Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

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Topspin.D
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Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by Topspin.D » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:56 pm

Hi all. I'm now to this forum (which is great) and hoping to get some advice. What are good way to get access to a track to test how cars will perform prior to the actual pack/district race?

Background: Our pack does not do a test/tune session. We race on a homemade wood track (appears to be about 30' long) at the pack. Then those that make it district race on a 42' aluminum track. Pack and district race formats (double elimination vs. cumulative time on alll lanes) and rules also do not line up.... so we have to design a car that will work in both settings. Last year (our first year - Tiger with oldest son) this meant we were very conservative with how the car was built... COM about 1", no (intentional) rail rider, no (intentional) 3 wheeling.

We easily won the pack, but had one bad run out of 4 at district race (car popped off the track in the "bad lane" at the seam on the bottom- which they fixed after we complained but didn't rerun the heat) where cumulative time was just low enough to keep us out of the trophies.

Anyway, we think we can get access to a wood track and are thinknig about entering our car(s) in other packs/districts open races as a way to test out his car prior to pack/districts on tracks similar to what we'll see at district races. Is this practice frowned upon or unfair in any way?

Should also mention that other packs rent the track used for districts for pack races and therefore only have one setup to worry about and practice time on the actual district track.



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FatSebastian
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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by FatSebastian » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:08 pm

:welcome: Topspin.D
Topspin.D wrote:Is this practice frowned upon or unfair in any way?
If neighboring pack/district derbies allow you and your Pack competitors to participate in their open races, then it would seem hard to argue that it is "unfair". However, I can only recall one other family racing outside their own district, and it was for a different reason.

Regarding the fairness of using a test track, some opinions have already been expressed in this dedicated topic.



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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by Speedster » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:02 am

Topspin.D, Welcome to DT.
There are people on Derby Talk that could build a car in a Dark Closet and beat us all. Use this to your advantage. Learn to use the "Search" function, if you have not already done so, and read everything you can. Learn the Physics of the Pinewood Derby. If you can't find something, ask the question. Go on the Websites, "winderby.com" and "Maximum Velocity.com". There is a wealth of information on those two sites. If you are allowed to run the car on 3 wheels by all means do so. If you prefer to build straight runners learn how the experts set them up. The information is all here. There is a gentleman on DT that had 3 cars finish in the money recently in a National race. He used his kitchen floor as a test track. Knowledge is the way to "test" your car. I think running it down a track takes Second place.
Good Luck to you and again, Welcome to Derby Talk.
Speedster



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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by sporty » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:38 am

Topspin.D,


Greatings !!


Sure, if you want to go to other packs, that have a race and have a open class. go !, we have for years ! and know other families that do also.

Not only does it provide you with a view of what others are doing, built, but how fast they are and how you can learn and grow from it. and the kids get to race more.


In the end, the more cars you build, the more skills you develop and the more time you spend, reading info and asking questions, will help you develop the skills and understanding that you will need to improve.


People can be funny, I don't think I'd be sharing with the people in the pack about going to other races, they can be bothered by it, and yet perhaps not. It all depends on the pack and how they re-act. So, mums the word.

I had a test track for a few years, and I offered the use to anyone who wanted to come and use it and get help.


I had takers, but more often then not, I had gripers come race day. If you get one, offer its use to the pack aty a committee meeting and to the derby committee and every parent you run into at the monthly meetings, this helps to deal with gripers. And in the end, you were open and sharing.

I shared the info, abotu races also, but none of them came to the other races, but it bothered some. face it, you can not make all the people happy all the time, only some of the people, some of the time.


We started off building 4 to 6 cars a year, in the final 3 years, we were building over 20 to 60 cars a year. and there was one year, I built over 200 cars in one year. adult racing.


Sporty



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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by Topspin.D » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:44 pm

Thank you for the warm welcome! I've been reading voraciously the last month, but there's so much to take in. Stan, FS, and Sporty your posts have been really amazing.

We're going to build a test board, but probably won't go so far as to buy/build a track.

Big question for sporty is how do you get weights cheaply enough to build 20 cars?!? Do you cannibalize older cars?

