Build journal: 1st time drag strip track build

SteelCityMafia895 Tuesday, 2/6/2024

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I am thinking of building my 1st track. Mainly for testing my cars at first and maybe racing in the future. Looking for a scale 1/4 mile. Bench I would build on is 19 feet. Adding a drop hill from the end of the bench would make everything approximately 23 feet. Allowing for some finish line cushioning. Just not sure where to start after the bench is cleaned off. Track would run left to right if that matters. Any tips, tricks, advice, pointers, help, etc would be greatly appreciated. 


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The big thing with a drag track, is to watch for the whump, where the drop transitions to the flat. There are a few good threads on here already about that, and the tricks people have used to smooth it out as much as possible.

Other than that, making sure both lanes are straight as possible so there is little to no lane bias. You can use a number of different items to secure your track to your bench, to stop it changing as you race. If you have a 3D printer (or access to one) there are some great clips for HW tracks on thingiverse, that will hold 2-3 lanes at once. Others have used washers under the track that are screwed to the bench, or even large popsicle type sticks.

Then it's just lot of testing and tweaking to get it running how you want. 

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redlinederby 2/7/24
Site manager

Agree with everything Chaos said. The Whump is the trickiest part on a drag strip. I've only ever built/run drag strips and that was always the spot where the trial-and-error was done. 

That transition can't be too steep or cars bottom out and just go squirrely, especially if you're running heavier cars - they might just bump right off the track! But having a lesser angle means taking up more space. The pinewood derby-style arc is nice if you can figure it out and have the room, but I always had a "hard" angle in my track. I think my drop angle was between 30-40 degrees.

But yeah, other than that, it's about how many lanes you want and just having the start/finish line. A drag strip is a nice way to ease into the racing hobby and get your feet wet with building a track. It's nice that you have a space and bench, that should be a good foundation to start on.

I made a shelf for my drag strip in my basement...about 19-feet too. The downhill was maybe a little short, only 4-feet, but it worked well for many years. One suggestion I might make is not to worry about finding the seamless orange track. You might see some tracks that use it (like mine did) but it's quite troublesome to keep straight and flat. I eventually switched to the regular blue button track because the seamless just gave me grief and always had me worrying. 

Just have a good time with it!

Check out the Drag Strips section of the Track Directory for more examples and ideas

Keep with it!

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41-14 2/7/24

Scale Racing channel has an excellent video on using 2 foot track pieces. Cutting the half circle at the end of the pieces and clipping the centre part of the connectors so you are still able to slide them in to connect the track. Lots of people seem to be switching to continuous track but like Brian said above, it's very hard to get it to lay flat. Transition is the key. Should be a gradual transition to the run out. 1/8 inch panel board under this part of the track will help support the flex as cars go over it. 
DXP racing recently laid continuous track on his setup and has some valuable info on the process and the issues with it. And what he did to overcome them. 
but there's a lot of great guys in this forum and I'm sure they would be more than willing to help you out. 
good luck with the build. 

Brian. (41-14 racing). 

  • I've actually got some of the 1/8 panel board. Don't remember where I got it. Lol! I've got a starting height marked and it should be a good transition to the flat. Who's good for start and finish lines? Slanman? Or Someone else? — SteelCityMafia895
  • Check out . its a little pricey, but several other makers use it and it looks super slick. I myself am thinking about getting one. — JBlotner42
  • JLH Krafts. Slanman Customs. Spool Heads. New Directions. Derby Magic. Are good sources for starting gates and finish lines. The last two are geared more towards pinewood derby, but both are adaptable to hot wheels. All good options IMO. Depends on your preference and budget. The play robotics is alright but I find it’s a little slow dropping the gate. — 41-14

Okay...getting a little personal for me. At first I wanted to name my track Moosehead Speedway. Just because I like Moose.  Little best friend who was like a brother to me and was the Best man at my wedding  passed away in 2016.   I always called him Tater when we left, I always said Later Tater Last time i said it was at his funeral.  Never called anyone Tater after that. So, I'd like to know what sounds better to you all....Tater Speedway or Tater Dragway?  I'd like to honor my brother from another mother. 

Little by little,  I'm slowly making progress. 

Thanks. Coors Light signs are from the bar that I used to own. Plus it's my preferred beer of choice. Probably going to the store tomorrow to get what I need for the drop hill and the track to lay down. 

  • rocky mt raceway? silver bullet, banquet drop raceway? I loved coors when I lived in Co. — dr_dodge
  • I'm thinking SCM Racing Presents the Tater Track @ Moosehead Speedway. — SteelCityMafia895

My track pieces should be here Friday. Don't know that I will get it built this weekend since I have to work all weekend, 12 hour shifts. Will be doing a couple videos with my progress so far, cars from my childhood that are probably 40 years old and what I found when I was out hunting today. Check my YouTube channel this evening for those. 

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JDC442 3/6/24

Can't wait to see what you come up with.  Have fun!  and Go Steelers!!!

  • I grew up near Pittsburgh. Now in Indiana, but my love for the Black and Gold came with me when I moved back here in '91. — SteelCityMafia895

Making more progress. Still need to decide on  a start gate and finish line. Don't know if i want to start cheaper and upgrade later or go straight for the upgrade. Think im going to use yardsticks screwed to the bench to hold the track in place. 

  • 3/4 inch square pieces of velcro work pretty well to hold track in place and is fairly inexpensive. — Dutch_Clutch_Racing
  • Does the velcro affect the flatness of the track any? — SteelCityMafia895
  • Yes it does. I figure it same size velcro in same locations on the track it's as fair as it can be. And of course alternate lanes. Seems 1 lane is always faster than the other. — Dutch_Clutch_Racing
  • Velcro before and after the "whomp" helps keep things the same from 1 lane to the other also. — Dutch_Clutch_Racing
  • Looking great! Yeah, the whump will be your challenge and is directly related to the drop angle. My hill was about 40-degrees which was pretty steep IMO...probably should have been less. — redlinederby

  • Wump/whomp. Whatever. — Dutch_Clutch_Racing
  • That's what it takes. Lots of test runs. Looking great so far! — Dutch_Clutch_Racing
  • I've found out that the track strip pieces are not cut equally. Small difference in lengths, but noticeable over a long length of space. — SteelCityMafia895

Redline Derby's shelf idea inspired me this weekend.  Now I have a 14ft.  test track instead of the 8 ft. I had.

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