Small Speed: RC Racing in the Biggest Little City

Reno, NV | May 2024

A race track.  Cars ripping around corners and flying through the air.  Race positions announced over speakers as spectators watch anxiously.  The drivers, however, are not found in the cars.  Instead, they’re lined up side-by-side on a raised platform looking down on the track.  This is the world of RC car racing.

Racing is a highly competitive sport, but this feels more like a community of varying skill levels with the common goal of having fun and enjoying time at the track.  Drivers are eager to help one another, especially when a newcomer first enters the sport.  If a driver’s car will not function properly before a race, fellow drivers rush to their aide and will even offer to lend their cars to them.  Overall, it is a healthy competition built on friendship and good will.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of the sport of RC racing is that everyone is welcome regardless of age.  At times you will witness drivers of vastly different ages lining up against one another.  Age is meaningless as long as a driver understands their car and how best to operate it around the track.  Driving, however, is only half of racing RC cars.

Drivers need to routinely tune and make critical adjustments to their cars before and after each race.  While drivers who get behind the physical wheel of a race car have a team full of mechanics and other specialists, RC car drivers are the entire team.  Instead of air-powered tools and pit stops, RC car adjustments are made with small screwdrivers on top of workbenches.  RC cars are composed of electronics, gears, and several other small parts that drivers must learn in order to correctly tune and get the best out of their cars.

The sport offers something different for everyone.  For some, it is a hobby that they get to enjoy once or twice a week with family or friends.  If successful enough, drivers may land sponsorships from major brands within the sport turning their hobby into a profession.  Needed or not, it is an escape where people can break free from the worries of everyday life as the only thing on their mind is the next race.

Tyler Longoria, 18, with his RC car as he prepares for his next race at Whip It RC Raceway & Hobbies in Reno, NV.

Racing RC cars since February 2022, Josh Durkota of Reno, NV received his first RC car as a Christmas gift in 2021.  He races in the Sportsman class.

Phoenix Pristero, 5, has been racing RC cars for less than a year with the help of his father, Louie.  He races in the Novice class and will be entering kindergarten this year.

Skye Gift, 11, races in the Novice class and has been enjoying the sport of RC racing for three months.

B.J. Carl, 44, races in the Novice class and has been racing RC cars for nine months.

Keaton Grant, 9, has been racing since he was six years old and races in the Expert class.  When not in school, he likes to spend time at the track with his parents, Chris and Erin Grant.

Born and raised in Reno, NV, Chris Grant became the fourth and latest owner of Whip It RC Raceway & Hobbies in 2023.  He is fast to give all the credit for the business' success to his wife, Erin, who works tirelessly behind the scenes to keep things operational.  Since making improvements to the track and facilities, Chris and Erin are currently developing plans to offer summer camps and other activities to the Reno community in the future.  Most evenings end with Chris, Erin, and their three children at the track where they enjoy being together as a family.

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