Hot Wheels racing has apparently become a major attraction in Puerto Rico. It's not uncommon to spot adults racing the little cars down tracks set up in the street or in bars at night, accompanied by the shouts of gamblers.
But many finicky American toy collectors, attempting to preserve their cars' value, never even remove them from their packaging. Not Byrnes -- his motto, he says, is "Take 'em out of the pack, put 'em onto the track."
The Midwest Hot Wheelers Rally takes place at the Holiday Inn of Collinsville, 10000 Eastport Plaza, July 13 and 14, and at the Gateway Convention Center, Hwy. 157 just north of I-55/70 in Collinsville, Ill., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 15. Call 618-345-4971 for more information, or visit www.siue.edu/~dbrown/gatewayhw/ or members.aol.com/tbyrnes943/index.html.