By John Lauritsen


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The family that plays together, stays together, and that’s especially true for twin brothers in Woodbury.

Brad and Richard Arkell do pretty much everything together, and over the years, both developed a love for remote control racing.

So they decided to open their own store with a one-of-a-kind racing track.

It’s not exactly the Indy 500, but you can bet that the drivers of these cars want to win just as bad.

“We were always trying to be faster than the other one and that helped us a lot, just in life,” said Richard.

People naturally do a double take when they see the twins.

“The biggest joke is when people ask us, ‘Are you twins?’ And we say, ‘No, we aren’t even related.’ And some people believe us,” said Brad.

They grew up doing everything together. From plotting escapes from their cribs as toddlers to annoying their teachers in elementary school.

“In grade school, they kept us apart for reasons that we were just too rowdy,” said Richard.

They even ran on the same relay team in high school, and that’s about the time they started selling remote control racing parts out of their bedroom.

“We shared a room and we bunked our queen beds so that we had room to build our computer table,” said Brad.

Over the years, the business took off to the point that last year, they waved the green flag on a new venture.

“Most racetracks are in a pole barn and ours is drywalled and painted and has heat and air conditioning,” said Brad.

A few months ago, they opened Dollar Hobbyz.

They have 2,000 remote control racing parts in their store and another 10,000 in their warehouse, but the big draw is their indoor, carpeted racing track.

“Then it becomes more of an event than just a shopping experience,” said Brad. “Our first race we’d ever been to was the first race we hosted here.”

Enthusiasts have been driving to Dollar Hobbyz, just to drive their cars on the track.

“Of course it’s not cheap, but it’s fun. You can’t put a price on fun. You really can’t,” said racer Dan Olivarez.

Olivarez bought his first car in 1979 and has raced all over the country.

“Working on the cars, tweaking the cars, making the cars work. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” Olivarez said.

Like in NASCAR, the race is often won in the pits. Instead of working in a garage, they work on a table. And Jason Cheng’s work station, complete with all the tools, happens to be an old shoe box.

“Some guys have more stuff, some of the guys have less stuff. I have too much stuff,” said Jason.

But it’s not just about accomplished racers like Dan and Jason.

Kids are more than welcome here and so are grown-ups who don’t really know what they’re doing.

Brad and Richard are also hoping to take this racing experience outdoors with Monster trucks that go about 50 mph.

For the twins, it’s not work when it’s this fun. They’re hoping people of all ages feel the same way.

“I think it will be great for kids to get off their screen and gaming systems and learn a little bit about the cars,” said Richard. “A lot of it is about the community and just being able to come and hang out with some guys with a hobby everyone enjoys.”

Some of the professional remote control racers will spend tens of thousands of dollars on their cars, which in turn, can reach speeds of up to 60 mph.

John Lauritsen

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