Scale model cars are a bundle of fun, and part of this is creating your own miniature dragway to relive the fun and excitement of the real thing is a great option. To make this even more realistic, you can use an Arduino and som external hardware to provide an authentic countdown light stand and also time the cars as the progress down the strip - and thus determine the winner. A system to do just that has been published by Arduino forum member AFXRacer.
As the system is a scale build, the Arduino can also calculate the real speed or a scale equivalent and also trigger various effects for lighting the track and a winner notificaiton system. A quick demonstration is shown in the following video:
Looking for a rapid-use LCD for your Arduino or compatible development boards such as the Freescale example above? Save time and move forward with the Freetronics LCD & Keypad shield which contains a bright 16x2 character LCD and five buttons that can be read from only one analogue input pin: