Rick and my story of racing, and up to The Cave Speedway becoming a real thing
So many have asked for the history of The Cave Speedway, so here it is. I will write it as best I remember the journey with Rick Williamson. A full documentary.
A long read, since this has 29 years of information. More or less like a book, in digital form without page numbers, but full of information.
Rick has quite a legacy to cover, I tried to put most of this in chronological order, and did the best I could, as I have been writing this story for some time now. Since I was a big part of Rick, and his success, wanted to write about this from my memories, recall as best I can. I am not going to cover ALL we did, in our 29 years of knowing each other, and just the things related to the beginnings, of our friendship and love of slot cars and dirt racing, and The Cave Speedway becoming a reality, going to big slot car racing 1/25th scale, from the tiny HO racing 1/64 Super late models.
Pre planning beginnings of the big car track
Anyone who has ever been to Winchester Speedway, and Hagerstown Speedway knows there are several elements in keeping a track going, keeping drivers and fans interested.
And for making a brand new track, and starting something that had never done before, a lot of challenges. So Rick thought very hard, and was several years of planning, before he built what was to become The Cave Speedway. Just like Gunter s Honey is heavily involved with Winchester Speedway. My company that I owned, Dark Moon Technologies, was heavily involved in The Cave Speedway. You can see Dark Moon Technologies sponsorship throughout. From Victory lane, website, and track sponsorship signs, Anyone that knew Rick knew you he was a humble man. It took some convincing from me to him, that I would support him throughout, and whatever he needed to get this up and running, my company was doing well and could assist with anything we needed.
I did whatever I could to help Rick with The Cave Speedway from day 1, until The Cave Speedways ended, when his health would not allow him to operate The Cave anymore. This story dedicated to my best friend Rick Williamson, and all can say, and that I can remember on the beginnings, and up to the creation of what would be The Cave Speedway, and the behind the scenes info, and all that can be said about it overall as best as memories can recall. While anyone can go on Facebook, and or google pictures of The Cave, these are the stories, and hope all can enjoy, of our racing transition from HO to big 1/25 scale. And 29 years of a wonderful friendship that started in 1993.
-Mike Parrill Sr
At first inception of the big cars were 1/24 and 1/25 both referenced as the scale, but the latter 1/25 term was used more, and became the final reference.
Here is Rick when The Cave Speedway was in its prime, was the mid 2000's and the Cave was a very good success!, and he was very proud of what he had accomplished. Almost as good as the bible's Genesis chapter. A very proud man.
Rick in his happy place, last picture has Super Late Model driver Tony Crim looking on, as Rick has his 00 Booper Bare car. And doing his famous Earl Baltes.
Now the stories begin, as I remember
Well here is the novel.
When I purchased my home in the early 90s's. I decided it needed a slot car track in the basement. so built basic table tops clip together track sets, of HO scale. of different designs, and once even a 6 lane HO scale aurora track. This all was after a very long slot car hiatus from childhood, since had not had any slot cars or track since my early teens. I had found some HO cars on ebay, and built up an HO fleet went crazy and soon had 100s of HO cars again.
But finally needing parts, and getting into the local slot car crowd scene, I wound up at Marks Hobby shop in the downtown Winchester mall, this is where I met Rick. Immediately we found we both had a love for slot cars, and dirt track racing.
So I decided to make a new wood home routed track. and starting out way back we raced HO Super Late Models in my basement in
Winchester in the early 90s., on this track I called the track Parrilldega. And would meet and see Rick at Marks Hobby shop in downton Mall in Winchester VA, for racing on the HO zig zag track located there.
My track was a pretty big track for HO scale. A super long straightaway oval. Just
a wood routed 4 lane track, with trackmate scoring. Way back using MS
DOS. We raced Sprints too with Afx pancake chassis. This track was
painted brown at first few years. And later I painted the surface
white. The track was dismantled in mid late 90s. It was a little rough in some places, but was a good start, and a lot of slot racers showed up and raced on it including Rick would bring his son Matt along, and a lot of history was made there. Usually a crowd of 10 to 15 back then, as a lot was a family thing. We had Steve Jones travel from Richmond to race, and usually he brought someone with him. No one else was doing this tiny realistic Super Late model racing, and once in a while someone would travel to race or check it out in person. Spectators showed up also. A lot of them would see the Super Lates true to scale HO cars. And would make some deals to get one from Rick.
This track and the oval that Rick built, but let up to the history of Rick Williamson's Cave Speedway. For the pickup rails, used copper wire and hammered it into the routed slots. This way could not use any magnets or for down force,
Rick and my slot car tracks, and our dirt racing alliance
Since Rick came over and raced at
Parrilldega and saw him a lot at Marks Hobby shop at Marks HO track. I started hanging out with Rick more at Winchester Speedway and
Hagerstown. Although we had both went to the dirt races, and avid Super
Late Model fans, we had never went together before. We talked about needing a track without magnet down force. To make the racing more old fashioned, realistic, since the cars would slip and slide. At Marks Hobby shop, the cars had so much magnet down force, you could race them and almost hold controller wide open around the track, and kinda boring Rick and I thought. However Mark had quite a following there.. that place was packed with people liking to race on his track that he had set up at mark's models and toys. Rick and I thought be so much fun to have a track like the old Tjet cars were, were they slipped and slid around the track...
We also planned some trips to Eldora for The Dream and The World 100, and made a lot of memories there too. Being really into dirt racing. Ricks son Matt, and my son Mike Jr went also with my family. Talked dirt racing and slot cars a whole lot back then. Also back then there was the Big Kahuna. It was a series of races at local dirt tracks with Super Late models for a 3 day show. Rick took his camper and we hung out, we also took my camper on several outings. On all Rick would talk of making a realistic slot car track, and in big scale, and the dreams of it becoming real.
