Pack finals race advice needed

Discussions on race planning, preparations and how to run a "fair" and fun race.
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korey99
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Pack finals race advice needed

Post by korey99 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:23 pm

Hello all-
I'm not sure what to do for our pack finals race and was looking for some advice. We're going to have each den (4 dens, each with 6-12 boys) race a PPN schedule, twice down each lane (3 lanes), scoring by points. Trophies goes to 1st through 4th place, and those boys advance to the pack finals. This mirrors how we did things last year in how trophies and advancement work, except last year was double-elimination.

So, I'm going to have 16-20 cars advancing to the pack finals. 4 trophies to be awarded. I originally thought I'd just do another PPN chart, twice down each lane. What occurred to me, however, is that that schedule won't even have each boy racing each other boy. Some pairs will never meet, because each boy with have a maximum of 12 opponents on a 2 round 3 lane chart. This isn't all that fair. Is there a better way? Maybe just a 1-pass culmulative elapsed time race? We're going to be using GPRM. Also, not taking a ton of time is a plus, so running an "imperfect" preliminaries and a Perfect-N finals may not go over great.

Thanks,
Korey



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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by gpraceman » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:34 pm

You can do a two round finals. Use the semi-finals round with a PPN schedule to determine your top 7 finalists to run in the finals round. For the finals round, you can run a PN schedule. You can save time by only running racers once down each lane, instead of twice.

With GPRM, you would need to do the semi-finals as a Grand Finals Round. Then create a 2nd data file, enter your 7 finalists there and create your schedule. You can have that 2nd data file preloaded before the race with all of your racers, so all you need to do is pass the 7 racers in the finals round.


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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by Vitamin K » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:54 pm

gpraceman wrote:You can do a two round finals. Use the semi-finals round with a PPN schedule to determine your top 7 finalists to run in the finals round. For the finals round, you can run a PN schedule. You can save time by only running racers once down each lane, instead of twice.

With GPRM, you would need to do the semi-finals as a Grand Finals Round. Then create a 2nd data file, enter your 7 finalists there and create your schedule. You can have that 2nd data file preloaded before the race with all of your racers, so all you need to do is pass the 7 racers in the finals round.
This is how I plan to run things. The top 3 finishers from each of the 5 Den ranks will form a 15-car pool for the first round of the Grand Finals, which will be a PPN chart. Then, for the second round, the top 7 from the first round will compete in a PN schedule to see who takes home the trophies.



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Stan Pope
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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by Stan Pope » Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:54 pm

Since your den races will probably run a PPN schedule (opponents not balanced), the ranking by points will probably not be as accurate as you would like. In that size range, only 7 and 13 racers have PN (opponents balanced) charts. Opponent imbalance leads to inaccuracy. If you are awarding 4 den speed trophies, accurate results call for either (1) a 7 car den final or (2) score by times.

Even though the plan above works accurately with 3 runs per racer in the den prelims, I think that is too few for those who would not advance to finals, so your plan to have 6 runs is good!

If you score den races by points, you will probably have a tie for 7th place, so be prepared to break that tie in some manner.


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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by korey99 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:19 pm

Stan, I'd like a little clarification about your comments on my den-level races. So, with 2-7 racers, 2 runs per lane, I can get a perfect-N chart (if allowing a bye). If I have 13, I'm also good, but 8-12 cars is bad (without adding a bunch of byes up to 13). But three of my dens have 9 or 10 boys. That's going to be ugly, right? If I have 8 boys, and I feel that points racing is best, I need to run a 8-car PPN preliminary, followed by a 7-car finals? Are PPN charts really terribly unfair? For what it's worth, last year was blind-draw double-elimination. I did try 3- and 4-runs per lane, and that wasn't pretty either.

We pretty much don't have time for two rounds of racing for a den. Am I going to have to go with timed racing?

Also on my to-do list is figuring out how to do tiebreakers.

Thanks for your advice,
Korey



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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by Darin McGrew » Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:37 am

We don't have a full set of trophies for the overall winners. We have a full set of trophies for each age group, and then have only a single ribbon for the overall winner. The overall winner can tie the ribbon to the age-group trophy.

So we take only the fastest car from each age group to the overall finals.



