Track Owners Association, Inc. Featured Raceway
November 1999

Go Slot Car Racing !!

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George Russell's Fastrax Raceway
3340 "D" San Pablo Dam Rd.
San Pablo, Ca.  94806
Phone: (510) 222-2012   Fax: (510) 222-2214

Mini 4WD
Revisiting the new tracks, products and services now in place at Fastrax Raceway. The newly converted "Orange" track layout used for corporate and birthday parties
Tamiya Mini 4WD is a great training program for future slot car customers!
Compact double deck Tamiya Mini 4WD track sits underneath the 1/24 drag strip "Donut" on Tamiya 3 lane track. Fastrax offers bargain-basement rental at $2 all day
Professor Spencer Allen's slot car "classroom" is full of attentive students. Extolling the fundamentals of slot cars while grooming future Fastrax customers.

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Owner George Russell hired West Coast track builder Roger Paul in August to come in and not only transform one of Fastrax former twisty road course into a more driver-friendly 100’ Orange layout, but to also construct a 3-lane Tamiya Mini 4WD track. The thought crossed my mind that Mr. Russell had figured out better ways to increase his overall bottom line by a significant amount. It had to: making these types of changes during the slower summer months is certainly not cheap!

George didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know track time revenue was dropping on his track at the front of his raceway. He noticed most of his customers preferred to race on the banked track at the back of the store, ignoring the challenging, flat road course. (ED. NOTE: This is a good point for all track owners to note: When a track is no longer making sufficient money to pay its fair share of the rent, it’s time to consider what Mr. Russell has done. You can increase track revenues by swapping an unproductive track for one of a different design, or easier to drive. Why do you think your wife swaps the living room furniture around every so often? It gives the home a "new look," making it more attractive and comfortable. The same concept applies in business as well and a raceway is no exception. Just swapping a huge old dinosaur for a couple of smaller layouts gets you twice as many lanes, new tracks for people to learn to drive, and an increase in customers. Ah yes…love that sound of a ringing cash register! RG)

Another innovation George included in his renovation definitely would make any mother proud. He did his homework by doing research on the Tamiya Mini 4WD program. He read the report we did on Terence Iwamoto’s Automobilia Raceway earlier this year. George read about the huge sums of money being made and called Tamiya and Eagle Distributing to talk with their representatives. After reading all the literature and seeing that substantial revenues could readily be generated, George had Roger begin construction. Not only has the track proved to be like a license to print money, but we’ve taken the liberty of duplicating George’s flyers in the back of this issue for both his Tamiya as well as his Birthday Party programs. These are making Mr. Russell a very, very tidy profit and we advise all track owners to employ this type of printed publicity.

It stands to reason with the amount of business George generates that he could not possibly do it all by himself. He has surrounded himself with an extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff. They include:

• Russ Toy who we reported on when we did our original cover story last April.

• Brian Pankhurst runs Fastrax Friday night Drag Racing Program.

• Spencer Allen (who West Coast folks will remember as the former owner of Hot Slots in Pleasant Hill) runs the "Euro" program every Wednesday evening and keeps all the NASCAR folks happy with an energetic program every Thursday evening.

• Tony Papagna is one of the West Coast’s top Mini builder and racer. Tony runs the Tamiya program at Fastrax. For those of you just getting started in this form of racing might wish to check out Tony’s Tamiya Tech Tips column on the Fastrax website.

• Michael "Hopper" Kwiatkowski, a recent high school graduate from the neighborhood, is a vital assistant because, as George put it, "Michael has been racing since he was knee-high to a grasshopper." Michael has extensive working knowledge of all types of model race car equipment, including slot cars, Tamiya Mini 4WD, radio-control as well as go-karts. And since youth always relate better to one another, it’s always helpful to have one around that’s this knowledgeable and willing to assist new youngsters.

So it’s fun to report on our members who, like the del Rosario’s of Elmsford and Stamford; Jim Hollabaugh of DJ’s Raceway; and now George Russell of Fastrax, have expanded, moved or renovated their businesses to increase their business. All of these fine and very successful individuals are not afraid to share their knowledge and expertise. All you have to do is give them a call. That’s one of the reasons why they are members of this association and why the TOA exists. If you want to know more about Fastrax or have any questions, check with George Russell at:

You’ll note that Mr. Russell is one who has taken advantage of yet another of the many TOA member benefits – free website hosting. If you don’t have a website, contact our webmaster for help and get it posted under "Member Links/TOA Member Raceways" If you already have a website, let us know so we can get you linked to the TOA site.

We e-mailed George the text and he sent us back the following to add to the story:

"I hope the other track owners get something out of it. After all, we all want to help each other. A few comments. First of all, Roger built the Tamiya track in early May, then returned in late May to rebuild the road course into an American Orange. Actually, the other main reason for making the track user-friendlier was for birthday parties. The Orange is more popular than the road course, even for the kids at the parties. Also, we had Roger reverse the polarity on the orange a few months ago so that the party director (the guy in the striped shirt) can stand at the computer in front of "the kink" and marshal cars by himself. With the track going left to right at the driver’s panel, the cars go downhill donut and if they launch in the kink, they don't end up caught under the bridge. (Take note track owners who do parties on American Orange tracks!)

Last weekend, IMCA raced on the backwards Orange and really liked it. National Champions such as Paul Gawronski, Micheal O'Donnel, Michael Rocha, Tracy Chin and Ian Douglass were running 2.3 second laps on the track with their Eurosports. Then, the next day we had three parties in a row on the same track! Another correction is to refer to Tony Papagna not as a Mini 4WD "driver" (because they do not drive the cars!), but refer to him as the Bay Area's premier Mini 4WD builder and racer.

Thanks again for publishing the great article, we look forward to seeing it. Please send me 10 copies and I will send you a check to cover any extra costs. George Russell"

Continued success to Mr. Russell and Fastrax Raceway! We look forward to seeing and talking with you again in the near future! Thanks for the update for this issue.

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