Community makes donations of time and materials
Gear heads change out parts and fit aerodynamic bodies on their remote control cars they bring to the track on Government Road every Sunday.
“It keeps me out of trouble and is a fun activity to do,” said Alvere Parker. “I have $850 in my car and got second place last week. Today I hope to get first.”
Adults and kids alike join in on the fun and test their skills on the newly created track at the end of Government Road in Key West. The whole project came together with the help of dedicated volunteers and sponsors under the guidance of Frank Duponty. The Key West Police officer and Southernmost Hobby Shop business had the idea ofr repurposing the scarcely-used paintball field for something with wider community appeal.
“There is not much for kids to do in town other than sports, so I thought we should put this track on the property,” Duponty said.
Cars raced on the track are far different than little remote control cars we remember powered by AA batteries. They reach speeds of more than 60 mph, have room for numerous upgrades, are made to flip, get beat up, and be repaired to race again
The races are organized into categories determined by type of car and racer driver’s age. Most of the cars on the track are battery-powered electric and made by the company Traxxas. In Key West, remote control enthusiasts favor the light weight cars with big tires to handle the sandy track. Although there are plans to one day create a clay track as well, because those tend to hold up better, Duponty said.
“This track could not have been built without the community’s help,” he said. The Kmart manager reduced the price of the pool noodles lining the track by 50 percent. The Home Depot and Manley deBoer Lumber Company provided wood for the racers’ platform, Signs Unlimited made the sign and Arnold’s Towing provided equipment along.
“And there were many other sponsors as well. They all do it for the kids,” Duponty said, adding that the kids’ enjoyment is clearly visible on race day.
“My favorite part is when the cars jump of the ramps and flip over, and when they crash,” Patrick Curry said who was joined by his friends Cole Jackson and Billy Kight.
The track is open every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Duponty usually has a few cars he lends to first-timers and sells cars and gear through his hobby shop.