Title:
Slotless toy racetrack and radio-controlled toy racecar kit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A slotless toy racetrack that is constructed by assembling a plurality of straight and curved racetrack sections in an end-to-end configuration. The racetrack is especially useful with radio controlled racecars and is wide enough that the cars can pass one another while competing. The racetrack sections have a base portion and sidewalls fixed to and extending along the length of side edges. The sidewalls have facing inner surfaces defining the width of the road surface and outer surfaces. Base fasteners connect the base portion of two abutting track sections in a continuous, end-to-end configuration. Sidewall fasteners align the sidewalls of two abutting track sections in an end-to-end configuration with a flush interface.



Inventors:
Margay X, Frank (Chester Springs, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/202890
Publication Date:
02/15/2007
Filing Date:
08/12/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
238/10F
International Classes:
A63H18/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, ALYSSA MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ryder, Lu, Mazzeo & Konieczny, LLC (Plymouth Meeting, PA, US)
Claims:
Claims:

1. A toy racetrack section, comprising: a) a base portion having a top road surface, a bottom surface, opposed longitudinally-extending side edges, and opposed, laterally-extending first and second connection ends; b) sidewalls fixed to and extending along the length of said side edges, said sidewalls having facing inner surfaces defining the width of the road surface and outer surfaces; c) base fasteners for connecting the base portion of two abutting track sections in a continuous, end-to-end configuration, and, d) sidewall fasteners for aligning the sidewalls of two abutting track sections in an end-to-end configuration with a flush interface.

2. The racetrack section recited in claim 1, wherein the sidewall fasteners do not contact the inner surface of the sidewalls so that the inner interface between sidewalls is smooth and uninterrupted.

3. The racetrack section recited in claim 1, wherein said sidewalls have first and second ends that are coterminous with said first and second connection ends, respectively, of said base portion.

4. The racetrack section recited in claim 1, wherein the first connection end of one racetrack segment connects to the second connection end of a second of said racetrack sections.

5. The racetrack section recited in claim 1, wherein the connections ends of one racetrack segment are interchangeably connectable with either connection end of a second of said racetrack sections.

6. The racetrack section recited in claim 1, wherein said sidewalls are integrally formed with said base portion.

7. The racetrack section recited in claim 1, wherein said sidewalls have a thickness that is less than the thickness of said base portion.

8. The racetrack section recited in claim 1, wherein said base fasteners and sidewall fasteners comprise male and female elements at opposed ends of said section.

9. The racetrack section recited in claim 7, wherein said base fasteners and said sidewall fasteners are integrally formed with said base portion and sidewalls, respectively.

10. The racetrack section recited in claim 9, wherein said sidewall fasteners are fixed to the outer surface of said sidewalls.

11. The racetrack section recited in claim 1, wherein said sidewall fasteners comprise clips that overlap the intersection of abutting sidewall ends.

12. A toy racetrack section, comprising: a) a base portion having a top road surface, a bottom surface, opposed longitudinally-extending side edges, and opposed, laterally-extending first and second connection ends; b) sidewalls connected to and extending along the length of said side edges, said sidewalls having facing inner surfaces defining the width of the road surface, and outer surfaces; c) means for releasably connecting and aligning the base portion and sidewalls of two abutting track sections in a continuous, end-to-end configuration with a flush interface; wherein the connecting and aligning means does not contact the inner surface of the sidewalls so that the inner interface between sidewalls is smooth and uninterrupted.

13. The racetrack section recited in claim 12, wherein the first connection end of one racetrack segment connects to the second connection end of a second of said racetrack sections.

14. The racetrack section recited in claim 12, wherein said connecting and aligning means comprises a longitudinally-extending male element on the first end of said track section and a female receptacle on the second end of said track section, said male element on one track section releasably engaging the female receptacle of another track section.

15. A toy racetrack, comprising: a) a plurality of straight and curved slotless racetrack sections, each racetrack section having: i) a base portion including: a top road surface; a bottom surface; opposed longitudinal-extending side edges; and opposed, laterally-extending first and second connection ends; ii) base fasteners for connecting the base portion of two abutting track sections in a continuous, end-to-end configuration to form an endless raceway; and, iii) a longitudinal groove in said base portion proximate each side edge extending the length of said section, said grooves of abutting racetrack sections aligning with one another to form an endless groove around the interior and exterior periphery of the raceway; b) first and second endless sidewalls that connect to the endless grooves in said base portion.

