Official Redline Derby mail-in hosting guidelines

redlinederby Saturday, 4/28/2018
Site manager

We crowdsource our tournaments so all you need to become a host is a track, a few accessories and some free time. Hosting a tournament can be as simple or involved as you want to make it...but as long as it's fun for you, it'll be fun for everyone else.

Once you've read through this guide, you can post a new event thread using our handy tournament template wizard to guide you through the process.

This article covers the guidelines we recommend that anyone hosting a tournament for Redline Derby Racing follow. Please contact an Redline Derby staff member with any questions or concerns.


At the end of the day we're just racing toy cars. We're all here to have fun so do your best to do just that and everyone will come away happy.

Follow these main points and you'll be good to go:

  • Keep things fair and fun
  • Communicate often, be honest & transparent
  • Be generous with photos and video of racing
  • Handle cars with care
  • Expect to spend money
  • Have fun

Your track

If you want to race you need a track, right? It doesn't really matter what type of track you have, whether it's something you've custom built or a playset with lots of track. We like to see different types of tracks...long, short, tall, flat, fast, keeps things fun and challenging for everyone.

Check out our Track Building Guide for some tips on how to make for your own home race track. The important part is to make sure your track runs fair and consistent. As long as your track shows reliable results, no one will have any problems with it.

Once your track is done, don't forget to register it in our Track Directory database. Doing so will make it easy for others to see photos and specs about your track. Always share photos of your track otherwise folks may be more reluctant to enter your race.

Themes, rules and restrictions

When your track is ready, it's time to come up with a theme or concept for all the cars entering your tournament. These themes can be simple restrictions like "only Porsches" or more complicated with rules limiting axles, weight, wheels and so on.

For your first time hosting, it's recommended to pick a more simple theme based around car style, weight limits or brands. Once you have a few races under your belt, you can get fancy. Plus, the more basic the rules are, the more people will likely participate.

Our mail-in tournament template will guide you through all the points of an event.

No matter what you choose, always be as detailed and clear as possible with the limits and restrictions. If something isn't addressed, people may assume it's okay to include in their build - better to provide too many details than not enough - but often the more rules there are smaller the pool of entrants may be.

But regardless what theme and rules you choose for your tournament, we ask that you stick by those rules and not change them after you've opened the tournament to the public. This keeps it fair for everyone.

Once you have an idea for your theme, you'll need define just a few others basic entry restrictions.

  • Total weight
  • Dimensions (length, width, height)
  • Build type (modified, stock)

Max. weight - Maximum total weight of an entry. Cars are weighed in grams, so you'll need a scale that can handle that unit. A digital jewelers scale or food scale will do the trick and they're cheap if you don't have one.

What weight class should you choose? Generally speaking, most cars that you buy at the store fall between 35-45g. Anything under 35g is considered "lightweight" and anything over 60g falls into the "heavyweight" category. If you're allowing modified entries, then a heavier limit around 57-60g is a good start.

Dimensions - This is the physical length, width and height of a car. You need to provide measurements because the cars need to fit within the size of your starting line and finish line. Generally speaking, dimensions aren't much of a concern unless you're doing a super modified tournament. Common dimension limits are 3.25in. long x 2in. tall x 1.25in. wide.

Build type - This lets people know if your tournament is limited to modified entries, stock entries or if it allows both. Modified means cars must be modified in some way. Stock means no modifications are have to race it as-is. Or you can choose to allow both build types enter your tournament.

Choosing a race format

Most tournaments will follow a basic bracket style with head-to-head match-ups that whittle down entrants until there are 2 left that then race to be champion.

You can choose to do a single-elimination or double-elimination tournament. Double-elimination means more racing and second chances for losers but it also means more time investment. Depending on the number of entries, a single-elimination race can take a while complete. We recommend single-elimination tournaments when you're starting out and then once you have your system in place, do a double-elimination. You can also switch to double-elimination if your entry count is low so the tournament is a little more interesting. Just always communicate what changes are happening and why.

Dates, deadlines and cancellations

You'll need to set a date for your tournament and it is recommended that you also provide an entry deadline. You should post your call for entries at least 1 month prior to when you're going to race. This will give people plenty of time to find a car, build a car or whatever they need to do. We also suggest making your entry deadline at least 1 week before you plan to race. This will allow for last minute entries and any delay that may be caused by shipping and delivery.

The race date you choose should be your best intention on when you plan to start racing. This isn't necessarily the date when racing will be completed. Racing can be a deceivingly lengthy process, especially if dozens of cars enter your event. We all know this is just a hobby, so if you need to change your dates or span several, no sweat, just communicate when dates change and everything will be good. Don't let people hanging.

Should you need to cancel a scheduled tournament, let everyone know as quickly as possible either by messaging or updating your tournament thread. You'll be expected to return any cars you have already received.

Shipping, handling and money

You are responsible for all aspects of your tournament. This includes receiving entries, handling entries and returning entries. You will spend your own money hosting a race. Redline Derby Racing does not subsidize or offer any monetary or support materials for mail-in tournaments unless you are otherwise contacted.

People will be shipping you cars from all around the country. It is your responsibility to receive these cars and handle them with care. Yes, they're just toy cars but they are toy cars people have invested time into, so please respect that. Just think how you'd like your cars handled.

When posting your tournament, you can ask that people include some money for return shipping. Please be reasonable in your request. A good starting point is asking for no more than $5. Generally speaking, a pair of cars cost around $5 to ship via USPS (as of 1/2020). The money you get will help offset some of the cost but don't expect it to cover 100% of your expenses.

All things considered, you should expect to spend close to the same amount as the person spent sending it to you.

You should try to return cars to their owners in a similar manner in which you received it. Keep all the boxes and packaging so you can use it to send the cars back. You don't have to match boxes to cars and people, but if can, go ahead. 

