Drivers at this local remote-controlled car track put the pedal to the metal

Dan Smith

It has a large indoor dirt track in a modest building on a modest lot on Saturn Road. There is an auto parts store in addition to a fully stocked repair pit for drivers. Many members of the racing world use this facility from all over the country. No, it's not Devil's Bowl Speedway. This is Indy RC World — racing remote control cars. Among the community is Caleb Harrigan, father of three who grew up racing Pro Circuit in Southern Utah. “I haven't raced in years. I am repairing a car driven by "Now I think I'm just a mechanic.
The Harrigan kids drove off in the morning to race their cars in an open practice open to both novice and competitive drivers driving in a relaxed environment. Outside of just recreational joyrides, Indy RC World can turn dirt tracks into oval drag race strips and off-road loops. Every time you change course, your racing customers and your own racing strategy change dramatically. Most events hosted by Indy RC World are purely recreational. With the exception of the major Pro Circuits, which host events in space, almost all races and tournaments are held solely for bragging rights and first place placards. “Tuesday night is electric night,” says Juan Castro, a racer and freelance artist who specializes in painting RC cars.
The terms "electric" and "nitro" in RC cars simply refer to the way the car accelerates. Electric cars are fully battery powered and tend to slow down and die sooner than nitro cars. Nitro cars, on the other hand, are petrol-powered and have many of the same engine and carburetor components as real full-size cars. The difference between electric and nitro is very easy to notice as each RC car's slick cover is pulled apart to reveal everything working underneath. Electricity is always battery-powered and nitro is always gas-powered, so each racer tends to narrow their plans of attack down to a few small screws and switches on their cars in order to outmaneuver their opponents. Many drivers prefer to build their own car from scratch rather than buying an off-the-shelf car. 18-year-old driver Luke Hawkins has built this car most of his life. “My father bought me my first RC car when I was 10,” says Hawkins. "But once I got serious about riding it, I started to want to know the inside and outside of my car." Hawkins says he's not good enough to race, but he enjoys coming to the track and meeting other drivers. His friendly sentiment seems to represent the vast majority of people in the RC his car world. His hobby is nothing but having fun. "The whole thing is a great escape," says Hawkins. "Plus, crashing a car and being okay with it is fun.