Track Owners Association, Inc. Featured Raceway
June 1999

Go Slot Car Racing !!

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The Elmsford Group, Inc.
Lou del Rosario's
Elmsford Raceway
380 N. Saw Mill Rd.
Elmsford, N.Y. 10523
Phone: (914) 592-5375
Fax: (914) 592-5397
Barbara del Rosario's
Stamford Raceway
7 Hyde Street
Stamford, Connecticut
Phone: (203) 316-8630
Elmsford Raceway since 1966 Stamford Raceway since 1998
View from Elmsford's sales counter Trackside view of Stamford Raceway
Does Elmsford have a greater inventory? Or does Stamford?
The world famous Nuvolari track Corporate outing at Elmsford
Corporate outing just following instructions Glad we got out of the office!
Champion Paper, Inc.'s Marketing Dept.  playing at Stamford 4 Hour Enduro gathering at Elmsford
AUTOMOBILE MAGAZINE CHARITY
SLOT CAR CHALLENGE
to benefit Paul Neuman's "Hole In The Wall Gang" camp for kids
Just For Kids
Westchester Sports Car Club slot car outing at Elmsford Slot Car Challenge additional coverage
by Doug Harrison

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The del Rosario family is, and has always been a "Team" that has worked closely together. The patriarch of the family – Luis del Rosario – has always blazed his own trail, never content to follow the crowd. This was never more apparent than when the concept for Elmsford Raceway was being developed nearly three and a half decades ago. Anyone walking down a few steps, through a glass door and into Lou’s "racing emporium" knew they were in for a completely different brand of excitement and entertainment.

And come in they did…by the tens of thousands! Dozens upon dozens of competing raceways opened in neighborhoods and towns surrounding around the Elmsford location. When racers and track owners from other places visited, many came away having witnessed two very different phenomenon: 1) The del Rosario raceway was almost always packed with kids and adults; and 2) they quickly realized that this was unlike any other commercial slot car raceway they’d ever seen! You hear the following statements all the time…

"Well, for one thing…it was always neat, clean and the personnel not only friendly, but extremely knowledgeable. And what was the second?…oh yes…the lane colors on all the tracks are screwed up! They’re not like any we’ve ever seen before!"

Yes that’s true…Lou didn’t follow the familiar. From the outset Lou forged his own path through this new wilderness. He was undoubtedly one of the first track owners to employ the services of an interior decorator – for a commercial raceway! [Could this have been feng shui in the 60’s?]

Lest you think that Lou did all this on his own…wait a minute! Right beside him, and equally as intelligent, talented, knowledgeable (and a LOT better looking!) is his beautiful wife Barbara. Not only did she work side-by-side with Lou from the beginning, but developed what has to be the most successful birthday party program in the country. To top everything else, Mrs. dR gave birth to their children. When you look at the canopy above both Elmsford and Stamford you see the number "43." That’s not copied from Richard Petty’s car…no, it signifies their childred…seven in all – four daughters and three sons. They are: Monique, Bobbie Jo, Eva, Alicia, Michael, (who runs ERI Distributing in Congers, New York), Lou III and Ricky. All of them, at one time or another, played at mom and dad’s raceway. They now have families of their own who come to race slot cars.

Almost thirty-two years to the day, the del Rosario Empire expanded yet again – this time to include yet another brand new "FLAT OUT FUN" raceway in Stamford, Connecticut.

The indelible del Rosario influence is evident throughout this new store – but with decidedly "a woman’s touch"…Barbara’s! For it is she who said, "OK, Lou…you stay here and run the raceway in Elmsford. I’m going across the state line into Connecticut and see if I can match you in sales and service!"

We don’t have the figures, but we can just about bet you the farm that Barbara is doing just that! The new facility is beautifully decorated and most attractive with brand new Ogilvie tracks; an incredible array of inventory and stock; but sports a new Vice President and General Manager – one very well-known gentleman in the industry – Mr. Jim Vincent.

About the same time that the new facility in Stamford was taking shape and getting ready to open, Lou decided to do his annual spruce up to Elmsford. Therefore we present you some pictures of both places – one every 60’s racer will instantly recognize – and Barbara’s new place in Stamford. Both facilities bear a striking resemblance to one another – from the overhead canopy race car signs to the color-coordinated interiors to the well-stocked showcases and walls to the uniquely different lane color sequences and finally to the names given to the track layouts. At Elmsford and Stamford you might recognize the shapes but won’t see sidewalls painted in various colors or track layouts named after British Royalty. The tracks at Elmsford and Stamford are named after race car DRIVERS - "Tavo Nuvolari," "Mike Hawthorne," "Count DePortago," "Bill Holland," and Jim Cink."

All racing surfaces at both Stamford and Elmsford have been painted a neutral gray with lighter, matching colored sides. We mentioned the lane colors before. Almost the whole world has become familiar with "Red, White, Green, Orange, Blue, Yellow, Purple, and Black." Not so at Elmsford and Stamford. Visit and race there and you’ll have to quickly become familiar with "White, Black, Red, Green, Orange, Blue, Purple, and Yellow." Do I hear a "Huh?" I did the same double take in 1966 and have kidded Lou ever since.

