Triplemania Weekend has come and gone but it left its mark. It's funny how something as "simple" as racing Hot Wheels requires a lot of work from a lot of people. But it's all worth it when you see everyone having a good time.
Making it all possible
Before I get too far, I need to give a huge THANK YOU to Bruno Tabacchi and all the folks at Autobody Specialists here in Columbus. Bruno reached out late last year on a whim and asked Redline Derby to be a part of this event. I was flattered and honored to have our site join the cause. They were also gracious enough to let us run some RLD exclusive races on their track and really went above and beyond to support RLD's first public event.
I helped out when and where I was able but the Autobody Specialists team made this all happen. We were just lucky squatters. Bruno, Kyle, Brian, Neva, Mike, Rob...and everybody else that works there, THANK YOU for all your hard work getting your shop and event ready for primetime - your efforts didn't go unnoticed. You made it easy for everyone involved to look good.
Now lets recap the weekend…
Friday afternoon was all about getting the space ready for the public. I haven't been in many car shops in my life, but I'm guessing this was one of the cleanest shops in the city this weekend. I saw the shop just a day prior and it was...well, it looked like a body shop - enough said. I did nothing to help clean, let me be clear. I just showed up to setup my table and lent a hand where I could.
Ohio Diecast Challenge
After we got the track setup and tested, we capped off the day by racing the Ohio Diecast Challenge and the Battle of the Builders tournaments. These were both exclusive(ish) Redline Derby races for mail-in racers and the ABS guys. The racing went smoothly...almost too smoothly...mostly because I had some help. It's amazing how fast things go when you have a team of people behind you doing their part. Thank you Kyle & Bruno for helping keep cars organized while I videoed and tracked results.
The Ohio Diecast Challenge was just for RLD mail-in members and saw the fastest cars of the entire weekend racing each other. It was a round robin tournament so it was we saw for reals who had the best car, and that was Go Time Racing's modded Muscle Speeder. It had a perfect record of 7-0 after it was all said and done Mattman213 took 2nd with his Way 2 Fast and Voxxer Racing claimed 3rd with his flashy Evo.
So while the Ohio Diecast Challenge shook out who was the best of the RLDers, the Battle of the Builders started a new rivalry.
Battle of the Builders
The Battle of the Builders was a team vs team competition, Team Redline Derby vs Team Autobody Specialists. The teams turned out pretty even too, 8 RLD entries to 9 ABS entries, so the Top 8 best times from each team were averaged to see which group was the fastest. Each car got 2 trips down the track with the fastest time being logged.
After the smoke cleared, it was Team Redline Derby Racing standing tall. In fact, Team ABS barely sniffed our exhaust with only 1 car from their team cracking the Top 10. It probably wasn't a fair fight but hey, maybe it will light a fire under them for next time.
However, the story of the night wasn't RLD's dominance, it was Mattman213's modded Silver Bullet because it threw down a showstopping 2.00 second run that was a track-best and wasn't touched all weekend. I'm not sure where Matt got the goat's blood Matt he rubbed on that car, but it worked. But to be fair, the spread between 1st and 10th was only .03 of a second so no matter where you ended up, we're talking some seriously fast cars here.
That was a wrap for Friday. Saturday was the main event.
Saturday 2/22, Downhill Diecast Drags
I got on-site an hour before the doors opened to get the Redline Derby table organized and filled with swag. I had lots of freebies along with a few alignment jigs to try and sell. But I wasn't there to make money, this was a brand awareness outing for both Redline Derby and the Learning 4 Life Farm charity. To be honest, the money I took for jigs and kits went right to the charity, so the only people taking home bills in the end was the charity - as it should be.
After a while the public started to stroll in with kids in tow ready for the AutoZone Kid's Challenge. Every kid got to pick a car (or they could bring one) and race it down the big track. Now...we're all adults that still play with toy cars, and we have fun, but seeing the kids get excited to watch their cars roll down that big track just makes your day every time. The Top 3 finishers got some really nice trophies to boot. And I'm just gonna say that I did happen to introduce the kid that won to the wonderful world of graphite (don't tell my daughter).