Early Video eye candy
Here are some videos of the early Parrilldega track racing. HO scale Super Late models with a pancake afx motor. could race magnet afx if wanted to,but did no good on the copper rails lol.
This made the slip and slide racing Rick and I had talked about, and another step in the direction
of what would become the idea for Rick's big car track ideas, these videos early 90s
But from now on we were racing buddies. This meetup friendship sparked Rick into building a dirt themed HO oval track, that we raced on also at Marks Hobby Shop in Winchester where Mark Tutton hosted. We had made some HO scale Super Late Model bodies although Rick went above and beyond and produced some fantastic HO scale super late models and painted by hand! Even the small lettering. was Amazing. I still have a few he made, and Matthew his son said he has some. Here are some HO AFX from that era, and the fantastic small scale cars Rick hand painted all. Some of these are almost 30 years old. The 19 and 15 in below picture are Ricks great work by hand. Others are bodies ran in other divisions and at Smokin Joes, and Marks Hobbies on Ricks Oval and at Skyline Hobbies when Ricks oval was hosted there for awhile, and also ran at Parrilldega.
Here is a very early Late Model car body, The Eckert 0 car, that I had thrown together early 90's.way back - hard get clear pic close on those old cameras. Some guys were doing this also at that time, and just a wedge with some numbers on it, nothing realistic.
Mike Hardy, a Winchester Speedway semi late, HO body only
I showed Rick this above Eckert car at Marks Models toys, while this was rough looking. Mike Jr had a wedge shaped red 44 for Stuler at the time for HO racing. We talked bout ideas of looking more realistic. They were guys making some paper bodies as mentioned HO scale.
The one week Rick showed up at Marks hobbies with a very realistic HO scale late model body. I saw it and WOW! it was a eureka moment. All the dirt racing fans at Marks Hobbies that day looked at this new creation from Rick! And Rick had changed everything.
....and now the story continues.
Rick made these below, the 15 car, the 19 and the 75. these bodies survived and some of the first ones Rick built. My son Mike Jr ran the 19 a lot since he was a big Stuler fan. and I being Bart Hartman fan ran the 75. The 15 I bought from him, since my wife was a big Steve Francis fan, and was not raced very much and why it has so much less wear and tear. These were such a drastic design change from the door wedge bodies that were raced and seen at Marks models and toys.
And a great task, since we know how small HO scale is, and to hand paint etc, was a true marvel of Ricks abilities.
..... and here there are.
Here is some HO scale that I and my son Mike Jr ran back in the day at Parrilldega, Ran these on Ricks first oval at Marks Hobby Shop, Smokin Joes Speedway, and Skyline hobbies. If there was a slot car race, Rick would be there.
Rick would show up at the Winchester Speedway and Hagerstown Speedway when we would go. He had a plastic baggie and show off his Super late model bodies back then. These were the HO scale. He was always impressed with Steve Smiths Racing Replicas back then. and most racing fans can remember Steve and his display of hand detailed metal super late models. Rick said I am going to do the same. I am going to build some super realistic 1/25 th scale Super late models, that have the look and detail as Steve's cars had.
Ricks HO oval he made and setup for racing at Marks Models and Toys in old Mall Winchester VA early 90s.
Enter Joe Andrews of Front Royal
Later we met Joe Andrews of Front Royal mid to late 90s, while Rick had setup his oval track that he had built first in his home basement. We met Joe while racing HO slot cars in Front Royal at the Hobby Shop there. Rick had kept his home routed track in his home basement after was at Marks Models and Toys in Winchester, and then he made an alliance with Skyline Hobbies and put his oval there.
Rick was always wheeling and dealing getting some promotions in and working to make alliances as he could. This HO routed track oval I am speaking of above of Rick's predated the big 1/25 track that came later. Rick sold his oval track and now the story continues...
Enter Smokin Joe's Speedway in Front Royal, owner Joe Andrews
When Skyline Hobbies in Front Royal closed up. Joe Andrews bought the routed D shaped HO track that had been there,and we raced in his basement. He named this Smokin Joes Speedway. Joe hosted and Rick, was able to use his bodies there, and get some exposure, and Joe helped him sell them there too. Word was getting out on Ricks HO Super Bodies. We had a points race between Smokin Joes Speedway and Parrilldega in Winchester VA.
Some old pics of that track as this was long ago, when raced at Smokin Joes Speedway in his home basement in Front Royal, and he was a big part of all this slot car racing we did from the HO days of Winchester and Front Royal Va. Joe not only hosted races, he helped Rick sell his HO Super Late Model bodies. Rick was still using the RWR Rick William Racing.
pics of Smokin Joes Speedway, Joe is seated setting up the events, Rick Wiliamson and others having a blast at Joes's HO track in 90s Lee Bowers in poney tail had routed and made this track. after Skyline Hobbies in Front Royal closed, Joe purchased and hosted public races at his home.
Thanks to Joe Andrews for providing these pictures.
more pics of Smokin Joes Speedway, We ran Ricks Hand mad Super late models with AFX pancake motors
Joe helped Rick sell his Super Late Model bodies, under RWR as mentioned earlier
Joe Andrews, owner of Smokin Joe Speedways truck and sprint car, and case of HO cars for sale
So we had had 3 tracks for HO late models and Sprints at one time. Ran AFX non magnatraction. We had a points race and had a schedule of Parrilldega and Smokin Joes Speedway. This was at the time Rick was between tracks, as no more racing at Skyline Hobbies. And we all raced between Joe's HO track in front Royal, and the Parrilldega track in Winchester VA as stated above.
