One builder, two teams - Do Diecast "Sock Puppets" exist?

FeralPatrick Wednesday, 11/8/2023

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Recently this topic was discussed between a few fellow builders and myself so I thought I'd open up a public convo about it. Has anyone ever heard of (or suspected) a racer/builder who's set up a second "sock puppet" or proxy team and entering races along with their original team as if it's a legit new team? Or possibly a 'new' team having a vet builder build racers for them incognito? If it's happened before or is happening now, how would you feel about it? It seems with our chosen hobby, with no governing body to set universal rules other than the race hosts, it's ultimately up to them on how to handle it if it were to happen. 


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I'm sure there has been and probably still a couple of people who have "alter egos" and send multiple entries to stack the deck and get more screen time. However, it seems futile. If your "sock puppet" wins, you can't brag about it. You can't show off your trophy or prize pack. I think that would be hard for someone who must be an ego maniac and feels the need to do something like that in the first place. 

As a new race host, I am not interested in checking ID's. I race whatever comes in the mail and I believe that it's on them if they want to be shady like that. I don't want to be the diecast police. However, I would be mor than happy to race an extra car or 2 for someone after the main race if someone is trying out new modifying ideas and would like to see it run down the track. Or if they want to send something extra to just take some single runs to try and beat the track record.  Then they could still see their car on the track without entering the race and taking up a spot with a "sock puppet"

  • I don't blame you for not wanting to be the diecast police... Hosts have way more than enough work to do as is. Anyone who'd do 2 teams clearly has issues. Awesome of you to offer testing of cars on your track! — FeralPatrick
  • I like that there is some "agreed upon" rules that people can build with. Sometimes it is confusing for noobs like me with limited experience to know what is expected or allowed. The list that shows what the terms means is very helpful, at least we can all talk the same language... mostly! — Stoopid_Fish_Racing
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redlinederby 11/9/23
Site manager

I agree with Chase that there's not a lot of gains to pretending to be a second team. Not that it doesn't happen, I'm sure it does, but not only can you not brag about it, you have to pay double shipping! Who wants to do that?! Especially when the gains are...??? Bragging rights? I'm sure it's a thing but I can't imagine it being so widespread and common that it's ruining it for the community at large. If there's ever a point where we're racing for more than just pride and ego, that's when we'll all have to be more careful.

But all that being said, hosts have all the power here. They can choose to deal with things as they please. Even here on the website, hosts have tools to adjust results and such if they see fit. Just be open and communicate.

However, I do like Chase's idea of running extra cars on the track post-race. Like a test service kinda...send in your main car for the race proper, but maybe a few extras to see how they roll.

Back when I was running my drag strip, I had a guy send me 5 cars and he asked me to run them, record them, and give my thoughts on them. He was trying out different weights and wheels and stuff. It was very quick for me and I was happy to offer it, but now with all the road courses it might be more relevant. Honestly, tracks could probably charge a small fee to do a "private" running and review for people, especially if they're a frequent track host.

This was rampant back in the day, some would deny it, some would say so what. If a race said 2 entries only, every member of the family got 2 entries including grandma and the dog. I really don't care myself, and have always used the same name on multiple platforms. Racers have always pushed the envelope on what was and was not allowed. That really shouldn't surprise anyone.

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RLoRacing 11/9/23

Oh for sure. I know you and I have joked about it on my page and I definitely have my suspicions. We were all new to the hobby at one point ans we've observed plenty of rookie builds to know that it's a rough start that requires a lot of trial and error. So when a "new" builder comes onto the scene and puts down some fast times in his first race, it'll definitely cause me to raise an eyebrow. However, without actual solid evidence, I'm not going to openly accuse anyone but still maintain my suspicions. 

My issue with this is with limited spots available in most races (only 16-32 in most cases), you're taking away a spot from another builder who could have entered and sent a car simply to increase your odds of winning. With the hobby slowly growing, it'll make races harder to get into. However, with tracks like Indiana Diecast who'll take unlimited entries, knock yourself out and send Jim some presents. I sure did for the ongoing race. If someone wanted to do more work and send extra cars just to test a different weight setup, that's between them and the host and is none of my business.

