Points vs. Times Scoring

Discussions on race planning, preparations and how to run a "fair" and fun race.
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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by rjbur » Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:28 am

Please explain! This sounds like a comparison with "elimination method". Aren't we comparing timed vs points in this topic?
The method used by our District has been a "Point" based system by which once the racer hits 10, they are out of the race... calli it elimination, but the fact is it still counts "who" you race. With Timing, assuming all is well with the starting gate, etc... it does not matter "who" you race, it matters only how well you built your car and how it runs against all the others on the same track in the same number of heats in each lane...
The pack rules seem to be oriented more toward "points" or "elimination" racing than to "timed" racing, especially in the area of finish line judging and cars leaving lane/track. Perhaps a "Revision 6" is in order.
Not sure how your reading this... Maybe I need to re-read this, it may be a bit confusing how a car leaving the track effects a time based system... However, it's clear that we speak of a fair start to the race and it's clear that we are using a timer and that we award 1st->3rd at the rack level and for the FUN of the boys, we uses these top 3 racers from Tigers -> Webelos to race in the exciting Pack Grand Finals... once could say that is is a way to use the first heats to eliminate all but the top 3 fastest cars from each rank. However, we use their times and not their points to do so....

One option would have been to call it a race day after all the heats and we could have easily determined the top fastest 3 cars in the Pack without the Grand Finals... but were's the fun in that for the boys... more racing and bringing in the fastest 3 Tigers up to the fastest 3 Webelos brings ALL the ages groups back into a really fun Pack Grand Finals Race... it even sounds exciting and was for the boys first and the adults as well...
I think that it is important to note that the pack's equipment is probably sufficient for accurate timing of runs. Without the "spring open" gate, your decision to use times would be less tenable.
Yes a very important point... the gate must act like it was triggered the same each time... it should fall away from the cars in the same manner / speed as possible for each race to have a fair start. We decided not to use a solenoid based system as our Cubmaster really likes the interaction between the boys and flipping the lever to start the race. I was set to install an automated system, but felt that the spring loaded gate responded well and consistent to a human release as it did to a mechanical release.
I did not find any notes regarding how you prove the correct operation of the equipment.
Yes you are correct, this is not in this revision of the document, great idea, I'll add it and suggest it be incorporated by the Pack. We do run pre race testing of the track / timer system. We insure that the track sections are square to each other and most important that the finishing line is perpendicular to the track. We then run the same test car in each lane and note the timer behavior. A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, etc etc... I believe that the parents trust in us that we check it all out and insure a fair race. But it would be a great idea to put this all down for the parents that question how it's done. Never had one ask yet, but you never know...
was disappointed to read that your boys do not stage their own cars at the starting line. That's too bad.
This is NOT the way we typically run the races... The boys do put the cars on the track.

This was a suggestion by the last Commissioner (I took my last year off to help mentor a replacement) due to the number of potential racers. However, on race day, we let the kids put the cars on. I agree, it's part of the FUN for them to place the cars and line them up for the race. That's why on race day, we naturally fell back into this as years past. Yup, Rev 6. needs to re-address this and put it back the way it was, in the boys hands...

BTW: We had about 70 boys of which about 60 were there on race day, we even held a Parent/Sibling race during the end of lunch break. Largest race in our Pack's history.

Hope this answers some questions,
Rich...



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by Stan Pope » Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:58 pm

You are comparing "timed" vs. an elaborate elimination scheme. In the "Points" racing that the thread is asking about, each racer runs a full schedule of heats, regardless of results. If the chart is good, then the problem of "who you race" is not an issue. Your preferred race management software can produce excellent charts.

Even if you compete based on times, you should run "good charts" so that heat results (overall) will correlate strongly with final time standings! The reason for this is that heat results are the only source of information that the parents can use to corroborate the times! They can see whether or not the heat finish orders are called correctly. They have no chance of corroborating heat times.

Part of the concern for timed racing is that the equipment must be stable for the whole race. Some experimenters have observed that their tracks change timing characteristics during operation. Demonstrating timing consistency for the full duration of racing is one aspect of "prove the equipment" that I mantioned last post.

According to your rules, when a car goes out of its lane it appears that all cars in the heat are rerun. Their times for the heat are already accomplished, so, unless they were impeded, there should be no reason to run them again. Many feel that lubrication (especially graphite) has a limited lifespan. That lifespan should not be used up by needless reruns! Some other aspects of the finish line procedures also seemed more tuned to points and elim style racing, too.