But even though Rick didn't have a track, Rick was busy continuing making his HO Super late Model bodies, so I got busy and built a website The first website was named rwrslotcars.com. Stood for "Rick Williamson Racing."
See below of way the website looked
way back in 90's with the way backmachine archive.
The experimental years story of going from HO scale to big 1/25th scale
We took some of the HO Super late Bodies placed on the big scale
Parrilldega track and what you see here is history in the making. He
offered bodies for sale
and was kinda between tracks of his own , since sold the oval. but was
into making the HO late model bodies. As above mentioned we called this RWR slot cars for
Rick Williamson Racing. I had built the site, and it worked well for what
Some of pics did not show since was from wayback machine grab, but you can see what it used to be.
The first grab is when he was making small HO Scale bodies, the 2nd grab screenshot is when he started making the bigger scale 1/25th Super Late Model Bodies, all these photos from the Parrilldega dirt themed track in my garage in Winchester.
Ricks early body making for HO and 1/25th scale. He made a template, so he could cut each piece of plastic, and hand glue together. He would by sheets of white polystyrene, and cut out with razer knife patterns he had made and line up with his template, and glue together.
Was a tedious thing, but he got it done. A local racer Lee was going to build a vacuuform for noses. But he moved away, but Rick learned a way to use other polystyrene bodies or lexan and cut nose off, and use this.Rick got the complete hand made body down pretty good.
Here Rick started also making the 1/25 scale Super Late bodies, but no
track as of yet, so we continued testing at Parrilldega as mentioned
earlier. Side by side comparison photo HO vs 1/25th scale at Parrillega. This is how the website looked back int the 90's as Rick offered both HO and 1/25th scale Super Late bodies. The 1/25th picture is mock-up at Parrilldega dirt track in my garage.
little long but a good story, in addition to rest of stories here, since it relates to slot car racing in area even today..
Anyone who has raced slot cars in past, has came across the sidewinders motor mount method. Rick Williamson and I had ran those type cars and were familiar, since they were the RTR 1/32 cars that we ran at Parrilldega 1/32 dirt track, in my garage in Winchester VA. We raced some that had OEM bodies, some NASCAR themed. This track I had built, going from HO scale to a bigger 1/32 scale of racing in early 2000s. The "experimental years" I call them.
But when Rick, and I had talked about this new 1/25 scale racing format deal, that would happen at his Cave Speedway, wanted the motor to stay inline. Like old fashioned slot car racing. And we were the operation of The Cave Speedway. He being the owner and promoter, I doing background work. We were like Dave Wilt, and Doug Timmons, of the old Winchester Speedway days.
It takes a lot to make something new, and to keep something good happening, and I am happy that can still share some early history.
It is so truly sad that we lost Rick so early, and he had some real visions, and I am happy i could help make these things come true for him.
Most can relate to the old way of front engine and rear differential placement in real cars. Not taking anything away from real dirt racing front wheel drive racing, as can produce some fun racing in real life racing.
Its just all know the old method of automakers with front engine rear diff. So we wanted this same type thing, even tho a tiny electric motor. It would be mounted inline like a real super late dirt car engine, driving a rear gear in same fashion on a 1/25 scale or real car. Wanted to stay away from sidewinder method. I even built a front motor mounted rear drive chassis, and pic can be found in media section of group.
So way back in Winchester VA, in my garage, in the wee hours of the night, I built 4 chassis. (4) chassis for (4) bodies Rick Williamson had built, and we needed a chassis to work, the early ones were crude, with very early motors, and had adopted the parma death-star motor later, but this is the beginnings of slot car racing super late models, that is still happening today, with chassis improvements, and this is the story on the beginnings not told before.
You can go out to Winchester VA and surrounding areas and race these 1/25 scale Super late model cars. Now way advanced in chassis design, and bodies that look fantastic, but again these are the stories of how all this happened, so can exist today.
So the crude chassis with inline motor design, purpose built for the pr-exiting 1/25 bodies, was the adopted method, and written in the rule book of "inline motor rule" in the days of the beginnings, in early 2000s, experiments, and shaking down this new 1/25 scale super late model racing deal.
As the first chassis I built were very crude, as no chassis had existed or had been built for the bodies. Rick had made the first body in 1997 with 4" wheelbase.
So in the garage in Winchester VA, was some building and I made the new scratch built crude new chassis that was made to fit the preexisting bodies of 1/25 scale of RWR.
This "inline motor" chassis idea, was to make for some really fun slipping and sliding racing. Just like the real superlates, on the real dirt track, with the rear hanging way out in turns. Anyone who remembers the beginnings the 1/25 scale super lates slot cars, they were slipping and fishtailing and was a lot of fun, was very hard to pass, with the cars out of shape and the squeeze lanes. Will link the youtube of the very first friends, and word of mouth invites show up racing, testing shaking down, before went public and can see how free these very old chassis I made were, as all these cars in that youtube video had this chassis. Rick went on to make a more advanced chassis, but these are the beginnings stories.
And then the "if you build it they will come" came into effect. A lot racers turned up, word of mouth was getting out and a lot traveled to see all this hype of new dirt slot racing with big cars.
We had Chris Sumption show up and checking out this new hype, Brad Ritter and Tony Crim, all Winchester Speedway real race car drivers, were some of the first to show up and enjoy the small scale super late racing. Alan Sagi made the trip and got hooked. He being a real dirt race car driver also.
But now the competition was getting hot, and just like Ray Everham, and Smokey Yunick, car builders worked on getting the best out of the inline mounted motor, so as mentioned before here. WRK Racecars, Dwayne Welsh, was the first started moving the motor left.
Then each week for some time, a car chassis builder would move more left, and finally until there was no more room to move left. So we lost some of the slip and slide, that was in the beginnings ideas to have.