16. The racetrack recited in claim 15, wherein said endless sidewalls have a lip portion that inserts into the endless groove, and a wall portion that extends upwardly transverse to the plane of the base portion.

17. The racetrack recited in claim 16, wherein said endless sidewalls comprise a flexible, continuously formed extrusion.

18. A toy racecar kit, comprising: a) a plurality of motorized, radio-controlled racecars having a width WC; b) a plurality of slotless racetrack sections, each section having: i) a base portion including: a top road surface with a width W at least two times greater than WC; a bottom surface; opposed longitudinal-extending side edges; and opposed, laterally-extending first and second connection ends; ii) sidewalls fixed to and extending along the length of said side edges, said sidewalls having facing inner surfaces defining the width of the road surface and outer surfaces; iii) base fasteners for connecting the base portion of two abutting track sections in a continuous, end-to-end configuration; and, iv) sidewall fasteners for aligning the sidewalls of two abutting track sections in an end-to-end configuration with a flush interface; wherein the plurality of roadway sections includes at least one straight roadway section and at least one curved section for constructing an endless raceway.

19. The kit recited in claim 18, wherein the plurality of racetrack sections can be assembled in a configuration that resembles a famous racecourse selected from the group consisting of: Talladega Superspeedway, Pocono Raceway, Watkins Glen International, Texas Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, or Daytona International Speedway.

20. The kit recited in claim 19, including simulations of at least one of the grandstands, buildings, or landscape of the famous course.

Description:

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to slotless toy racetrack and kit for racing toy radio-controlled race cars.

Background of the Invention

There are many toy race car sets that include a plurality of track segments that assemble into an endless track. To guide the cars around the track, one form of track segment includes a plurality of generally-parallel slots formed in the top or road surface of the track. The slots guide competing racecars along generally non-overlapping paths of travel. In another form of track segment, the competing racecars are guided and separated from one another by a plurality of guide rails or guide walls, which define discrete racing lanes, each of which is slightly wider than the width of the car. Neither of these track configurations simulates real-life auto racing wherein cars bump, draft, pass and obstruct one another. Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a toy racetrack, which includes barriers to contain the racecars on the track, but which allows competing racecars to bump, draft, pass and obstruct one another.

Some known slotless track segments have sidewalls that extend along the lengthwise-extending edge. The sidewalls may either be integrally formed with or releasably connected to the road surface portion of the track segment. The track segments are connected by male/female connectors on the ends of the road surface portion to form a smooth, continuous road surface. However, the track segments do not have connectors to align the abutting sidewall ends and form a flush interface. If the sidewall ends are not properly aligned, the inwardly-protruding portion of the misaligned sidewall interferes with the racecar riding along the wall. Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a racetrack segment, which includes sidewall fasteners for aligning the sidewalls of two abutting track sections in an end-to-end configuration with a flush interface

Summary of the Invention

The invention comprises a slotless toy racetrack that is constructed by assembling a plurality of straight and curved racetrack sections in an end-to-end configuration. The racetrack is especially useful with radio controlled racecars and is wide enough so that the cars can pass one another while competing.

The racetrack sections have a top road surface, a bottom surface, opposed longitudinally-extending side edges, and opposed, laterally-extending first and second connection ends. The first connection end of one racetrack segment connects to the second connection end of another racetrack section. Alternatively, the connection ends of one racetrack segment are interchangeably connectable with either connection end of another racetrack section.

Sidewalls are fixed to and extend along the length of the side edges. The sidewalls have outer surfaces, and facing inner surfaces that define the width of the road surface. The sidewalls have first and second ends that are coterminous with the first and second connection ends, respectively, of the base portion. The sidewalls may be integrally formed with the base portion and may have a thickness that is less than the thickness of the base portion.

Base fasteners connect the base portion of two abutting track sections in a continuous, end-to-end configuration. Sidewall fasteners align the sidewalls of two abutting track sections in an end-to-end configuration with a flush interface. Preferably, the sidewall fasteners do not contact any portion of the inner surface of the sidewalls so that the inner connection between sidewalls is smooth and uninterrupted.

In a preferred embodiment, the base fasteners and sidewall fasteners comprise male and female elements at opposed ends of the racetrack section. The base fasteners and sidewall fasteners are preferably integrally formed with the base portion and sidewalls, respectively, so that the fasteners do not get lost or separated. Preferably the sidewall fasteners are fixed to the outer surface of the sidewalls. Alternatively, the sidewall fasteners comprise clips that overlap the intersection of abutting sidewall ends.

In an alternative embodiment, the sidewalls are not integrally formed with the base portion the racetrack sections. Instead, each sidewall connects to the inner and outer periphery of the assembled track sections. In a preferred embodiment, each sidewall comprises an endless extrusion or belt having a lip portion and a wall portion. The base portion of each racetrack section includes a longitudinally-extending groove, which is proximate each side edge and which extends along the length of the side edges. The grooves receive the lip portion of the snap-on sidewalls. When assembled, the wall portion of the sidewalls extends upwardly transverse, and preferably perpendicular, to the plane of the base portion.

The invention also provides a toy racecar kit, which includes a plurality of motorized, radio-controlled racecars having a width WC, and a plurality of racetrack sections such as described above. The racetrack sections include at least one straight section and at least one curved section for constructing an endless raceway. The width of the racetrack sections W is preferably at least twice the width WC of the racecars so that the cars can pass one another during competition. Further, because the track is slotless, the cars can bump, draft and interfere with one another.

In another embodiment of the invention, the plurality of racetrack sections can be assembled in a configuration that resembles a famous racecourse such as Talladega Superspeedway, Pocono Raceway, Watkins Glen International, Texas Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, or Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, the kit may include simulations of the grandstands, buildings, or landscape of the famous course.

Brief Description of the Drawings

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a straight toy racetrack section in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary perspective of adjoining track sections shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a curved toy racetrack section in accordance with another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary top plan view of interconnected racetrack sections shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 4 showing a first embodiment of the base fasteners;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 5 but showing an alternative embodiment of the base fasteners;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 5 but showing an additional embodiment of the base fasteners;

FIGS. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary, side-elevational view of interconnected racetrack sections of FIG. 1 showing a first embodiment of the sidewall fasteners;

FIGS. 9 is an enlarged, fragmentary, side-elevational view of interconnected racetrack sections showing another embodiment of the sidewall fasteners;

FIGS. 10 is an enlarged, fragmentary, side-elevational view of interconnected racetrack sections showing a further embodiment of the sidewall fasteners;

FIGS. 11 is an enlarged, fragmentary, side-elevational view of interconnected racetrack sections showing yet another embodiment of the sidewall fasteners;

FIGS. 12 is an enlarged, fragmentary, side-elevational view of interconnected racetrack sections showing an additional embodiment of the sidewall fasteners;

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 13-13 of FIG. 8;

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 14-14 of FIG. 9;

FIG. 15 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 15-15 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 16 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 16-16 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 17-17 of FIG. 12;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a toy racetrack in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 19-19 of FIG. 18;

FIGS. 20-29 are schematic illustrations of assembled configurations of toy racecar kits in accordance with embodiments of the invention; and,

FIG. 30 is a cross-section view taken along lines 30-30 of FIG. 3.

Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments

For the purpose of illustration, there is shown in the accompanying drawings several embodiments of the invention. However, it should be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown therein and described below.

A toy racetrack section in accordance with an embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 1 and is designated generally by reference numeral 10. The racetrack section 10 generally comprises an elongate, planar base portion 12 having a top road surface 14, a bottom surface 16, opposed, longitudinally-extending side edges 18, and opposed, laterally-extending first and second ends 20, 22, respectively. Sidewalls 24 are fixed to and extend along the length of the side edges 18. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the sidewalls 24 are integrally formed with the base portion 12 of the racetrack section 10, which is preferably formed from a plastic moldable material. Preferably, the sidewalls 24 extend along the entire length of the base portion 12 and have first 26 and second 28 ends that are coterminous with the first 20 and second 22 ends of the base portion 12. The sidewalls 24 also extend upwardly transverse, and preferably perpendicular, to the plane of the base portion 12. The sidewalls 24 may have a thickness that is less than the thickness of the base portion 12.