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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by derbyspeed » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:47 am

SuperDave wrote:
If you start thinking like an 8 year old, instead of an adult and if you agree with me that, "The purpose of the Pinewood Derby is to provide a positive experience for the organization, the parents and the child (with the emphasis on the child).", then Time wins over Points any day.
Just my opinion and I am brand new to this forum so take it as you will but looking from a kids point of view simplest is the best. If you have to explain to your son or another boy why they did or didn't win even though their car went past the finish line first than that pretty much says it all from a kids prospective. Therefore I feel that Times are not kid-friendly. Even if you are showing the times on a screen it still takes away from the action because it doesn't matter what happens on the track it only has to do with what is on the screen.

Honestly I think the double elimination method is actually the best race for the kids because it is a win/lose race and is easy to see the outcome. The only downfall is that you may only get to race 2 times therein comes the new idea of using Points which I think is now the best alternative to the double elimination. Kids will know that if they are the first or last to pass the finish line that is where they stand.

I think it is more relevant for the kids to know what is going on than to have to explain. Up till last year we had always run double elimination and your son knew when he lost twice he was out. We did points scoring last year and even then it was hard to tell who was winning and who wasn't because there was no information given to the crowd. This year we will do Points again but I have purchased the software to be able to display the standings from time to time so I think it will be much better.

Kids still want to be competitive and then there are some who don't care that is why we are holding a family race afterwards just for fun. This I think will help the event be fun for all, plus we will allow some grudge matches for those kids who want to just race against their friends.

I do have to say having the software and timer will allow us to have a time trials this year and that is where I think that Times comes in handy. The time trials are only to make sure your car runs down the track and to give an idea how fast it is but only against a Drone/Pace car with very little modifications. Don't want to give away too much before the race!

Remember keep it simple if you want to include the kids!
Mike Webb
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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by Stan Pope » Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:08 pm

derbyspeed wrote:Honestly I think the double elimination method is actually the best race for the kids because it is a win/lose race and is easy to see the outcome. The only downfall is that you may only get to race 2 times therein comes the new idea of using Points which I think is now the best alternative to the double elimination. Kids will know that if they are the first or last to pass the finish line that is where they stand.
Would you allow that triple elimination or quadruple elimination are comparably intuitive for an 8-year old? Same underlying concept, but more racing!


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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by gpraceman » Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:48 pm

Mike,

I know that you have purchased GPRM, but I hope you realize it will not run that type of elimination race. The only form of elimination supported is if you wish to run additional rounds of racing where you can then advance the best performing cars.

Also, I am not one to recommend displaying standings during the course of the race. The slowest kids know they are out of it pretty quickly, but you run the risk of losing the interest of the middle of the pack racers if they see they are also out of the running. Just my 2 cents.


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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by derbyspeed » Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:50 pm

Would you allow that triple elimination or quadruple elimination are comparably intuitive for an 8-year old? Same underlying concept, but more racing!
Although I have never seen a chart for either one of those and not sure how much time it would take to run, I would agree that it would be in very good interest for the boys sake. Especially getting to run more races. That was the main reason we went to the points method so more races could be run.


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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by derbyspeed » Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:06 am

gpraceman wrote:Mike,

I know that you have purchased GPRM, but I hope you realize it will not run that type of elimination race. The only form of elimination supported is if you wish to run additional rounds of racing where you can then advance the best performing cars.

Also, I am not one to recommend displaying standings during the course of the race. The slowest kids know they are out of it pretty quickly, but you run the risk of losing the interest of the middle of the pack racers if they see they are also out of the running. Just my 2 cents.
I was really hoping the GPRM software would have that option, to run elimination, when I was looking to buy. I just wanted it as an option because I would be able to use it for my Martial Arts School as well. We hold tournaments and the sparring is determined by double elimination. I thought it would be nice have software that would set the rounds up for us and make it more interesting.

Even though I really wanted that option I still thought the GPRM software was what we needed and so far I am very satisfied. Not trying to put a plug in there, but the more I work with it the more I really like it!

I do like your input about showing the standings and how that may affect some of the boys. Our thoughts last year, when someone else ran the race with points, was that they didn't give out any information until it was over. Being the first time without elimination we were a little nervous on how the outcome was going to be for those that looked like they were winning.

It all seemed to work out but I thought it would be nice for the crowd to be included a little more and be able to see the standings at least midway through the race. I have often seen when some of the boys are out of the running they kind of pick another scout to cheer for when they know he is doing well. Definitely an awesome showing of sportsmanship.

