The Rookies Report, custom Drag Track build

2seven Sunday, 2/22/2015

Jump to last page

Well, I believe I found this site about 10 days ago. Since that exact moment my bank account has deflated for materials, flea markets, craigslist buys, ebay, new Hot Wheels, the purchase of the Drag Tracks set, base heater, and a few beers (few equaling many). I drove 1.5hr one way to buy the race track set from Jegs in Columbus, OH (because I could not wait for it to be shipped). Once home, unpacked, and set up, I was highly fearful of it being broken. This set my wheels in motion (pun intended) to deck this track out while protecting it. I have photos/videos of the initial set up and some of the build to this point. All the graphics shown are homemade and printed using some local sponsors to add a personal touch. I repurposed a tv/starters stand, that was destined for trash come spring. Soon I will be adding grandstands, scale light poles, and improve the finish line. The design of the track will allow me to use the underside of the wood for the 6 lane Hot wheels track too. When not in use I will store it close to the ceiling in the garage to be out of the way and make sure it’s not broken. Needless to say because of this site and the great members I have had messages with so far I am a big fan. I have shown my buddies and they are hooked as well. This has prompted me to dig out the roughly 1,500 cars I’ve had over my life (thanks dad), most have not been touched in 25+ years. What fun it is to run these older cars and see them as fast if not faster than the new cars (including FTEs). I never knew this hobby existed but, foresee many years of fun nights with friends and family! Myself (2seven) and Hambonewc will mod some cars and send them in for your tournaments. We would also like to host a race in the future too. We have some great ideas for filming and such. If there are any questions or anything we can do to give back just let us know. Kudos to you all for driving this hobby!

P.S. my wife "thanks'' you (very sarcastically) because; our cars have been in the snow during the build

All the best,

Matt Hathaway (2seven)           


Page 1 of 2
View member profile
72_Chevy_C10 2/22/15

Hey Matt,

I understand the feeling! It's very cool that you actually drove to Jegs to get your track...that's awesome! 

What got me started here was finding some of my Hot Wheels track at my Mom's house. That got me thinking, 'I wonder if anybody online was as into Hot Wheels racing as I was?' Well, it turns out ths there are a few of us...enough to put on some cool races anyway!

I look forward to seeing the development of your track. You might want to hit Smitty up for one of his Stoppers...they work great. 

I have altered some sections of drag track to have different length 'drops'...a 14", a standard 20", and a 25". I originally set up the track like the directions say, with a 40" drop, but whoa! I like a little slower makes for better racing. (Oh, and I use an adjustable speaker stand to put the starter on, rather than the legs).

If you'd like to host a heat of the Rookie Race, just say the word, and we can sort that out!


Matt, track looks fantastic!!!  Great to see all the new energy from new members. I've said before we are a small group of growing. Love it, and looking forward to running with you. 

View member profile
redlinederby 2/22/15
Site manager

Nice looking track! Love all the custom stuff you've added, I'm not a Drag Track racer but it's very cool to see all the custom mod stuff happening around it. Almost makes me wish I hadn't sold mine. 

I can't wait to see it on the ceiling when packed away, that's pretty spiffy. Easy storage is one thing that drove building my first track, something I could fold up and stow without thinking. Looks like you have a lot of great space to place with too, always a bonus! Videos from your tournaments will be great to watch.

View member profile
K_Harvest 2/22/15

Thats such a nice looking set up you. I like the walls with logos all the way down the track and the asphalt return track. Welcome to the madness you seem to fit in perfect.

View member profile
2seven 2/23/15

Thank you for all the nice comments. It’s hard to see in the pictures but, the asphalt stickers are purposefully different. One side is "newly" paved look while the other is worn. I’m saying it’s because the track owners made renovations to the old raceway,lol.

Since I’m sort of locked into the 40" drop I have added two additional lengths to the straight away (based on 72_Chevy_C10 and Hambonewc’s recommendation). This called for an extention to the stock wireconnecting the finish gate. Which by the way is a 6 pin not 4 pin. I haven’t tested the results of the added track length but, would like to improve the “drag race” effect too. I will hopefully be adding grass and concrete stickers soon. I still need to work out the finish line stopper. Ill add some more pictures once more is completed.

