116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
VINTON — Candy, dirt track racing and weight are the three topics Christine Rublack most often discusses as the scale operator for Benton County Speedway.
She’s also the one-person collection crew for the track’s annual Candy Dash that took place Sunday night in Vinton.
“I start to beg people a month after the Candy Dash for the following year,” Rublack said. “This year it was above and beyond anything I could have expected in my life. In the last three weeks, I’ve gained almost 1,000 pounds.”
The daughter of a former engine builder, Rublack always enjoyed the track’s annual sugar rush.
“They use to do it when I was little and it went away for a few years,” Rublack said. “It’s my favorite memory of growing up.”
The event was restarted, but failed to gain the donations needed each year. That’s when Rublack stepped in.
“The first year I did it was 800 pounds,” Rublack said. “Then Hawkeye Downs set the record at 1,050, so we got 1,300 last year. Now we have 2,160 certified.”
Now that the record is securely in Benton County’s possession, Rublack will clear her mind before beginning to collect again for the 2022 event.
“I cannot wait to see all of this candy on this racetrack and then I am not looking at candy for a month,” Rublack said. “This year my entire house was full of candy.”
As the scale operator, Rublack makes sure each car in the weight-monitored classes are clear of the division’s minimum number.
“If you’re underweight you are, for lack of a better term, cheating the competition,” Rublack said.
Minimum weights are as follows: Stock cars 2,950 pounds; Sport Mods 2,500; Modifieds 2,450. Hobby Stocks and Sport Compacts don’t have a limit.
“They pull on and if they are good, I let them go,” Rublack said. “If they are light, I’m the mean person who has to say you’re DQ’d. Most drivers are good, some run it close and I’ve had to disqualify a few over the years.”
Even though she’s known most of these drivers for most of her life, Rublack will enforce the rules when need be, even if it’s something she dreads doing.
“Some drivers cut it extremely close and it makes me nervous,” Rublack said. “They are also friends of mine and I don’t ever want to be the person who says ‘I DQ’d my friend tonight.’ I do know a couple drivers that run extremely heavy and win constantly, too. A lot of it is just how they drive.”
Regardless of the hat she’s wearing, one thing is for certain about Christine Rublack.
“(Benton County Speedway) is where I will always come every Sunday, guaranteed,” Rublack said. “I will be here, rain or shine. I love this racetrack, it’s home for me.”