Bluegroove Hobbies & RC Raceway hosted their inaugural Summer Smackdown event over the Labor Day weekend. This new facility in West Des Moines has been open for less than one year now, and this was already their 2nd big race of the 2015 calendar year.

The event was announced in late July, and despite the 5 week notice we still saw a great turnout for this first time race. Nearly 150 racers competed in 9 classes over the weekend, and we saw racers from Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Florida, and California.

Friday the track opened up at 11am for open practice till 9pm that night. When drivers arrived they were greeted with the friendly BGRC staff, and then made their way to the pits.

Each driver had their pit space marked off in advance so they could quickly setup and start charging batteries.

The track layout was very competitive for all classes, and drivers had to setup cars for more low end power than straight line speed.

Many sections of the track challenged drivers all weekend since they could use too much power on the jumps, and an off-camber section right before the loop kept turn marshals busy all weekend.

The large driverís stand provide plenty of room for the racers to scope out their favorite spot. Practice was limited to 10 cars at a time and for the most part the racers did a good job making sure they didnít exceed this limit.

Back inside the store the racers were treated to some free decals and magazine courtesy of the racerís 28 sponsors.

The Gold sponsor for this yearís event was MB2 Raceway in Grimes, IA. As part of their sponsorship the first 50 paid entries for this race received a Buy One Get One race voucher, plus all paid racers for this event received a $5 off race coupon.

Saturday morning the doors opened at 7am for open practice till 8:30am. Then at 9am we held a brief driverís meeting and went over some basic rules, plus thanked the raceís numerous sponsors.

After the meeting the drivers headed into the hobby shop to pick up their single raffle ticket and event t-shirt.

The Platinum sponsor for this yearís race was JConcepts and as part of their sponsorship they provided each racer with a free event t-shirt. So drivers picked up both items up before making their way back to the pit area.

JConcepts also flew in Florida native Dave Duncan to provide product support for this event.

He was on site to answer questions about JConcepts products, plus answer any setup or race questions that came his way the entire weekend.

The race format for the day involved three rounds of IFMAR style qualifying, and each round consisted of 22 heats. Each qualifier ran for five minutes and the first heat began shortly before 9:30am.

After the all the heats were completed for the round, the 2nd overall qualifier in each vehicle class received one free race pass to MB2 Raceway courtesy of our Gold sponsor. MB2 Raceway ran this promotion all weekend for all four rounds of qualifying so some racers walked away with a fistful of free races as the TQ spot just eluded them.

After round two we stopped the race program to hand out all of the raceís door prizes.

Thanks to the generous event sponsors racers were treated to some great giveaways that day.

The biggest prize given away that weekend was an ARRMA RTR Fury BLX 1:10 Short Course Truck valued at over $370!

After that concluded we finished our final qualifier of the night, and then the track stayed open about another hour for open practice. Then the track closed and the race crew did some quick maintenance and hosed down the dirt for the finals on Sunday.
On Sunday the doors opened at 7am for open practice till 8:30am. Around 9am we started our fourth and final round of qualifying.

Legendary RC announcer Scotty Ernst made the trip down from Wisconsin to compete at this race too. While marshalling a car he noticed it could use some TLC. So between heats he rebuilt the shocks & diff for a local racer who is just getting back into race scene.

Great job by Scotty, and helping out your fellow racer is what RC is all about!

Around lunchtime drivers were able to pick up some delicious walking tacos inside the hobby shop.

Once the qualifying had completed the track was prepped and painted for the mains.

Drivers also made their way into the store to fill out their sponsor sheets if they made the A Mains.

Each lower main was six minutes long with the top two finishers bumping up into the next highest main. So even if you had bad luck in qualifying you still had a shot to bump up into a classís eight minute long A Main event. Since we ran single A Mains there was plenty of close racing on the track, but in the end the top qualifier went on to win in eight of the nine A Mains.

NOTE: The final results from each A Main is listed at the end of this story.

Even though we handed out the door prizes the previous day, there were still plenty of special prizes and awards to be given out on Sunday. In every class, the 2nd place finisher in the A Main received two free passes to our Gold sponsor, MB2 Raceway.

X Factory was the official sponsor of the Stock 2WD Buggy and Stadium Truck classes. The highest finishing unsponsored drivers in both classes received a free Infinity carbon fiber chassis for the Team Associated B5M or T5M, which is valued at $99 each. Chad "Rubes" Reubenking qualified 6th in the Stock Truck A Main and finished third on the podium to receive his Infinity chassis.

And in the Stock Buggy class, Cole Henriksen qualified and finished 4th in the A Main event so he walked away with a new Infinity chassis for his B5M.

Just A Print Promotions was the official sponsor of the Mod 2WD Buggy class. They awarded 1st place with $50, 2nd place $30, and 3rd place with $20 in cash. Pictured with the top three drivers are Just A Print Promotions owners Louis and Jerene Valles.

R17 Racing was the official sponsor of the Mod 4WD Buggy class. Along with donating some great door prizes, if the winner of the Mod 4WD Buggy class was using one of their popular chassis protectors then that driver would take home $50. Cole Tollard TQed and won in this single A Main event, and since he was using a R17 chassis protector he went home $50 richer. R17's Derek Richtsmeier presented Cole with the cash prize.

The final award handed out that night was a special Sportsmanship award courtesy of CowRC. This award was a custom magnetic pit mat, and to earn this award a racer had to go above and beyond at this year's Smackdown. After observing all the racers that weekend, the Bluegroove crew determined that Nathan Brown receive this special award. He and his son Ryker were racing that weekend, and whenever a volunteer was needed Nathan answered that call. Shown above is track owner Phil Hargis awarding Nathan with this special prize.

The 1st Summer Smackdown is now officially in the books and it was a big success! Thanks to all the sponsors, racers, and Bluegroove crew that made this event possible, and I canít wait to see what next year brings!!


1. Caden Shay (TQ)
2. Lane McGhee
3. Jeff "Stick" Vinsand

Stock Truck

1. Zach Edenburn (TQ)
2. Scotty Ernst
3. Chad "Rubes" Rubenking

Mod 2wd Buggy

1. Alex "The Weapon" Vanderbeek (TQ)
2. Chad "Rico" Karstens
3. Mason Fuller

Stock Short Course Truck

1. Scotty Ernst (TQ)
2. Dave "Double D" Duncan
3. Cole Henriksen

Mod Truck

1. Cole Tollard (TQ)
2. Neil Feneis
3. Mack Vanderbeek

Stock 2wd Buggy

1. Kyle Holmberg (TQ)
2. Scotty Ernst
3. Zach Edenburn

Mod 2wd Short Course Truck

1. Cole Tollard
2. Tom Rinderknecht
3. Alex "The Weapon" Vanderbeek (TQ)

13.5 4wd Buggy

1. Kyle Gannon (TQ)
2. Kaden Fuller
3. Mike "The Sandman" Sanders

Mod 4wd Buggy

1. Cole Tollard (TQ)
2. Mason Fuller
3. Hunter Holmberg

Use this link for all the videos I shot: