On Saturdays, a crowd of hobbyists ages 6-60 come to Leander from all over Central Texas to huddle around an indoor race track. But unlike a typical NASCAR-scale race, the track is only 1,500-square-feet, and the cars are about one tenth the size of real vehicles, requiring remote controls to drive.

The Hobby Shop is a store and recreation center for remote control, or RC, vehicle enthusiasts. On top of their extensive inventory of tiny cars, planes, boats and drones, the shop is home to one of the only made-to-scale drift tracks in the region.

The background

In December 2022, longtime friends Chris Dungan, Larry Judge and Joe Bielski turned their shared hobby of collecting RC cars into a full-time business.

They opened The Hobby Shop as a way to share their racing knowledge and build community among their fellow hobbyists by hosting weekly gatherings.

"Even though so many people shop online now, we wanted to open a physical store because it's really important for people to put their hands on a product. They get to actually test it out here, ask us questions and meet people with similar interests," Dungan said.

The specifics

The shop offers RC vehicles for beginners and pros, with prices ranging from $20 all the way up to $1,400 for the fastest race cars.

On top of the drift track, which features a concrete road with sharp turns for drifting, the store has a soft rubber mat track and a crawl track with rocks, stairs and obstacles for off-road RC cars to navigate.

Repair services, vehicle parts and paints are also available at the store.

Did you know?

The store sells RC cars that can drive up to 200 miles per hour, which scales to about 500 miles per hour for a full-size vehicle, Dungan said.

Quote of note

"I think the reason so many people still love this [hobby] is because it brings all kinds of people together. Everyone loves to challenge themselves and learn new skills," Dungan said.