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What does it take to make a winning car?

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I am not a builder!! I like to host! I am hosting my 1st ever mail in now. So I would like to take this opportunity to give you all a round of applause. Modding is special hard work you all do great things keep it up have fun!! 

  • And I'd be interested in racing when you set up a scheduled race — CHOWHOUND_RACING_N_DIECAST
  • Chowhound. Thanks I have 1 I am currently running unfortunately my start gate finishing line went out. I have one on the way. Once I get this one finished I will post for the next. Look forward to having you. — Comet_Tail_Raceway
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dr_dodge 5/17/23

this is my rookie year

learning alot, and enjoy building unconventionally.

have no idea what it truly takes to win consistanly as some here do,

but I am in this sport for the long haul, and fun is the priority

also like outragous builds, even if they aren't fast (yet)


  • The thing is as the honey moon feelings leave not to fret and have a love for what I call this our sport . Never allow the dregs of boredom set in or you can be doomed not to stick with sport of ours — CHOWHOUND_RACING_N_DIECAST

I gotta chuck in my 2 cents.  Confesion first.  Yes, I haven't been able to mail out any cars to races I have tried to enter.  I just don't find the money in time.  Most of my money gets spent on track building.  This is where I have the most fun.  I am great at salvaging building materials.  I haven't spent a dime on the wood, paint, mable, granite or garden flowers.  My money is spent on the Several boxes of screws, sealants, Gorilla Tape, over 800 cars in three years for testing and inhouse racing... 

Ok, confessions over. 

I have read everything I can find on the website about racing. The best info I found that helped me out the most was the article about building Pine Wood Deby Cars.  Also learning that not all wheel castings are perfectly equal, has been eye opening. Sometimes the axle hole is egg snapped, to various degrees,  thus causing wheel buzz at that particular wheels terminal velocity which translates into the wheel behaving like the ABS kicked in on that wheel faster than the rest of the wheels, causing the car to turn into the wall. 

So...   that brings us to time and testing.  As soon as I finished rebuilding the Center Valley Drag, I took ever single open car I had and tested them.  They all got sorted by how high they can climb the open ramp straight up. No turning. Anything that turned and did not go straight was put in a box I named "Skate Park" cars. (That's a story for another day.).  From there I have been testing the the ramp cars on the DINO RUN.  To become a "Certified" Dino RUN car they must survive 4 laps of ever increasingly difficult expectations. Most don't make it. From those Certified cars, they then race against each other and collect real points. Only the cars who achieve a minimum point score move on to a growing group of cars called the "Elite Class"   Those you don't,  pass the first round of Qualifying go on to the Pheonix Hills and try to get certified for that track and try to get certified there and pass both of the two different race styles   Those who don't, will have to wait for the "Santa's Sleighway" to try and get certified there. The Cage Match has claimed 32 cars from 8 Rounds with 4 Brackets each from which 1 car per 8 car bracket have moved on and currently waiting for that tournament to be held in the fall. 

So, What does this all mean?? I have learned that the body of the casting and how it rubs on the different style track walls is important, looking for sharp edges to sand smooth, over hands front and back that are too long and drag, or over hangs that are too short  exposing wheels that might grab a side wall edge and climb out. Bodies too wide and rub too much, wheel base too narrow and wiggle side to side like a belly dancer. Wheel base that is too short just start to spin uncontrollably. Castings that are too tall causing the center of gravity to rise, this flipping cars around tight corners. Some track styles like cars with axles with some suspension style movement, while others require a minimum of movement to succeed.  Wheel standing and polishing to help with taking off the molde lines and wheel balancing for smooth rolling. Poilshing the axel itself to remove the manufacturing burs and imperfections. 

I have found threades here that are specific to the multitude of axle lubing options.  From different combinations of dry brands and or wet/dry custom applications. 

The one thing I haven't found is more information about what is called "Tubing".  I understand that this is where builders use a tube of some form and "basting" needles for sewing as axles. These needs are generally nickle plated like Hotwheels NPA's and maybe even better quality.  Here I get the idea that now the "farming" is different. No longer is the axle width is not mportant anymore. Only the wheel casting itself, then needs to be balanced and the hole not egg shaped. 

Haha!! Ok I'm done, I guess my 2 cents turned into $2.00 lol. 

Good hunting!! And always remember, "Stay Off The Wall!"

  • Bro i appreciate your input. There were a few mentionables that I never thought of which is very interesting ????. I'm more into building the cars than I am building my track. As I'm finding it interesting that many have told me which car can work and which one won't. I'm doing my own tests win or lose to see for myself which can work. I'm looking at castings i dont see anyone else use to see how they will do — CHOWHOUND_RACING_N_DIECAST
  • A quick way to test cars for straight line capabilities. A single piece of of 7 foot long 8 inches wide 1/8 the inch thick piece of wood with with a clean smooth surface. From there you could mess around with side walls and some curve to the hill or just propit up and drop cars. Straight line cars will stay on. Cars with ABS will jump off the side. Start with a slow slope. And work up to a faster and faster speed. Push the cars to to find who has the highest terminal velocity before the ABS kicks in and throws the car off the slope. To help the slope be more smooth you could pain to it and sand it a few times to get a more track like surface. — Garden_Super_Speedway_Park
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Numbskull 7/10/23

I still don't know.

