What: Summit R/C Raceway, owned by Jeremy Hardesty and Dave Hart
When: See schedule below
Where: 1421 Goshen Road in Gateway Plaza shopping center
Information: 471-0440, www.summitrcraceway.com and email@example.com
Sunday: 1-6 p.m., oval practice
Tuesday: 5-9 p.m., on-road racing at 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 5-9 p.m., slot car racing/on-road practice
Thursday: 5-9 p.m., on-road practice
Friday: 3-9 p.m., on-road racing at 7 p.m.
Saturday: 11a.m.-9 p.m., oval racing at 4 p.m.
Lindsay Windsor is one of the few local women who enjoys puttering about with her remote-controlled pink-and-blue TC4 Vintage Trans-Am, her orange Traxxas Slash Truck and her orange 17.5 Stock Buggy, all of which she races locally. And she enjoys the (hopefully temporary) distinction of being the only woman among dozens of all-male racers.
“I mess around a little bit, usually just cleaning the cars or fixing body damage,” said Windsor, “but I also rebuild shocks or change tires.”
Windsor began racing last March at Summit R/C Raceway in Gateway Plaza because she watched her husband, Scott, do it, and was intrigued by how much fun it was.
“We each have our own vehicles, and while I'm the only woman racer now, I have raced two other females in the past,” said Windsor, of Smarter Technology Solutions, an IT consulting company that she and her husband own.
“Not many women are in the field, probably because they are busy with children or they think it is their boyfriend's/husband's hobby, or they don't feel they'd be welcome at the track.
“Also, the sport is somewhat expensive to get started in and most women would rather spend the money on clothing or household needs.”
Jeremy Hardesty and Dave Hart, co-owners of the indoor/outdoor racing track/hobby shop, are humbled by their customers' loyalty to their sport and location.
“We've only been in the business a year since the previous owner retired,” said Hardesty, couldn't be happier.
Hardesty, who has raced for 25 years, “and the people we see here are serious about racing. It's been a great opportunity and our customers have become good friends.”
He and Hart, who has raced for the past four years, have raced across the country and have also hosted races, including nationals, at their own track.
Summit offers oval racing, on-road racing, off-road and slot-car racing.
Though the outdoor racing has now closed for the season, the indoor track is in full swing. Even a few kids are racing in the winter, having caught the racing bug from their already-racing parents.
Ean Reilley, 14, a Homestead High School student who won the prestigious Snowbird Nationals at the tender age of 13, has the distinction of being the youngest winner ever, said Windsor, who noted that there were more than 70 trucks in that class.
Ean and his dad, Jeremy Reilley, were the only father-son team to win the Snowboard Nationals, which is the largest oval race in the world and a week-long event.
They competed in eight states last year and a similar amount this year.
The reason more kids aren't racers might be because of the expense.
“The costs involved are competing with other things kids want to do like video games, sports, school, and so on. Plus, there is a certain level of maturity that is needed when racing – these vehicles are not toys. They are worth hundreds of dollars and if you drive recklessly, you break things, which cost more money, and probably most important, is safety,” Windsor said.
“We are dealing with LiPo batteries that need to be charged properly; if not, you can have a fire on your hands. One guy here set his truck on fire because he plugged the battery in wrong. You also have to have the ability to figure out the mechanics of the cars, and constantly keep it in top racing condition.”
Cars can reach 150 miles per hour, but at Summit they only go up to 50 mph, said Hardesty, who owns four vehicles – a Vintage Trans-Am car, a USGT car, an Associated B4.2 off-road buggy and a T-Rex Oval Pan Car. There are different speeds for different races. Hardesty said most racers are not concerned with top speeds as they are with how well the cars handle in the corners.
“A lot of racers feel that they need a really fast motor to compete. We try to teach them that being slow and smooth will turn faster lap times,” said Hardesty, and we tell them 'slow is fast.'”
Hart has raced various tracks in Michigan and Indiana, and competed in some national-level races. He admitted to being a middle-of-the-pack racer.
“The majority of people in this hobby are very friendly and helpful,” said Hart, who himself mentors newbies.
“Many people were there to help me my first time, and although I was nervous, knowing I had folks helping me made it so much easier. Now that I have a few years under my belt, I try to lend a helping hand to other beginners. I've raced two-wheel drive buggies, two-wheel drive short-course trucks, four-wheel drive short course trucks and four-wheel drive touring cars.”
“Several people travel great distances to race. We racers are truly lucky to have a top-notch race facility and hobby shop so close to our homes.”
Finally, Hardesty, who skillfully juggles a wife, children (including a newborn), a career and his shop, plus traveling for racing, wouldn't have it any other way.
“All this can be a lot to hold onto at once,” admitted Hardesty, “but I wouldn't change it for the world because they all keep me present in every moment.”