Mini Z Racing at Bruckner Hobbies

Racers put the peddle to the metal during last Friday evening’s high-octane Mini-Z Racing event held at Bruckner Hobbies.
Community News Group / Robert Wirsing

If you ever dreamed of being part of a high-octane car race, a local hobby store can bring your dream to the finish line.

Open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Throggs Neck-based Bruckner Hobbies is revving up the excitement with a wildly popular in-store event.

Located at 3587 E. Tremont Avenue, Bruckner Hobbies hosts a weekly ‘Mini Z Racing’ extravaganza every Friday starting at 7:30 p.m.

Thomas Baffer, Bruckner Hobbies owner, serves as race caller for this evening competition which usually sees 20 to 25 speedsters in attendance.

Starting last November, Bruckner Hobbies’ Mini Z Racing features seven to eight-inch long radio controlled cars scaled to resemble iconic vehicles rocketing across a 24-foot long, eight-foot wide custom-built Kyosho Carpet Table sporting an obstacle course-style track testing the racers’ wide array of skills.

“It’s not about being fast, it’s about being smart whenever you race,” shared Ray Boogie, Mini Z Racing participant.

Most of the Mini Z stock cars sport vibrant paint jobs, flashing headlights and eye-catching decals while a select few featured ‘white bodies’.

Baffer explained some racers prefer using white body cars to avoid scuffing their paint jobs as racers often accidently crash into one another in the heat of competition.

A loop suspended above the race track measures the vehicles’ performance and uploads this information onto Baffer’s laptop using RC Scoring Pro, a racing program.

This state-of-the-art program displays the racers’ actual time and pace underneath their names and compiles the results to ultimately determine a winner.

These results can be viewed in real time by participants and spectators on a flat screen television stationed next to Baffer.

During last Friday’s race, some Mini-Z racers’ car found themselves stuck in corners or snagged on portions of the track.

People stationed at each corner of the track called ‘marshals’ monitored the race and periodically lent a helping hand to free the stranded race cars.

Throughout the race, participants laughed and cheered one another as they zipped through the course at 25 miles per hour.

“There’s a real sense of community among the racers here,” said Baffer.

Prior to the race, participants and Bruckner Hobbies staff dined on pizzas donated by Bronx Pizzeria which recently opened at 3579 E. Tremont Avenue.

According to Baffer, Mini Z cars can cost between $150 to $160 depending on their body styles and come packaged with radio-controlled remotes.

Some notable body styles include Porsche, Hummer, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mazda and Impreza.

Triple A batteries are required to operate these mini roadway beasts, Baffer noted.

To ensure everyone brings their A game to the race, Bruckner Hobbies hosts Mini Z Racing practice sessions for $5 per day for each person with no hourly cost.

On race days, the fees to participate in the competition are $10 which includes practice.

For more information, contact Bruckner Hobbies at (718) 863-3434 or visit

More from Around NYC