DJ's Hot Slots Raceway
|Thanks to Steve
Koepp and Mike Muir of
for submitting this article to TOA !!
|LTD road course
at DJ's Hot Slots owned by David J. Fielder
with help from Neal Isler & Rich Demondo
|41 Parma CFR
cars with vintage
hard bodies ready to race
|A few of the
from Hot Slots look on as Mike Muir,
Neil Isler and Rich Demondo celebrate
|DJ's owner Dave
behind the counter teching cars.
Everyone's welcome at Hot Slots!
counter also carries
hard plastic classic car models
|DJ's Hot Slots
of all ages and shapes
SLOT CAR RACING IN CHICAGO
Steve was in Chicago at the Rosemont Center with the Parma/PSE Internationals display booth at this years 1998 RCHTA Show. While in the area he had the opportunity to visit two raceways and sends us this report for this months cover story. Steve writes:
The first track we visited was Tracks Slot Car Raceway in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, owned and operated by TOA Vice President Joyce Buttner. Friday, November 30th the Buttner family was hosting a Halloween Party and the raceway was attractively decorated for the festivities. Jennifer and Michelle Buttner, Joyces two youngest daughters, had lovingly prepared home-cooked food chicken wings, veggies, meatballs and pasta. Soft drinks were also furnished for everyone in attendance.
Tracks (or *T*R*A*C*K*S* as Joyce always prints the name) is located adjacent to a movie theater and these folks definitely promote a great family atmosphere where everyone is welcome. Tracks is a very attractive store with wall-to-wall carpeting, with three tracks one used for rentals; the other two for racing. Joyce does a great job of knowing her customers. One told me he had not been in the raceway for three months, yet she still called him by name.
After we all had consumed plenty of food more than we could eat we watched the racing which was very close with the handout motors. The first race event that evening featured GTP cars with handout Super 16D motors. With 18 contestants, the first race was composed mainly of younger racers. The second was run for those with medium skills and the last for the more experienced.
We then ate more and they decided to have another race using their rental cars. (Plug here Joyce uses Parma Rental Cars). After going through all of the cars we picked the best Red car, White car, and so forth. We all got to play and the drivers moved but the cars stayed on their respective lanes strictly a fun event. Tracks Hobbies did not charge an entry fee and anyone who just happened to walk in was invited to join the fun. There were again enough contestants to run three full races and at the end there were three racers on the same lap when the power went off. Fun racing was enjoyed by all. You know it had to be enjoyable because we were there until 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning! Joyces husband, Jeff Buttner, is obviously very proud of his wife and three daughters who do such a fantastic job of running their raceway.
At the National Model & Hobby Show, Joyces oldest daughter Vicki, along with some of the ChicagoLand racers, displayed and ran an Oval slot track that show visitors could play on. More than 3000 Boy Scouts, along with hundreds of other visitors got their introduction to slot car racing. I was amazed at the patience Vicki and her assistants displayed in that booth! When I saw all those people having fun, I knew it was worth all the effort it took.
On Saturday evening the Parma Crew was invited by Neil Isler and Rich DeMondo to visit DJs Hot Slots. Neil and Rich began the summer with a new class basically Parma FCR cars. Again, fun type racing and they race the 4.5" hard-bodies with the stock motor that comes from the factory. Racers are required to use a plastic hard body replica from 1950 through 1970. Even more amazing was that as heavy as these bodies are, the racers actually add more weight quite a BIT more weight!
DJs Hot Slots is owned by David J. Fiedler, a TOA member/owner since 1996. Dave has two tracks an LTD and a Blue King. On Saturday nights the FCR cars are raced on BOTH tracks first the LTD (which means "Learn To Drive") and then they move over to the King. David says this has been the best summer he has ever had and typically hosts more than sixty entries every Saturday evening when they race FCRs, Womps and Trucks. A few racers even had working lights with Nomad bodies and Neil was very gracious in loaning both Mike Muir and myself cars to race. We had a good time and the racing was fun because the cars were so equal. As Rich says, "The best thing is watching the racers take their time building a car, put it in their box, show up and race it the next week week after week."
Hot Slots like Tracks Hobbies supports a great family atmosphere. Racers are all ages from ten to at least fifty years of age and all having a lot of fun. Again, this is an atmosphere where everyone is welcome. Dave was anxious for the busy time to hit and told us that just a short while back the strip mall he was in was dead. It has now been refurbished, back up and running with at least 80% store occupancy and more are expected soon. Just down from the raceway an excellent Chinese buffet restaurant was opened which has helped to bring more people into the raceway. Mr. Fiedler told us he's seeing more and more people now because of the larger crowds of walk-by traffic. Many are telling him they had never before seen slot cars.
We stayed until midnight, playing and racing on both tracks. Everyone was laughing like crazy when a car would flip over and slide all the way down the main straight and through the high bank on its roof! Crashes are indeed tremendous (and noisy!) with hard-bodies, but no one seems to mind and everybody had a great time!
Hopefully well get to visit Hot Slots and Tracks Hobbies again in the future. I might sound a bit like a broken record, but folks this is FUN racing! If you ever get to Chicago, be sure to stop by and visit these two nifty raceways!