When the Braham family found out TNT Raceway was going to close its doors for good eight years ago, they purchased the business to preserve their favorite hobby.
Gene, Jennifer and their daughter Katelyn spent countless Friday nights racing slot cars inside the 3,250-square-foot facility located at 1064 Woodland Ave., Suite N in Modesto prior to taking over ownership.
“It’s something that was going to go away if we didn’t,” said Gene, 41. “We wanted to keep it around for other people to enjoy. The next closest one to us is in Rocklin.”
The Brahams staged a grand-opening ceremony for Motown Raceway (formerly called TNT Raceway) on Aug. 1, 2013.
“We changed the name to make it our own,” Gene said.
“Shops come and go,” he added. “They never last more than two to three years. This is the longest,-running slot track in Modesto. We have a very good local following. They’re really good to us.”
Customers of all ages race miniature, model cars on slotted tracks. The cars are 1/24 scale and run on electricity. Remotes with triggers are used to control the speed of cars.
“It’s a bigger version of home-set stuff,” Gene said.
Motown Raceway currently has two full-length tracks and a full-length drag strip. The tracks and drag strip are connected to a computerized lap timing system. Built by Chris Dadds, the Hill Climb Slot Car Track is 165 feet in length and the Roadcourse Korkscrew Slot Car Track is 95 feet in length. Both courses have eight lanes. The Hasse built Slot Car Drag Strip is 55 feet in length.
“Fridays and the weekends are usually busy,” Gene said. “It’s about racing, hanging out with your buddies and having fun.”
The rental fee for a car and controller is $12 for one hour or $8 for a half hour. Guests can bring their own car to race or practice and can save money by buying a track time card. Cost for 30 minutes of track time is $5 and 60 minutes of track time is $8. A three-hour track time card can be purchased for $20. Track time is used in 15-mintue intervals.
Motown Raceway stages events weekly.
“We race stock cars on Friday nights,” Gene said. “We drag once a month on Saturdays. It’s very competitive. It’s as close to real racing as you can get. Everything matters with these cars.”
Slot car races last three minutes and top finishers earn track bucks.
“Only eight people can run at the same time,” Gene said. “Whoever does the most laps wins.”
Motown Raceway has a full-service parts counter. Ready-to-run cars and controllers have a starting price of $75.
“You can get everything to build a slot car,” Gene said. “If you want a fully, custom-built slot car, it’s $160.”
Motown Raceway is open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“Working for yourself is nice,” Gene said. “But you have to worry about paying bills and making ends meet. I didn’t think we’d make it through COVID. To survive the last year and a half, we’ve been pretty fortunate. Our locals are good to us.”
For more information call (209) 544-2550 or visit motownraceway.com.