That's my take.  

  • Ditto. — FeralPatrick
  • A "new" builder can always get lucky his first time out of the gate. I tried doing it with a known fast car (the JK Clue Escalade) on the Rookie Rally, and it actually did pretty decent for a stock car. Then I started modifying cars and the speeds went WAY down .......... — SpyDude

I'm not going to mention any names because I don't feel like getting into trouble today but this has been going on ever since I started. Difference then was it was all drag racing and you not only had to beat the best 3-4 guys but you had to beat their wife and kids too. Nobody complained because how is anyone going to complain about wives and kids getting involved but let's be real. They werent building those cars and winning races. DCR was infamous for this and it wasn't cheap to race there so it forced you to get good quick. 
My remedy wasn't to bitch or cry. I decided to get good and make sure someone had to spend a ton of money to get dragged by me. Guess what, it stopped happening quick. They all quit. That's my advice. Go out and race who shows up and beat them as many times as they want to get beat

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redlinederby 11/9/23
Site manager

The whole "me and my family" stuff has been a long-time's why we started say "per household." And if I ever got more than one car from someone, I just asked them to pick the one that they want raced, especially if the roster was already packed. None of this parent/sibling/pet stuff. This type of issue is easily solved and done so in a nice, polite way. This is forgivable.

But I think that's a different issue than someone sending in an entirely separate entry - separate postage and all - pretending to be someone completely different. This is not forgivable...but also harder to sus out. I'd like to think it doesn't happen much but maybe not???

Just wanted to be clear those are 2 different problems that hosts could see and need to think about how they're going to deal with it should it occur. Just set expectations when you list a race and stick to your guns...people will weed themselves out over time. There is a such thing as a bad customer and you don't want their business anyway. 

  • Agreed. Two different scenarios, the latter is the one I'm referencing. — FeralPatrick
  • Is the concern that one builder is building multiple cars? If that’s the case and someone builds a car for their kid and calls it a different team it’s the same thing. Bottom line though I don’t care if someone builds 5 cars I’ll beat them all. Who are we worried about anyway? The same 3-4 teams win every drag race and every road race. I haven’t seen a new name win in years. — BlueLineRacing

...okay but why doh. 

Everyones brought up all the points I would've said if I was one of the first to comment but I'm just gonna ask another question of my own:

why. Why would anyone do this. That's a redundant question sure but I am like- morbidly curious why anyone would do that.

It''s like cheating in a videogame. It HAS to be of similar mentalities as to why, right???

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WolfHound 11/9/23

im new to diecast racing.. hell im new to hotwheels collecting.. so hearing that people are sending in a team plus a ghost writer team to try win boggles my mind.

its not like there is a huge cash price or world notoriaty/celeb status to be gained

What am i missing?

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StarCorps 11/9/23

I know there are people who want to win at any cost, but this fandom is all about reputation. Thats the only points to be scored. It just makes no sense to me. 

  • I'm thinking the satisfaction of duping everyone, along with having two cars in a tourney when all us "suckers" are only racing one. Something very petty and greedy about it. — FeralPatrick
  • @FeralPatrick: I agree, especially when it’s one car per builder and they’re taking away someone’s spot — RLoRacing
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dr_dodge 11/10/23

yea, I don't get why someone would do that.

but, in this day and age, who knows what people are thinking


How to answer this could be a minefield......By a well intended member....

Just like to say, there are many different diecast racing types, formats, situations, and race promotoers level, that MAY have an effect on this subject. While (I) may prefer some types of events, they all have validivity.

FeralPatrick has initiated an interesting discussion. My short answer to it, is up to the race promotoer to set appropriate rules and enforce them. To me, very important for a "AAA" listed, limited entry, event to be above board, and allow all real racers to enter, and run to the listed rules, without someone "filling" in teams, unless the promoter does so/ specifies, this may be done for numbers balancing.

