From the September 2000 issue of Startups

The roar of the engines. The smell of burning rubber. The screaming crowds. The turns. The crashes. The thrills. No, it's not a day at the Brickyard; it's a company picnic or convention. And these aren't typical stock cars; they're remote-controlled cars, courtesy of Atlantic, Iowa-based Micro-Reality Motorsports.

Controlled with steering wheels and hand throttles, the one-tenth-scale replica cars compete in four- or six-car races. There are pileups, flips, victories and stunning upsets, just like in real racing.

And that suits Brad Krehnbrink just fine. As president and owner of the ThunderDome Racing of Charlotte Inc. dealership in North Carolina, he's got two six-car tracks that provide entertainment and excitement at races, conventions, trade shows and other events throughout North Carolina as well as Florida, Delaware, Michigan and Texas.

"Anywhere there's a racing-themed event, our objective is to get our equipment into that event-we know our attractions will go over extremely well," says the 30-year-old Krehnbrink, who got into the sport when it was hitting its peak back in 1995. "It's still growing by leaps and bounds," he adds.

ThunderDome, which does 15 to 20 events a month, charges between $1,000 and $1,300 per event, providing its customers with the track, music and two uniformed crew members who oversee the racing and do the setup and teardown. The company brings in between $60,000 and $75,000 per track annually.

Micro-Reality Motorsports dealerships cost $20,000 per track for a complete turnkey package.

Make The Call

Micro-Reality Motorsports: (712) 243-9035, www.microreality.org.