Monday, November 19, 2012

“On the Road” with M.G. Brown

For this installment of “On the Road” we visit Thazer Raceway in South Bend Indiana.

Thazer Raceway has been in operation in Northwest Indiana since the mid 1970’s and has one of the few remaining American Raceways commercial tracks set up and in operation in North America.

Thazer’s track is the 135 foot “Aristocrat”; owner Dave Geerhing has nicely framed copies of American Raceways catalog illustrations, showing not only the Aristocrat, but other American Raceways tracks, decorating the walls of the raceway. On the "back" wall there are a number of nicely reproduced and framed examples of the great box art that was a part of the Revell kits of the 1960’s.

The Aristocrat track features the original American Raceways style drivers panels and is largely original with the exception of being resurfaced, re-wired, re-braided and having some minor repairs in the last few years. One of the interesting features of the Aristocrat is that in two places on the track, the inner and outer 4 lanes “cross over”. It takes some getting used to driving a track like this when all 8 lanes are operating.

Thazer has a modern PC-based race director system and modern power supplies, but the original American Raceways lap counter and power supply / time seller are on display above the parts counter. All I can say is, “my how times have changed”.

In addition to the parts that you would expect from contemporary 1/24 slot car companies such as Parma, Champion, Outisight, Red Fox, etc., Thazer has a good stock of 1/32 RTR’s and parts from Scalextric, SCX,, and Racer/Sideways. They have rental cars and controllers available as well as track time if you have your own "stuff".

The surrounding area reminds me of the sort of middle class neighborhood that most slot car raceways that I ran at in my youth were located. While you're at Thazer, It’s easy to imagine yourself back in a more innocent era of sock hops and rock and roll.

I certainly had a lot of fun visiting with Dave at Thazer raceway- I’d encourage you to break out your vintage 1/24 race cars and visit some weekend too.

Thazer Raceway
2925 Mishawaka Ave
South Bend, Indiana

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