Thanks for the advice on not talking about going to other packs to race... I'll have to remind my son of that. :D

I have other questions but will continue doing searches first. Thanks again.



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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by sporty » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:15 pm

Well,

I bought weight, 4oz cubes at a time or two at a time, keep in mind. that for the past 7 years. We would buy weight. 2 to 3 packs of 4oz cubes each year, sometimes more.


yes, we only kept the fastest car for scouts, the rest would be gutted for weight. the pack / council winner cars, we kept. still have them.

So, each year bought weight. some from e-bay, some from various vendors. So after a few years. We had allot of weight. And its easy to toss out $2o to $40 every couple of months during the off season.

I sold most of the weight, and still have a little over a pound left of weight. I got 4 cars built now, 3 left over from the mid america race and one stock wheel base, stock axle slot car I did. I have some weight still for i think 1, maybe two cars yet.

But sold a bunch of it last year. I am more or less retired from racing and have maybe a build or two left in me, for kids and friends. My youngest sons last scout race, was just a few months ago.

Early on, back in 2004/2005. I used allot of lead back then. As we developed skills and ect. so did what we used for weight.

Sporty



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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by Noskills » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:29 pm

Topspin,

I am far from an expert but I have been reading here for a few months. Some say that just gluing a yard stick to a flat tuning board can be helpful for check performance. I have done this for the fun cars I have build since my first derby in January. Have built 3 more cars, mostly to practice using a Dremel and to practice painting. I love it. Just bought band saw so I have two more cars to work on when I get some time. Trying my first tungsten disc.
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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by resullivan » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:46 am

+1 to many of the above. Do your research and get your car finished early. Last year we went to a pack race of another member on here and got to test the car on their track. Also, our pack has a PWD night to help people build their car. They also set up the track. We always have the car ready to test be able to test it.



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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by Noskills » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:21 pm

Topspin,Try http://www.rentmytrack.com" target="_blank and look for races these guys are running. Ask if you can run a few rounds.
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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by whodathunkit » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:23 pm

I'v never tryed tuning a car in this way:
However I have seen videos of a car that was tuned useing a treadmill.
Just one way that might work. :idk:


What type of automobile can be spelled the same forwards & backwards?

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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by Aron » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:02 pm

I have used the yardstick trick myself to test for RR. I actualy tape the yardstick to my pingpong table. I am then able to lift the table from one end and test for drift. Works quite well :thumbup:



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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by Topspin.D » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:36 pm

Noskills, thanks for the idea. I was going to ask you how you found these guys, but then I saw the list of packs that are already booked and knew. Do you think your pack would mind us running in the open division or taking some practice runs before you get started?



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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by rpcarpe » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:23 pm

I found surplus glass top 4', perfect for a tuning table.
Place a metal yard stick down the center to test for Rail-Riders.
An old mirror works well too.

For weights - Sporty's approach works well, buy Tungsten on sale, use 40% coupons at Hobby Lobby etc... I also scavenge lead wheel weights from Tire shops. A propane torch melts it just fine. You can make molds out of MDF or use the wet sand method.

Knowledge and practice... no substitute.
Good Luck!


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Re: Ways to test cars if you don't own a track

Post by Topspin.D » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

We ran our cars tonight on http://www.rentmytrack.com's" target="_blank track at a local pack's race. It was a great way to get some good information on how the cars would perform before our Pack's race next Tuesday.

There was good news and bad news from doing this. The good was that the cars were very good (both were the fastest there), bad news was that my son really didn't like that he couldn't win a trophy (even though we discussed this in advance). Sounds like we should've spent more time talking about that to make sure he really internalized it.

Well... scout car ran 2.9480 - 2.9690 (only car that ran below 3 seconds) and the sibling car ran 3.0070 - 3.0150. We'll take those times. Now to do re-prep and some more tuning before Tuesday. Our pack will be more competitive than the pack we raced at tonight.

I should also say thanks to DT as the cars were based on designs from some of the most prolific folks on this board. Scout car is a Sporty Spoon and the other is Stan Pope's rail car. Also, thanks to 5 Kids for all the great advanced information he shares.

Now on to our race.



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