Base fasteners 30 connect the base portion 12 of two abutting track sections 10 in a continuous, end-to-end configuration as best seen in FIG. 4. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the base fasteners 30 comprise a plurality of male tabs 32 fixed to the first connection end 20 and female undercuts 34 formed in the second connection end 22 of the racetrack section 10. The tabs 32 at the first end 20 of the base portion 12 of a first racetrack section 10 interconnect with the slots 34 at the second end of the base portion of a second racetrack section 10, thereby joining the racetrack sections in an end-to-end configuration. The base fasteners 30 are preferably integrally formed with the base portion 12 so that the fasteners do not get lost or separated.

The base fasteners 30 may comprise other forms of connectors such as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. Referring to FIG. 6, the base fasteners comprise male tabs 132 fixed to the first end 20 and female slots 134 formed in the second end of the racetrack section. Referring to FIG. 7, the base fasteners comprise dovetailed male tabs 232 and female undercuts 234.

Sidewall fasteners 30 align the sidewalls 24 of two abutting track sections 10 in an end-to-end configuration with a flush interface as best seen in FIG. 4. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the sidewall fasteners 30 comprise a male tab 38 fixed to the outer surface of each sidewall 24 at the first connection end 20, and a female bottomless socket 40 fixed to the outer surface of each sidewall 24 at the second connection end 22. The tabs 38 at the first end 20 of a first racetrack section 10 insert into the sockets 40 at the second end 22 of a second racetrack section 10, thereby aligning the sidewalls in an end-to-end configuration with a flush interface.

The sidewall fasteners may comprise other connectors such as shown in FIGS. 10-12 and 15-17. Referring to FIGS. 10 and 15, the sidewall fasteners 136 comprise a bottomless female socket 140 fixed to the outer surface of each sidewall 24 at both the first connection end 20 and second connection end 22. A tab 138 extends through both sockets 140 to align the abutting sidewalls. The sidewall fasteners are preferably integrally formed with sidewalls so that the fasteners do not get lost or separated from the racetrack section.

Referring to FIGS. 11 and 16, the sidewall fasteners 236 comprise a barbed male tab 238 fixed to the outer surface of each sidewall 24 at the first connection end 20, and a female bottomless socket 240 fixed to the outer surface of each sidewall 24 at the second connection end 22. Referring to FIGS. 12 and 17, the sidewall fasteners 336 comprise a dovetail-shaped male tab 338 fixed to the outer surface of each sidewall 24 at the first connection end 20, and a dovetail-shaped female socket 340 formed in each sidewall 24 at the second connection end 22.

Preferably, the sidewall fasteners are located on the outer surface of the sidewall or do not contact any portion of the inner surface of the sidewall so that the inner connection between the sidewalls is smooth and uninterrupted. However, if the sidewall fastener does contact the inner surface of the sidewalls, it must not interfere with the path of travel of a racecar along the sidewalls. For example, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 9 and 14, the sidewall fasteners comprise C-clips 50 that overlap the intersection of abutting sidewall ends. Referring to FIGS. 9 and 14, the clips 50 have an undercut 52 in the upper portion that overlaps the top edge of the sidewalls 24. The lower portion 54 of the C-clips contacts the bottom surface 16 of the racetrack section 10. With sufficient wall height, the slight overlap of the C-clip 50 would not interfere with racecars.

In the embodiments shown in FIG. 1 and 4-7, the base fasteners provide sufficient interlocking force to prevent the racetrack sections from pulling apart until purposefully disassembled. Therefore, it is not necessary that the construction of the sidewall fasteners provide additional longitudinal interlocking force. However, the sidewall fasteners should be designed to align the abutting sidewall ends into an alignment wherein a flush interface between adjacent abutting sidewalls is formed.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the racetrack sections have a construction in which the first end is designed to interconnect with the second end of another section. However, it should be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that the invention encompasses a universal construction in which a first racetrack section can interconnect with either end of a second section. A universal construction can be achieved by using, for example, the sidewall fasteners show in FIG. 10, and by providing both male tabs 32 and female undercuts 34 on each end of the base section 12.

