AVON — Winter generally isn't conducive to car racing. But you can still feed your need for speed in an indoor setting during the dead season.
Ron and Barb Tomasik opened Fast Tracks Raceway here at the beginning of 2012. It features an oval race track that's 110 feet in length and a drag strip, both for miniature slot cars. Ron has been involved in racing in one way or another for most of his life. He even ran stock cars at one point.
"This has always been the thing I migrate back to," Ron said of slot cars.
They've been around since the 1960s, but their popularity has ebbed and flowed over the years. Currently Fast Tracks is the only commercial slot car facility in the area. There's one in Evansville, one in Richmond, and a couple in Fort Wayne.
Many of Fast Tracks' customers are unfamiliar with slot car racing their first time there.
"A lot of people have seen the home sets you can buy at places like Walmart," Ron said. "They've never seen one on a commercial scale."
At this point they have a lot of regular customers, but there are still new faces all the time.
"People stop in who've talked to other people and want to see what it's about," Barb said.
What they'll see are little plastic cars zipping around a track at 50 to 60 mph. And that's just the basic model. Another of Ron's cars, with a see-through body, appears to run twice as fast. In fact, he calculated it at 138 mph once, though he figures it's a little slower now.
"You should see it when there are eight of those together on a track," Barb said. "You have to pay attention to your lane, not your car."