Pre-built tracks, worth the finish line?

redlinederby Monday, 5/3/2010
Site manager

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Does anyone have any comments on the pre-built diecast tracks such as this one:

These seem to be pretty generic as I've seen several under different brands (NHRA, Fireball Tim, etc). The flimsy track construction is obviously inferior to our home built awesomeness, but I'm looking at the finish line here.

These tracks average about $75-$80 and I'm wondering if that price tag is worth it for the finish line and starting gate?

It's a mechanical/electric finish line with a timer (cool) and has electronic release too. Considering the ultra-pro Judge finish lines are $100 or more and they're light sensor only, which we know is not always ideal, maybe cannibalizing one of these is not a bad deal...thoughts?

One big question would be if the finish/start are orange track compatible...or if they could be made to be. The track in the video is clearly NOT Blutrack and looks to be about the width of orange track.

If anyone has any experience with these track, please leave a comment.


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redlinederby 5/3/10
Site manager

Found another video of this type of track in action, real world. Looks like the finish line handles it pretty well.

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JDC442 5/4/10

I really like that finish line Brian.

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markkaz 5/5/10

I bought a few of the Expert Racers systems. For under $100, it is fine. The finish-line system seemed to work just fine. The drawbacks when I tested it was that one of the pedals busted after only a couple days. I opened it up and one of the wires had torn apart. The wiring appeared to be cheaply made to get it under $100. The stand is a bit rickety but for your purposes, it will do just fine. Quite a few diecast collectors own this system.

In case you didn't know, i use "The Judge" from for my Race Grooves Dual Lane track. He was the only vendor who would make custom circuit boards to accommodate my lane specifications and he was the only one to have a sensor that would not be affected by sunlight.

I haven't sold my track for a few years now because I have limited time. I am focusing on doing birthday parties for kids nowadays. The bulk of my time is with my regular full-time job, the two hour daily commute, and I have a wife and kids to take care of as well.

My comments about Expert Racers aren't a slam. They are from my own personal experience and as I stated, I own a few of them. They are up in the attic now. As far as I know, the system will do just fine and it is under $100.

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redlinederby 5/5/10
Site manager

Thanks for the first hand insight, Mark. Those Expert Racer systems do look somewhat cheap and flimsy, but you get what you pay for. For under a $100 it might be fun to take apart and adapt to something that will work.
Interested in selling one of the tracks hanging out in your attic?

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chriscc17 5/5/10

There is a few on Ebay at $59.99 but $19.99 to ship. ... 5ad8b31a6a


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redlinederby 5/5/10
Site manager

Shipping...bah, forgot about that. Thanks for the link. I guess $80 for buy+shipping is better than $80+shipping. I'm still debating about getting it in general. Might see what I can do to make my playset finish line a little nicer for cars first.

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markkaz 5/5/10

I'm pretty sure that I busted down the boxes and packed the parts into different boxes. The above eBay deal is the best way to go.

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chriscc17 5/5/10

Brian if I were you I would unhook one of the photo sensors from your finish line and test to see if you could get the light to flash using a micro-switch or a tilt switch. I've been told from people in the know it shouldn't matter what the trigger is. Of course that remains to be seen. Not doing you much good as is though. Might be worth a shot.

The Expert Racers track is a fun toy, but it truly is just a toy. I had a lot of hands on experience with a couple of them. Fun, yes durable, no.

All of the timing and lighting are on a double sided circuit board in the tower of the starting gate. it would be a bit difficult to reconfigure any of it.

Heavier and/or weighted cars will cause the starting tabs to jam.

Orange track probably could be adapted to fit it, but I don't think it would be worth the effort.

I think you should give the light sensor finish line another try. Maybe lower the bridge piece a little bit. The gap between the sensors might be a bit too large.

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markkaz 5/10/10

Jason mentioned something that I had left out. I didn't know if it was a fluke or not.
I had the same problem with heavier cars (funny cars) putting too much pressure on the starting
peg and it wouldn't allow it to drop down.

I never did test it for lane variance to see if one lane was faster than another.

They do use this setup for the CARnival. Pics here:

I helped Rick do a Hot Wheels VS Johnny Lightning Challenge. His website is here:
Click on the "Fastest To The Finish" link or click here:
He owns my Race Grooves track and he uses The Judge's Electronic Finish Line (EFL) system.
He also bought an Elapsed Timer so that he could do head-to-head races and get the fastest
times considering both lanes. Yes, even my track has lane variance.

Check out the huge set-up that Rick did!

I already have several EFL's but I would like an Elapsed Timer system too. I will have
to buy one or maybe Rick can let me borrow his for my own future projects.

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drosales 6/3/10

I use the 3 lane racer finish line even though my track is only 2 lanes... I do not find it a problem at all! I have really been racing a lot now with my sons (2 and 4 yrs) and just bought the triumph FTE which won hands down yesterday...

We got the 3 lane racer for a birthday and that is what started it all... we built the 16ft track last year in the late summer and built a wooden finish gate with the plastic finish line nicely drilled into place for secure finishes. There are no electronics no flashing lights just fun racing keeping it simple


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redlinederby 6/3/10
Site manager have a DIY mechanical finish line that works? You have any photos of it or any build information? That's like the holy grail around here.

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