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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by Stan Pope » Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:14 am

korey99 wrote:Stan, I'd like a little clarification about your comments on my den-level races. So, with 2-7 racers, 2 runs per lane, I can get a perfect-N chart (if allowing a bye). If I have 13, I'm also good, but 8-12 cars is bad (without adding a bunch of byes up to 13). But three of my dens have 9 or 10 boys. That's going to be ugly, right? If I have 8 boys, and I feel that points racing is best, I need to run a 8-car PPN preliminary, followed by a 7-car finals? Are PPN charts really terribly unfair? For what it's worth, last year was blind-draw double-elimination. I did try 3- and 4-runs per lane, and that wasn't pretty either.

We pretty much don't have time for two rounds of racing for a den. Am I going to have to go with timed racing?

Also on my to-do list is figuring out how to do tiebreakers.

Thanks for your advice,
Korey
Ya got options that keep you giving the boys a good experience that is fair and accurate.

One of the subtle solutions that I used a few times on the old 4-lane P209 track that had a good "Place" finish line (but no times) was to combine two dens that had a total of 12 or 13 racers. There is a 2-round (6 runs per racer) 3-lane PN chart for 13 racers! (If you went 4 rounds, you get an even better CPN Chart!) This does "points" well in that case. Starting one den from 1 up and the other from 13 down makes comparing point scores easier if you did it manually (as I did back then), but is not essential.

Now you have accurate "points" coverage for groups of size 6, 7, 12 and 13.

Now, those dens that you can't handle as above, run 2 round PPN charts with times.

So, even if you can't get all of the dens covered by great points charts, you eliminate some of the finals participants coming in with known times!

Personally, if I could not get 'em all covered by PN or better (CPN) charts, I'd go with times for the dens as well I'd also find an excuse to "adjust" the track slightly between dens so that den times don't necessarily translate to finals times! One such adjustment is to alter the orientation of the start gate microswitch so that it switches at a slightly different part of the gate's rotation!

Tell me the numbers of cars you expect to run for each den. I'll sketch out possibilities for above.


Stan
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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by korey99 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:16 am

Thanks, Stan. That all makes sense. I worry a bit about having to explain why different dens are handled differently, though I understand that mathematically that would be a good thing.

Here are my den sizes, along with my guess of who will show up.

Tigers: 7 (great), and I don't know them well enough to guess.
Wolf: 11, I expect maybe 8
Bear: 10, and I expect 8
Webelos 1: 9, and I expect all 9
Webelos 2: 0



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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by gpraceman » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:03 am

With GPRM, you can manually increase the number of racers when in the scheduler screen to force it to give you a PN or CPN schedule. These extra racer(s) will be added as byes.


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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by korey99 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:24 am

Randy-

That's a good point. Thanks. We're hovering just above 7 expected attendees in three dens, so I might be needing to add 5 byes in the worst case.

I've long been convinced that points racing was the way to go, but I can't believe that I didn't realize the inequity of PPN schedules. I thought they were pretty good, and certainly better than double-elimination, but I realize now that we could still have fairness problems unless you get a perfect chart.

My wife had an idea last night, and I like it. One of my reasons for doing points racing is that it allows for an easy paper backup. Register the scouts, generate a schedule, and print the scoresheet. Now I can have a manual scorekeeper in case my computer fails me. My wife's idea is to do times standings in GPRM, generating a PPN schedule, and printing it out the score sheet as before. Now, run the racing with Time standings, and if my computer dies, fail over to the paper scoresheets, on which points are being recorded. I have some leaders, including myself, who are concerned with tech failing us.



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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by gpraceman » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:28 am

It's always good to have a Plan B. Occasionally, Murphy's Law strikes.


Randy Lisano
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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by korey99 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:31 am

And don't get me wrong - I'm not worried about your software, at least not any moreso than the PC, the serial converter, the projector, the timer, etc. Last year our finish line worked the night before the derby, and didn't work when we arrived the next morning. I'm spooked now!



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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by Stan Pope » Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:10 pm

korey99 wrote:Thanks, Stan. That all makes sense. I worry a bit about having to explain why different dens are handled differently, though I understand that mathematically that would be a good thing.

Here are my den sizes, along with my guess of who will show up.

Tigers: 7 (great), and I don't know them well enough to guess.
Wolf: 11, I expect maybe 8
Bear: 10, and I expect 8
Webelos 1: 9, and I expect all 9
Webelos 2: 0
Ouch! Your pack is a bit too big! My cludge won't work! Could do all PN-13, but I think 4 or 5 byes is too many. I like your wife's approach!


Stan
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Re: Pack finals race advice needed

Post by korey99 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:13 pm

Thanks for all the advice and help! I'm going to say we'll go with my wife's plan. It's pretty clever.



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