out a "kit" truck I picked up a magazine. I then learned that people sent time and money racing toys. This was a very odd concept to me. I found there was a track about 1 hour from my house. We went as a family, my son, my wife, my nephew, his step-father, his mother, and myself to a Friday night race. Three weeks later, we were all racing at that track. Have been ever since, that was 3 years ago.

What keeps use coming back:

1) family style asphomere.
2) FUN, FUN, FUN.
3) the challange of making a car faster. and the defeat of going slower.
4) the joy of helping others. Even though I feel I'm still a rookie, I'm always getting asked "how does this work", "why does this not work", "can you help me with this". It gives you a feeling of worth, helping your fellow hobbist, and fellow man.
5) A track that starts on time, moves quickly with few delays, but that is also willing to work around the normal problems that newbies have, will be sucessful.
6) You need food, during race and practice times.
7) If you use computer timing equipment, you need to make that avliable to your racers during practice times also. If you don't want the average racer using your computer, have someone there that is quailifed. It's really hard to practice, make changes, and wait till race night only to find out you got slower.
8) When things do go wrong, don't lose your cool, just work it out the best you can. Nothing ruins fun quicker than the person in charge losing their temper.
 

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Use of the tracks computer,probably ain't gonna happen,But I agree that it's wasted time practicing without knowing if your going faster or slower,that's why I bought a orion lap counter,it's worth it's weight in gold,not only for practice but better than any dyno on the market.
 

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I agree that track time is the only "TRUE" dyno. I know of a few tracks that would set up the computer for practice days. It would just be great to see them all do it. I do know the day that I own a track, and that day is coming, if the doors are open the computer will be on.........
 

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for me the fun factor has to be there but fun to me is being able to race against equal drivers as me not racing against someone that you know that if you somewhat try you'll blow them away. also a good run program. 3 min in between races short breaks in between rounds and fair heat set up
 

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Rupert:

I do believe that time is factor and there are alot of things that compete for time. One of the things that makes it easier for me is that there are two tracks I can go two. One is one hour away, the other is about 40min away. Between the two they race Tuesday thru Sunday. One track has a race that start at 7:30pm on Thursdays. I can get my race fix on different days depending on my schedule.

A flexible race schedule really helps for me.

I know what some say about spec class, but at one track they started an F1 class and it is quickly catching on. It also helps that there is a large European and South American ethnic background in the area so racing F1 is a big thing.

Also, at another track, the owner changed things around and now they have a HUGE! Monster Truck following. Before that, they were big in Dirt Oval. Now the racers are asking for 1/8 scale nitro, so it may go that way. I believe changing things up and not being static helps. I believe people get bored and would like to try different things.

This winter, I will be racing some HPI Micro indoors.

Variety in racing classes, tracks, events (used to remember a track that had a 50s night where you had to use 50s bodies).

People are funny and there is no good answer, but keeping it fresh and different with different events does help:

Some different events that I have seen:
-- 50s night racing
-- Off-road cars running on asphalt
-- Team racing (one person running stock, another runs mod and points are combined for a points series)
-- Points series
-- Fantasy series where you get extra points when your real scale driver wins an event
-- Rally racing where part of the track was asphalt and other parts actually had mud, dirt, grass and gravel
-- Wild Willy Racing -- just too funny to watch. The most fun I ever had just watching

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is you have to keep things interesting and new.

As a newbie a long time ago, what got me started and hooked was a hobby shop that had a coupon in the paper for a Tamiya Hornet, Stick Radio, Battery and MRC Charger all for $149.00 a long time ago. In order to get the battery and charger as part of the deal, the hobby shop owner required you to come to beach to come racing during low tide. -- I was hooked!

Today, I have a familym house and work and do not have all the time in the world but I keep coming back when I have time and the flexible race times and low-cost spec classes help. The places I have seen shutdown are the ones that did not want to seem to change, they wanted to race only one form of racing and that was it.

I do HIGHLY agree with the person who stated that a friendly track is important. Nobody want to be at a place that has a cold reception. For all the racing we do, its still a social event and if you don't feel welcome, you will not come back because life is to short.

Oh well, just my long winded opinion
 

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Sucessful track

We run a track in Ann Arbor in the winter. Indoor Dirt.
We had an average attendance of over 150 entries last winter with a high of 194.
We do a point series. There are no trophies or plaques handed out at each race... only at the end of the year.

The key to our sucess, I think, is that we only race every other Saturday.
That allows people to have a life other than RC. If our point series was weekly... our attendance would be way down and we could not afford to operated.
We change our layout once or twice in the season.. nothing big.. just simple changes.

We keep it a family atmosphere. Smoke free, no foul language. And we are not afraid to approach some one and talk to them if they get out of line.

We have hot food on site with a family that owns a food trailer.

MOST everyone helps everyone out with their cars and trucks.

All the track building and maintenance work is done by volunteers. But we do not EXPECT anyone to help.. if they come that is great.. if not.. we take it on ourselves.

We work with local hobby shops to have their support. We do NOT charge them to be in-house, we appreciate them being there.

We also support other tracks in the area... encouraging our racers to widen out and experience other facilities.

We are working to promote the hobby.... NOT make money.

AND... we work hard to make it the best facility it can be.

Most important.. make it fun. Clean family fun...
Get to know your racers.
Welcome people as they come in the facility.
Introduce yourself to parents, Learn their kids names. Be concience of how your racers are doing in the lower mains.... A Main guys too.. but the ones who are in the lower mains need help and appreciate encouragement and support and tips on how to get better.
Mingle with your racers during the day.