But I agree you make a very good point. Will have to think that one over when the racing begins this year - Thanks!


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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by Stan Pope » Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:44 am

derbyspeed wrote:
Would you allow that triple elimination or quadruple elimination are comparably intuitive for an 8-year old? Same underlying concept, but more racing!
Although I have never seen a chart for either one of those and not sure how much time it would take to run, I would agree that it would be in very good interest for the boys sake. Especially getting to run more races. That was the main reason we went to the points method so more races could be run.
Charted elim racing gets very complicated very quickly as you increase the elimination depth. But there is a way around that complexity that yields great dividends in the pace of the racing, more so if the boys are racing their own cars. An arbitrary depth of elimination racing is easily managed by managing groups of racers with like records. Since you would be managing by groups, it is easy for boys and parents to see how the racer is doing by seeing which group the boy is sitting with.

During each round all of the boys race once. They race only against other boys in the same group. Each round produces new groups of boys/racers with like records.

As racing approached conclusion, each of the record groups reduces to one racer. This array provides the basis for a final ladder to fulfill (at least partially) the multiple elimination nature of the competition. Suppose you elected to do an octuple (8 loss) elimination. Then there are 8 racers left. One has 7 losses, one has 6 losses, etc down to the group with 0 losses. You could fully track the total losses and race pairs until elimination, but I think that this re-racing the same two cars distorts the stats. So, I prefer to take each step of the ladder as follows: The "survivor" with the most losses must win 2 heats against his next higher ranked "survivor" before that next higher ranked survivor wins one heat. This confirms or reverses the ranking yielded by the elimination process that led up to the finals. It is also possible (though unlikely) for the car with the most losses to "come back" and win the 1st place trophy ... by defeating 2 times in a row each of the higher ranked cars.

The process could be "computerized" for running races by staff rather than by the boys, but if the boys are racing their own cars, the computerization would just slow down the process and make it harder for the parents to track progress!

There is more about this method at http://members.aol.com/standcmr/nelim.html


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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by parrot_racing » Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:36 pm

derbyspeed wrote:Just my opinion and I am brand new to this forum so take it as you will but looking from a kids point of view simplest is the best. If you have to explain to your son or another boy why they did or didn't win even though their car went past the finish line first than that pretty much says it all from a kids prospective. Therefore I feel that Times are not kid-friendly. Even if you are showing the times on a screen it still takes away from the action because it doesn't matter what happens on the track it only has to do with what is on the screen.



Remember keep it simple if you want to include the kids!
Mike Webb
http://www.cubscoutpack118.com/1.html
Give the kids a little more credit, most if not all understand the concept of time. We ran times for the first time this year and by all accounts was the best derby we ever had. Not one person questioned the results or did not understand that the fastest avg. times go to the finals.



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by 3 Cub Dad » Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:50 pm

parrot_racing wrote: Not one person questioned the results or did not understand that the fastest avg. times go to the finals.
I'm assuming from this comment that in your finals, that not all of the Dens were represented, or that if the finals were made up of all Webelos this would be acceptable? How many overall trophies were awarded? Just curious.



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by Darin McGrew » Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:27 pm

parrot_racing wrote:We ran times for the first time this year and by all accounts was the best derby we ever had. Not one person questioned the results or did not understand that the fastest avg. times go to the finals.
Just out of curiosity: What is the point of the finals if you're using times? Why not declare the results after everyone has run the same number of times in each lane?



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by PWD_addict » Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:41 pm

Darin McGrew wrote:
parrot_racing wrote:We ran times for the first time this year and by all accounts was the best derby we ever had. Not one person questioned the results or did not understand that the fastest avg. times go to the finals.
Just out of curiosity: What is the point of the finals if you're using times? Why not declare the results after everyone has run the same number of times in each lane?
To see the cars race some more, what else? :mrgreen:

Finals are also a test of how long can a car maintain its speed. Last year, my son would have come in 2nd in Pack if we wouldn't have had finals, since there was one car that was really fast in the rank races. In the finals, my son's car only lost a little time whereas the eventual 2nd place car lost a bit more time. That's over 16 races as we have an 8-lane track.



