This was originally posted as "Highlights from the Nashville convention" on RedlineDerby.com in June 2011 after I attended the Diecast Collector Experience in Nashville, TN.
The Nashville Collector Experience convention has come and gone, and with it Redline Derby’s first live racing racing event on the giant 50-foot track provided by Jason from the Texas Diecast Racing Association. The convention was a lot of fun and racing on the big track was quite the learning experience.
Racing on the Big Track
The official Redline Derby track is only 20-feet long at best and all the racing in the world on that track couldn’t have prepared me for the 50-foot monster. The extra 30-feet of track makes a HUGE difference for just about every car. Cars that were consistently out-performed on the short track stepped up on the long track to surprise everyone playing in the fantasy league.
It was clear that some cars just need more track to reach their potential. The big upset on the track was the Lumina Stocker beating the hall of fame Ferrari Testarossa. The Testarossa is one of the top fantasy league cars, being the first hall of fame car retired. It was truly the car to beat out of all the Redline Derby cars and the special all-star tournament held in Nashville was the venue to find out if these cars were worthy of their hall of fame status. The final match-up saw the Ferrari lead on the drop down the hill but after it hit the long straight the Lumina came up from behind to take the checkered flag. I guess the Lumina just needed a few extra feet of track to hit top speed.
More modding failure
Outside of the three fantasy league tournaments that were raced, the official convention Show-and-Go Tournament was quite special and a lot of fun. The entries were made up of on-site submissions as well as several mail-in entries from the Redline Derby community. My entry into the race was a modded Super Van. Beyond what I think was a nice, clean paint job, I tossed on some FTE wheels and threw some weight in the back in the form of about five cents worth of pennies. I fretted quite a bit about how much weight to add to the van and quickly realized that I have no concept whatsoever on how any car behaves on a 50-foot track. So with that I just added what I thought was a decent amount and let it ride. Well, I can tell you that I didn’t add anywhere near enough weight.
Apparently I was the only one too since every other car entered was LOADED with weight, some easily triple the weight of my van. I’m sure it wasn’t all because of the weight, but my three-tone van just got the crap beat out of it. It lost in every match-up, even the grudge match between my friendly nemesis Bryan from Austin Diecast Drags, who also entered a Super Van. In fact, there were three Super Van entries into the Show-n-Go race and…well…mine was the worst. Losing to Jobe wasn’t the worst thing though…no, losing to newcomer Jim of Carlson 442?s Custom Displays was easily the biggest shame. Why? Because this was his first racing mod and it just left my van behind! Jim clearly has a future in race modding and I have a lot to learn. But out of defeat comes wisdom, and you can bet the next long track race I enter will have a over-weighted car entry. With my luck, I’ll add too much weight and my car will stop mid-track without even reaching the finish line.
The excitement of live racing
This was my first diecast convention and my first live racing event. Up to this point, all the Redline Derby races have been done alone at my home. Unfortunately, having to hold weekly races makes doing a live racing setup a lot more complicated, not to mention all the other work that goes into making a live race happen. I can’t thank Jason of TXDRA enough for his support and for letting me play on his super track. Beyond the fun of racing on a six lane track, one of the best things was just seeing everyone enjoy themselves. It was wonderful seeing everyone from kids to adults cheering the cars as they went down the track. It tells me I really need to try and do some live racing events in my town.
Not your conventional convention
Beyond the racing, the Nashville convention was an interesting experience. I had been to a few toy and game conventions before but the Nashville convention took me a little bit by surprise. Whereas most conventions have a giant hall filled with vendors selling their stuff, this convention was spread throughout the hotel where it was held. The whole room-to-room experience was a little awkward and probably lent itself to me not buying as many cars as I would’ve if everything was in one spot. Going from floor to floor and then room to room was a pain but you can’t argue about the some of the deals.
Since I was looking for cars to race, the vintage and collectible cars with the $100 price tag didn’t really interest me, but what did get my attention was the ton of mainline cars being sold for cheap. Being somewhat of a non-collector turned out to be a good thing at this convention because every person that was there to collect wasn’t too interested in the mainlines, so you weren’t fighting anyone for them. My best deal was getting 25 mainline cars for a mere $10, about 30 cents each for cars ranging from 80s models to the 2010 line…and I wasn’t complaining one bit.
Another great part about the convention besides the racing, buying and selling…the free cars! Okay, so maybe not 100% free since I did have to buy a ticket, but for the price I was seemingly handed a different free diecast car everywhere I turned. I left the convention with two bags, one filled with my ultra-cheap mainlines and one with a dozen freebie collector cars including some nice ones from Greenlight, a couple of “Under the Hood” cars and of course, the limited edition Nashville convention car…a beautiful ’67 Camaro complete with display case.
It's not about cars, it's about people
But the convention wasn’t just about cars and racing. It was clear from the minute I walked into the main room that this was a pretty tight knit group of people that all come together over their love of diecast cars. Being this was my first convention, I felt as much an outsider as any Joe Blow that walked in off the street, but by the end of the day it was easy to see that friends and family make these events really come together. I’m certain this isn’t my last diecast convention and I can’t thank everyone I met at the convention enough for their conversation, support and contributions to the hobby of diecast collecting and racing.