SlotForum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Hi

Like Larry, I did the HO cobalts in the 16d magnet trick. San Antonio in a Texas series. supposedly, while the class had some serious money, the motors were supposed to be stock 16ds. I offered that people were cheating, and the series tech guy explained that he was so expert that everything I said was stupid. "If you can to anything I cannot see, go for it". Most people were running 9/28, I was running 10/25 and pulling them on acceleration and top end. That summer, 82, won 2 car stereos, and a bunch of money off that one. AFTER, I offered to do a complete tear down and explain, if I could do a couple of the others cars.

Everyone decided they would rather have me win than tech.

In the early 70s, the texture of orange tires was superior on the local tracks(4 of them), than black. Started a series for gp.12s requiring black. So, I did Orange tires with a light swipe of "magic marker" that would survive tech, but not the qualifying session without showing orange.

In the mid 60s, the bodies were still SCALE. Rules required off the shelf bodys and so on. Lots of people were using hot spoons to flare the fenders and widen the car. I actually backpoured a body, sectioned it wider, and pulled a couple vacs off it. So, they changed the rules to "Commercially Available".

And I won't tell the story about "Broadcast Power".

Fate
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Hi

The short version of my nickname "Prof.Fate" dates from a rant I did at the track on the line of "what's so great about the "Great Leslie"? At least Fate built his own stuff!" But the other part was that I was often asked to leave a track with the statement "I dont know what you did, but it cannot be that fast and be legal!".

In the 60s, this was a problem in that racing paid the rent. Later it didnt' and when it happend, my wife was puzzled until I explained that when a track does this, all they are saying is that they cannot beat you.

Cheeter's flexi story described something I never thought of. Interesting. However, I do REMEMBER the rules which said "Anything not described as allowed is NOT allowed". Which as a race director ment I would bann it. Hmmm.

Anyway, other CHEATING!

In 65, pro car tech really diverted from the kits and rtrs. Such that most tracks I knew had special races for "kids with kits and rtrs". Often this would include "36ds". Mostly these races were for Cox, Classic and K&B cars. There were so many racers and so many tracks that it was impossible for anyone to keep track of which "kids" were actually Pro-Racers and which were genuine novices. Now, most of my circle of "kids" who were pros had a Movie Gunslinger attitude. They wanted to make the big races and measure up against the other "fast guns". As I was building for some of them, I already knew I was not the fast gun as whoever I built for would beat me with my own car! I would monitor the tracks and which ones were having "promotional races". Usually involving some serious money. Besides the fact that half the entry fees would be given to first(and these races commonly had 40/60 racers), there would also be someother consideration. Target Rich environment. Friends of mine in the Mid west informed me that Dick Dobson had designed a "state of the art 64 vintage car" for AMT to produce. I had them send me a pair in both scales. Specifically for these "kid" races. The cars were never carried in the Mountain West. I am not sure exactly where they were sold. I prepped them like a pro car, would show up at the kids races with the car IN the AMT box, with controller and bits, oil and the like. Looking like any other kid, walk in and take their money. In the day, my girlfriend working at Artic Circle was getting 55cents an hour. So, walking off with a 30-50 buck win was SERIOUS.

This has gotten too long!

Fate
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Oh...the Brodcast Power story!

Not really cheating, but.............

1971 in Ogden Utah, there was a single track surviving from the 60s. It was a 275 foot Mille Miglia brand track. It was molded in fibreglass and painted with a surface that had SAND in it, for traction.
I had heard that they had an active program with a lot of racers, but the oddball owners had decided to have a SUMMER series. Now, in the rural western U.S. when the long snowy winter ends, people tend to LEAVE TOWN. Go live in the mountains or desert or someplace else without phones or slot tracks. During the "boom days" there were so many racers that summer still had people racing, 30-40 racers instead of 60-100! But by 71, the numbers had dropped. And the guys in Ogden decided that if they put SERIOUS money into the program they would have racers taking time off to go race. So, they set up a 12 race series that would guarantee $150 for first, 75 for second in every race. The series champion would get $750 and second would get 500. However, if you WON a race, you had to be the race director for the second race. This was supposed to make it less likely that someone would just win a bunch early and end the series. Actually, the track owning brothers were certain that they would never have to pay out the series money as they were entered! Figured they would take turns winning and that would be it.
Anyway, I drove up with my racing partner, great driver, non builder, in his VW Microbus, and checked out the thing. The critical information is this, they had a gated powersupply rated at 12 amps and 18 volts...unregulated! But gating ment that each lane got a minimum of 1.5 amps and 18 volts. Oh GEEZE.