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by 3 Cub Dad » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:55 pm

Darin McGrew wrote:
parrot_racing wrote:We ran times for the first time this year and by all accounts was the best derby we ever had. Not one person questioned the results or did not understand that the fastest avg. times go to the finals.
Just out of curiosity: What is the point of the finals if you're using times? Why not declare the results after everyone has run the same number of times in each lane?
no fair Darrin, you stole where I was going! Here's my thoughts. Everyone always says they want to use times to ensure that they determine the fastest cars. So they run the races by rank, and score by time, looking for lowest average time. Then they advance some pre-determined number of cars by rank, for the "Finals" race. IF you do it this way, you can only award as many places or trophies for the "Finals", as the number of cars allowed to advance from a single den. If you advance the top two from Den, you can only award 1st and 2nd. Top 3? 1st, 2nd & 3rd. To do otherwise is folly and a fallacy. If you advance 2 from each Den, and award 3 place trophies, what is to say that the 3rd fastest car in the pack wasn't 3rd in his Den but didn't get to advance because you only advance 2 per den.

There is a thread on here where an individual compared the results if scored by points vs times for 32 seperate Derbys, and the results were the same except for a couple of lower position swaps. I did the same thing for our Derby last year, and the final results came out the same. (Ran points using GPRM PPN generator)

So, maximize the number of opponents, run in each lane, a couple of times, achieve accurate results no matter how you analyze the data, and no complicated explanations required. (30 cubs, under an hour and a half, including finals, 4 lane track, multiple runs each lane, 15 minute break)

I know some people have some pretty set opinions, (ok, I admit I do!) but this is just my opinion. The reality, I'd like to believe, is that we're all trying to do what we think is best for the kids!



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by davem » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:39 am

So here are 2 questions.
1. Point scoring - finals round. If there is a tie for 7th place (this year we had a 3 way tie for the last slot in a 7 car finals round) is it better to eliminate 1 or run the 8? The dilemma - explain the tie break rules to the 8th car vs. having a more accurate finals round. I note that the race in question - none of the cars tied for the last slot received a trophy (1st, 2nd, 3rd).

2. What is the optimal number of cars to include in a points race? And - ideal # for a timed race?
Optimal in terms of the time to complete the event, without losing audience interest.

Our Awana group runs ~50-60 cars per year.
Points are preferred - but we have a 90 minute time limit.
We could split them into 2 groups...but would have 40 in the younger group, and 10-15 in the older group.

We can run 50 cars with points in 90 mins.
>35 cars with points - requires having an adult stage the cars (I don't like that...but the club leaders value the 90 minute limit more than greater kid participation.
> 50 cars, we cannot finish in 90 mins with points - and switch to times.

I'm thinking of splitting the race into 2 groups next year, 60 mins for the younger group, and 30 for the older.



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by Stan Pope » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:41 pm

Sorry this took so long to post ... I had an unplanned nap in front of the keyboard. One of the perq's of age.
davem wrote: So here are 2 questions.
1. Point scoring - finals round. If there is a tie for 7th place (this year we had a 3 way tie for the last slot in a 7 car finals round) is it better to eliminate 1 or run the 8? The dilemma - explain the tie break rules to the 8th car vs. having a more accurate finals round. I note that the race in question - none of the cars tied for the last slot received a trophy (1st, 2nd, 3rd).
The purpose of "finals" in points race is to improve the accuracy for trophy selection. Accuracy is best with CPN; then with PN, and then with PPN. Almost all "Preliminary" racing is done with PPN. Best to run a tie-break to select finalists such that the finals are PN or CPN charts, which limits the number of finalists to a few specific nose counts depending on the number of lanes available.

From simulation studies of the charts, the last car into a 7-car finals was a top three trophy winner a very small percentage of time. Since event time is an issue, do a 2-run alternating lane tie break. If neither car wins both and split was "too close to call by eye", then (a) toss a coin, (b) compare total times for the tie-break runs, (c) omit both from the finals, or (d) allow the two racers to select their representative.

Note that the number of finalists should be about twice the number of trophies to be awarded, since this nearly assures that the cars deserving of trophies will be in the finals, regardless of any inaccuracies in the PPN chart.
davem wrote:2. What is the optimal number of cars to include in a points race? And - ideal # for a timed race?
Optimal in terms of the time to complete the event, without losing audience interest.
I think that there are two ways to look at "losing audience interest": First there is the "still racing" aspect, which holds everyone until the last "round" is run, then as each racer makes his last run of the day, many of the "also rans" will see that all hope is lost and their attention will start to drift. Second, there is the "not up to snuff" aspect. Some will reach that "attention drift" stage well before their last run when they see that their car is not as competitive as they hoped. This is usually recognized after 2 or 3 runs.

Non-finalists are likely to lose interest during the finals phase. Hopefully, that stage takes about 20% of the time required for the preliminaries.

Otherwise, "Optimum" has too many variables to express simply.


Stan
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