Step one to being the coolest guy at the track is to not try to be the coolest guy at the track. This works pretty much everywhere. Step two is to keep it in perspective–it’s an RC track. It’s kind of like bragging about being the skinniest sumo wrestler–no matter what, everyone is still pretty fat.
Here is the not-so-official RC Truck Stop guide to being the coolest guy at the track:
> Get your sh–um, I mean–stuff together. Your truck shouldn’t look like you found it at a yard sale the night before and your pit area shouldn’t be a spot-on replica of the back corner of a trailer park after the inevitable tornado has ripped through. Appearances do matter, but…
> Don’t take the “pro look” too far in the pits with a matching lamp, chair, radio, pit mat, factory T-shirt, paint scheme, charger, fountain pen, etc. Find a nice healthy balance between decked-out pro and average Joe. Slapping on some custom vinyl is cool and we can relate to not wanting gear that looks like everyone else’s, but none of it will make you go faster, so use it in moderation.
> Demonstrate some normal social skills. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but when someone comes over to your pit area and asks a question, don’t give a one-word answer. One-word answers usually make people think of one-word assessments of you such as “aloof” or “gruff.” That’s best case. Most likely they just think you’re another one word that begins with “D” and ends with “k.”
> Keep it in perspective. Don’t take yourself or toy truck racing too serious. We all want to win or at least do our best, but keep in mind how silly you look to a non-RC’er when you throw a full-blown temper tantrum when you get hacked or a corner marshal doesn’t fly into action like the Secret Service thwarting an assassination attempt on POTUS. Do you know why they don’t throw you a parade when you win the big race? Because nobody cares. Keep it in perspective.
> Fit in. Join the crowd. No, I don’t mean you absolutely have to be a white male between the ages of 25 and 35 with a goatee and 10 to 15 lbs. of extra weight. I mean try that popular class. And, yes, I mean short course. There’s a reason why everyone is racing it from Jersey to Japan. Just because when you got into racing, stadium trucks hadn’t been invented yet, doesn’t mean these “new” trucks aren’t legit. As you sit back with your arms crossed with that smug look of disdain on your face, keep in mind no one has ever been heard saying, “That guy is cool. Look how he clings to the past.”
> Find some new friends. Most guys at an RC track will tell you how they hated the cliques in high school. Yet for some odd reason, the average RC track is segregated more than the Old South on a bad day. Branch out. You’ll be surprised what you learn and what you, in turn, have to offer others. Speaking of cliches, hobby shop owners should stop listening to that small-but-vocal group of local superstars. While these 50%’ers have plenty of opinions on how you should run your business, you may notice they don’t actually spend any money there. What they can’t scam through their kinda-sorta sponsorships, they buy online. Instead be all ears for that father and son team who admittedly don’t have a clue.
> The ultimate tip for an aspiring cool guy is to have a girl (other than your mother) come visit you at the track. As an added bonus, your special guest doesn’t have to be all that hot! At an RC track, a five is easily a nine or a ten. If you had an actual ten roll up to the pits, they may just stop racing. You may think if having your lady friend visit is good, having a hotty for a racing partner would be great. Not so, actually. All of your friends will just stare at her all day and forget you even exist.
Disclaimer: This guide was prepared by a guy who is certainly not the coolest guy at the track.