Elevating the Track?

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Elevating the Track?

Post by PWD Rookie » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:04 pm

Now that our Pack's Pinewood derby season is over we're thinking ahead to next year. :scratching:

Some background:

The room available to us for our Pack meetings is relatively small. Our 42 foot aluminum track takes up almost all of the available length of the room. To prevent folks from crossing over the track we postion it against the wall of
the long side of the room. We then set up chairs for the audience to observe the race.

Due to this set up, the people in the back of the room cannot see the track (on the floor) or the races. We do project our GPRM on a large screen so people can see the kids involved, the results, etc... But they can't see cars as they progress down the flat.

Moving the track to the center of the room is not an option due to its length.

We are considering elevating the track next year to allow everyone to see the races.

I'm wondering what the experience of this forum is with this?

Pro's, Con's? Methods used? (just put the track on tables, or building some type of framwork...)

I would appreciate any input.
Thanks!



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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by Rukkian » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:36 pm

I have not elevated a track, however, one thing we do is to have all the scouts sit on the floor in the front, so they get the best view, and requires 1-2 less rows of chairs. This year, we simply put painters tape down for the walkway next to the track, and then the kids next to that. This made sure that there was nothing in peoples view, while providing the minimal buffer needed to keep the kids away from the track.

As for elevation, the benefit is obviously more visibility, however, there are a few potential drawbacks that I see -

1. Either you need to build an entire structure for underneath (cost and time), or rely on tables, which would be much more difficult to get level.
2. You have a risk of damage to cars from falling off (either in the middle of the race, or at the end of the track)



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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by ah8tk » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:01 pm

An elevated track does a lot for the race viewers. If the track is on the floor only the people in the first 3 rows can see anything, everyone else is just looking at heads.

What you use to support the track would depend on the type of track you are using. We used a Freedom track, set on top of banquet tables. You can shim the tables or the track on top of the tables easily, just don’t use tables that are old and decrepit (ones the hang low in the middle) and all should be good.

Why don’t you move the track into the center of the room? This way you can have viewers on both sides of the track (you just need about 3’ to 4’ at the end of the track for an isle.

I have done 15 to 20 races this way and have seen one car come off the track (this was because of the stop section did not have an extra barrier, last chance for top heavy or faster cars). I know we don’t want anyone’s car hurt but for better viewing this is a risk.

Andy



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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by Darin McGrew » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:24 pm

Elevating the track does help a lot. Ours is elevated about 18". Although I can't recommend the overall design of our track, I can recommend elevating the track. If I were to spec my "ideal track" now, I would set up the track on tables with short legs. The tables would have side rails to prevent derailed cars from hitting the floor.

I also recommend seating the audience on both sides of the track. If there isn't room for people to walk around the track, then perhaps you could run the track diagonally, or perhaps you could set up the track with one fewer section (a 35' track rather than a 42' track).



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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by dna1990 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:11 am

Consider video as well. Setup a camera pointed up or down he track (not from side) and project that onto a second screen.

Elevation is great, just make plans for a sturdy base and to check the track for side-to-side-level at several intervals down the track.



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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by derbyspeed » Sun Feb 27, 2011 1:24 pm

Haven't ever elevated the track but could see the positive side in all that.

We have cubs scouts and one parent on one side of the track and then the rest of the audience on the other side. Scouts handle their cars from start to finish but we have a parent there just in case they need help with something. Parents sit in chairs, scouts on floor just behind the caution tape.

Have also set up video camera to a TV for viewing at the end of the track to help audience see better. We have a small group though (20 - 30 scouts) so it's easier for us to leave the track on the floor.

Make sure you are announcing names of who is racing and who is on deck, that makes it easier for family to focus in on those races.


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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by FatSebastian » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:39 pm

PWD Rookie wrote:I'm wondering what the experience of this forum is with this? Pro's, Con's?
While I believe there are obvious spectator advantages to an elevated track, I would also imagine that it would be more difficult (or at least take more time) for kids to stage their own cars. Does anyone who runs with an elevated track also allow non-adult staging? If so, how does that work out?



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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by PWD Rookie » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:30 am

Thanks for the input fellas!

FS makes a good point about the staging process. Our process is to have the boys walk their cars from the finish line back to the staging area where an adult takes the car and puts it back in its numbered location. We have an adult do the staging of the car to the track.

While Darin's 18 inches seems a bit low, as we elevate higher it will necessitate the use of ladder. All give and take I guess.



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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by Nitro Dan » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:13 pm

Rukkian wrote:You have a risk of damage to cars from falling off (either in the middle of the race, or at the end of the track)
I think this would be my primary reason why I wouldn't want to elevate the track. If a car jumped the track and managed to make it off the table, it would be pretty much devastated when it hit the floor. I would think that not to many cars would survive a fall of that magnitude. If the track is on the floor and a car comes off during the run, it probably would only fall a few inches at most, lessening the devastation.

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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by AlabamaDan » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:25 pm

When we bought our BestTrack we bought the optional elevation kit. We really like it. Not only does it help spectators see, but each let has an adjustable foot that makes leveling a cinch. Also there aren't alot of people having to stoop down on the ground. The starting gate is about 6 feet off the ground, but we back the top of the track up against a small stage. No problems.

We have had a few cars hit the ground (mine 2x) in the last few years - but no real complaints.

I like the idea of a video camera showing the race on a seperate screen. I can do that. My SmartLine timer has a port for photo. I wonder if that could also post the finish on a big screen. Hmmm...



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Re: Elevating the Track?

Post by tnux » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:22 pm

Thanks FS for that comment. :thumbup:
I was almost shocked. :O
While I believe there are obvious spectator advantages to an elevated track, I would also imagine that it would be more difficult (or at least take more time) for kids to stage their own cars. Does anyone who runs with an elevated track also allow non-adult staging? If so, how does that work out?
While getting the track level and protecting the cars is improtant, it pales in comparison with the children. After all ,it's all about the kids, rite!

In our AWANA club the kids always place their cars on the start line with adult help if needed. I would be scared to death to wach the kids climbing a ladder for this. If the adults placed the cars for them, then the kids are not raceing, they become spectators, even boared and wonder why theire there. :wall:

If a car falls, fix it.
If a child falls, you've got problems! :cry:



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