After the kid's race we got things ready for the afternoon races, but before that happened lunch arrived. Local joint Hounddog's Pizza brought in a ton of pizza and subs - for free - so everyone was well fed and got their money's worth. The other side of the Autobody Specialists shop was converted into a dining room where a lot of folks gathered to chat and eat throughout the day. There was even a live feed from the track on a TV so they didn't miss any of the action.
The main event of the day was the Downhill Diecast Drags and started after noon with qualifying rounds for both stock and modified divisions. It was a timed round used to whittle the whole field down the Top 64 in each class and define the seeding order for the bracket tournaments. At this point it was just a lot of racing...a lot. The ABS crew was an efficient machine releasing cars, tracking wins, and keeping everything moving. Not to mention throughout the day they were handing out door prizes. Good stuff.
After the qualifying round, there was a break in the main action for the Business Challenge. This was a rip-n-roll race for local businesses involved with the event. Somehow that also included Redline Derby. I picked some worthy cars from my stash - a Bye Focal II FTE, Sidekick, Ferrar, and a new Land Rover - but even fast cars couldn't make up for my poor trigger finger. For this race, a rep from each business had to trigger their own release on the Drag Track, which meant using the tree lights. I didn't red light, thank goodness, but my reaction time was not great and probably did us in. Oh well...I guess taking home 4 trophies in the name of Redline Derby was good enough.
After the Business Challenge it was back to our regularly scheduled programming. First up was the Stock Division bracket. The only Redline Derby members to enter the stock class was Romy Rivera and Worpex Racing. Romy entered a Speed Bump FTE and Formul8r FTE, while Worpex threw in his very pink Caddy V16. Romy ended up eliminating himself in Round 3 to make the final 8 along with Worpex but both got bumped in Round 4. The stock division had the most entries of either tournament, so they were up against a lot of competition. Bravo to Romy & Mat for representing RLD well and cutting through the field in style.
After some more giveaways, it was time for the Modified Division, and this is where Redline Derby Racing shined the brightest. There was an even 64 entries so there were no eliminations coming out of qualifying, that just determined seeding order. Racing was seriously fast and furious. The crowd trackside was noticeably impressed by the speed being put on display.
Again, this was just churn and burn racing, one set and another. By the 3rd round, the bracket was mostly Redline Derby entries and it just got worse for everyone else from there on out. Only 2 local entries made the final 8 while the final 4 saw Mattman213 and Go Time Racing duking it out between their four cars. I had to chuckle when I saw that one of those 2 guys was going to claim 1st - 3rd position. Talk about domination.
Across the races from the entire weekend, Matt and Go Time took home all but one of the top spots. Very impressive!
More than just racing
Outside of all the racing going on, I was manning the Redline Derby Racing booth and talking to all sorts of people. Some were racers, many were not and were there racing for the first time on a whim. I spread the good word of our hobby to the best of my ability, and I hope we see a few of them stop by and check things out. A few alignment jigs went out the door too, so I know there were some more serious racers in the building and I'd say we got their attention.
But we also did our part in helping a worthy charity. I gave the Learning 4 Life Farm folks a ton of cars to giveaway and put a graphite station at their table to help insure people would have a few reasons to stop by their booth. Plus whatever money I got from selling jigs and extra weights went right to them. I know it wasn't much but every little bit helps (and you can still donate online if you're so inclined).
Up to this point, Redline Derby Racing has been a strictly online operation. We hide quietly in the digital jungle that is the internet, trapping a few folks every now and then. The Downhill Diecast Drags day was our coming out party for sure. Personally, it was great for me to see people in-person enjoying what we do on a monthly basis and telling them about how Redline Derby can make it fun for them too.
Even after 10 years of running this site, I feel this is a new chapter in the Redline Derby story, the first many events to come. And I want to thank everyone that sent in cars for this event and to anyone that shares their fun for the diecast racing hobby. There's a lot of racers out there and I hope Redline Derby can continue to be Grand Central Station for all of them.