by Cicero A. Estrella, Chronicle Staff Writer
Paul Gawronski and Tracy Chin are best of pals, but that friendship means little once they line up on the racetrack.
At one of the Pacific Coast Nationals races held at Rohnert Park earlier this month, Gawronski’s pace-setting car violently flew off the track. Race director Frank Sarkella halted proceedings until it was returned safely to the field of seven racers. Chin balked, complaining that turn marshals, situated beside the track, first needed to call timeout before Sarkella could stop the race. Sarkella overruled him.
So much for the buddy system. In the surprisingly fierce and competitive world of slot car racing, Petaluma’s Gawronski is the hunted man. He is the country’s top racer, with 15 national titles since 1994 and a 1997 world championship. Everybody wants to knock him off, probably no one more than his buddy Chin of San Francisco.
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