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"Blowup at the slot car emporium" Topic

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Great War Ace04 May 2016 7:46 p.m. PST

Blowup. Cockup. I, am, done. The power button did it at last, finally. It doesn't work properly in the first place. Then in the third heat, I on Green, DD on White, MK on Red: DH hands me the button, because only rookies are to my right all the way to Black.

Okay. I'll do the button. I cracked a joke with someone about "oh no! Doug has the button!"

The heat started. Less than five laps in, DD hollers "Track! Rider!" and instantly he was out, so it didn't matter anymore and I didn't try and hit the button.

He came unglued, "Who's got the *blankety blank* button! (He was not back to the panel straight when DH handed me the button in between heats and therefore he did not know that I had it.)

"It didn't matter anymore," I said as we kept driving. "You were already out and hitting it wouldn't make any difference."

"*Filth and foul blankety blank* I want this stopped until I find out who's got the *blankety blank* button! I'm laying my controller down until I do!" And he did so. I drove up to his laid out controller and stopped. I held up the button, pushing it. "See, it doesn't work," I said.

"You've got it!?" And he started to cuss at me and my "attitude" about track calls, etc. I lost my temper then and ripped my controller off and picked up my car and went to my boxes and started to put everything away. I didn't listen to anything more that he said. His mouth was running. Others were talking. I didn't hear. I said nothing and kept stuffing everything in, snapped the hinges down on both boxes hefted them and walked out. DD was already out to his car, which was parked behind my van. His mouth kept going, berating me and my attitude. One thing I did hear was, "I am sick and tired of having my cars slammed into the wall because YOU won't answer track calls!"

DH came up on my left and tried to hold my side door closed. "I need to talk to you about something," he said urgently.

"Let go of my door," I said with some heat, and pushed him out of the way and the door open, and put the boxes in and then walked around to the driver side and got in. As I was buckling in, DH was asking me through the opened side door, what I was doing. "What about MK?"

"Have him bring his controller and car out, or keep running them, or come and get the box. I'm through."

DH headed back in. DD pulled up alongside my van and shouted through his opened window. "You need to grow up, Doug!" And he drove off.

MK came out and I told him what I had started to tell DH. Either take the box (Rocky's box), or bring out the car and controller. I am through. "We can talk on the phone later," I said. "I am done." He went back in and came back out and put the car and controller away in Rocky's box. Then he said, "Thanks." I said something to acknowledge that I had heard him. He shut the door and I drove away.

Calm as a summer's morning. Except my disappointment and sadness for DD's fury, born (so I must suppose) from a complex of long ill health, fear, anger, and personal jealousy and envy for me: my life, my health, my better driving, my winning beating him almost every race everything. (MK, DD and I are all "class of '71" from the same high school; slot cars brought DD, MK and I together, waaay back when.)

This much is certain: I will not race slot cars with a track button again. No track calls. I threatened years ago to make the final break if the stupid track calls got in the way. This is BIG TIME in the way. The track calls, and lack thereof, the remissness of the person on the button, the heated feelings that occur when a track call is perceived to not be properly dealt with, has come down to this: DD hates me for being on a button that doesn't work right, and even if I had pushed it when he hollered "Track! Rider!" it wouldn't have made any difference. The way I was pushing it wasn't turning the power off. So. It is over. Because DH Sr (DH's father, and proprietor of The Slot Car Emporium: he was not there tonight, or else DD's outburst would have ended instantly in a ban) will not dispense with the track button. Too many people vote to keep it. Outnumbered, I bow out. Amen.

What DD will finally choose to do to make amends, assuming that he does that sort of thing (which I have my doubts: having listened to him hold grudges that I can tell are years and years old), I have no idea. But my response will not include returning to The Slot Car Emporium, or any other slot car racing which indulges crappy driving with routine track calls for this, that and the other thing. The very few spots which have been legislated automatic track calls: the bank, under the bridge and lost cars under the tracks, I could barely endure. Have barely been enduring, for the sake of the hobby and the people involved. But I hate even those few "carnageous" track calls. Along with the repeated "Rider!" calls or any other driver error track calls, which DD is as big a cause of as anyone, my enjoyment of the racing is seriously compromised, and I am the most vocal during a race: "Why was THAT a track call! Why did you hit the button for THAT!" Etc. Including: "If this doesn't stop, I am quitting" I've been saying that more, lately. I guess for the last time; which was probably a couple of weeks ago.


Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian04 May 2016 8:56 p.m. PST

What is a track call?

