A couple issues back, our Senior Editor Kevin Hetmanski, dove into the “no prep” drag racing scene by pulling an old 2WD Traxxas Slash off the shelf and turning it into the Oakley Corvette dragster. As competitive as we are at RCCA, Associate Publisher Leigh Guarnieri, decided to jump in the game as well. Needless to say, Guarnieri pulled his Traxxas Slash off the shelf of neglect, vowing to take it to the extreme.
Working from front to back, the Traxxas Slash got a complete makeover starting with its chassis. After scouring the internet for chassis manufacturers, one name kept showing up on the fastest and best builds out there. A call to Kenneth Lupi at Drag Race Concepts (DRC) got the ball rolling. Lupi explained the ins and outs of the drag racing scene, the rules and of course, his products. He said, “I know what you what you need.”
A couple days later a box showed up. It was so light; we figured that he had only sent over a wheelie bar. We were very wrong. Inside the box were several bags of carbon fiber and red anodized aluminum parts that when put together, made up the complete Slash Mid Motor Drag Pak. With the foundation laid, we started the build.
Since the donor car has seen its share of basher abuse, we picked up a set of RC Screws Slash Bearings as well as their Slash screw kit so we could start with a clean slate. A household name in performance upgrade products for the Slash is Pro-Line Racing. We ordered up Pro-2 front arms and hub kit, Powerstroke front shocks, hinge pin brace, clamping hexes, transmission, body mounts, tires, wheels and body. They really do make it all for the Slash.
The Pro-2 front arms have covered cutouts that if needed, could be filled with something like Liquid Gravity to keep the front down to help balance the chassis. The Pro-2 hub kit was used in place of some generic aftermarket parts we had on the donor car, while a Pro-2 front hinge pin brace kept things tight. To finish up the front suspension, we went with a shortened Pro-Line Powerstroke front shock and the Pro-2 clamping front hexes. Finishing touches were added with by installing red Traxxas steering and camber links and rod ends as well as their Bandit front bumper. The DRC Slash pack chassis kit came with red anodized steering bell crank and linkage so we opted for the Matching red aluminum servo horn.
The electronics can be broken up into three sections, first being control. The leader in RC transmitters since before we can remember has always been Futaba and even though drag car steering is minimal, the reliability, confidence and tunability is why you choose them. We opted for the BLS371SV servo that we have wanted to use in a high-end build for some time. Besides geeking out on the specs and programmability of the servo, it just looks cool. At 2.2 ounces, the extra weight was a smarter choice up front versus other options.
The reliability portion comes from the TX/RX T-FHSS technology Futaba uses. We hooked up a R324SBS 4 Ch. RX receiver to our brand-new Futaba 7PXR transmitter. At the end of the day you just don’t want to worry about the slightest glitch when you are going that fast, that quick and end up in the wall.
The next section of electronics is the heart of a dragster, the ESC and motor. For this, we made a call to the experts. Castle creations lives by the motto “Overpowering Anything”. You could spend hours researching misleading stats and specs on motors and ESC’s on the internet but if you ever want to understand why they are among the best, give them a call, you will thank us.
The motor is a Castle Creations 5700Kv sensored brushless unit. The Castle creations Mamba Monster X sensored 1/8-scale ESC is what we needed to handle the amp draw and as Castle Creations explained it, just know that it will take whatever you throw for at it in the no prep scene. Our 30T Robinson racing pinon won’t be a concern paired up with the 78T Pro-Line spur. As a kicker, we installed a Castle Creations CC Cap pack to allow even faster amp draw.
The third section is often overlooked but with all these high end electronics you need to feed them power and if you want performance, you choose MaxAmps. We were able to get our hands on their newest release, the MaxAmps 2s 4750mah True 175C Graphene Shorty Pack. This battery is light, small and entirely awesome. The shorty pack lets us move the battery around based on track conditions and its 175C discharge rate lets the ESC eat as much as it wants while the Graphene keeps the heat concerns down.
Getting all that power to the wheels is handled through a Pro-Line Slash transmission. When flipping the tranny to a mid-motor configuration, you need to account for the toe and a set of Custom Works adjustable rear arms checked that box nicely. We decided to keep the MIP HD Slash CVD axles that were on our donor Slash. Their ruggedness would be perfect for the high-grip launches of drag racing. We also carried over the red aluminum Traxxas rear hubs from our donor car in keeping with the red theme.
All of this awesomeness is lurking beneath what really is the attention grabber at any event, the body and paint. Pro-Line again steps in for the win with the Camaro Octane body. It is custom airbrushed by Matt Brase from MR Custom Painting. Armed with his Iwata airbrush, Matt has done amazing custom works for us in the past and since we really didn’t want a typical “RC paintjob”, we asked Matt to use his expertise to apply a livery that follows the lines of the Real MAVTV Pro drag car. After getting the Pro-Line Slash body mounts installed, we were almost ready to mount the body but needed to mount up the wheels and tires to get the correct stance.
Pro-Line has been an innovator in the hobby for many years and their introduction of the Hoosier Slicks and Pomona Drag spec wheels catapulted the No Prep or Street eliminator drag cars to the mainstream. These wheels and tires really give the car a cool scale appearance.
Overall, this build was a blast to work on and a learning experience to boot. We linked up with some great manufacturers we haven’t worked with before and looking at the finished car, it doesn’t resemble the original Traxxas Slash we started with. If you don’t already have a Slash, we suggest going out and grabbing one. Enjoy it and know that it’s a solid platform that can be built into whatever you want, whether it be left stock or turned into a drag car, either way, we are confident that you will love it.
RUN WHAT YOU BRUNG
RC Drag Racing Is A Thing
The excitement of going head to head against the driver next to you can be intoxicating. Filled with adrenaline, you stare at the lights on the tree waiting for it to go green. The moment that it does, you smash the throttle and in the blink of the eye, you’re past the finish line. Did you win? It went by so fast, it can be hard to tell. Are we talking about one-to-one or RC racing? When we’re talking about pure competition, there isn’t much different between the two.
The RC world of drag racing is much the same as with real cars. Drag cars modified specifically to go straight really fast are the name of the game. Typical track length is 132 feet, which is the 1/10-scale equivalent of a 1/4-mile run. If you attend a RC drag race, you’ll see cars in a variety of configurations as well as scales.
At a recent outing to a test and tune event held by the Scale Drag Racing Association (SDRA) in Lake Elsinore, California, we were able to witness just how quick these drag cars can go. Depending on class, they can cross the line well under two-seconds. That’s liable to give you whiplash if you try to follow along.
Ralph Tocco is the President of SDRA and his track is one of the best on the west coast for RC drag racing. It is located on the property of Storm Baseball Stadium and boasts the smoothest purpose prepared racing surface in the region. Tocco is quick to recognize that his crew helps make it all possible. He adds, “Dave DC Massey, Jerod Brown, Christopher Patterson, Tyler Brown, Artese Caldwell, without their dedication and sacrifice, it would be impossible to do this.”
Radio control drag racers from all over Southern California meet up at the SDRA drag strip to enjoy heads up racing complete with a Portatree timing system and time slip print outs. We have to say, the set up is pretty pro.
If you’re in the area or plan on visiting, Tocco’s SDRA drag strip is worth a visit at 500 Diamond Drive, Lake Elsinore, CA. You can find more information about SDRA’s events on their Facebook page at:
facebook.com/ScaleDragRacingAssociation and on Instagram at:
Text by Leigh Guarnieri and James York
Photos by Jerry Tsai