Getting into the diecast racing hobby is easy...buy some cars, roll them down a track. But sometimes talking about the hobby can be a little confusing, and at first, kind of overwhelming.
Like any good hobby, there are plenty of acronyms, buzzwords, and jargon. Below is our glossary of terms that can help you navigate the world of diecast racing. We'll be constantly adding to this list, but please toss in the words and terms you've learned along the way.
But bottomline...if you have any questions, just ask.
A race track that has no lanes where cars often "bang" into each other while racing. See Fat track, Sizzler track; Open track.
Another way to reference the body type of a car. For example, "my favorite Hot Wheels casting is the Ferrari 250GT."
Crash Racers/Adventure Force
A brand of toy car sets that is often used as a source for open track pieces.
DNF, Did Not Finish
Used to denote when a car is unable to finish a race, usually due to injury or inability to run a particular track.
Used to denote that a car must be taken apart to qualify in a tournament. Even the most basic modding requires you to take your car apart and you can't do that without drilling the rivets first. Any car will drilled rivets is assumed to not be stock.
Dry lube is graphite powder, which is you can add to your axles/wheels in an effort to reduce friction and get more speed. It's the same stuff you used in the Pinewood Derby. Most races allow dry lube but always check. Wet lube (oil) is almost never allowed.
Any car casting that is not based on, or replicates, a real world car or vehicle. Original Hot Wheels designs like Bone Shaker fall into this category, as well as more creative castings like Spector and Knight Draggin'. If it's not stamped with the name of a real car, it's probably a fantasy casting.
Fat track, Sizzler's track
Name used when talking about the race track parts sold with the Sizzlers brand of cars made by Mattel. Sizzlers were first released in the 1970s and then re-released in the mid-2000s that could be found in Target stores.
FTE, Faster Than Ever
These were mainline cars made between 2005-2006 & 2009-2010. It was often noted on the packaging that it was a "Faster Than Ever" car, but can also be identified by their bronze open hole 5-spoke wheels. Faster Than Ever cars have nickel-plated axles that are extra smooth and thus cause less friction, allowing the wheels to roll faster (when compared to non-nickel axles).
HW, Hot Wheels
Most popular brand of diecast toy cars...it's probably why you're here.
JB Kwik, JB Weld
An epoxy adhesive that is commonly used to put diecast cars back together after they've been customized. Mix two compounds together and it will harden like metal after a few hours. Read our guide on taking cars apart.
JL, Johnny Lightning
Popular brand of 1:64 diecast cars that are typically of higher detail than Hot Wheels or Matchbox. Not owned by Mattel. If you're looking to race Johnny Lightning cars, check out our friends at the JL Lincoln Race Club in Rhode Island.
Any car that weighs under 35g is considered lightweight. Any car weighing over 60g is classified as a heavyweight.
Your average $1.00 car found in retail stores. Any car that doesn't have special parts, designs or casting. Mainline cars usually come with metal bodies with plastic chassis (or vice versa), and also plastic wheels.
The other well-known popular brand of 1:64 diecast cars other than Hot Wheels, although both are owned by Mattel.
Modified racing; modified car
A modified car is any car that has been physically altered or added to in any way, excluding lubrication. Taking the car apart and changing anything is modifying the car. Taping weights to the outside of a car is modifying. Adding graphite to the wheels/axles is not modifying.
NPA, Nickel Plated Axles
Nickel-plated axles create less friction and thus, in theory, slows your car down less compared to non-NPA axles. Nickel-plated axles were featured in Faster Than Ever cars and other lines. See FTE, Faster Than Ever.
A track that does not have individual lanes (or limited lanes). Often built with fat track or Crash Racer's track. Usually, 4 cars race on an open track at the same time.
Official Hot Wheels brand track made by Mattel, usually orange in color but older/vintage track can be found in other colors. Orange track commonly comes in segments but can be found in 50' seamless rolls as well (check eBay).
Any car that isn't a mainline and usually geared more towards the collector market. These are usually $3.00 and up, and often include licensed cars from movies, comics, games, and so on. Premium cars often have metal bodies and metal chassis. Some even come with rubber "Real Rider" wheels.
Another name for Faster Than Ever FTE/NPA axles, or any other axles that come from the manufacturer with special coating, etc. See Nickel-plated axles
Rubber wheels that are often included with premium castings. They look great but aren't the best for racing. The rubber just slows you down.
Retail axles, Retail wheels
Any axle that comes from a purchased car, regardless of brand. A non-retail axle is one you make from things such as a hat pin, paperclip, piano wire, or other item that did not come from a purchased car. Same concept applies to wheels.
A type of race where only unopened cars are allowed. No modding or graphite allowed. You rip the package open, then you roll 'em down the track. This is a great race to run when there are new racers involved as it somewhat levels the playing field.
RLD, Redline Derby Racing
Shorthand for referencing the Redline Derby Racing brand and site. Not an accurate acronym per se but comes from the hard sounds in the name, RedLine Derby (at least that's my best guess).
Series or circuit
Typically, a points tournament event that spans several tracks over several weeks, with each location holding its own tournament.
Most cars have the name of the car stamped on the bottom of the chassis. This is the primary way to identify a car. However, the name stamped on the car may be different than the name shown on the packaging or blister pack. Thus, the stamp is a good way to settle disputes about how cars are classified.
Stock racing; stock cars
A stock car is any car that has not been physically altered. If you change the car or add to the car in anyway (excluding lubrication), the car is no longer stock. Adding graphite to the wheels/axles still means a stock car.
The part of the race track where the downhill stretch turns into the flat stretch, and common frustration point when building your own track.
Wet lube would be oil or any other liquid substance added to wheels/axles to get more speed. Wet lube is usually not allowed in any race as it can damage track after many lots of use.
Wheel codes, 5SP, OH5, etc
Every design/style of wheel on Hot Wheels cars has its own special shorthand code. There are dozens of codes so if you're a collector or customizer that cares, check out the list from Hot Wheels Wiki.