Who asked this joker05 May 2016 3:53 a.m. PST

From Wiki:

Most racing organisations allow a "track call" (where the power is turned off) for a situation where a race car is in the wrong lane. This is also referred to as a "rider" and is considered to be a dangerous and unfair situation. Track calls are also sometimes used in the event that a car flies off the table and cannot be located by a marshal.


When it becomes un-fun or too stressful, it is time to move on. You've done the right thing.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2016 5:36 a.m. PST

Well, I know you're really mad about something…..

It seems to have something to do with slot cars and people.

Inkpaduta05 May 2016 6:11 a.m. PST

Agree with VC. I know you are upset over slot cars but I really have no idea what you are a talking about as I have never done slot cars. But, vent away my friend, this is what this post site is for.

Great War Ace05 May 2016 7:00 a.m. PST

Yeah. I am angry at "The Nothing", which makes my friends go crazy, lose body parts and other important bits of themselves, and then die. My friend "DD" is falling apart. I had to get away from that.

I mean, come on, "You need to grow up", by getting angry over little toy race cars? How irrationally angry can you get.

So I wasn't angry at DD when I lost my temper: I was instantly angry at the same "thing" that took Rocky Russo away pieces at a time over the years. "It" was in my face and I refused to stick around. I doubt that "it" will go away down at The Slot Car Emporium, so yes, it is time to move on….

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2016 7:53 a.m. PST

Here's what I get:
Apparently there's an "emergency kill switch" button that turns off the power to the entire track, mid-race, effectively stopping all cars.
The button is controlled by one of the racers (?) during the race. His task is to judge whether or not to press the button and kill the power depending on whatever "emergency" situation arises.
All racers can yell out the word "track" or "rider" if their car is in an emergency situation.
Such situations include jumping slot lanes, leaving the track, or some other similar event, I gather such an event could be dangerous to spectators and racers, or at least could risk damage to a car, or simply could produce a perceived "unfair advantage" for other cars which are still able to function in their lane. So a "track call" is similar to a "caution" in real racing, esentially halting the race to allow a dangerous situation to be cleared or corrected.
Assuming the above is correct:
1.) Is it standard practice to have one of the racers be the button operator? Seems ripe for problems, if only because a racer is going to be concentrating on driving his own vehicle, and a "track call" would presumably require a mental jump to a different scale of observation.
2.) Your hobby complaint appears to be that you think racers make "track calls" on situations which do not warrant them, unnecessarily interrupting the race. It appears, however, that the majority of the local participants do not agree with you, and have designated such incidences as valid "track calls," and these are in fact the standing rules of the hosting facility.
3.) The button in question doesn't work properly, or at least did not the evening of the incident; in short, the kill switch wasn't "killing."
4.) Your friend made a track call because his car had left its slot and/or the track, meaning he couldn't operate it and/or it was a potential obstruction and/or risked being damaged (paint and body). He wanted to retrieve and reset the car.
5.) You thought he was effectively out of the race anyway at that point, and that shutting off the power would unnecessarily delay the race to no real purpose.

And from there profanity, insults and general unpleasantness ensued, and you literally took your toys and went home (no offense or condemation, just the facts).

Is this correct?

Added to this, you have interpreted the situation as being a product of your friend's ill-health, possibly mentally as well as physically. You find that uncomfortable to witness, in part out of memory of a similar loss in a friend (I remember Rocky on this forum, back in the day). So all of the "facts" are compounded by your own sense of grief over that loss and fear of the impending loss you believe is coming.

Is the above an accurate summary of your feelings?

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2016 8:04 a.m. PST

I believe I understand much better now.

Pictors Studio05 May 2016 8:22 a.m. PST

The first half of this reads like one of the best pulp stories I've ever read.

Its almost like a fast paced Hemingway story.

Inkpaduta05 May 2016 11:19 a.m. PST

Thanks for the summary Parzival.
I think I got it now.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2016 12:19 p.m. PST

Well, the name of the board is "Ranting", so…

Tacitus05 May 2016 1:03 p.m. PST

Rant away, brother. I'm sorry the situation happened like it did. I've had a few out of the blue situations like that and I think Joker has it right. When something is happening that triggers the reactions that happened, it makes sense to lay off the action. Even if it wasn't the root of the problem. Good luck and hang in there.

Great War Ace06 May 2016 9:02 a.m. PST

@Parzival: You have nailed everything perfectly.

