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Young Slot Car Racers Race to Success

January 20, 2011

How’s this for a great story:

An Elementary School Teacher with over 30 years experience, grows increasing frustrated with what he sees in the classroom… Well this teacher is a fan of Slot Cars and Slot Car Racing, so he gets a bright idea. Use slot cars and slot car racing as a reward for students who keep at least a “C” average and as a teaching tool at the same time.

So, just like that,

Slot car racing comes to Linton Elementary School

Slot car racing is the newest thing at the Linton-Stockton Elementary School.

The project — which was funded through a state prevention grant and also made possible through hours of volunteer work — is the idea of Dan Thorlton, a long-time fifth-grade teacher at LSES.

The massive race track — dubbed “The Beast” — is 100 feet around and is located in the school’s basement — which is also the home of the fifth-grade club Racing to Success.

Thorlton, also known as Mr. T to students, shed light on the colossal project and the club during the  meeting of the School Board.

“Folks we’re on the map with this thing,” he said, adding that the school is among just a handful of schools across the nation with such a track.

To be a member of Racing to Success, students must maintain a 75 percent — C average, be a good person and show good sportsmanship, he noted.

“More than one-half of the fifth grade signed up (for the club). It’s only open to fifth graders,” he said.

What needs to be taught is how to deal with real-life frustration and the fact that you will not always be number one. Acquiring the skill to be a gracious winner or loser is being replaced with the “in your face” attitude being displayed by the very role models children look up to.

Admittedly, I have always been challenged as an educator to find new and innovative ways to impart these critical values to my students and reflecting back on my youth, I realized that my life-long interest in slot car racing can be an effective teaching tool in the school environment.

In fact, slot car racing has literally spread across the generations. It is very possible that grand-dad played wih them as a youngster and I firmly believe the slot car connection would give family members a common ground.

So, what can slot car racing teach to a young mind? Curricula such as science and math are obvious applications. Additionally, subjects like language arts come into play with research being focused on the history of slot car racing. Other topics also revolve around actual race venues throughout the world including F1 racing in Europe.

Slot car racing provides applications for almost any topic one might imagine.

For instance, if a child has an interest in art, he or she can design and construct dioramas as scenery for a track. Designing paint schemes and decals created on the computer can be applied to individualize a students car. If a child is “hands on” he or she might even construct a chassis made of popsicle sticks and a motor from an electric toothbrush. The encouragement of a creative mind is a powerful component of learning.

Read more about this creative teacher and how he is not only introducing Slot Cars and Slot Car Racing to a new generation, but helping them grow as well.

Racing for Success

Pretty cool, I’d say!

Have something to add? Questions, comments? Please add them below!


3 Responses to “Young Slot Car Racers Race to Success”
  1. Mr. T says:

    I am Mr. T, the sponsor of the club. What started out as a small project that might catch the attention of a few fifth graders has virtually exploded into a major event. The club services over 50% of the entire fifth grade population with racing taking place every Tuesday. The members take great pride in the club and are excited to see their name added to the “hot laps” board. There is a very real possibility you may see our club logo on a car in the Indy 500 this year. Please take the time to check out the website and logon as a member.

  2. Mr. T says:

    Racing to Success is now a sponsor for Team Moore in the Indy Lights series. Check out the story on


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  1. says:

    Young Slot Car Racers Race to Success : New Slot Cars and Vintage Slot Cars – Electric Dreams…

    An Elementary School Teacher with over 30 years experience, grows increasing frustrated with what he sees in the classroom… Well this teacher is a fan of Slot Cars and Slot Car Racing, so he gets a bright idea. Use slot cars and slot car racing as a …

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