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Tracy Frank, Published January 15 2009

These ‘slots’ at Moorhead Center Mall card shop are in the groove

Racecars about the size of videotapes whip around tracks at speeds of up to 20 miles an hour at All Star Sports, Cards, and Slot Car City in the Moorhead Center Mall.

The store offers four 1/24-scale slot car race tracks: an oval, a tri-oval, a 40-foot drag strip, and a 155-foot Road King track with twists and turns.

The electric-powered miniature vehicles are guided by grooves in the tracks. There is an element of skill involved – if a racer takes a corner too fast, the car can fly out of its groove and off the track.

“It’s fun, exciting. It’s fast,” said owner Derek Wagner.

Wagner opened the business in the mall with two tracks in October 2007. He expanded the shop the following April. He originally owned a store at 1825 Main Ave. in Moorhead but without the race car tracks then.

In addition to slot car parts, the shop sells sports cards, figurines, bobblehead dolls, NASCAR memorabilia and collectibles such as autographed balls and prints.

The cost for racing ranges from $2 for 10 minutes on the drag strip to $15 for one hour on the Road King track.

Racers can build their own cars with starter kits that cost $58 to $119, or they can rent cars from the store.

All Star Sports offers birthday party packages and holds regular slot car tournaments. Some of the kids are so good they race in the adult league, Wagner said.

“Kids who do video games have very good hand-eye coordination,” said David Wagner, Derek’s father and an employee.

Slot car racing was so popular in the 1960s that special racing events were nationally televised, an All Star flier states.

Steve Schwindt, an All Star Sports customer, grew up racing slot cars. “It brings back memories,” Schwindt said. “We used to always get (slot cars) for Christmas.”

Schwindt has his own customized slot cars he races at All Star Sports.

“If you like racing, motorsports, and if you’re competitive like me, I mean, if I get a lawnmower and the neighbor wants to race I’m going to go race him, you’re going to like this,” he said.

Business profile

All Star Sports, Cards, and Slot Car City

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526