Most of the racers used friends in California to buy SoCal stuff. Commonly 6 oz cars with a 25 single wind. You could, in the day, buy cars for ca $175/200. Investments!
The power supply was the wrinkle. It seemed obvious that you needed a car that was happy on 1.5 amps and 18 volts. So, went back to the bench and dug out a couple of 66 vintage pianowire inlines that were MUCH lighter. Built up a couple motors with lightened cans, 30 s winds and very very good white dots. On the dyno, I was only pulling an amp. Cool!

Sort of. See, running alone with 12 amps, the monster cars FLEW. So, my partner and I qualified DEAD LAST. My partner was whining and moaning and all, and I just kept saying "have faith, my child". Bottom main, 8 cars lined up; power goes on and these FAST cars barely move. They CRAWL down the straaight amp sucking like crazy. Our super light mild cars were just as fast as always. So, we zipped down the straight (80 feet long) into the 90 degree bank, down the short straight to the first dead man and hit the brakes. And swoop through the corner. The rest of the field hit the bank get a mild surge from our hitting the brakes somone panics and hits the brakes and the others get a surge and.. well suddenly 4 cars hit the "dead man" hairpin sooner than explected and crash. That is how that main went!
My partner and I moved up. And did the same in that heat, and so on until we made the money main and ran off and hid. 1-2 finish.
As expected, my partner won, so he ran the next race, which I won and so on.

Now, we did not find out about the series right away, and missed the first 3 races. 4 through 12 we took turns winning. 9 races, 9 wins, $1350. Another 1250 for the series. Oh, my rent for my 2 bedroom apartment in that day was $45. A good year! Tax Free!

Ahh, but broadcast power, you ask? Race 10, they stopped the race before the last heat and disassembled our controllers. "Why" "We think you have batteries in your controller". Huh? "well there is no way you have all that power".
Look guys, your power supply is a gated array that gives... "No No No,we have a great power supply, YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING!"
Ok.
Race 11, they stop the race and insist on crawling under the track looking for some sort of hidden power supply. One of the things I would do in the day, is keep a slot box next to me at the driver panel, incase I needed a tool or something. So, they took apart the box looking for wiring or batteries or SOMETHING.
Race 12, the made me move all my stuff OUT OF THE BUILDING to the Microbus.
"Why?", I asked. "We figure you have some way of broadcasting power to the cars from your box". ................................
"Look guys, If I could broadcast power I would be a billionaire and I wouldnt waste my time making money off you".
Ya, right, they said.

The owners muttered darkly about folks wanting to talk to us in the parking lot. But at the time I was a 235# football player, so that didn't happen. But they told us NOT TO COME BACK.
So, in 73, when they had sort of forgotten or sort of figured they were "much better now", they held the series again, and we returned with the SAME cars and took their money.
The track closed at the end of that summer.

So, that is the story of "Broadcast Power". Some of the guys I race with now, were there, then, and still tease me about that.

Fate
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Hi

I often wonder if Larry and I are not twins separated at birth, we have so many stories in common.

I talked about RTR/Group 12 racing. But when slot car racing died.....

