If you have ever been to the track, you’ve probably seen one. You know, the guy screaming “Rubbin’s racin!” at the top of his lungs as he t-bones an innocent buggy into the wall. Or that kid duct taped to the pillar of the driver’s stand because he told one too many people how great of a driver he is. Or my favorite, a morning show radio DJ turned RC driver who thinks that there is full throttle, and there is full brake, with absolutely nothing in between. So in order to help you not be that guy, I’ve compiled a list of track do’s and don’ts, as well as some tips on how to deal with the tools at your track so you can have fun.
Do: Be friendly. Share.
The people you see at the track are likely to be there again and again, so you may as well get along with them. Besides, they might know a tuning tip or two that you hadn’t thought of, or they might have a spare part or two when you really need it. Being friendly in the pits also leads to a good atmosphere on the track. If you taunted that guy in the Intermediate racer, he’s not likely to let you by on the track without a fight, and neither are his buddies. No one respects a tool, on or off the track.
If some little spaz with a rental wipes you out, you may want to hip check him hockey style into the driver’s stand or toss a can of motor spray at him. Don’t. If you buy into the whole “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” adage, you can rest assured that the little punk’s father is the most hated lawyer in the world and life is tough enough without fifty percent of your wages being garnished because you went Chernobyl. If you feel yourself getting angry, just take your car off the track and take a break. Just because someone else is being a tool doesn’t mean that you have to too. Besides, he’s going to have to charge or refuel sometime anyway, so you’ll get your chance to run tool-free.
Do: Try new things.
If your friend wants to let you try out his drift car, do it. If someone hands you a crawler to climb around on the crawler course, give it a try. If the local nutjob hands you a FPV drone, don’t touch the damn thing. Those things are scary, and I bet there’s some kind of fungus growing on the headset. There’s plenty of things to try in the RC world, so there’s no sense being one of those old fuddy duddies that will only run carpeted oval on Tuesday nights if there’s a full moon and the ambient temperature is sixty four point three degrees Fahrenheit. Because the gravitational pull of the moon, coupled with the optimal temperature will shave a tenth off your rollout time, that’s why. If you never try new things, you’ll never know if you like them, so give it a whirl. Just be careful, because only a tool will hand back a broken car to his friend without offering to pay for it.
Do: Respect each other on and off the track.
If someone is faster, let them by. If someone’s in your line, take a different one. If someone’s in your favorite pit space, set up somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if the instructions for your ESC are plastered to that pit because of a CA spill from four years ago. Only a true ass will shove a stranger’s things out of the way to make room for himself. And if you see one of your track friends out in the real world, don’t be a jerk and ignore them. You might find yourself being duct taped upside-down to a pole. We’ll cut you down before you pass out. Promise.
Don’t: Run broken.
It’s always tempting to glue a shock tower back together, but the fact is, if your ride is cobbled together, there’s a good chance that you’re going to break again, you can damage the track, ruin other people’s rides, or hurt people. I know that it’s tough to resist the quick fix for “just a couple more laps,” but you will never live it down when your monster truck loses all four a-arms and takes out that nice old man who hangs out on the track to flip you over when you end up on your lid. Now he’s got a fractured ankle and his dog hasn’t had a walk in weeks. Not to mention you’re doing the walk of shame down the driver’s stand every thirty seconds because there’s no one down there to flip you over. Nice work, tool. If a bottle of CA glue and some duct tape is holding your wheels on, please just leave it in the pit. Maybe if you weren’t such a tool, you’d have some friends to throw you a ride when you’re broke. Give me that duct tape.
Don’t: Blame the car.
If your ride is handling like a piece of junk, do something about it. Most of the time, some thoughtful tuning will give you the results you want, but at the end of the day, you’re responsible for the car too, so it’s not cool to blame the equipment. It also doesn’t matter if you’ve bought every upgrade in the book if you can’t keep it on the track. Most of the time, it makes you look pretty goofy when you’ve got three grand worth of anodized aluminum go-fast parts lying upside down in the weeds.
Don’t: Play bumper cars.
I realize that sometimes it gets pretty intense when you’re diving into a corner side by side with another car, but it is never ever acceptable to slam into them or run them off the course. Rubbing is acceptable, but rubbing is not ramming. There is nothing better than having a clean, fast run, and nothing worse when someone hops the curbing because they think it’s funny and slamming into you head on. Leaving you to go pick up the pieces of your buggy and pray for karmic retribution. His dad’s a politician, so put down the sharp and pointy rock.
Don’t: Give the track tool your ride.
I know, I know, I already said you should share, and be respectful, and all sorts of other stuff. But some people just can’t be helped, and if you know the track tool to be brutal on the equipment, then don’t be a fool and expect him to be respectful of your things. I don’t care how bulletproof you think your crawler is, a tool can pretzel unbreakable axles and strip gears down to metal dowels. Not to worry, your new buddy will help you get that puppy back to running condition with a half-gallon bucket of CA and some zip ties. Have you rolling again in no time. Also not a great idea to let the track tool work on your car. Just in case you were wondering.
Do: Learn. This is the most important.
If you’re the kind of driver that has a-arms made of balsa wood and stainless staples, then it’s probably time to learn the right way to do it. Most of the time, replacement parts are necessary, and it can get expensive if you break a bunch of stuff, so think of it as an incentive to be a better driver. It doesn’t really matter if your short course truck can clear the triple if you can’t make the corner after the landing. The better you get as a driver and a mechanic, the less often you will break. Besides, your ride is going to handle a lot better with some fresh replacement parts than it does with that mass of pipe cleaners and PL400. It’s festive, I guess.
Don’t: Be a tool.
Hopefully I’ve covered this by now. Everyone will have more fun at the track if the only tools present are the ones we use to fix our cars. You know, allen keys, screw drivers, hex drivers, and that crazy guy with the blimp in the repair shop. So if anyone has ever threatened you with duct tape, or your wheel nuts disappear in between runs, or if you’ve noticed that there is an empty pit at all times on either side of “your” pit space, it might be time to start questioning why. Keep in mind, most tools don’t realize that they’re tools. I forgive you. Just keep these do’s and don’ts in mind the next time you head to the track and have fun! Be yourself, not a tool!