But car speeds improved, lap time records became a norm.
a fresh built new car would show up, with someone who could handle it, and car was super fast, as rear did not hang out, and slip in turns. Still had the squeeze lane factors, and some great racing.
That is the name of the game in any racing, big real racing or small scale. Gotta cut that lap faster than your competitor!
But this motor move, did not break any rules, since motor was still inline, and was a good idea, just like old crew chief Ray Everham back in day trying new things, and Smokey Yunick real nascar car builder, and some others, who found a way around the rules for some awesome winning chassis mods.
So once again, real race car history, and small 1/25 slot car history intertwine together here on ideas.
Seems even today, that motor mount rule has been adopted by other tracks, and can find in their rule-books today.
attached pic of old sidewinder motor car article from old slot car racing mag. And pics attached of the first very crude chassis I had scratch built to accomodate the 1/25 Super late bodies made by RWR racing.
the very early days youtube video link below, no walls yet, fresh laid copper tape and fun, 65000 views since posted way back in time.
more of story continues
Rick first made the big bodies. In 1997 he made the first realistic 1/25th scale body. Was the Cheerios Super late model below. He remained proud, that was his first ever big car built. Can see from the wheel wells, this on the first experimental chassis and tires used.
(photo at big Parrilldega dirt track)
Here is the that Cheerios car later at Ricks new thing "The Cave Speedway "
Later after Rick sold his HO Oval, he started his big dream of big 1/25 cars. with the bodies he made shown previous in this story, and again this was the testing and proving grounds at Parrilldega Dirt track, and what would become The Cave Speedway.
More testing and proving grounds at Parrilldega for the big cars
During this time of Ricks big 1/25 body making. As mentioned, I had put a 1/32 track in garage. It was a 4 lane oval. Took 2 Artin 2 1/32nd lane tracks. Puttied the middle and sanded smooth for a basic 4 lane. Painted track brown. We raced NASCAR 1/32 scale and Rick had a few of those RTR NASCAR themed slot cars. We had some races and played around on this track. After races we would put the big cars on and run them around. While we could not run them side by side since big super lates were 1/5th scale on a 1/32nd scale track, but everyone there had a blast and a lot of fun and Rick knew he was onto something with the big car experiments.
Here is pics of the Parrilldega dirt track put in the garage. I made it look real had water trucks and how about that outhouse I had made. Fencing was ice cream sticks lol. And had made a flagmags stand too. lol. old RC car tires used inside the turns.
And then Rick brought up his big 1/25th scale bodies. We played around making a chassis for them to be able to actually work.
This Parrilldega dirt track was the testing and proving grounds on what would become later the true Cave Speedway. We extended some womp chassis to get the 4" wheelbase. and rigged up some body mounts. Since the 1/25th cars were big, they could not run side by side, could go around track and fool around.So now the big Super Late Model cars actually worked! Even tho this track was 1/32nd scale it was still big enough for testing. Even had dirt late model driver Tony Crim come up and he said wow so very cool! While Tony never raced with us. He was an avid fan of the big dirt car racing idea. And Rick took Tony's okay for this as a good thing.
All the slot car guys racing there, that saw these new experimental big cars were excited about this! Rick knew it was time to pull the trigger and start to make the big track!
Some pics of the Parrilldega Dirt track, the proving and testing grounds for the big 1/25th Super late Model bodies. Testing proving grounds. I had put a model car V8 in the caterpillar car LOL. Was experiment times as stated. I made several water trucks and transplanted them onto Ricks Cave Speedway, were they remained.
Here is the very first big cars that would go onto ones we started racing at The Cave. This chassis I made to start with was used until Rick made a new design he used, adn others started making their own chassis.
Found old pic. Mark Tutton from Marks Models and Toys, came over to Parrilldega dirt track, to check out Ricks big car bodies in action. If anyone out there is still in touch with Mark, show him this pic. Mark being the local hobby shop expert, and all of us had raced there, a long time at his Hobby shop on HO cars. He gave a big thumbs up! and rest is history, happy I found this old pic. Early 2000's the experimental days of Ricks idea's of realistic big Super Late Models. Good pic of the Cheerios car body, Rick made in 1997. and it finally getting a chassis. And were some pics had been looking for to complete Rick and my documentary.
More on the first big car chassis made to fit the preexisting 1/25 scale late model bodies
I had designed these and we used these first, until Rick made a new design that had screw post you will see later, and in next segment you can see his new design. Just ordered bunch of parts and threw together with the added metal tabs for body mounts of first design. and basic small motors before going to the parma deathstar later.
With the hand built 1/25th scale bodies hand built by Rick. Starting out we had 2 different mounting body to chassis methods. Rick and I looked at this as a fresh start. So we both came up with different designs for the early first start of the big cars as a complete running system. As mentioned Rick had designed the bodies and they were ready, but no chassis.
Rick had designed his first chassis like a tripod. One mount in middle front that hooked on body under hood,, and 2 screws on rear deck. I still have 2 of his his first design chassis. See below photo and can see Ricks early design, top. My early (Mike Parrill Sr) design on bottom. Had 2 tubes in body, that slid over mounts -my design was extended modded brass chassis with 2 straw type metal posts bent vertical, and mounted inside door to let body float.
The parts online store NCP hobbies used way back. But it was all the parts source at that time, to make the chassis, the brass pan to extend, axles bushings, flags etc. We started out with parma deathstar motors.
Later as more racers joined in racing at The Cave, we all started using the push pin mounts as most have today, that was designed into the racing chassis, since more and more racers added their own designs, and now a big variety of chassis designs exist.
