What is a slot car, and what is slot car racing?
Model car racing, or, as it is known today -slot car racing- actually began over 40 years ago. Slot cars were somewhat similar to miniature trains in that rails were used. By the late fifties, the rails were gave way to a groove -or slot- which was cut in the running surface of the track, beside which was placed the electrical contact through which the cars get the 12-14 volts needed to power their small electric motors.
By the mid-sixties there were thousands of commercial slot tracks literally all over the country. But, like the hula hoop, the boom came and went, and only a few remained.
There were a number of reasons for the decline. One of the most significant of which was that often the competition was, well, not all that fair. Back in the sixties I used to race at a track where I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida. But, I never got into the organized races. Back then you sort of raced whatever you had, and I didn't have the money as a kid to buy the fast equipment. I couldn't be competitive with the stuff my folks got me from Sears, so I didn't get involved.
Recognizing that the hobby/sport was in trouble, the major manufacturers got together (Parma, Mura, et al) and formed the National Competition Committee (NCC), out of which came standardized group racing. Later, the United Slot Racers Association (USRA) was formed to act as the governing body with a set of national rules for all classes of cars. Now, like all other sports, including all types of racing, slot car racing had a uniform set of rules. These rules leveled the playing field, and as much as possible, insured that the only thing that separated you from your fellow competitors was driving skill and not how much money you had to spend on a car.
Today, the slot cars are capable of speeds ranging from 35-45 mph actual speed, up to the expert level cars which can reach 70-100 mph, actual speed. And, because you are racing against people with similar experience and with similar equipment, the competition is tight.
Bottom line - Slot Cars are fun!
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