Race Format Opinions

Debates and discussions on the various race scheduling methods that can be used and their fairness and accuracy in determining the winners.
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SharkBait
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Race Format Opinions

Post by SharkBait » Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:13 pm

In the past, we have raced the scouts within their own den with the top finishers moving on to the pack finals. This year, we purchased GPRM and have the option of racing everyone together in one big pack. I was wondering...for those who have tried both methods, which one seems the best? It may not be fair to have a tiger cub race against a Webelos II. But I have read that it keeps everyone involved in the entire race, not just when their den is racing. It also seems like with everyone racing together, we use the time method whereas the den racing will use the point system.

Any opinions as to the best method?

Thanks.

Steve



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Darin McGrew
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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by Darin McGrew » Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:17 pm

My favorite approach is to schedule kids against other kids the same age, but to intermingle the races for the different age groups into a single schedule. So you'll have a race among Builders (3rd & 4th grade), then a race among Sentinels (5th & 6th grade), then a race among All Comers, and so on.



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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by blcrow33 » Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:26 pm

I believe GPRM v8 allows you to race the entire Pack together but each heat is still run by den. ( Randy can correct me if I am wrong) For example heat one would be tigers, heat two would be wolfs, heat three would be bears, and heat four would be tigers again. So tigers would not race in the same heat as other ranks. When the race is over, the race results are displayed by den. This option is fine if you have a small Pack. If your Pack is large, then the scouts sit there too long waiting for there car to race again. If you have a large Pack, I would stay with the den races.



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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by gpraceman » Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:41 pm

blcrow33 wrote:I believe GPRM v8 allows you to race the entire Pack together but each heat is still run by den. ( Randy can correct me if I am wrong) For example heat one would be tigers, heat two would be wolfs, heat three would be bears, and heat four would be tigers again. So tigers would not race in the same heat as other ranks.
Yes, with GPRM V8 there is a new "Master Schedule" option that collates the group schedules into a single master schedule.

With a master schedule or by use of subgroups, you help make sure that everyone stays involved as long as possible.


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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by mjkdoc » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:53 am

This year I am coordinating our derby for the first time. Up until now the pack has simply used a points based system to pick finalists, then a finals round to pick winners. Three lane wooden track. This year we have a new microwizard timer and GPRM software on the way, so a chance to change things up.

For our districts there is a tiger division and then a division for the rest of the scouts. So we need to send the top 3 tigers and the top 3 of the rest of the scouts. Looks like about a dozen tigers this year and probably about 35 or so scouts. We are toying with racing by rank for all the kids and giving awards for the different ranks. In the past we simply did a tiger race, and a rest of the pack race mixing the different ranks up. So the question is how best to do this? Can the software allow us to run the kids by rank and give us the winners by rank as well as overall winners? I haven't gotten the software yet, should arrive tomorrow, but I thought a bit of direction from those here with more experience may be a huge help. Not sure if we should try to run a partial perfect N, or just a lane rotation. And should we have some sort of a final heat?

My main goals, make it fun (most important for the kids :D ) , fair and fast (not that we are in any hurry, just don't want it to drag).



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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by gpraceman » Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:03 pm

mjkdoc wrote:Can the software allow us to run the kids by rank and give us the winners by rank as well as overall winners?
Yes. Just make each rank a race group. You can then view standings by each rank, as well as overall.
mjkdoc wrote:Not sure if we should try to run a partial perfect N, or just a lane rotation.
I'd recommend the Perfect-N type charts over Lane Rotation. Both will make sure each racer will run in each lane of the track and race an equal number of times, but what Perfect-N charts do far better is to make sure each racer has a variety of opponents. With LR charts, racers pretty much face the same opponents over and over.
mjkdoc wrote:And should we have some sort of a final heat?
Ultimately, that is up to you, depending on how much time you have to run the racing portion of the event. It is advisable, if you are racing a large number of racers, so you can pull out the faster racers to run for the trophies. See Suggested Race Format


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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by ohiofitter » Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:17 pm

Just found out were racin as a complete den........I asked how about the awards how are tey done..I was told at regstration of the software the cars are still recognized as there perspective class. and the software know what tigers,wolves,etc. are the top placers



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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by mjkdoc » Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:19 pm

Thanks for the reply. Looks like the software and timer will make this a lot easier than last year, plus more accurate.