Here is a chassis with screw mounts on the sides, new design from a racer
Here is Rick the pioneer of slot car Realistic Super Late Model Racing in making his realistic Super Late Model Bodies, note the first Cheerios car he made in 1997 in background
But here you are looking at early first ever big car chassis raced at The Cave Speedway.
Ricks chassis design that we would start running
Next picture after this, from car on side can see the chassis I had made as above with the straw type body mounts on metal rod bent upward.
Rick started pumping his body's out, and had quite a production method. There's some old pics of them lined up on his workshop ready to be sold and raced. Plain white bodies in big scale. If can find it, will add it here.
Here is Ricks assembly line from back in The Cave Speedway Days, everyone one of them tediously hand built.
Rick really advanced and built some very good chassis, as can see his design was more advanced than my design. But following this we had the early to join racing at The Cave Speedway racers Mike Nail and Junior Cooper were hard at making new designs to chassis, as well as Dwayne Welsh of Welsh Race Kars.
So all the chassis designs local, started at The Cave. Also at The Cave Speedway there were all kinds of chassis wars came to life to race there. Joe Shifflet was one that was a great chassis builder also, and designed some very fast chassis also (Moonshine chassis). He and Alan Sagi won many races with his designs, as well Mike Nail and Jr Cooper (CRC chassis) and Dwayne Welsh (WRK chassis) with his own design also. Racers were running around trying to decide which team chassis they wanted to run lol.
New chassis builds and mods going to the extreme limits
The motor was being moved as far left as possible. Each week someone was trying some new angle to handle better. Rear view of cars.
photo by Chris Renner of Winchester VA.
You can see the motor is very far left. This design started in 2005, by Dwayne Welsh of WRK , Welsh Race Kars. Rules were motor had to be inline, cannot have sidewinder. So he was creative and moved motor to left. Helped handling dramatically, and now reset is history. All current area tracks run this motor placement still today. Other chassis builders used his design , and the chassis wars began as covered in these stories.
Even today at the legacy slot car dirt tracks opened from Ricks ideas, all have drivers with different chassis designs today.
So just like real life Super Late Model different chassis designs, with Bullet, Mastersbuilt, Rocket etc. was the exact same at The Cave.
Rick was so happy as what he created!. The Cave was really doing great!
Was cool to see all the different designs come out, he would talk about that a lot.
Since Rick's work route went to most race drivers shops, he could get scaled down decals, and hand paint the rest. And was good promotion to get word out on his races coming up etc, since most racing shops were interested in The Cave Speedway slot racing news and things. Rick loved to talk to them about his track and happenings there. ....story continues below
Onto the building of The Cave Speedway ..a chapter of story in reverse order.....
Rick got some mdf board, and started building The Cave Speedway. Once he had it routed, we ran the tape. His sons Tyler and Matt helped a lot on the track construction.
Rick and I discussed the track and after hard work of routing just the slots, and was such a pain to even make the slots. I told Rick I had read online in bulletin boards,that a lot of other tracks routed ( none any dirt track themed) but they had used the church glass copper tape.
So we decided to go with the copper tape instead, so Rick did not have to route the recessed slots for the braid.
I purchased the rolls of the copper tape used to paint church windows etc.
So Rick just made the guide slots in the track. And with Matt and Tyler and myself, we laid the copper tape by the slot groove.I wired the track. To our astonishment, the copper tape worked very well. There were on occasion the tape tore sometimes, due to a bad car pile up, or a spot would be temperamental and rise up in a spot. Rick would have to stop the racing. pull out the red flag, while we waited for the super glue to set. But overall the copper tape was a success, and held up very well. The speed of the cars and car counts and long nights of racing proved to work well with the copper tape!
Here is a throwback of the first laying of copper tape at The Cave Speedway...and it begins as a real thing. Late 2003
Going so far back hard to find all, but I found this thumbnail, I took of Rick n Tyler working the copper tape into the track.
We all worked on this and Rick and his sons Tyler and Matt and myself, and finally it was complete! I am happy I was a picture taking fool!
Track Scoring details
I had transferred the trackmate scoring and relays from the Parrilldega big car track and retired that track..And moved the trakmate scoring to the 1/25 scale track Rick was building. Since the Parrilldega was 4 lane, just had to buy the module to accept the 6 lane hookups. Way back the computer track mate was running by the old MS DOS version lol. Later that old system gave some issue, with the cars getting much faster, and the high car counts. In 2008 I then purchased the most up to date version of Track Mate and the controlling module. Because we were getting driver feedback of missing laps and complaints. I promised Rick would fix. I also contacted Daniel at trakmate and he made some custom improvements, where we could take laps off and add laps. And much better lap counting when cars drifted thru the dead strip at end of heats and cautions etc. Daniel worked with me and we got a handle on the program. He thanked us for the shake down of his program. The new custom program update lasted up to the end of The Cave Speedway, and worked very well.
Stepping back and talking more on the track inception ideas as The Cave Speedway starting becoming a real thing..
Rick said he wanted to make this track an equalizer, check out the 3 lanes inside squeezed together together in the turns. When racing there, you had to plan your entry into the turns. Those that raced there knew this well, and for those that never made it, see below. This simulated real dirt racing, when the track would grease up and bottom lanes tighten up for tough passing.
See this photo Rick and I staged, for the Slot Car magazine article, and shows the squeeze effect of lanes 1 -3, cars are going into turn 3. You got the same treatment entering turns 1 and 2.
Rick wanted a scaled down 5/8 oval and the track was 49' to make a lap. Track is 6 lanes with the before mentioned first inside 3 lanes squeezed in turns. Table waste level so all ages could have fun. Had some little guys take home trophies at The Cave Speedway. Track wired for brakes, if racer wanted to use that option for alligator hookups. Trackmate Scoring. Surface made of MDF board.