However, as a general rule, if a person does not include any money for return shipping, then you get to keep the cars. You should double-check with the entrant to verify but often people choose to just one-way ship their entries and don't want them back. In these cases, it's up to you what you do with the cars. You can keep them, donate them, use them as a prize or whatever.

Inspecting cars, DQs, and DNFs

We're racing toy cars here, so we prefer hosts do their best to allow every car to race in some manner. Even if an entry is lax on a rule here or there, we encourage you to race the car and just note the situation in your event thread. This should also speak to the restrictions of your tournament. If people were confused or if the rules were too narrow, you'll have more questions to deal with.

You should weigh all the entries you get to make sure they are within the limits you set. We allow a 1g allowance on cars to account for differences in scales. So, for example, if your tournament limit is 60g and the car weighs 61g, it's allowed to race. Should a car fail the weigh-in, that car will be disqualified (DQ). We recommend that car get removed from the bracket but you may choose a more creative way to handle it...just make sure it's fair and that you communicate it when you post your tournament.

You should also visually inspect each car to verify that it meets any other tournament criteria. Ultimately, we're racing under the Honor System so no one expects you to deep dive into a car and be a judge. But if you see something, say something...send a message to the owner and clear up any confusion. If something is wrong and rules are broken outside of reason, that car should be DQed and not raced (or creatively handled otherwise).

And sometimes cars just refuse to roll well on your track. They might fly off the track or not even make it to the finish line. If this happens, you should redo the same match-up without any penalty to either's simply a do-over. Should the same car have trouble a second time, that car receives a Did Not Finish (DNF) tag and the opposing car wins by forfeit.

Although it happens rarely, you might find a modified car will be broken on arrival. It doesn't matter how it was broken, it just matters that you handle it. Contact the owner and you can choose to try to repair it before the race, or you can claim it DOA and the car will be excluded from the bracket.

Regardless which of these situations occurs, just make sure you are open and quickly communicate what has happened in your tournament thread or by messaging. We want everyone to have fun racing but rules are there for a reason and there are situations where cars should not be allowed to participate despite everyone's best intentions.

Dealing with problems

When you host tournaments, problems will arise. People will have questions you didn't think of. You'll lose something. Someone will cry foul about something. It'll happen, trust me.

First thing...don't panic. It's fine. The best way to deal with problems is to communicate. Address concerns with people via private message or in the thread, if appropriate. Stay firm and stand your ground but be lenient within reason…always keep things fair. You can't keep everyone happy and that's okay.

And if someone is being particularly difficult or you're just not sure how to handle a situations, ask for help. Ask someone you trust or never hesitate to contact Redline Derby staff with questions. We're here to help keep things fun and happy.

Running your tournament

Once you have received all the entries and you've done inspections, it's time to race!

Managing a bracket is pretty straight forward but check out our collection of tournament tools that can help you keep things organized.

Assuming you're running a standard head-to-head style tournament, we recommend that you seed the bracket randomly. But we also understand that everyone wants to see some good racing, so it's ultimately at your discretion how to seed the bracket...just keep it fair and fun.

The format for each match-up should follow the 2-in-a-row rule where a car must win 2 races in a row while alternating lanes between races before moving on in the bracket. This helps account for track bias, super close match-ups and other things.

An example:
Race 1: Car A in lane 1, Car B in lane 2. Car A wins the race.
Race 2: Car B in lane 1, Car A in lane 2. Car B wins the race.
Race 3: Car A in lane 1, Car B in lane 2. Car A wins the race.
Race 4: Car B in lane 1, Car A in lane 2. Car A wins the race.

Result: Car A wins the match-up and moves on in the bracket. Car A moves on only when it wins 2 races in a row rather than just 2-out-of-3. And don't forget to alternate lanes between races.

If you find that match-ups are lasting a long time because cars keep trading wins, it might be a sign that your track needs calibrated.

Reporting final results

When your tournament has a final winner, you should report the results using the Race Review section of your post. We ask you try to report at least the Top 3 winners. We encourage you to include photos, brackets, and video if you have it. If you are making videos, use a YouTube playlist to keep them organized.

Keep in mind that your tournament thread and results will be people's only insight to your race. The more you can show and communicate the better, and more likely people will enter your tournaments again. Be transparent to a point and share the fun you're having.

You can choose to provide status updates over the duration, or you can go "gin" style and wait until you have everything finalized the way you like before you post results. Either way is fine, just keep an eye on your thread and make sure to answer any questions that are raised.

Prizes and winnings

You may choose to provide a prize for your tournament. If you choose to offer a prize, you're on the hook for that cost to acquire and ship. At this time, Redline Derby Racing does not provide any prizes for mail-in tournaments unless you are otherwise contacted.

Please review the official prize policy for more details and definitions.

We ask that the value of the prize(s) be no more than $50 with no cash prizes. Popular prizes include premium collector cars, track accessories, or digital gift cards. Just don't get crazy with prizes. Our racing isn't about what you win, it's about the fun you have.

One frequent prize offered are all cars that are left behind and not returned to their owners. There's basically a Prize Pot that all these cars go into and then get shipped to the winner. You can even host "pink slip" tournaments where you'd outline in the rules that all cars will be sent to the winner.

Keep it fair and have fun

This isn't NASCAR or Formula 1. No one should be losing sleep over how we race diecast cars, or whether they've won or lost. Everyone should be having fun, most of all you. When you have fun, that excitement will be shared by everyone.

How you choose to run your tournament is ultimately up to you. These guidelines aren't intended to limit your creativity or fun, they're here to keep things simple and fair.

When you're ready, post your tournament event using our mail-in template wizard and you can get started right away. 

Have questions or concerns about these guidelines? Please send a PM