On the road

(photo by Erica Chase-Salerno)

I had come across the Hudson Valley Raceway’s slot-car center’s website, but didn’t really understand it until my kids and I stopped in to check it out. In about two seconds, we were all hooked! This is so much fun, I can barely type this out to tell you about it. It’s basically a scale-model raceway. You can rent a car and a controller, and it corresponds with the color-coded lanes on the track. You insert the front tab of your car in the groove of your lane (that’s the “slot” part), attach your controller to the posts and like a flash, your car is hurtling down the track. If you lose control of your car, it pops out of the slot and you have to go reinsert it. That ended up being a good part of my job as the kids got started.

We did two of the three tracks: There’s a big curvy track, an oval track and a drag-race straight track. There’s also a monitor so you can compare your lap times, which was fun. I got down to 2.7 seconds on the oval track. You pay for the rental time of the track. We played for half an hour, which was $10 for each of us, and my kids were begging for more.

Slot cars are a lot of fun! My kids are already saving up to buy their own customizable slot cars, which apparently go even faster than what we were using as rentals. It’s so satisfying running something that goes so fast. I’d say that this is an activity that’s ideal for ages 5 through adult. It takes some coordination to manipulate the car successfully around the track, but it’s a great way to feel the energy of real car races. The venue hosts a variety of racing events, including 2 p.m. Rookie Races on Sundays for $10. This is a wonderful indoor activity, especially during the winter months.

Hudson Valley Raceway is located at 629 Route 52 (Fishkill Avenue) in Beacon, behind and underneath Southern Dutchess Bowl. For more information, call (845) 838-5333 or visit www.hvraceway.net.

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