For track power I suggested to Rick to go with a high amp big 12v battery. This would make unlimited amps and plenty of power for the big track. As the track came to life. I added working caution/green lights. Rick made light poles and we ran wiring. So now the big car track was alive. Rick said when Matt ran the first car, and it went around the track, he was so happy, he cried little bit. So now he kicked his promoter skills in. Got some sponsors. And was a real genius and visionary.
Rick said he wanted to have some big races like Eldora did. Instead of World 100, was Little World 100. The Annual memorial race for past racer Earl Grim, and the Sweetheart annual races.
He said he wanted memorable trophy's too, just like the real super late model drivers got, then they won a race.
Computers and technology enter Ricks life
So now it is early 2000s and the website is working in google search engines and
I had made sure search engines (also yahoo, bing,altavista, you name it, I had the site indexing the site)
If anyone did not know, I had my own information technology support business, and I used all I knew to help Rick success and push all the tech I could to get the Cave Speedway active on the internet and found by anyone seeking slot cars, dirt racing subjects.
This way, any slot car and dirt racing enthusiast searching the keywords, would land on the site.
As this website hits and interest grew, I told Rick, we need to get you a computer and this way you can
monitor the emails and requests. I had added phone numbers, so Rick and I could field the phone calls. Me in daytime, Rick evenings. In addition to email.
As I was doing all this. He fought me on a computer lol. He said he could live without them. But as I told him what I was seeing on the bulletin boards, and emails and people reaching out about his super late bodies and Cave Racing. At that time he decided "OK" and I brought a computer down and set it up. We called Comcast and they added a hookup. Now I showed him how to use the computer and saved all the sites that were interesting at the time and showed him how to use the email. Well it was not 2 days later. He called me and he had a battle with the computer. When I came down, the mouse was just a cord!. He could not do something, I forget what and the mouse took a beating lol. So I replaced the mouse and we laughed about it. I setup the website so he could add his news or any racing info he needed. He got better with computers and actually took a liking to them so much, as toward the latter days of The Cave, he bought a laptop. He and Matt set that up, since he had advanced his computer skills. I had setup the Cave Speedway Facebook page, and showed him how to use it. I relinquished control of the site in the latter days, as Rick learned to operate it well. And Rick would post there, and did not need to post on the .com site. Vickie helped with blogger news when Rick, or I could not.
did take a couple of his 1/25th bodies and had Steve Smith hand paint
details as an experiment In the early Cave Speedway days.
Here is the 25 car that was painted and detailed by Steve Smith, can see the very early racing chassis.
Mark pays a visit
Mark Tutton the area slot car guru, and avid hobbyist who gave advise to the area. He had operated Marks Models and Toys in Winchester Va, and also moved his shop to Front Royal Va. Came down to check out things at The New Cave Speedway, and he gave another big thumbs up! He was a long time alliance with Rick and me.
I Mike Parrill Sr, from day one at The Cave, was Ricks right hand man.
The Little World 100 trophy
Ricks true genius shines
Instead of The Dream. Was The Nitemare. Here is an early Nite Mare race winner Brian Massey, in 2010.
Here is Rick when he claimed a Nitemare race, I am very sure was not an easy win, as competition was tough at The Cave.
The Bentonville 200
Jr Cooper winner, with Mike Nail
The Waylon hun'rd, Rick was one helluva Waylon Jennings fan, and this was so cool.
Alan Sagi's car in Victory Lane in 2007
Shout out to Vicky Seal for all these checks, and winner circle boards, and hard work
The Black Friday race added later.
All this Rick's amazing thinking.
Here is Rick and local dirt racing driver Alan Sagi.
The Annual Sweet heart races
The new website I built for Rick for big 1/25 cars, see below screen grab from way back time machine of the next site I built for Rick. thecavespeedway.com. from wayback machine can see what this was like back in the day. This is what we used to communicate with racing fans. And google crawler indexed the site so any local racer searching google for a local slot car track would show up. and as mentioned this predates the facebook Cave Speedway site. We had slot racers find us on google from Maine and Georgia and a few came to race at The Cave, some far away real dirt racers. The Cave machine was alive and well and working very good.
But as fb got popular, moved everything there and got Rick setup, and showed him how to use the facebook site.
So this way Rick could continue to add news or race info himself, as with the .com sites had made him before this.
Parts inventory to support racing at The Cave
I purchased a batch of parts to keep on hand for racers when needed. Sealed parma motors, axles, gears, guide shoes, resistors. Tires. Just stuff needed if a racer needed any parts way down in Bentonville racing. I had found an online source at time NCP hobbies.
Since I had my company Dark Moon Technologies, just ran stuff we needed through it. As companies do.. sponsoring real cars. I supplied the controllers to keep on hand if a new racer, or racer did not have one. And I had wired track for brakes if racer wanted to use.
Onward with The Cave Story Racing from 2003-2015 with a few years off for his health
The Speedway was built late 2003, over several stop and go months, then when wired up for power, friends and family played around on it, then in late 2004/early 2005 Rick introduced it as a public racetrack that anyone could race on.
The FB page still stands today. For trophies, he wanted them to be like real dirt racing trophies. As you can see in past pics, the trophies were outstanding. He wanted the cars to slip and slide. So no glue allowed, and he would wipe track down before race.
Rick came out with a tire rule for rear, after some time of racing at The Cave, since some cars were so low scraping track. And he wanted the cars to be higher off the track and to be sliding some. So wanted get rear of chassis higher, hence tire rule of .90 or higher.
The other rule he had was if you crashed, your fault or not. You went all the way around and had to start on other side of lap counter on the race restart. Rick thought this rule was fair, and just like in real dirt racing. If your car gets involved to cause a caution, you go to the back.