And.. KEEP it FUN!

Hope this helps...
Dan
 

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This is a hard balancing act. Location, competition, friendly atmosphere, scheduling and fun are all a hard mix to achieve. Looking at Pepe's post give you a hint how hard that mix is. They have it all but I think one thing might be holding them back. Spec class tends to go the way of who can spend the most to keep the razor fine edge to stay on top. I'm not saying that’s what that track is doing or having happen, but in my experience (in this since '85) that is what happens.

The key is to keep it fun. That is a trick as you will have racers that will pump big $ in to RACE basically on a pro style edge. This often will turn off the newbie as they just can't hang in there and have not developed the skills just yet. The track has to make enough money to operate but not so much that the drivers feel robed. The track operators need driver support to keep the facility open and not trash the place and cause so much work that the operators give up.

Then there’s just the fact that people just like change, they want to try other tracks. The other tracks are usually out of town, cost goes up as well as time involved. So now they look at why take all that time and spend all that money.

There is also the trick of what classes to run. They have been growing and growing and keep pulling drivers to other types of RC racing, that a track usually has little chance in changing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all of the great comments. Some of the ideas I have done and some I haven't. The balancing act is very difficult and it is easy to lose focus on what you are trying to accomplish. Some of the comments have reminded me what the goal should be.
 

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Fish,

I've been in oval racing since about 90,and have seen the closest racing coming out of the spec classes since I've been in this hobby.I know a lot of people think it's about spending a lot of money but in reality it's more about driving consistency and proper chassis tuning than anything,Really it is.Like every track out there we've had ups and downs,I just got off vacation for a few weeks and noticed a few new faces at the track this past weekend,and I tell ya it was a welcome sight,I was really beginning to wonder.And now that the legends class may be making a comeback we may be able to get a few more new racers,it's the perfect entry level class.
 

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It seems to depend on what kid of racing venue when it comes down to seeing new people. Offroad tends to generate a lot of new faces but as bashers, they have a tendancy not to stick with it long. That is especially true if the guy has spent wads on way to much "bling" and not on meaningful upgrades.

Oval takes a serious level of dedication to get good at it. It's not just thowing a bunch of money at the high dollar items and throw it on the track and expect to make the A-main. The level of technical know-how is high and must be learned and takes some time. Patience is not one of our societies virtues anymore. We want instant gratification.

Touring is like offroad and oval combined. Watching our top guys run together is like watching a well choreographed ballet, (hang with me here), the precision in driving is incredible but takes time to learn. Setups are very important just as in oval.

Seems that more people would rather sit at home on the computer, dial out any damage and rub fenders that way then to actually come outside and enjoy being around other people, challenging their minds and abilities face to face and having a good time.

I'm not sure facility is really as important as some make it. I've seen people having a great time at what some would consider a piece of garbage track and some paying high prices to race. It's got to be the quality of the participants that make you want to come back. How you're treated by the staff and other racers. But there are other personal factors too. No matter how nice people are some people just don't care about being around others, or have unreal expectations.

I've been in the track business for more than 17 years and still don't have the answers. No matter how mch you try to please everybody, somone is still not going to be happy. Some people are just born complainers and it took me a long time to learn that and accept that fact. You just can't please all of the people all of the time. That's a tough concept especcially when you're killing yourself trying to please everyone. Sometimes I even wonder what in the world was I thinking back then when we laid the first strip of asphalt. But as a racer I loved the competition and just hanging out with the guys so away we go into the trackowner business. But it does have it's frustrations that probably few weekend racers know. So support your local track, promote it to friends and lend a hand when you see something that needs to be done. I used to spend a lot of time at our old track when I was just a racer, cleaning, painting and other odds and ends that I knew the track owner just couldn't do all by himself. That's when I really felt that track become MY home track, when I got more involved than just an entry paying racer. Get involved and your excitement will attract more people than any advertising ever could.
 

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Ask yourself if you were a racer, would you want to race at your track? What would you want changed? My local track (www.socalrc.com) has excellent amenities; running water, real bathrooms, supplied chairs, tons of pit space with electicity, a community air compressor, and the best part is is that its all indoors. Its just a comfortable place to race at. It also helps that the track draws large groups, and a lot of the people are there every week. As for a flexible schedule for racers, they practice monday, and then every day through sunday they race, alternating on and off-road. Aslo, you get drivers like easton, kinwald, weiss, amezcua, etc. that race there, so even if you're doing terrible you get to watch some great racing.
 

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Rupert:

One issue I haven't seen addressed here is the season. When you say ie was "great for a while but has dropped off," what time scale are you talking about? R/C racing tends to be a winter activity, unless you have an offroad facility. Many indoor tracks just close for the summer because it is too hard to compete with the great outdoors. So, maybe things will pick up again as the weather gets worse.

Just a thought.
 

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Ruperthas a a little bit of a strange thing happening..

Here is my take on Lex...

He is in a good size town with a few hobby shops.
There are a couple small tracks around.
His place is a good place to race.
Hobby shop has lots of good parts.
Racers there are freindly.


Now for the strange part...
He puts on a big race, most of the locals are don't come.
Therefore the turn out is a little low, so some of the out of towners don't want to come back...

The racers are what makes a track.

Our local track in So. IN is struggling a little also.
But, not to the extent that the Lex. track is.

RC goes in cycles, that's for sure......

I try and make it down there a few times a year, but it's hard to make the 3 hour drive sometimes...
 
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