Remote control racing puts Jones, 10, in driver's seat


April 23, 1995|By STAN DILLON

Ten-year old Patrick Jones of Taneytown comes from a racing family. His parents, Veronica and Scott Chasen, have been weekly competitors at 75-80 Dragway.

But that has changed recently. Now, instead of focusing all of their time on drag racing, the family has become involved in Patrick's new hobby, remote control racing.

It all started when Scott went to see a friend of his race the remote control cars. It immediately impressed him as something that Patrick would enjoy. Scott and Veronica surprised Patrick at Christmas with the 1/10 scale competition off-course truck.

He started practicing in January and started competing a month later. In his first race, he placed third. In five races he had three first-place finishes.

It wasn't long after Patrick started racing that Veronica became interested. A drag racer herself, she started racing the legend cars on the oval track while Patrick raced on the road course. Scott did the mechanical work and kept the cars running.

There is more to RC racing than meets the eye. It is much like the real off-course or oval track racing except it is one-tenth the scale.

Although remote control racing does not require the initial outlay that other forms of racing do, it can get expensive. There is a lot you can do to modify the car that is purchased as a kit. Then there are different springs, shocks, tires, battery packs and motors that can quickly run up the bill. Still, it is a good way for young people to get into racing without spending a lot of money.

The Chasens race at R&C Outfitters in Hanover, Pa. Cris and Allison Schaffer turned their hobby into a business where others with the same interest could race their cars. They took a building of a former car dealer and turned it into a complete operation.

They took dirt and formed the off-course and oval track in half of the service area. The other half contains rows of shop benches to work on the cars. Half of the showroom has all the parts and supplies that anyone would need. The other half has a new slot track. Both RC racing and slot car racing, very popular about 20 years ago, are rebounding.

RC racing is similar to any local speedway. There is an entry fee to race, but admission is free for the spectators. There are different classes, beginning with the novice class. There are qualifying heats of six to 10 cars and a feature event. The top four finishers receive gift certificates for parts from the store.

Drivers of each car stand on a elevated platform six feet above the track. Each car has its own frequency from which the driver controls the car. The car also is equipped with a transponder that records each lap the car makes. At the end of four to five minutes, the car that makes the most laps is the winner.

In road course action that Patrick competes in, the course has left and right turns, hills and jumps, a scaled layout similar to off-track racing. Patrick races every Sunday and Veronica races on Saturday with her legends car. They have practice night on Thursdays.

"I really like it," said Patrick, a fifth-grade student at Runnymeade School in Taneytown. "I like meeting new people and finding out what the car can do."

Weekend results

Several Carroll County drivers visited the winner's circle last weekend. Gary Stuhler of Westminster started in the 12th spot and battled it out with Upperco's Paul Crowl for eight laps before taking the lead on the 18th lap. Stuhler went on to record his first win at Hagerstown. Crowl finished second in the late-model feature. At Winchester Speedway, Ernie Jones of Westminster placed 10th in the late-model feature.

Cris Eash of Woodbine had a profitable weekend. At Williams Grove Speedway on Friday night, Eash was sixth in the super sprint feature. The next night at the Lincoln Speedway, Eash placed third. Then on Sunday night, he won it all at Susquehana Speedway. Eash grabbed second on the first lap and inherited the lead on the 17th lap when race leader Fred Rahmer struck the guard rail trying to miss a spinning car.

At Lincoln, Jesse Wentz of Manchester was eighth. In the semi-lates, Howard Williams of Westminster was second and Randy Zechman of Westminster was ninth. In the thundercar feature, Greg Messersmith of Hampstead was fifth, Klair Stonesifer of Union Mills was sixth and Brad Green of Westminster was seventh.

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