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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by mjkdoc » Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:17 pm

OK I imported in my roster and set up two groups, a Tiger group and a rest of the pack group. Only way I could see to allow me to have a finals heat amongst the entire pack less the tigers as our districts our broken down this way (we send top 3 tigers, top 3 from the rest of the pack). I made subgroups for each den. So I expect I can see the standings by den no problem. One little wrinkle, the scoutmaster would like also have awards for the top 3 webelos as well. Can I get GPRM to show me say top finishers for the 4 webelo dens? Also is there any way to do a dry run through the entire process without setting up the track and actually running cars? I just want to run through it all ahead of time to be sure I am familiar with the software. We did set up the timer and check to be sure the times were coming to the software in the test race part of the hardware setup (which BTW is a great feature) so we at least know everything is talking. But it would be nice if there was a way to kind of run through all the steps with some kind of dummy data just to be sure I understand how it all works.



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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by mjkdoc » Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:20 pm

One more thing I forgot. Is there a good number of finalists to advance to make the perfect n charts simple? We advanced 5 kids last year as I recall, but would it make more sense to have 6 kids so we have 2 full heats (3 lane track)?



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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by gpraceman » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:11 pm

mjkdoc wrote:OK I imported in my roster and set up two groups, a Tiger group and a rest of the pack group. Only way I could see to allow me to have a finals heat amongst the entire pack less the tigers as our districts our broken down this way (we send top 3 tigers, top 3 from the rest of the pack). I made subgroups for each den. So I expect I can see the standings by den no problem.
You can view standings by group or by subgroup or overall for the round.
mjkdoc wrote:One little wrinkle, the scoutmaster would like also have awards for the top 3 webelos as well. Can I get GPRM to show me say top finishers for the 4 webelo dens?
Only if there is one group they are all under, with no other subgroups. If you have Bears and Wolves mixed into that race group, then you would have to pick through the group standings and write down your top 4 Webelos.
mjkdoc wrote:Also is there any way to do a dry run through the entire process without setting up the track and actually running cars?
Yes, and I highly recommend it. You can enter the results manually into the racing screen with the Manual Results button.


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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by gpraceman » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:12 pm

mjkdoc wrote:One more thing I forgot. Is there a good number of finalists to advance to make the perfect n charts simple? We advanced 5 kids last year as I recall, but would it make more sense to have 6 kids so we have 2 full heats (3 lane track)?
Take a look at the table on Stan's site for a 3 lane track.

http://stanpope.net/grdir.html

That will give you the numbers of racers to yield a Perfect-N or Complimentary Perfect-N chart, which are the best to determine trophy order. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to advance around twice the number of racers as you have trophies. So pick one of those PN or CPN charts with that many or more racers.


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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by mjkdoc » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:23 pm

Thanks for the reply. Shouldn't be to tough to just manually pick out the 3 fastest webelos, kind of figured that was how we would need to do this. I'll definitely run through everything manually this weekend. Derby is a week from Friday. Just trying to get my ducks in a row. Two laptops ready to go, usb flash drive for backups. Lots of prep, but hopefully should lead to a smooth event and lots of fun for the kids. :D Again thanks for the help.



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Re: Race Format Opinions

Post by Stan Pope » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:34 pm

mjkdoc wrote:And should we have some sort of a final heat?
There is a logical answer to this question. It is based on whether you wish to have greater accuracy in identifying the fastest cars.

If you were running "points", it is very likely that the first session of racing runs on a PPN chart and not a more accurate PN. The reason is that the number of lanes, rounds, and racers determines what kind of chart can be used. There just arent enough PN charts!

If you were running "times" (which I think you are), then what do you do in a finals to get a more accurate result that you didn't or wouldn't do in the prelim? The boys wouldn't try to stage their cars any better. The race crew wouldn't be more careful in the track operation. But you could get car average times over more heats to reduce the random distortion to the average time from run-to-run variation in the cars' times.

Suppose you ran a preliminary race of 8 runs for each racer, spread evenly across 4 lanes and noted the fastest times. Maybe the five fastest will be "finalists". Then you have them race four more times and average those four times to determine the trophies. It is a silly plan because the finals has less accuracy than the prelims! If the finals were averaged over 8 runs, the finals would be no more accurate than the ranking from the prelims! To get more accuracy, you must average over more runs, either by having more runs in the finals or by combining the prelim times with the finals times to get an overall average.


Stan
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