A lot of prospective track owners have tried to copy Barbara and Lou’s formula for success. Some have succeeded and some have not.

Why have the del Rosario’s been so successful through the decades while so many others have fallen by the wayside? There are no simple answers, but here are what we consider to be at least one Top Ten list of reasons why the del Rosarios continue to be so successful, right from the beginning. These things were done nearly 34 years ago at Elmsford, and repeated just this past year at Stamford. This list is only partially what has contributed greatly to Lou and Barbara’s longevity and financial well being:

  1. A very carefully designed business plan was drawn up before any other money was spent. Demographic studies were done of the areas where they contemplated locating the new business.
  2. Sufficient operating capital was already on hand before the first nail was driven or the first coat of paint applied. In addition to those funds, the del Rosario’s also had a full-year’s operating expenses set-aside in a savings account.
  3. Once a good location was found, an interior decorator was hired to design the building layout to create an attractive business that would attract not only the men, but their wives, mothers and children.
  4. Qualified experts were hired to train and teach the owners and employees.
  5. They cater to all scales and all sizes of model racecars – from the smallest to the largest, including radio control. Both locations have extremely knowledgeable personnel at their respective sales areas.
  6. Both Elmsford and Stamford utilize the Birthday Party Program designed and implemented by Barbara. This program has put incredible amounts of profit directly into their cash registers.
  7. The owners and employees are always neatly dressed and both locations kept impeccably clean all the time. No smoking is ever allowed inside either location.
  8. Racing programs for all classes are conducted on a regular basis with emphasis on "flat-out fun" and enjoyment for all the participants. This includes winged car/glue racing as well as all the scale classes.
  9. Inventory is maintained at a constant level so that the customer can expect to find whatever product or part they want to purchase.
  10. The del Rosario’s have never been afraid to put forth hours, days, weeks, and large sums of money to promote charitable events for their community. They have done this service for many, many years. Just one of the charity endeavors they are involved with is the "Gift of Life" where donations go toward bringing seriously ill children from around the world to one of their local hospitals for life-saving surgery.

These ten items aren’t the only on reasons why Barbara and Lou del Rosario have been so successful. For one thing…they love, know and respect the business of slot car racing. Together they enjoy being active members within their local community. Both have served as volunteers on numerous committees and organizations. Lou was the first president of the TOA, elected at our first convention in Enid, Oklahoma in August 1993 and served for three years. He has also been the past president of NHRA and NMRA as well as serving on the local Chamber of Commerce and other charity organizations.

Another equally important facet of the continued success of the Elmsford Group are the people who manage and work at both raceways. Elmsford has been fortunate to have Paul Gelman as General Manager for the past twelve years. Paul goes back to the very beginning…having first visited the raceways as a young racer back in 1966. I always enjoy chatting with Paul whenever I call because he’s always got an interesting tale to tell. The last time we talked we discussed many of the famous names and some of the products that were developed back in the early days. The list reads like a "Who’s Who" from the early days…chassis designer Ray Calio; Tony "P" who is still with Trinity/Slotworks; Bob Emott of BIR; Jim Difalco of Difaco Designs controller fame; and racers who became household names in the mid-sixties. To name just a few you had Howie Ursaner, Jerry Brady, and of course, Andy Wasserman who holds virtually every track record in the store.

Paul also saw the development of the monorail chassis at Elmsford and during that time (1976-1983) he owned his own manufacturing company, Great Race Products. One of his best selling items was Group 20 cars.

Mr. Gelman states that one of the strongest reasons why Elmsford (and now Stamford) have been successful has been constant advertising. When queried as to what worked best, he said "Nothing is working as well as Cable TV."

We also talked about the race programs being conducted and Paul said, "We really like the consistency of the 4" Busch and Winston Cup races and it is all due to sealed motors." We thank Paul for his insight and look forward to more information in the near future we can share with TOA members.

Both Lou and Barbara have never been afraid to share their vast knowledge and experience with people who have sought information on how to become successful in the slot racing industry. They have both volunteered to give seminars at the 1999 TOA Convention and Trade Show in June. Lou has expressed his willingness to present ideas on promotion, advertising and how charity can benefit any raceway. Barbara will give her seminar on how she developed the terrific birthday party program, which has been extremely beneficial to both their businesses.

Should anyone need valuable help from either Barbara or Lou, it is but a phone call away. Here’s where to find them.

Luis del Rosario
The Elmsford Group, Inc.
dba/Elmsford Raceway
380 Saw Mill Road
Elmsford, New York 10523
Phone: (914) 592-5375
Fax: (914) 592-5397
Barbara del Rosario
The Elmsford Group, Inc.
dba/Stamford Raceway
7 Hyde Street
Stamford, Connecticut
Phone: (203) 316-8630

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