The first time I saw actual Group racing, as in ONLY GROUP racing was when I moved to Denver in 1977. In the 60s, the magazines were in New York and Los Angeles, and racing elsewhere didnt get that much coverage. So, when I moved to Denver, I discovered that the tracks I thought had disappeared, sort of DID NOT. I wish I could remember the guy's name. I was a professional writer at the time and had done some war game design and ghost writing for a wargaming company. So, one of my employers directed me to meet up with the wargame distributer in the colorado area, and when I met the guy, he had a slot car in his office! So, we talked slots and I found out that he had bought and stored a number of the tracks. AND had one of them in operation. Run by his brother in law who was living on an inheritance. THUS, the track didnt need to do much but pay its rent.
The track was hidden away in a small neighborhood "boutique" area. That is, at one time, it had been a local small town shopping area, but had declined to being a row of antique stores, boutiques and a couple small restaurants with Cinzano umbrellas over their tables. The track was 235' custom built thing with the WORST power I have ever seen. It had batteries, but the batteries were in the basement connected with a single tap at the driver panel. When you were more than 40' from the panel, the power had dropped off so much that you could not come off!
So, walked in, checked the track and the stock. Rented some time, ran one of my oldies for fun(an AMT!). Went to the track owner and asked about the program. Jim Benton looked at me and started describing his Novice program. I explained that I had been a pro since 64, and he hautily explained to me that this did not matter. They had seen pro racers but Denver, while it did not get the press, had the fastest racers in the world. I had to EARN EXPERT. I first had to win 6 Novice races in a year. Then 6 Amatuer, then 6 Semi-pro, THEN I would get to run in Expert.
OK, what are the rules? "Well, you take this Parma RTR Group 18 car and you run it Box Stock". Can I weight and reinforce? "Sure". It was called "Group 18" because it cost $18.95, it was a simple Gp15 style mass produced brass and wire frame with a single hinge and a Mura Wasp. 3/4" fronts and 7/8ths rear.
When I took the car home I was SHOCKED. The thing had been assembled out of old Associated stamped pieces from about 69. Whoever put it together had not managed to do much in the way of a good soldered joint. And NOTHING was straight.
I started with the motor(as usual, I LOVE motors). Took it completely apart and aligned the bushings, brushes, and magnets. Cleaned and polished everything and carefullly reassembled the motor. Better now. Disassembled the entire car,replaced the rusty rails with new wire. And Built the thing up straight.
Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear time.

I show up for my first race and there are a bunch of racers. The program looked healthy. Nice people, joking and talking. Nice. So, we get down to cases on a saturday afternoon, and one guy has a Champion Group 20. GROUP 20! I ask one of the others about this. "Well, he is a buddy to the owner and gets to run a Group 20 in Novice". What, how does anyone move up to amatuer? "Don't worry, he only shows up about once a month and wins and then goes away".
Crap! OK, out of some 28 racers I am number two qualifier behind the Group 20! ARRGH. Ok, a learning experience. They were doing the "heat and move up" system where the slowest 8 race, the top 2 or 3 or 4 move up to the next field of 8 until you supposedly have the fastest few qualifiers against the fastest few racer move ups. Focus, focus.... The short version of the race is that Iran well. The others fell off a lot, being novices. The group 20 guy had a FAST car, but fell off a lot. I won by so much, that I did not actually have to run the 8th heat! The 20 was second.
After the race, they did a full tear down on the car. No one NOTICED the car was straight or the motor was straight. Jimbo decided I was a hero driver, after all. Looked me in the eye and said "I am moving you up to Expert". Oddly, the novices who were tired of this 20 guy spanking them CHEERED. Actually congragulated me. The 20 guy never showed again.

I didn't win much with the experts, the Denver crown WERE fast. Two of them ended up doing the "tour" in the 70s and 80s and being national champions.

Are you bored with the stories yet?
So, was I cheating as a novice to take a "stock rtr" and make it MORE STOCK?

Fate
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Hi

Rich and Famous?

Hardly. All of those stories took place when I was a student, or my wife was. The last story in 1977... We had two kids living in a small two bedroom apartment.
The sub-text of my hobbies in the day was that I had to make money off them! I could not afford them otherwise!
I like to wargame, but with the cost of the wife in school full time, for instance, I went to 8 conventions a year. I would do so by painting up a bunch of Dragons and heros and the like and sell them to the D&D players. Commonly, they would would talk to me about their favorite character, and I would build and paint a fig to match for a LOT of money. So, my weekends at conventions would net me about $200 a day.

It is amazing how SWMBO can like your hobby if you bring home money from it!

Fate
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
But you want Slot car Stories!

In 59-63, I was the only slot racer I knew and built cars for a one lane track.

In 63, I moved from the Philippines to North Carolina (well was briefly in California in time for the Times GP), where I ran into my first 1/32 club. On base, often guys whose dad had been stationed in England. In 64, a commercial track opened locally and from there through73, most of my racing was on routed commerical tracks usually in 1/24. Usually.
Well, in late 66, the cars got suddenly NOT AT ALL SCALE. By the fall of 66, for instance, my Pro car at the time was a wire and brass inline with a modified hemi and a Pactra 66 Ferrari body(I still have the car...PdL keeps me in bodies as he does repros...THANKS PHILIPPE, I broke my last original 2 years ago). But to be competitive, the fronts were only 3/4" in diameter, and the rears 7/8ths diameter and 5/8ths wide...The minimum required by the rules.