Rick ran this rule at his track from day 1 to the end of racing at The Cave. The others were basic rules about the wheelbase and stuff pretty simple.
Back to story of the beginnings of The Cave Speedway
Concerning the above story, and before he built The Cave Speedway. Rick always spoke of the big tracks used to race on in Stephens City. And wanted to get a big car thing going. But to have the look and feel of a real dirt track, and real looking Super Late Models, and a racing format ran every night, exactly as a local dirt track would run.
He talked and planned this for a long time since the mid 1990's. In the late fall of 2005 Rick officially opened The Cave Speedway to the public. The Cave peaked in mid 2000's as no other slot car tracks of its kind existed. The few tracks that showed up were a direct inspiration of The Cave, and Rick was the pioneer for all that do exist. It was Rick's vision and determination that made slot car Super Late Model racing fun, he had made a great track, and great atmosphere and was a great promoter. Anyone that knew Rick or got to meet him liked him.
Racing drivers came to The Cave, some even from Pa to race and from the south too on occasion.
Here is a pic of Alan Sagi, Bo Feathers both real Super Late Model drivers, and Rick looking on while turnmarshalling and enjoying all he made.
Very first race night get together in 2003. With friends for night of fun at The Cave. No walls yet, fresh laid copper tape and lots of fun cars slipping and sliding. These cars had the 2 types chassis as above shown. Ricks with screw on and mine with the floating side mounts. They worked and provided nights of fun. Enjoy the first videos of cars on the track and running around. Rick was so proud and happy that The Cave Speedway was alive! the one video has 23,000 views and 15 years old.
Rick and myself Mike Parrill Sr, running hard and testing the new cars at The Cave Speedway. The first chassis note the small tires and this was the first racing on newly made Cave Speedway. Me in the Bart Hartman 75 and Rick in his Booper Bare 00 car. Early big car bodies. The Bart car already showing some wear damage in the front and rear quarters. Photo from August 2005
Shenanigan at The early stages of The Cave Speedway someone was having fun, don't remember who
Magazines and newspapers
I had been following Craig Murto in his newspaper write ups on Winchester Speedway. I spoke to him by phone. I asked if he would like to talk about a realistic small scale racing setup of the real big cars that raced in real life. He was very interested. Here is the result and as another step in getting good news about Rick's Cave Speedway out there. From 2005
The next thing was to get on the cover of some popular slot car magazines at the time. I reached out to 2 editors of 2 magazines. They said get some pics and stories and send in, we'll review and decide about it. Well The Cave Speedway wound up on both magazine covers. Rick and I got some pics together and stages some pics also. Here is copy of Scale Auto Racing, and the other I dont know where it is. Been so log ago. The Cave was getting a lot of attention. From Mar 08
Local Track Winchester Speedway track Photographer Chris Renner
The Cave was getting popular. Chris Renner came out and got some great action shots.
Rick was very excited about him being there getting pictures. Here is myself in Rick in hot competition. I have the Bart Hartman and Rick in the Richard Petty theme.
From the beginning I took as many pics as I could, Vickie would take some from her scoring position when she could. And I would run around and get shots of all including Victory Lane up until the last days of racing.
The Cave Speedway Mascot
While at Ocean City one year, saw this bat and said this would be great for The Cave.
I brought it to Rick and he hung it over the track, and gave it the track character. He said that is the mascot!
The only time that I really annoyed Rick at The Cave Speedway
I thought it would be so cool to have a Cave Speedway hauler, to haul a crashed car back to the start line. So would have the r/c controller at my driver station, or with me if was turn marshaling or in the pits. I would place the car on hauler, or have a driver place it there. It could haul several cars back. If I remember correctly we could get 3 cars on it.
Some of the long time racers may remember that day. Was a lot of fun while it lasted!
So at first this was a very interesting thing, and everyone laughed and had fun, as I would haul the cars back to start line with the hauler.
Rick had no idea was doing this, I had built it. it was a full trailer, and I cut it down to be a flatbed, and did the lettering. It was a surprise to him when I showed up with it that evening.
I thought we were still innovating racing, and trying new things, lol.
Well after the heats and the C mains had been run, Rick had had enough, and said get that thing off the track!! lol.
So while it was short lived, I thought was a very cool idea. Since it got banned from the Cave Speedway. I was able to remove the painted on Cave Speedway. And its final journey was with a local truck driver, who was passing by my Dark Moon Technology business ...saw it in the window, and purchased it on the spot. He said why you selling it?
I said my friend didn't like it at his track lol.
It was not even in the window for one day, and was gone. Rick asked the next week when I returned for the racing evening... where is your hauler lol? I said it is gone, and don't have to worry on it. We just laughed about it.
Scoring and nightly racing program line ups
Seal sister of Rick, was the official track scorer. She ran the
computer and took care of qualifying times, taking in the entry fees and
getting heats and A,B, main line ups into computer and most of time we
had C mains to run.
I made Vickie a spreadsheet that had premade drop downs, of drivers names already there and she just had to select them in the excel spreadsheet, then she could enter the qualifying times and sort by fast times. This made everything run faster, since did not have to wait, and look by hand to sort fast times. Car counts got pretty high sometimes.
Rick would take this spreadsheet from Vickie and line up heats. I put a printer in the basement, but most times of the humidity the paper was soft, so we gave up on having a printer after trying it out a few times in the beginning.
Here are some pics of Vickie running track controls and our genius, track owner and promoter Rick hard at it doing line ups for the night. He would give all info to Vickie and she would plug into the computer. I had her busy with 2 computers lol.
Vickie Seal running track controls, thanks for all your dedication to The Cave Speedway
Rick doing his thing and getting the line ups figured out.