In another embodiment of the invention, the racetrack section 110 has a curved shape but a construction similar to the straight racetrack section 10 described above. The curved racetrack section 110 has planar but curved base portion 112 having a top road surface 114, a bottom surface 116, opposed, longitudinally-extending side edges 118, and opposed, laterally-extending first and second ends 120, 122, respectively. The curved racetrack section 110 further includes sidewalls 124, which have a similar construction to the sidewalls 24 described above. The curved racetrack section 110 further includes base fasteners 130 and sidewall fasteners 136, which may be selected from the variety of fasteners 30, 36, respectively, or equivalents thereof, described above.

Referring to FIG. 30, the curved racetrack sections 110 are preferably banked to enhance race performance. The curved sections 110 are supported at a banking angle by ribs 135.

A plurality of straight 10 and curved 110 racetrack sections may be provided as part of a kit wherein the sections may be assembled to resemble the configuration of a famous racetrack, designated generally by reference numeral 60, used by NASCAR®, IROC®, Indy, or other racing circuits or leagues. The kit may also include grandstand simulations 62, which also resemble the grandstands associated with a particular racetrack. Additionally, the banking angles of the curved sections may resemble the banking angles of a famous racecourse. For example, referring to FIGS. 20-29, and the banking angles described below in parentheses, the assembled racetrack sections and grandstand simulations may resemble famous racecourses such as: Talladega Superspeedway (33°), Pocono Raceway(6-14°), Watkins Glen International (0°), Texas Motor Speedway (24°), Martinsville Speedway (12°), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (12°), Atlanta Motor Speedway (24°), Bristol Motor Speedway (36°), Darlington Raceway (25°), or Daytona International Speedway (31°), which are shown in FIGS. 20-29, respectively.

The kit may also include simulations of particular objects, buildings, landscape features or landmarks of the famous racecourse. For example, referring to FIG. 29, the kit includes a lake simulation 64, which resembles Daytona's interior lake.

In a preferred embodiment, the kit includes the exact number of straight and curved sections, and grandstand simulations, to resemble the configuration of a single, famous racecourse. In this embodiment, each kit may comprise one track of a series, which is promoted and sold to the consumer. Alternatively, the kit may be provided with a greater number of straight and curved sections so that the sections can be assembled into more than one famous racecourse.

The kit also preferably includes a plurality of radio-controlled toy racecars 66 shown in FIG. 1. In the preferred embodiment, the widthwise dimension of the cars 66 and racetrack sections are selected so that at least two cars 66 can be laterally aligned on the track section without interference so that the cars 66 can pass one another. Preferably, the width WC of the cars 66 is less than half of the width W of the racetrack sections. For example, the cars 66 may comprise 1:72, 1:64, or 1:32 scale cars which are about 1 to about 2.5 inches wide, while the track may be about 6 in. wide and have sidewalls about ½in. high.

A toy racetrack in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 18 and 19 and is designated generally by reference numeral 70. The racetrack 70 comprises a plurality of straight 210 and curved 310 racetrack sections that are connected in a continuous, end-to-end configuration. With the exception of their shape, the straight and curved racetrack sections have a similar construction.

The straight racetrack sections 210 generally comprise a planar base portion 212 having a top road surface 214, a bottom surface 216, opposed, longitudinally-extending side edges 218, and opposed, laterally-extending first and second ends 220, 222, respectively. Base fasteners connect the base portion 212 of two abutting track sections 210 in a continuous, end-to-end configuration as best seen in FIG. 19. The base fasteners may have the construction shown in FIGS. 1-7.

The base portion 212 of each racetrack section 210 includes a longitudinally-extending groove 217 proximate each side edge 218. The grooves 217 extend along the length of the side edges 218. In contrast with the racetrack section 10 described above, the racetrack sections 210 of this embodiment do not have integrally formed sidewalls. Instead, the racetrack includes an inner 221 and outer 223 snap-on sidewall than connects to the inner and outer periphery of the assembled track sections 210, 310. Each sidewall 221, 223 comprises an endless extrusion or belt having a wall portion and a lip portion 225, which inserts into the grooves 217 of the base portion 212. When assembled, the wall portion 227 of the sidewalls 221, 223 extends upwardly transverse, and preferably perpendicular, to the plane of the base portion 212.

While the principles of the invention have been described above in connection with specific embodiments, it is to be clearly understood that this description is made only by way of example and not as a limitation on the scope of the invention.