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Tommy

Tommy at Auto Club Speedway

Racemats is the story of the passion of a little boy, Tommy, for NASCAR racing. As unbelievable as it may seem, the idea of building race mats came to him as he was only 5 and a half year old! At the time, he was playing imaginary Sprint Cup races and championships with his 1:64 scale NASCAR cars around our living room every single day. Of course, the same usual suspects always won these races after unlikely, epic comebacks: Jimmy Johnson, Brad Keselowski (always Tommy's favorite even when he was a rookie), Kyle and Kurt Busch, Dale Eearnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards

After listening Tommy commenting these races so many times (some day I'll try to tape him and will post the recording here, it really does sound like professional commentary), I suggested to him that he needed to give a chance to the other drivers as well.

That's how he came up with the idea of using dice to make the cars move along the tiles of the living room floor. But he soon realized that it was not really practical as the tiles were too big and the tiny cars got quickly spread all around the house as some got luckier than others with the roll of the dice. The final blow came when I literally smashed his first car, Dale Earnhardt Jr's #88, as I walked on it coming out of the kitchen.

That's when Tommy said: "Dad, why don't you build a racetrack for my cars?" I obviously didn't think much of it, at least for a few days until Tommy told me that the racetrack was really the only gift he wanted for his next birthday. That led me to do a lot of research on the web and in specialized game stores, but I simply couldn't find anything that was even remotely close to what he had in mind. So we sat down together in front of the computer, and over the next few days we devised the design of what would become the first Tommy's Speedway.

Tommy's directions were incredibly clear from the start: he wanted a large oval racetrack with 4 lanes, pits, and car-size cells (so that he could play with dice if he wanted), including special cells that would accelerate or slow down the cars.

A few weeks later, the first real-size racetrack was ready, and so was Tommy! It was such a huge hit with all the boys at Tommy's birthday party, that they all asked their parents to get one for them. At that point, I had actually never intended to produce more than one, and much less selling it. But when I finally produced the next few ones for Tommy's friends, it all started to sound like an evidence. Kids love it, it takes them out of their video games and TV, it's educational, and it was designed for fun!

Tommy is now 9, and I don't think there has been a single day in the last 3 years when he did not play with his Racemat. I obviously "upgraded" him when we devised a better design, more consistent special cells, and a much higher production quality. The racemat is now part of the family. We brought it along everywhere we went, from days at the beach to camping trips to travels abroad.

This has been an incredible journey. We have now sold hundreds of times more Racemats than I thought would be possible, and even started to sell internationally (Australia, Europe, Japan). The incredible feedback we have been receiving from kids and parents all over the world is what makes us the most proud. This is a work of love and we sure intend to spread it! More racetracks will be available by spring 2014. Stay tuned!

To all of you, from all of us at Racemats - Thank you and Happy racing!

Joel Bordes
Racemats.com