Jim's slot history:
A slot car racer since age 7 in 1963, I grew up in New Jersey. My mom helped me build my first model kits. Dad built full size drag race cars and the family spent many weekends at drag tracks from New Jersey to Indianapolis. The big New York Auto shows were a event I looked forward to every year and often participated in the model car contests.
When I was in grade school, my family built an HO train layout in the basement. We really enjoyed detailing our little world, every house, store and miniature person had a story. In 1963 a slot car set appeared under the Christmas tree. Soon, we gave the trains away to build a detailed, scenic HO raceway. The track side figures and landscaping still had stories, but now there were challenges and competition to add to the fun. I read Car Model Magazine and Model Car Science and learned to adjust and tune the cars for top performance.
I became a “cellar dweller"; building slot car tracks, award winning models, for model car contests presented at the New York Auto Show, local hobby shops and Car Model magazine. I was always planning another project. I built WW2 aircraft models, a whole range of automobiles and flew model rockets. My most ambitious models were prototypes of new designs I had worked out. Two of my favorites were a rear engine sidewinder top fuel dragster and a four wheel steering, fuel cell sports car that attached like a “command module” to the front of a large SUV.
When I was 12, one of my dad’s drag racing buddies, Fred Farrell, who had been big into slot racing in the early days before there were good ready to run cars. I was given a big box of his scratch-built “obsolete” race cars. I repaired, tuned and developed the cars, then enjoyed beating the latest releases with the relics at the local raceways. I competed through the 1970’s with the latest HO and 1/24 cars, mostly at the Closter, NJ and Elmsford, NY raceways. I saw the boom and bust of the commercial slot tracks and as a result I have great respect for commercial track owners and always encourage racers to support their local track with purchases. When I visit family in NJ, I often visit Elmsford Raceway, still going strong under the wise guidance of Lou del Rosario and his family.