Start Your Engines — Slot Car Racing Is Back!

Farley, Meadowbrook and Pebble Beach

Invented in 1912, the small-scale, obsessive sport of slot car racing has seen its ups and downs over the last hundred years. The hobby, in which motorized model cars speed around a slotted track, enjoyed its height of popularity after World War II, then sputtered in the ’70s with the introduction of Pong and other videogames. The public arcades where hobbyists could race have largely been wiped off the map, but an estimated three million slot car enthusiasts still rev their tiny engines in basements and garages.

David Beattie, a 47-year-old printing company COO, is one of those subterranean speedway owners. In 2004 he asked his wife to buy him a small slot car course as a Christmas gift. Within a year, he had custom-built an extravagant 20′x20′ track, the largest in the US, in his basement.

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