With the light poles, that Rick added and the green/yellow lights and water truck I built, it looks like a real track. Take some time and really look at these pictures, including the wall of doors just like Eldora has. Look at the Victory Lane Pit area, and the flagman stand. He was copied
His Fred Lorenzo Hauler and cars he built, he was very proud of this setup.
There are no other words but outstanding on these next pictures
The Final years
Rebranding and trying something new
Sadly the cancer set in, and he had put all that on hold for a few years while he recovered. Miraculously, years later, he was able to host races again. But during this hiatus, other tracks got stronger, several dirt racing themed tracks sprung up, in Winchester, and Hagerstown, and racers did not return with enthusiasm to The Cave, as had before. This was hard on Rick, but he kept going, and was able to host racing again for a short while.
So after Ricks hiatus from closing the track due to health, and the short reopening years.
Car turnouts were not the same as before, the newly made Outback Motor Speedway had a great following, and so many more local to Winchester, and the new Portsmouth slot car track in Hagerstown track. A track sprung up in Fishersville Va too, although Slot Car Garage was not heavily dirt themed copying Rick's ideas, the cars that came up to race at The Cave could race on that new track. So the racers in those areas went to those tracks, instead of the long travel to Bentonville, Va.
Rick often did comment on how professional the Outback Speedway was ran, and became used to that track, and accepted it as part of his racing legacy living on. As OMS took a lot of slot car dirt racing, of what had existed, and took it to new levels. Rick talked bout that a lot.
This is just the way things work out, like the old saying, its just progress.
Just like back in the day we had Saturday night racing at the real Super Late Model tracks of Winchester Speedway, and Hagerstown on Sundays. But then Hagerstown started running Saturday nights and competed to pull Late models into their track. So a choice was made for drivers to choose Winchester or Hagerstown, since impossible to run both. And same happened with slot racers going to Bentonville, Va. Some racers decided to go to tracks closer to them, and makes sense in the end. And by this time most of the cars originally built to run at The Cave, could be run at the other new tracks.
So with the lower car counts... Rick decided to try something new. He started the Nostalgia Late Model Hard-body class, he was very excited about this new adventure, and added a modified class and figured he would do this as the racing highlights. Some Super Lates also, but the hard body Nostalgia cars would be the highlight from here on out.
This was successful and had some very good races and good crowd turnout for this new featured hard body format, and he ran that format up until the very end, until his own body gave out, and he could no longer have any racing at his Cave.
A really cool flyer, banner I made Rick, for the new Nostalgia Class and The Cave Speedway rebranding.
He said he loved that! and get that to the presses right away, which I did.
here is pic
Look at this squeeze Joe Shifflet and me Mike Parrill Sr in the squeeze, waiting for caution to resume.
Very good friend Joe Andrews sponsored that hard body race, for the comeback rebranding of The Cave Speedway. Rick and I thank for your the race purse you provided.
Notables over time
* In Oct 2007, the water heater line sprung a leak in the line, it was just a pinhole. but the water sprayed onto the track surface while Rick was away at work all day. Since he did not go into the basement every day, one day he finally went down to do some things and found the track ruined. He called me and he was so sad, and said please put a notice up about the delay as no way we can race. I went down and his brother in law Dennis brought some industrial fans over, and we ran tarp over the track to dry out, with fans running under it.
Some of the wood returned to normal, but some of the wood became so distorted, and still looked like a baja track with hills. The racing had to be postponed, and a lot had to be redone. Several sections had to be redone and the track repainted, and copper re-taped. This is why Rick says fresh clay down back when announced reopening, since had to redo the whole track surface with new tape and paint from water damages.
* In 2012 no Little Word 100 was ran, due to Ricks health problems. in 2013, he was healthy enough and wanted racing again. So the Cave reopened in late 2013.
* I had made all the digital flyers you see on the website facebook and
archives, Vickie hand made the checks and any of the physical sign graphics
Rick needed - Mike Parrill Sr.
Signal Knob Speedway comes to life to race " The Cave Way"
In 2018 Mike Nail opened Signal Knob Speedway in Strasburg, va. A big dirt themed 8 lane slot car track for the big scale 1/25th cars. A new track for Super Late models, Hard bodies, mods and Sprints. Mike said he wanted to run it "The Cave Way". He has done a fantastic job, and continues to host races at that track.
Mike being a former regular racer at The Cave. Also Rick thought highly of Mike Nail, and his new track. Including myself.
Rick would often talk about Mike Nail, and what he has done to continue what Rick started. Including hosting the Annual Little World 100.
This track was a place for the local slot car racers to enjoy, much like The Cave Speedway was, and has a dirt racing theme. Rick was happy to see this track come to life, and Mike Nail has always been kind, and gives credit to Rick for making that track possible. The Signal Knob Speedway has became highly successful, as well as all of Mike Nails Strasburg Hobby shop ventures. Link to track below
Signal Knob Speedway
In 2019 Rick was able to witness the re-running of his Little World 100, and was very proud, and was so happy of his race being held there. I did not make the race, could not get off from work at the job was working at the time, but from speaking to Rick after the event, he was ecstatic, and really enjoyed being invited, and being honored by Mike Nail and Strasburg Hobbies, and all the racers that attended the race.
Rick's health deteriorated, and we lost Rick in the winter of 2019. I since have retired from slot car racing, but happy to bring everyone down memory lane of how this all began.
Past winners of The Cave, I had made this for Rick, and so all can see, here are some picture cards I had put together long ago.
Rick and I would laugh hard back in the day. Because of google,
people could find what Rick was doing with his brainstorming of the big
scale super late model dirt slot cars, and his track when The Cave Speedway began.
-Mike Parrill Sr
Oct 29 2022