The recently opened Central Tennessee Raceway, located at 208 Old Nashville Highway, offers a great place for slot-car hobbyists to enjoy their interest while meeting others who share a passion for the craft.
“It’s boys playing with toys,” said Mike Arnold with a laugh.
Arnold, along with Rick Crutchfield, own the Central Tennessee Raceway. For about 50 years combined, they have been building, racing and running slot cars, powered miniature autos guided by a grooved track.
“I got into slot cars when I was about 12 years old,” Crutchfield said. “It was really popular in the ’60s. It faded out in the ’70s, but it’s come back. Maybe not to the capacity of the ’60s, but it’s still gaining popularity.”
“We see a lot of fathers and their sons come in,” Crutchfield added. “We had a group of Cub Scouts the other night, and I’m not sure who had a better time, the Scouts or their fathers.”
But, Dads, this is not the two-lane slot track that sat on the floor the way you may remember as a kid. The La Vergne business is a family-friendly center with a room-filling Engleman track. The track, known as “the Black Snake,” has eight slot lanes and is almost 160 feet long with varying turns and one significant straight-away.
“We try to provide a place where (customers) feel safe and have a good time. Everyone wants to win, but when someone knocks another off the tracks, we all just laugh and cut up. It’s a hobby,” Crutchfield said.
There is a computer system that will clock the lap times for official race times. You can also purchase a full selection of parts and tools, even a starter kit, for slot cars.
“You can get a complete kit for about $120, which includes your trigger, car and everything you need to get started,” Crutchfield said.
Not sure if you want to invest in this hobby yet? Then start with a rental. The provided slot cars may not run as fast as those that have been tweaked and perfected, but they still provide you with a fun experience and a mesmerizing moment as you focus on the car racing around the track.
A different type of slot car is run each night the business is open. Racers can run from 5 to 10 p.m. Group 12 wing cars are run on Tuesdays, 4 1/2-inch NASCAR slot cars on Thursday, and GTP and 4 1/2-inch first class racers are on Friday. Other nights can be booked for birthday parties or gatherings for ball teams, Cub Scouts and church youth groups. To set up a party, call at least two weeks ahead to reserve your time.
Updated (New Numbers): If you find yourself in Tennessee, give them a call. For more information, call Rick @ 615.556.9167 and Mike @ 615.351.7977
Source: The Daily News Journal