Race Issues

Discussions on race planning, preparations and how to run a "fair" and fun race.
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DMWOOD
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Race Issues

Post by DMWOOD » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:08 pm

I ran a race about a month ago for the girlscouts in our area and this was their first race. It was also my first chance to test our new GPRM 4 software. The software worked great and has more options than I thought based on playing with the Demo version.

There were 40 girls in three different age groups and they wanted to pick the top 3 fastest from each group. I took time before the race started to explain to everyone how everything worked and how the winners would be selected. Everyone got 6 races down the 3 lane track and the places were based on total time (the track has a solenoid start gate). I also checked this race based on points as well and the top 3 from each group did not change. Could this race been better if each of the 3 groups were raced seperately in their own race and then a finals ran for each group?

We had races where some of the cars could not make the finish line so now I understand only starting with 6 races for each person. When this happens, how do you score this? It was set up so time=9.999 or points=4. Is this the best way to handle a car that can't make the finish line?

I want to learn from my mistakes so I can make future races better. In the end everyone seemed like they had fun and I didn't hear any complaining so I consider it a sucess. I did even here people asking about a race for next year.



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Stan Pope
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Re: Race Issues

Post by Stan Pope » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:09 pm

In some areas, they call this race a "Powder Puff Derby!" But, that is up to them.

Separating the groups allows you to "prove" the times more readily ... And, it probably gives out more "heat wins". But, if they trust the times, then the heat matchups do not play a role in the final standings.

If you are scoring by points, then it does help to divide the groups, and, if the groups are "largish", relative to the charts, then accuracy is usually improved by running a PN or CPN chart final involving about twice as many competitors as there are trophies.

A 10 second heat time for a DNF seems severe. On the other hand, 1 point for fourth place (or 4 for "golf scoring") might be thought to overvalue a distant last place finish! Hope you never have two cars that grind to a halt before they get off the slope ... divide the 7 points between them?


Stan
"If it's not for the boys, it's for the birds!"

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Darin McGrew
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Re: Race Issues

Post by Darin McGrew » Fri Feb 25, 2005 2:47 pm

Stan Pope wrote:Hope you never have two cars that grind to a halt before they get off the slope ... divide the 7 points between them?
The one time that happened that I remember (ages ago, before we had drill presses at our workshops, back when we used a simple lane-rotation system), we gave the car that got closest to the finish line 3rd place, and the other car got 4th place. Neither one of them had a chance of making it to the finals, so it didn't matter much what we did.

That was painful. Seven races in a row with at least one car stopping before the finish line...



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gpraceman
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Re: Race Issues

Post by gpraceman » Fri Feb 25, 2005 3:34 pm

DMWOOD wrote:We had races where some of the cars could not make the finish line so now I understand only starting with 6 races for each person. When this happens, how do you score this? It was set up so time=9.999 or points=4. Is this the best way to handle a car that can't make the finish line?
In GrandPrix Race Manager, you can modify the max time in the Hardware Setup screen if you wish to make it less than the default of 9.999 seconds. You should not reduce it to the point that you may actually have a really slow car come in after that time; otherwise they will end up with the max (and lower) time. There should be some time penalty for not finishing, but the amount of that penalty is up to you.

If running by points, a DNF car will get last place plus one, so on a 4 lane track they will get 5 points instead of 4. This is so a DNF car will not finish as well as a car that did cross the line in last place. Standings are then determined by the lowest cumulative number of points.

One thing that our pack does with DNF cars is to give the racer a chance to make an adjustment to the car and rerun the heat. Personally, I think this approach can end up causing problems since the other cars may perform differently the next time around. Not to mention how the other racers will feel if the repaired car finishes ahead of them on the rerun.

I think a better way is to make sure at check-in that the racers are asked if they lubricated their cars (usually it is obvious by visual inspection, but not with some lubricants) and highly encourage owners of severely underweight cars to add weight. The other things to check for are wheels rubbing against the car body and weights hanging down too low. A good check-in process will catch many of these cars at risk of not finishing before the race even starts.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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