Side question I know you guys use the FTE wheels often is there a specific reason? In our testing Hamebonewc and I have found Ultra Hot wheels fly! I could be missing something though, keep in mind our total testing has only been a few days. I bought 25 FTEs at a show last weekend and they are fast too and cooler looking but the UH’s fly.

Last question, if a racer prefers can the rivets be drill out and tap'd to allow for a small screw in place of JB Weld?

more to come,


  • yup, i think carl did a topic on that in the past. — model40fan
View member profile
72_Chevy_C10 2/23/15

Hey 2seven,

With the 40" drop, videos will be tough, because the cars are going so fast. And, with a little lower drop you'll get the 'come-from-behind-races' more stuff!

The UH wheels are fast, for sure...I have an UH Viper that is in my top 5! But, the thing with the UH's is that the axles are really thin. If you ad weigh, chances are that it will slow the car down...or, it won't last long. The FTE's are consistently fast...well, more consistent, anyway! And, the axles are what make the FTE's fast...they are nickel-plated...the 2005-2006 FTE's are what you want. There are several really good donor cars from the 05-06 FTEs!

Yup, using screws are fine for the mod races. The big thing is that it isn't a stocker...that you've had it apart to modify it. 


  • i ran only a 6" angled section for the ponies... — model40fan
View member profile
redlinederby 2/23/15
Site manager

I haven't looked back at all of the Ultra Wheels but the many that I've seen (and have) are metal/metal cars rather than the metal/plastic of the more modern FTEs. That alone would make the cars faster but in general I think the UWs are faster but like Chris said, I think the FTEs are more consistent over time.

And lets just say that FTEs are fair game to become donor axles...not the case with Ultra Wheels. I wouldn't want to mess with the axles on those. I'd just add weight or whatever to help it out.

View member profile
Rusty 2/23/15

That is a great looking track and build!!


View member profile
2seven 2/24/15

Hambonewc and I have been busy laying sod and pavement this evening, the finish line is coming along too, just need to engineer a drop box finish. There are new pictures of the progress so far at the link below. I fear there will still be more to come as well! I think I've talked myself into a shorter drop to lower speeds and increase racing.

Hambonewc and I would like to throw our names in the hat to hold an "Open...Open Tourney" better known as a "Rip and Race". I am curious to see what you guys throw at this track. If this is allowable for rookies and we have interest from racers, I'll confirm a date and construct rules. Thanks again!


  • do it! — model40fan
  • Just make a new post and use the template, then people will throw their hat in — redlinederby
View member profile
72_Chevy_C10 2/24/15

The track is looking great, Matt!

Anyone can host...all you have to do is throw your name in! If you haven't looked back through here, I've hosted a couple Rip-n-Race style events...I did them based on the 'Series' of cars...Workshop, City, etc. They are a lot of fun and really level the playing field!

With a lower drop, you won't have the crashes, either...I can't remember the last time I had a car come off the track. And, I think, with a lower drop, it favors the cars that are 'good rollers' rather than the heavier cars doing well.

And, I'll say again...Smitty's stoppers work really nice. They stop the cars and gently push the cars back up the lanes.


  • " Jersey Shore Dragway" 18" drop 12' length. Great lower speed racing!! — Nightstalker
View member profile
redlinederby 2/24/15
Site manager

Was looking through your photos again and just noticed the Redline Derby sticker on the side wall...thanks for the shout out!! If you PM me a mailing address, I'll get you some more stickers and stuff.

If you include dimensions for your track wall, I can design you up some "official" logo stuff that you can print out too.

View member profile
2seven 2/27/15

I recently adjusted the drop so the speeds are lower and the racing is a lot better. We found some barriers from an old r/c track to add dimension. Future mods will soon be billboards sporting sponsors, camera holders for filming and maybe a tree or 6? Still looking for grand stands. Oh and new "official" Red Line Derby  stickers have replaced the lame ones I made. Any suggestion for further improvements are welcome. Hamebonewc and I are going to invite some buddies over to see if we can get them to catch the bug!




to join the conversation or sign-up now