I am going to the emporium this evening, sans slot cars and gear, to talk with MK and DH Sr. And even DD, if he happens to be there: he's usually not on a Friday evening, unless it is earlier than I tend to show up: it is a practice session before the races on Saturday.

To add a bit of clarity to what Parzival summed up: the "kill switch", aka as the track button, or simply the button, is ideally supposed to be handled by a spare person who watches the race from one side and is not involved in the driving. When we are shorthanded, in other words, not many show up for a race, we struggle to get enough "marshals" to put cars back in, and therefore one of us has to man the button (because "we" voted to run the damned thing). The button can have mechanical issues from time to time. Usually it works just fine: push it, and the power dies instantly, stopping the whole race until the button is pushed again, resuming the race.

This is disconcerting enough in principle, for a driver like myself who loves the "carnage" of crashes, the challenge of avoiding or minimizing them, and uses such "incidents" to capitalize on moving higher in the standings.

It used to be that you entered ONE car, and that if it got knocked out ("did not finish", DNF), your race was over. Sometimes this can happen literally in the first minute of a 32 minute race (or longer, some races are two to four hours long, "enduro" racing). This is very disappointing to someone who has traveled some distance to get to the track. So, DH Sr instituted the "backup car" option, which allows any driver to tech in as many cars as he wants to for that race (limited to the shorter races, not the enduros, which are always limited to one allowed car – enduro races are special races that get scheduled usually less than once a year). Usually I tech in two. The need to "save" or spare a car for a "rider" track call is therefore removed by being able to resort to a backup car: no need to continually kill the power each time some piece of crappy driving sends a car out of its own lane and into someone else's lane.

By allowing the drivers to vote on whether or not to make "Rider!" into a track call, DH Sr has encouraged a sort of entitlement mentality among everyone, and is "training" the newbies to expect racing to be constantly interrupted for every trivial incident that they don't think is "fair", etc.

This has vitiated my enjoyment of the hobby immensely. And I mean to talk to the proprietor about it this evening, one, last, time. I happen to know that personally he holds the same driving philosophy that I do, i.e. would prefer NO track calls for anything other than a track repair. But he appeals to the majority feeling on these things.

The trouble with that is, the majority are a bunch of pansies who, by human nature, want everything to be "fair", which means, "make it more fair for ME!" Encouraging that mentality will kill slot car racing. Feelings will be more important than competition with a bit of a tough skin. This is modeling real car racing, after all, and the compulsion to win, or beat a favorite rival, is every bit as felt as in real or 1/1 "scale" racing.

Trying to inject a level of fairness is a good thing; that's what rules are for. But racing isn't supposed to be governed by seeking to eradicate every incident of misfortune that occurs. That is what real racing is all about: dealing with misfortune and luck, "his bad luck is my opportunity". It's one of the ways that drivers can formulate a winning strategy that isn't always dependent on being the absolute fastest car/driver combination in the race. Turning the fastest lap times is very bracing, but so much more is involved in running a good race. Staying out of trouble is the next most important thing, after being fast and not committing driver errors that put you out of the slot. But track calls remove that ability to avoid or minimize trouble.

Racing is much more fun(ny) at "Carnagey Hall Raceways", than some form of "Fuzzy Feelings Raceways".

Great War Ace08 May 2016 7:27 a.m. PST

Well, yesterday I returned to "Fuzzy Feelings Raceways", hoping to put a word in for "Carnagey Hall". But I was voted out unanimously: well, counting the proprietor, DH Sr, there were two of us who voted for "Carnagey Hall" (i.e. no track calls for "Rider!"). I told myself that that was it, then. But relented enough to drive DH's car with him, i.e. we traded off driving alternate heats; I did this more as a favor to DH (and he paid the entry fee). By the time the second race was supposed to start, DD had still not put in an appearance. So I stopped looking for him and entered the second race, which didn't have more than a couple of "Rider!" track calls during the whole 32 minutes. Quite acceptable.

I decided that an "all or nothing" approach is both childish and selfish. I have friends who welcome my participation. And cutting myself off would hurt them. I would miss them too. So people are the most important thing, of course, and that should trump actual levels of personal enjoyment. In other words, it isn't all about me. Hobbies turn into relationships, and relationships are what life, the universe and everything, are all about.

DD will, I hope, return soon and we can reconcile what happened last week. Until then, I will watch for him and be ready to accept his apology. If he doesn't offer one, I have to distance myself from him while staying engaged with everyone else. But I won't borrow trouble, and I expect DD to feel sorry for his outburst and personal attack….

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