RC drag racing is one of the hottest forms of radio-controlled motorsport that we’ve seen recently. If you’ve ever seen it up close, you’ll understand way. With neck breaking speeds, the cars launch off the line in the blink of an eye, much faster than even real life top fuel dragsters. Tyler Zavadil runs RC Drag Talk, a resource for all things RC drag racing. Let’s listen in on Pro-Line’s interview with Tyler to find out more about RC Drag Talk and RC drag racing.
Pro-Line: Tyler, thanks for sitting down with us. First, would you like to introduce yourself and maybe tell us how you got into RC, how long ago?
TZ: Sure. My name is Tyler Zavadil with RC Drag Talk. I got in into RC about eight or nine years ago when I had my daughter to get out of the real car scene and stay out of trouble, picked up scale trucks and got into that. Then about five years ago, I had the crazy idea to start drag racing Slashes. And here we are.
Pro-Line: What drew you to the drag racing class?
TZ: I‘m a really big fan of full size drag racing. So I was doing a lot of illegal street racing and whatnot before I had kids. It was either that or full size off-roading. When I first got in RC, it was scale trucks you know, Axial scalers making them look real. Then a buddy of mine told me about a drag track in Rancho Cucamonga. So we went and checked it out and they were doing the full prep thing where they spray the ground. It looked just like NHRA but smaller, but they were like very specific built cars, almost like comp crawlers, but for drag racing. Like all carbon fiber and o-rings and foam tires. So that was out of my price range, but they had an all-run class and I just ran my Traxxas Slash in a bracket race where you just ran the clock basically. They eventually lost their track due to City Hall. You know how it goes in California, we find a spot and then it goes bye bye. But so we needed something to fill the void. And those “big time” cars, they don’t work on the bare street. So with just a normal street in front of your house, really our only option was the short course trucks. So we started lowering them and putting bodies on them, trying to make them look real with, you know, Pro-Line truck bodies and everything back then until you guys came up with the car bodies.
Pro-Line: So tell us about RC Drag Talk. How did that come about?
TZ: I searched the class up on YouTube, trying to get information one day and there was nothing on any of the Internet forums or anything on RC drag racing. All the guys that did it were real secretive. They thought if they shared the knowledge that they were going to get beat at the track. So I just took the initiative and started up the YouTube channel and a page to go with it and it’s kind of blown up ever since then. Everybody had these (short course trucks) sitting on their garage shelves ready to be used. So we just built a class for it and now it’s keeps growing like wildfire. They can just change a body, get some tires and go race.
So how many drag race classes are officially ran in the no prep scene?
We run two classes and that’s pretty much nationwide. Anybody running under the NPRC name, they’re running Street Outlaw, which is open motor, open ESC 2-cell battery and rubber tires. Then the second class is 13.5 which is more designed for something that you want to be full scale. You know, with an interior in here, 3D printed parts all over it. It’s more meant to be the entry-level car. So a 13.5 Blinky (fully stock) is comparable to the DR-10 or the stock Traxxas 12T motor that comes in the Slash. So if you have a stock SC sitting on the shelf, you don’t have to race something that’s doing 70 miles an hour.
Pro-Line: What was your starting turn out in attendance to RC Drag Talk events and what has it grown to now?
TZ: Oh boy… Like our first events were just eight or nine of us running on the street. We didn’t even have enough people to have a full top ten list in the beginning. Now we easily get 30 to 40 people per event. I can’t even run like a “list event” because we get so many entries and new people would get bumped off the list so fast. We now just run the cash style event, you know, ten to twenty dollars buy-in per class and a winner at my events gets north of 90% of that. From what I know, it’s the only class of RC racing that’s getting a cash payout.
Pro-Line: Wow, winning cash on the spot? What is the average pot a winner can take home from a race?
Oh, we’re seeing average at local events, easily $300, $400 cash. Usually we usually host one race a month.
We do host a big cash race in Vegas every year. King of The Streets. $100 buy-in and the winner gets paid back 90%. So last year we had forty-two entries of that event and the winner took home over $3,700. So if you’re interested in winning some big money, this class might be for you.
Pro-Line: What are you running on your personal car? Favorite setup?