  • My brotha you have tons of experience, never thought I would be competing with the likes of you guys. I really appreciate the opportunity to race. — CHOWHOUND_RACING_N_DIECAST
  • I hope I never know. — Numbskull
  • Knowing would ruin all of the fun. lol. — Numbskull
  • Thats why Lucas' robot found nothing under your hood! Ha! — G_ForceRacing
  • Well keep doing what you're doing, even if you don't know what you're doing because it knowingly is working for you!! Lol — Ironbeardcustoms
  • it’s true it’s an old saying “knowing the nuts n bolts of a thing can take u away from your original enjoyment…” — REACHNCOOLER
  • some aspects of mod & after market effects are inspiring. — REACHNCOOLER
  • with the anticipation of an event, prepping & waiting, I don’t want an entry to be a dud. I enjoy taking part because THE VOICE has made cars fun. I like to see all the action unfold, if my idea of a car were to win, awesome, not really my motivation. I think all the weight displacement & cog stuff can be way way way over thinking it with results that don’t really match. Cookies crumble different every time. It’s up to the cars. Obviously there are many tinkerers in dcr. — REACHNCOOLER
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redlinederby 7/11/23
Site manager

@Garden - Here's an old article about how to make custom axles with tubing. Basically just copper tubing from the hobby store and then slide in each half of an axle and glue it. I haven't done any axle modding in a long time but I figure the basic technique is the same now. I think the key is just keeping any custom axles straight and parallel so the roll is more true. Jigs and the likes will help there.

Shameless plug:

Maybe something in there will help you out.

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Kingshark 7/13/23

As I have been modifying hotwheels for competitive racing for going on two years I'm not quite a rookie but neither am I a master.

1st. For me personally I prefer lower stature cars with a wide wheel base. It allows for a smoother weight distribution. 
2nd. If possible I believe using cars with a metal base can help prevent tipping in tight turns. Stacking your weight too high is asking for disaster. 
3rd. Don't be afraid to try different media for polishing your axles! For instance I use carbon steel to polish before adding any buffing applications. 
4th. To go along with axles I prefer to glue at the very least my rear axles as straight and stable as possible. I find that even on stock cars the wheels often rub into the wheel wells creating friction that ultimately kills your momentum. 
5th. If your stuck in a scenario where you have to determine which half of your car gets the heavier half of your weight I always pick the front. Unfortunately many of my 1st customs had too much weight in the back and would often lead to my cars spinning around and going in reverse for the rest of the race.

like I said I'm no master and I still expiriment every day with new techniques. But maybe to someone the little things here and there that I have found help the way I customize my cars may help them as well. 

PS. (Bada$$ paint jobs may not add any horsepower but they are super fun to do!!)

I'm loving all the tips and input on this forum. I am also a rookie in this hobby. I had no idea how many people were in it. I just finished my first car and will be attempting to qualify for my first event coming up soon...and it's a big one. I'm not expecting my car to keep up with the "pros", but it was really fun to do, and hopefully I'll learn a lot from it. But to be able to see a car that I worked on run a track I've enjoyed watching and on a popular channel, that's all I could ask. I'm looking forward to more building, collecting, testing, etc.; and also to interacting with all of you diecast people. I appreciate the welcome I've gotten so far. This is a very cool community.

  • Welcome to the neighborhood! Glad you're having fun and finding stuff that will help out. Can't wait to see what you build and share. Have fun! — redlinederby
  • good luck — Numbskull
  • Hey as a fellow amateur I’m glad to have new comers around, I wish you the best of luck — Kingjester
  • I appreciate the feed back as I am a rookie myself, entering as many races as I can and actually seeing improvements aa I go along. Do not get discouraged keep up the modding and participation as you will see the hot wheels community can be very helpful encouraging and like family in the long run — CHOWHOUND_RACING_N_DIECAST
  • welcome! — dr_dodge

I don't consider myself as one of the top builders but I do have a few trophies on my shelf. I've been building since early 2021. I started by watching a few build videos, got a few ideas and began building my own way. I do things a little different than other builders. I start by drilling/tapping and adding weight. If the casting has decent wheels, I make sure it rolls in a straight line! If the wheels are good, I polish and graphite. Then the testing begins. I run the car down my timed straight track over and over and over. Till I'm satisfied with the speed. Starting speed and long end  speed. Then I finally take it back apart and strip and paint. I think most of my paint jobs are cool. But everyone has a different style and idea of what is cool. 

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GBURacing 3/4/24

Started by finally out running my Stock gatekeeper(50th Anny Cougar) after months of trying. Now, the next step comes in April as I enter my first modified races, then I'll take stock of what I did and did it work, or did I come in dead last.

Blueline knows... and if you can hang with that racer yer doing something right...

  • Honestly if you can compete with blueline then you can compete with anybody — Kingjester
  • I am happy to finish and score points — dr_dodge

I see "farming" as the most common way to get speed first.  No, I haven't mailed any cars out yet.  I have been building the mountains in my back yard.  It is on to this mountain range that I run hundreds of cars on them to find and sort out straight line speed and control along with handling dynamics.   I have been joining wheel doner cars with castings I want to mod for racing both here at home and abroad.  

Wheel and axle sanding are the magic that really makes sets the good wheels free.  For me here on home tracks, the tarmac is different for each track.  I have learned that how you sand and polish for the specific track makes a difference too. I understand coneing for straight Drag in guided track.  Zero friction equals speed.  

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