THE S.R.T. STORY
Slot Racing Technology, or SRT as it has become known throughout the slot racing industry, is the "brain trust" of two California entrepreneurs -- Mike Greear and Gary Barr. Both are slot racing enthusiasts and competitors.
Four years ago, while they were racing at Slot Car City in Littlerock, Ca, the track owner was complaining that his computer race director system was not capable of doing all the things he wanted. Occasionally it would "dump" or fail and he remarked that he "sure wished there was a better system." Mike and Gary began to discuss the possibilities of developing a computer system for race directing that would be "the most complete, modern, user-friendly program." Also it should be affordable and updateable, and contain all the bells and whistles missing from the systems already on the market.
Both partners have professional positions with other companies that occupy their time and provide income for their families. According to Mr. Greear, "This new project was not something that they needed to get rich from but rather a labor of love the two of them could work on in their spare time."
Mike set a goal of incorporating all the best features any track owner and/or race director would want. Using modern-day computer technology, Gary started writing the program and developing the hardware interface. They set out to be able to format any type of race from a Group 10 Nascar all the way up to and including the USRA National Championships.
They would also include a track time seller feature that could manage up to 4 tracks at a time, keeping records of what was being sold on each. With this feature you can sell time on 3 tracks while conducting a race on the 4th. Gary and Mike invested the better part of the next ten months writing the program for MS DOS applications, writing the instruction manual, and developing a marketing plan for the sale and promotion. They also came up with a name for their new product, "The Pro-Race Director and Time Seller." The first unit went on-line for testing in the Spring of 1992. As with any new and complex computer program, there were the inevitable "bugs" to work out so the system, once in place in raceways around the world, would perform with no "glitches." With each test, working with various track owners and USRA officials in California, Gary and Mike continued to improve the system. Never content to "rest on their laurels" a steady stream of innovative improvements has been added-- the latest being Paul Pfeiffer's proposal to have the USRA adopt the Australian Quarter-Finals for USRA and National Championship events. This is but one of the latest improvements on all SRT programs -- an "automatic feature" if the track owner wished to use it.
One of the early additions came from Mike and Gary working closely with Jim Honeycutt of GM/Magnatech Raceway in San Antonio, Texas. Jim developed (and has used for years) a program entitled "Crash and Burn" that allows racing to go on at all times, even if customers just rent track time. Mr. Honeycutt's Crash and Burn system is now part of the SRT Automatic Race Selection Program.
Once the system was ready for sale to raceways, Mike and Gary decided to debut SRT at the first Track Owner's Convention and Trade show in Enid, Oklahoma, in 1993. Hooked up to the isolated section on a Chris Dadd's LTD track, the system performed flawlessly, providing fast, accurate printouts of all the fun races staged for the youngsters, spouses and track owner competitors. To stimulate sales SRT offered their race director package to any TOA member at a $100 discount -- an unheard of price of $295 -- and considerably cheaper than all competitive systems.
Improvements are continuely being added to the SRT program. Almost every week something else is done to make the system better. In 1994 fourteen improvements were added, one being the capability of selecting the lane (or lanes) used for sit-out racing. Previously, all systems automatically selected the sit-out lane as White, returning to the race on the Red lane -- typically two of the most difficult for the unskilled to drive. With the change to the SRT program, the track owner or race director could choose any lane to come off. The computer would choose the lane the racer would return on based on the European or single-lane rotation.
The SRT system was used exclusively at the 1994 USRA National Championship in Atlanta, Georgia. By '94, SRT already had over 100 systems in place around the U.S. When the 1995 TOA Convention convened in St. Louis, SRT had incorporated a "Yellow Light/Caution" system into their program. Once a track owner added this to their layouts, Track and Rider calls became a thing of the past for all types of spray glue/low-end racing. This feature of the SRT program works best in conjunction with Carl Buchbinder's Cidex module.
The 1995 USRA NATS in Pennsylvania saw the SRT program/system used after another well-known program failed. By then, a good percentage of all race director programs in the U. S. were SRT.
Part of the success of SRT has been the willingness of Mike and Gary to do whatever is necessary to provide track owners with the finest system that money can buy. They also stand behind their product 100%. In order to do that and stay completely on top of things, Mike felt they had to have everything "close to home." They wanted to be able to quickly make changes and improvements, so a 30 x 75ft metal building was constructed. This is now the home of the 'SRT Model Car Club and Raceway.' It's literally in Mike's back yard. They purchased a Hasse Nilsson 155ft Euro-King track and hooked an SRT system to the dead strip. A group of dedicated "club" racers began fun racing and continual testing to make sure everything continues to work as programmed and promised.
Jerry Kulich of JK Products and Raceway in Hanover Park, Illinois, is already working with Mike and Gary. SRT will be the exclusive race director program used at the 1996 USRA National Championships in Chicago next August.
Mike, the Director of Sales and Marketing for SRT says, "Track owners and club users of our system seem content just to run on the program defaults and go through the basic race format. We're happy that some race directors around the country are both proficient and enthusiastic about using many of the other fine features of our program. People like Ronny Burnett of Georgia, Dan Wise of California, Kathleen Anderson of Pennsylvania, Ron Hershman of Indiana and Steve Koepp of Ohio, along with many others. We wish we could visit every raceway in the country that has our SRT system in place, just to show everyone how much more is available. Of course, that's impossible."
The writer asked Mike about current sales of SRT systems and he replied, "Sales are going well and we really haven't done much advertising. We've relied primarily on word-of-mouth, satisfied track owners and race directors, and a few flyers placed in TOA Newsletters and Information Packets. We also wish to express our sincere thanks to John Ford for helping us promote our system through the publication of this story in Scale Auto Racing News."
This writer has seen, used and is familir with virtually every computerized race director program/system in the market today. While I cannot, for obvious reasons, personally endorse any product of service, I would state that The SRT program is one of the best I've seen. It features as many if not more 'bells and whistles' than the more expensive systems on the market today. Like any product for slot racing, there are varying opinions by those who buy and use these items. The SRT system is not the easiest to use and it takes practical experience to become familiar with all aspects of the program. However, anyone that can read can figure out from the various available menus that SRT can and does provide one of the most comprehensive, accurate and glitch-free systems available for today's modern and sophisticated raceway.
SRT provides features like a large digital display for practice and race modes, over 120 pre-defined automatic race formats, automatic qualifying, and so many other things that just are not possible to mention in this article. The two best features of the SRT system remain the price and the willingness of the owners to work ceaselessly with those who buy the system. They stand behind their work and products with a unique guarantee of 100% customer satisfaction.The basic system still sells for the unheard of price of $295 -- three years after it was originally developed. If needed, they can also supply the track owner/purchaser of an SRT system with as much cable, connectors, relays, and relay panels as they need at a very reasonable price. Whatever backup support the track owner needs, they are only a phone call away. While this writer does not take anything away from the other systems on the market -- and they are all good with unique features of their own -- none are as affordable as the SRT. Every system on the market today offers "demo-disks" that allow you to see just what they offer. We would recommend that anyone needing or wanting a computerized race director program carefully study all available systems and choose the one that works the best for you. If the buyer is even remotely "computer-literate" (or not) and wants a lot of "bells and whistles," I suggest you call SRT. You're also going to save a ton of money. Remember...they're on West Coast time -- three hours behind folks on the east coast, so it's best to call late in the afternoon or evening, Here's where they are...
Slot Racing Technology