Scale Fun & Excitement

"Remember folks. Traffic lights timed for 35 mph are also timed for 70 mph." - Jim Samuals, Comic, owner of San Francisco's famous Holy City Zoo Comedy Club

Pelican Park Speedway members have been staging Wednesday night races since 1989 without interruption, but for one short time when the track was "repaved" in August 1996 by replacing the original fibre board which became badly warped by Oregon's wet climate. The new surface is MDF (Medium Density Fibre Board) board, water sealed both sides, routed, then painted with six coats of grey deck enamel.

With some cars, tires appear less than optimally scale sized. Model car racing is always a compromise between scale and performance. Sometimes sacrificing the perfect photographic "image" in order to compete with fast and the most fun to race, hard-shell slot cars is desirable.

With an appreciative nod towards the spirit of the late John Allen's famous Gorre & Daphetid Model Railroad, members frequently new add items to the track's slightly whimsical scenery. Advertising banners, street and service vehicles are changed to fit the occasion and new 1/24th figures are constantly being introduced. Model mechanics crowd the pits doing model mechanical work on model cars, and the grandstand and pits are populated with an assorted bunch of model fans and drivers.

"Waldo" sits high up in the MESAC grandstands, and the Spice Girls wander through the crowd. A 1/24th scale figure of Enzo Ferrari can be seen huddled in intense conversation with a Richard Petty figure and other drivers.

A troll lurks beneath the bridge.

Model officials are annoyingly about, of course. One minion gestures to a very large Andy Granatelli like figure, and one pith helmeted AAA martinet is seen angrily stomping down pit road with two little monkeys in hand, enforcing Pelican Park's No-Monkeys-in-the-pit Rule! Appearently a rule maker recalled the May 1953 Charlotte Raceway incident when driver Tim Flock's monkey, Jocko, got loose from his special seat and pulled a chain on a trapdoor Flock used to check his right front tire wear. Getting too close Jocko's head was sanded by the tire, sending him thrashing wildly around Tim's charging Hudson, almost causing a wreck.

Scenery fixtures can be changed to model and represent the era or time period appropriate to the class being run. The '60's era "le Mans" style pit building was completed in 2002. Members plan to eventually add 1000 1/24th spectator figures. Good races attract big crowds!

In the late '60's scene Enzo Ferrari himself gestures as he shows Richard Petty a TR-250.

While the roar of 400 HP engines, and the smell of burning rubber may be missing, the adrenaline, the exhilaration, the excitement, and the pressure of competition is just as present as in real auto racing. Getting a model car around the track is no problem; getting it around the track as fast or better than others is the problem.

Members look on this kind of scale racing as a marvelous, relatively cheap way to experience auto racing, and as hobbyists, building and racing scale cars is good outlet for all sorts of artistic and mechanical skills, especially when combined and coupled with the thrill of model motor sports. As one member wryly commented, "Where else can one so enjoy the systematic destruction of his work of art!"

Members welcome reader interest and comments, and look forward to answering questions about scale 1/24 racing as it occurs at Pelican Park Speedway.

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