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First Vintage Race at John's Slot Car Garage

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  • First Vintage Race at John's Slot Car Garage

    Riverview, Fl – August 2nd, 2009. Well the turnout was light. No make that very light. We had a total of 6 racers and 10 entries for the day. But this is one of the only 2 scheduled races to be held at this location in 2009. Hopefully it is a new start for John’s Slot Car Garage.

    For those of you who did not know, John Ebersole succumbed to cancer in March of 2009. His “Slot Car Garage” is built in the backyard of his home in Riverview, Florida. John painstakingly rebuilt both of the tracks in his ‘garage’ from tracks most people would consider scrap. Both the 200 foot lap length Hillclimb and the 143 foot King were tracks that had water damage on them and to say they had a couple of ripples in them would be a definite understatement. Well John decided that he wanted both of these tracks and John went to work with his body grinder, Bondo and a lot of elbow grease! The result is 2 of the best racing surfaces I have ever raced a slot car on. If your car deslots, then it’s your fault. There is nothing wrong with either of these tracks. Okay, I’ve heard a couple of folks say that there is nothing wrong, nothing you have to compensate for, so that might just be a flaw!

    Before I begin, I have to apologize for not having any pictures to share. I was the designated tech person today and I did not delegate anyone to take the photos. I got involved in tech, then in racing and well to be quite honest, sometimes my mind is not what it should be. Now, what were we talking about?

    Mike Wilson and Ken Smith have been helping Nancy Ebersole keep the “Garage” open for the slot car enthusiasts in the area. It is the only track near the Tampa Bay area and hopefully now that they will be having some regularly scheduled races there, the attendance will start to pick back up so John’s Slot Car Garage can stay open.

    When we got there the King track was cleaned and freshly glued. The track was ready to race and race we did. After some tuning and tweaking, we were ready and started our race program. Thank you to all that made the track work as well as it did today.

    Shawn Wilson volunteered to be the race director. Then he went and got two of his non-slot car racing friends and talked them into coming down and being turn marshals. I never got their last names, but Josh and Michael, I sure do say thank you very much for putting up with us today and doing an excellent job for your first time out. I hope this is NOT the last time we see you in a slot car racing environment. Perhaps at the next race, you both might even be among the racers? I sure do hope so.

    Bill Pinch brought along his "Vintage" selection of bodies - both painted and clear - along with motors and such in the event anyone needed any stuff. He also painted some bodies to be given out to the winning racers. Thank you very much Bill! It is greatly appreciated! All that you do for slot car racing is.

    The first turn of the GT race was a disaster. Of the 6 cars I think 1 perhaps 2 of them made it though the huge pileup at the 90 degree turn at the end of the short chute just past the start line. After the wrecks were restored to the track, the racing was pretty close. All except for Aaron Rothstein’s car. In the wreck, his lead wire was weakened and he shortly had a failure that took him behind the wall for some quick repairs. Of course no one had a hot soldering iron up and running, so Aaron was sidelined waiting for a soldering iron to heat up.

    After the initial “Big One” I saw many cars just running around the track in a pack, racing was close, a lot of set up work had to be done to pass safely. It was some very close racing and to me, what it lacked in size it made up for in the enjoyment and the intensity of the racing. Some of the cars were very fast in the long straight while others were faster in the swoopy turns of that magnificent King track design. Advantage that was gained on the high speed section soon was lost through Deadman’s Curve, but some was gained back by running the Finger wide open but lost once again as someone could run the donut fully punched. It was just so cool seeing slot cars that were actually racing instead of everyone chasing a car that was so much faster then the rest of the pack.

    After Aaron repaired his lead wire, he was a man on a mission. He and Terry Tawney tied for the most laps in a segment at 26. Aaron had his typical rocket ship and set the fastest lap in the race at 4.562. Terry Tawney was about 5 hundredths of a second behind and about 3 tenths separated the remaining 4 racers.

    Since we were running a “Crazy Lanes 4 Racer Rotation” the lead changed back and forth throughout the race. Of course when one racer sat out for a segment, the others would jump in front of his lap total. The last segment brought it all out.

    Terry Tawney took the win over Bill Pinch in 2nd and they were both followed by Aaron Rothstein in 3rd. Mike Wilson was 4th, I was 5th and Bill Colvard, who could not cut the line on his anchor, brought up the back. All in all, it was a very fun race.

    The second race of the day was Can-Am. We only had 4 entries for this as both Bill Pinch and Bill Colvard’s car slowed down and they just volunteered to help out with the turn marshaling. Thank you both. Bill Colvard also helped me out greatly by volunteering to be my crew chief on my entry. You do not know how much I appreciated that Bill. Thank you!

    To avoid another first lap mishap, the start line was moved to the start of the long straightaway leading into the banked turn. At the wave of the green flag, all 4 cars took off and it looked like they were tied together through the first couple of laps of the race. This was going to be a barnburner! Maybe the track was coming in or maybe the drivers were more used to this track, but the racing was very, very clean. The turn marshals I think almost got bored. We had a couple of segments where no one came off and ran 24, 25 or 26 laps in the segment. What a great race.

    Aaron Rothstein made up for his equipment troubles in the first race by taking a 2 lap win over the rest of the field. Once again, Terry and Aaron ran the most number of laps in a segment at 26. Terry had the faster car this time with a fast lap of 4.499. We were going to run a normal rotation, but our rookie race director did not change us back over to that format, so we ran another “Crazy Lanes” rotation. It kept all racers with someone in the adjacent lane and everyone had to deal with traffic and had to plan their passing. Just another awesome race and the results were Aaron Rothstein 1st, Terry Tawney 2nd, Marty Stanley 3rd, and Mike Wilson 4th. Less than 3 tenths separated the fastest lap across the field. Once again, very close racing.

    The next scheduled event will be August 23rd at The Race Place in Holly Hill, Florida. The track will open at 10 AM with the first race going green at High Noon! Hope to see all of you there.

    For information or directions:

    The Race Place
    1105-D Cave Avenue
    Holly Hill, FL 32117
    (386) 295-1371
    email: [email protected]
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