I live a long way away, and am not in "day to day chatter" with many in the US so, any rumours of any issues, take a long time for me to hear. But in what I call AAA events, I am unaware of any recent issues. Not sure at top level events, that this would currently be a big issue? (That comment is not made to challenge the initial post.)

Chase Family Reply: I can certainly understand their position. I would scratch my head as to why "Joe Blow" Builder would create ie two different teams, sent at different times, specifically to deceive the promoter, and returned to different address? Though in saying that, at times, I will ask my cars to be sent back to someone in the US who collates and bulk sends cars back to me. Also for important events, I may send to US to a mate, (time permitting) to check arrived condition etc, before sending on to the promoters address.

Redline's, Brians comments. Again, I agree take it back to the event promoter. What do they want, or need? Communication.

R-Lo, Yep like your thoughts. Para 1, yeah we all think at times..."Where did he come from?" especially from me being so far away. But, that does make it illegit? May be a racer who never 'net before, idk? BUT para 2, especially for me, because of hours difference, many races are full before I see them. (Let alone if the promoter allowed enough time for an Aussie/Kiwin to find/build/test/send in), so if filled with clone racers, that would frustrate me.

BLR, yeah the family guys. Look pretty much thought like you, know where you stand, understand their position, build better than them and problem solved. But for newbies, can be a burning issue, when you get outed round 1. Not a great investment in postage costs, and seeing your car run out. (That's where some of the grudge matches etc seen, help alluviate the burn felt)

Outsider Street Racing. Again imho, I dont see this a widespread issue.

Wolf, see above. Good luck out there mate.

Star/Doctor comments noted. My thoughts probably covered above.

Now back to a crunch issue which I extracted from FeralPatrick: "hobby, with no governing body to set universal rules other than the race hosts" That is the crunch, and unlikely to change for many reasons. ie Standard classes, rules, levels/grades of entrants etc.

One aspect here that seems to be missed, is why some events have multiple teams that may or may not have been provided by only a few builders? For a start many are just "fun" racing, or other type events, with open amount of entries. Many are events that are just random chance racing, where better builds are not an advantage. Over the years, others are newer channels, struggling to get numbers to start pilot type events. And builders have done this, not for glory, or ego, but to quietly help the hobby, event promoter, and local diecast scenes to kick it off. I have no problem with promoters running events like this to get them going.

To me again, it comes down to the Event Promoter, how he wants to run his event/type and clearly put down plain English rules, and follow them through. Which brings to mind a subject Brain/Redline brought up, rating events. I may try to review some of the recent events I have been involved in in the near future.

Cheers all, enjoy the hobby, as I see it, there is no quick way to the top, other than some hard work, research, testing, enter, get knocked down, get back up,make friends, and repeat.

Marc D.

P.S. Growing up I like "Lamb Chop" the sock puppet! Gee !

  • I had a big ol crush on Sherri Lewis as a kid... — Stoopid_Fish_Racing
  • I can understand that Fred!! — CutRock_R_Marc_D
  • Thanks for the thoughtful insight. Spot on. If time cooperates, we'll hopefully have some system in place for race management/ratings soon-ish. — redlinederby
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SpyDude 11/12/23

Honestly, I see no legitimate reason to do so. With all the extra time and expense building, testing, and shipping a "dummy" car to each race, not to mention all the extra time spent sending it from a PO box or alternate address, double fees for racing, and so on, the only thing that would happen would be to damage your own reputation as a builder and racer. To me, that simply isn't worth stacking the field and being branded a cheater. If I win, I want to win legitimately, not because I have a "secret team."  (As for losing, I'm pretty sure I got THAT part down easily enough already ........ :p )

Have I thought about sending in multiple cars? Yes. "Hey, I can send in five cars for me and my friends!" BUT, then all the cars would have been built by me, and not by them, even if they were interested in diecast racing. The only time I send in multiple cars is if the race specifically allows me to, such as a team.

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