TZ: So my favorite set up is just about scale looks no matter what type of body I do. The shoots, the pipes, the mirrors. I want it to look like a real car you would see driving down the road. For me, the photogenic aspect is a big part of it, not so much the racing part. This is a Team Associated DR-10 with a couple extra custom parts from guys around that are just making parts out of their garage. Other than that, Tekin spec ESC and a Tekin 13.5 motor. We run the SkyRC module, we mount them in the cars and you can link that to your phone so you can set the distance of one hundred and thirty two feet or whatever you’re raising it and it tells you your speed. My car currently runs about 3 seconds flat at 44mph. Outlaw cars are close to 2.2 seconds at 70mph.
For tires Hoosiers are by far the best tire that I found for 13.5. Since I can’t put tuning in that class to get me power on the top end I like the Hoosiers so they’ll balloon and get me faster mile per hour on the big end. The street outlaw car I run the Reaction HP Belted tires only because Hoosiers balloon so much on the big end, that you’ll either tear them or they’ll hit your body and cause you to roll over. So it just depends on how much power you’re trying to put to the ground. I haven’t tried the Big Daddy’s yet though. I’m not biased as far as bodies. If I think it looks cool, I’m going to buy it. So I have Parma stuff. I have Pro-Line stuff. I have the guy in his garage making a Vega. Shark body stuff.
My favorites, as far as looks are by far the Pro-Line bodies. You can’t beat the way they look and film. If I’m going for all out speed though, I’m going to be running either the Super J or the Corvette from PROTOform. As far as looks, it’s either going to be the Nova or the Cuda. I have them both painted up and I was torn this morning on which one to put on my truck for the interview haha.
Pro-Line: What products do you think this class of RC needs?
TZ: That’s a hard question. I mean, every manufacturer across the board has seen the growth of our RC drag racing and is coming on board. You guys, Pro-Line, are the first to I’d say offer a full package. Where you can get a scale looking wheelie bar, the bodies, the wheels and tires and have it be a full Pro-Line car. You know, none of the other companies making accessories are offering “everything”.
Tyler: One of the things I’d like to see is maybe a light package come out for the drag guys. Maybe new onboard sound boxes. I just wish they didn’t weigh close to a pound because the one that’s currently on the market is pretty heavy. So as soon as you put that on your car, you’re not competitive on the track anymore. An actual interior for these cars would be sweet because that’s not adding a lot of weight. So just, you know, simple options that I don’t think are too much for companies to make.
Pro-Line: You kind of touched on King of The Streets. Can you elaborate a little bit on what that is?
TZ: So it’s an annual race. It will be held in February every year. The location may be different from year to year. Last year it was in Las Vegas, Nevada, this year it’s going to be in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last year we did it in a parking lot, full outlaw style. We didn’t have permission from the city. We didn’t have permission from the parking lot we were in and we had forty two people show up and we raced the whole event sunup to sundown and nobody messed with us at all.
This year It’s on February 27, 2021. Unfortunately they’ve now completely barricaded that parking lot off. Nobody has access to it anymore so we can’t host the event there. This year we’re locked in for a private racetrack. That’s all I’ll say for now. We’re trying to keep that under wraps until closer to the event, but we do have a contract signed at a racetrack in Las Vegas where the race is gonna be held.
Pro-Line: Do people register the day of or do they pre-register?
TZ: All we have is the Facebook event page just to spread the word. All registration is done day of just in case you know something comes up you can’t make it we don’t want to deal with trying to refund people’s money. Also seeing as it’s a cash pay out, we’d like everybody to pay with cash in hand the day of. We don’t want to go to the bank and try to withdraw a large amount of money. It’s just easier for everybody to show up with the $100, pay their entry fee, and run the race.
Since the No Prep Drag class has grown so much in the past year, what are you expecting the turnout to be as well as the cash pot?
I’m going to go and say we’re probably going to have 120 racers or more from around the world. I know we have people from Australia, Hawaii, and Canada that have already booked their rooms and flights. So there’s people coming from all over the world to try to get this money, which is awesome. Some even just to say they were part of the race. I know people coming from Florida and the East Coast just want to come hang out with their West Coast friends and race.
They know they’re not going to win, but they’re perfectly fine with that. Which is astonishing to me that people would spend all that money and travel all that way just to come to a race that I’m hosting to hang out with friends. It’s pretty mind blowing, but that’s why we do all the hard work of hosting races so like minded people can get together and hang out and have a good time. So if you’re reading this and you’re planning to come, Remember that it’s all for a good time!
Pro-Line: All right Tyler, what are the best ways to find you and what you do?
TZ: You can find me on all social media platforms under @RCDragTalk. All one word. TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. Find me there, shoot me messages, ask me questions, anything you guys need. Thanks Pro-line for having me talk about RC cars today!
Text and Images by Pro-Line