Anyway, in 68, I was at a Pro race chatting with a friend. Not only were we using the tiny tires allowed with the rules, we were using "handling bodies". F1s that were WIDE AND FLAT(still have that car as well!).
Friend of mine looks at me and says "you know, I miss racing my old Cox cars that were scale". Well, I never did cox cars, but I USED to do scale. I said "ya, I agree. You know we could be doing 1/32 club racing for fun...there are NO non scale bits for 1/32 makes rules simple" And he replied with "I have a 4 lane Revell track". And So DID I. And we had a club!
Now all the club members were pro-racers who scratchbuilt their cars. By co-incidence, Auto World was selling off a huge stock of Atlas cars for about 3 bucks. I had money in my pocket and bought several.
I was and am no where near the good driver in my circle. But for the next sevearl years, my Atlas '65 Ferrari F1 was untouchable. UNTOUCHABLE. We were all scratchbuilders and we built some pretty exotic cars over the years trying to catch that car. I was slow on the uptake. Staring at this car. Wondering why I could not build a faster car, staring.
Sitting on the revell track. With steel rails.... Oh. Oh, I get it. The magnet is only 1/16thfrom the rail and. Oh.
AND I KEPT MY MOUTH SHUT. I was winning races and I was happy about that!

And I assumed that lot of people probably already figured it out as around the country, the people I corresponded with often remarked that they were still running Pittmans.

Anyway, in 1971, a track in Murray Utah was doing a promotional Indy Car race. The format was that you came in during the month of may and ran a qualifier. Top 8 would race with 4 alternates mostly as corner marshals.
Now, the secret of hustling pool is NOT, as in the movies, just outshooting everyone. You get hurt that way. The Secret of hustling is only being a LITTLE better than the guy thinks you are. You take his money and he thinks you were just lucky.
So, I had the 1/24 race covered my Pro Car worked. But in 71, they added in a 1/32 Indy 500 race for 500 scale miles. Some 750 laps on this track.
The track owner was LAZY. Whenever the braid lifted, instead of properling cleaning up and re-gluing the braid, he would just take a big staplegun and WHAM put a steel brad in the trouble spot to put it down. As time passed, all the corners became a solid line of steel staples through the entire corner.
STEEL STAPLES.
So, I took my atlas frames, built a car with a hotter Pittman 196B rewind, added a Lotus 56 Indy Turbine body(in green). The pros who normally came round looking to have me build a car, looked at my Turbine and walked away. Well, one racer had no choice being "tool challenged". By the time he made up his mind, there was no time. So, I took anothe atlas, stock motor, lenghtned it to fit a second turbine body.
Oh, the WHINING (vintage). In Practice, the others are just BLAZING down the street. Commonly running hot 16d and C can motors. The "tool challenged" racer was just beside himself. Whine whine whine.
We line up for the race. Power goes on, and 8 cars explode down the straight. Well, 6 cars. The start straight was 16feet, and we were behind by 2 feet by the first corner. Bunch of people came off, and we sneaked through. The cornermarshall was so overwhelmed that the race directer killed the power, but we had already made the next straight and corner.
And the racing was fast and furious. But WE didnt come off.
I won the race. Beat my friend by 25 miles. He beat 3ed by some 50 miles.

The track never did another 1/32 indy race.

So, 25 years later, the third place guy, the guy who had first suggested doing 1/32s so many years ago was at my home track playing with cars. He saw my old Atlas Ferrari sitting there and picked it up with a smile. "ya know, this was a slick car in the day. I could never figure out why we couldn't come up with something that would run with it. I mean, it is only a KIT CAR. But nothing I cam up with would stay with it. And it is SLOW. Is this the same car?"
"yup"
"So did you ever figure out why this car worked?"

Grin, "magnitraction".

"na," he said, "can't be, that race at the slot spot where you KILLED us".

"did you ever notice that Motley had used steel staples to tack down the braid in the corners?".

Silence. Silence "Oh, I am so disappointed. I thought there was something SPECIAL".

There was, I had magnitraction and no one else did.

Grin

Fate
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top