Start your engines: Star Collectibles offers racing for all

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–For the past 11 years, Star Collectibles in Muscatine has offered remote controlled racing fun for car enthusiasts of all ages. From Hot Wheels races suitable for everyone from children to adults, to remote controlled car races of all sorts, Star Collectibles has grown into one of the largest hobby stores with racing facilities in the region.

After setting up their store and tracks at smaller locations, Star Collectibles finally came to its current home at 810 Division Street, Muscatine in 2019. There, using as much reclaimed material as they could, they created several indoor racing tracks suitable for different kinds of competitions, which they named the Island Speedway. Their large off road carpet track boasts over 100 stations for racers to pit, as well as a spacious drivers stand. To ensure accuracy in race results, Star Collectibles uses an automated lap counting system with a transponder in each car to determine winners and times for each racer. An outstanding setup, Suzanne McCleary, who works with her husband, Tom McCleary, to run Star Collectibles, often finds that big names in the remote controlled racing industry, such as the creator of Gone Bananas Tires, sometimes come out to enjoy the spectacle.

Farther back in their space, Star Collectibles also has a dirt oval track. Banked like a full scale NASCAR track, this large racing venue includes good-sized viewing platforms and automated lap counting just like the carpet track. In a smaller section of the raceway, a rock crawling room boasts a track with a variety of different kinds of obstacles sized for several types of rock crawling vehicles. Though Star Collectibles does not currently have organized rock crawling races, they would like to add them in the future if enough people express interest in them.

At the beginning of October, Star Collectibles kicked off its winter racing season, with different kinds of races taking place each weekend, except over holidays, until mid April. Well attended events, racers from across the state, as well as from many neighboring states and occasionally Canada, come to compete.

No matter which kind of race interests you, anyone may come and watch any of the races for free. While observing, those curious about how to get in to remote control car racing can learn from the pros and even talk to the racing board of director’s. If someone would like to watch but cannot make it to a race in person, they can watch online via the Island Speedway webcam.

For those who would like to start racing, Star Collectible’s staff can help choose a stock car and get the supplies needed to assemble it and get it on the road. “It’s fun–everyone who comes and tries it says its fun,” McCleary shared.

With so many racing opportunities for people of all different tastes, McCleary encourages anyone interested in giving it a try to come check it out for themselves. “If you can play RC games and jump and dodge and shoot all at the same time, this is easy,” she observed.

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