Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Indy Slot Car Series going strong for more than 30 years

NOW: Natalie’s Everyday Heroes: Indy Slot Car Series going strong for more than 30 years

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It's been announced that Indy Car racing is returning to Milwaukee Labor Day weekend.

But did you know there has been an Indy Car series right here in Milwaukee for 30 years?

There aren't any famous drivers or big sponsors, and they're using technology that was popular in the 1960s.

"Beep, beep, beep, go," the announcer calls. 

And with that, they're off. Tiny cars, flying around, and sometimes off the track.

"Hey, there's a turn there, Joe," one racer yells.

"Imagine tiny little cars going around a washing machine. It's just that small and that fast," explained member Mike Kristof. 

The drivers' eyes are tracking back and forth, and their fingers work the controls.

"We've got guys that take this real, real serious," said Everet Kamikawa.

This is the Indy Slot Car Series.

"That's what you call drafting," Kamikawa said, circling the track.  Oh, they think we're big geeks!"

He has been doing this since 1993.

"I drive the #12 Penske car. That is normally raced by Will Power in the real series," he said.

Each car is a replica of one from the real Indy series.

"Our whole purpose when we started was to mimic the real full-scale series," said Kristof. 

This series runs from September to April, which is the reverse of the Indy races.

"We get out of our basements during the real racing season and enjoy that," Kristof laughed.

Each week is a different track to race on.

"We try to travel to everyone's house at least once and race," he said. 

This track- with fans in the stands and concessions in the infield-- belongs to Kristof, who is also the series commissioner.

"What isn't my responsibility? So, I set the schedule, I maintain the records," he said of his role.

Which is no small task. There are 17 races a year and standings to track.

"There's a major championship at stake, yes," he said.

Kristof has been commissioner for 20 years, upholding series traditions.

"Bermuda is the Christmas classic every year. There's a certain track that's always the Thanksgiving race. There's a certain track that's always the Halloween race," he explained.

The slot cars carry their own kind of nostalgia.

"But it's ancient technology. I mean, these are things that you know, have been around since the 60s," Kristof said.

The members also try to make the races as much like the real thing as possible.

"Every race has some kind of current event that's mentioned in it as part of it. There's the drama between the drivers," Kamikawa said.

They broadcast each event on YouTube, Kamikawa taking on the role of announcer.

"Crikey. You know, it's kind of little more of a fake Australian accent like this, but we try to have fun with it and mimic the series as you go through. So, it's all the way down from the sponsors to the paint cars, to the announcers of the series," he said.

Keeping it realistic means keeping it competitive.

"There's lots of very good drivers in our league, I'm just not one of them," Kristof laughed, about his own driving skills.

"You do have to develop a race craft. You do have to understand when you can pass people," Kamikawa said.

The slot cars take finesse. The checkered flag might be the goal.

But the real wins aren't the rivalries. They're the relationships.

"We have a great group of people and it's only gotten better," Kristof said.

To watch the races on YouTube, click here

To nominate an Everyday Hero, send Natalie a message at [email protected].

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