How many lanes, and why?

Discussions on buying, building or rehabbing a race track. Topics like plans, materials, tools, construction, finishing, commercially available tracks, and so on.
dna1990
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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by dna1990 » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:02 am

I haven't actually done it, but it seems to me that expanding from 3 to 4 later on, is not really that seemless.

As mentioned, the starting mechanisms and timer gates have to accomodate the change. And little things, like having some wood blocks for spacers..

I agree that 30 racers, even 40-50 racers can do just fine on three lanes. So if going three, do so with the mindset you will stay there for a while.

Dollars are dollars, but if only $200 difference...I say go 4, and then you have plenty of room. Don't have to run four, but can when it makes sense. Maybe your pack will be in a position to host races for the district or other packs, etc. These hosted races can become a small income resource.



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gpraceman
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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by gpraceman » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:06 am

dna1990 wrote:As mentioned, the starting mechanisms and timer gates have to accomodate the change. And little things, like having some wood blocks for spacers..
Good point on the timer. If you think ahead, you should buy a 4 lane timer if you later expect to go from a 3 to a 4 lane track. Timers are a bit of an investment in themselves and you don't want to have to replace the timer altogether with a new one. However, NewBold Products does have an expandable timer, called the Turbo, so that is an option.

Regarding wood spacer blocks, that would only apply if expanding a Micro Wizard Freedom track. I believe he was looking at purchasing a Best Track.


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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by slojim » Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:13 pm

I was already sold on a 4 lane timer. The only question was track. I understand pack finances, pack plans, pack numbers, and pack stability are all pack specific issues that can't be answered by a board query. I was just more or less looking for experiences racing 25-40 boys on a 3 lane vs a 4 lane track.
I'd also welcome specific experience on a best track upgrade from 3-4.

The thought of hosting other events is intriguing, but I doubt we'd pursue it. We're fortunate to live in an area with so much to do we tend to struggle with our choices. Tying up time hosting an event would attract very little support at this time, unless another pack was in a bind. But it did make me think that with our own track, we could host a second pack event, like a pack only summer race, either a little more open to modifications, or going the other way, a build it now/race it now event to go with the raingutter regatta.



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sporty
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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by sporty » Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:56 pm

on a 3 lane track and timer using Grandprix software. 64 racers can be done in 2 hours. timed race. meaning the winners are decided by there fastest runs, not double or single elim race.

Each racer get to race what is it 9 or 6 times.

so i do not really feel to suggest a larger track to 4 lane, with those pack numbers.

My thoughts on it anyhow.

Sporty



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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by gpraceman » Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:52 pm

slojim wrote:The thought of hosting other events is intriguing, but I doubt we'd pursue it. We're fortunate to live in an area with so much to do we tend to struggle with our choices. Tying up time hosting an event would attract very little support at this time, unless another pack was in a bind. But it did make me think that with our own track, we could host a second pack event, like a pack only summer race, either a little more open to modifications, or going the other way, a build it now/race it now event to go with the raingutter regatta.
Well, you could do as our pack had done, which is rent out the track setup to other packs, along with a small crew to do the setup, tear down and running the computer. The packs would do their own workshops, checking in of the cars and MC'ing the event. We charged $250 to run a race and would do 5 to 7 races each year. We paid off the track and timer in under two years. It just takes having 2 to 3 of people in your pack willing to do these races.


Randy Lisano
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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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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by Humvderby » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:13 pm

Funny thing is I know of Packs that have a 6 lane track and they only use 4 of the 6 lanes. Then I've been to a Pack Race that had a 4 lane track and they only used 3 of the 4 lanes. The District Race has a 6 and a 4 lane track and they only used 4 lanes on the 6 lane track.

I asked why they only use 4 lanes on the 6 lane track and the response was exactly what everyone is saying here.....takes to long to run 6 lanes. I will say it seems as though 4 lanes is the most popular size.

Humv


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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by ah8tk » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:37 pm

Also you must think about the case, you may want to build your case larger if you are thinking of going to 4 lanes in the future. Otherwise you will have a case you cannot use.



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pwrd by tungsten
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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by pwrd by tungsten » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:00 pm

gpraceman wrote:
slojim wrote:The thought of hosting other events is intriguing, but I doubt we'd pursue it. We're fortunate to live in an area with so much to do we tend to struggle with our choices. Tying up time hosting an event would attract very little support at this time, unless another pack was in a bind. But it did make me think that with our own track, we could host a second pack event, like a pack only summer race, either a little more open to modifications, or going the other way, a build it now/race it now event to go with the raingutter regatta.
Well, you could do as our pack had done, which is rent out the track setup to other packs, along with a small crew to do the setup, tear down and running the computer. The packs would do their own workshops, checking in of the cars and MC'ing the event. We charged $250 to run a race and would do 5 to 7 races each year. We paid off the track and timer in under two years. It just takes having 2 to 3 of people in your pack willing to do these races.

that is great. We rent a track and crew for $50.00 and I dont know how the track owner make ends meet...

We may be getting a specail friends rate though. I have never asked him. He just enjoys the racing from what I can tell. :D :D :D



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pack529holycross
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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by pack529holycross » Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:43 pm

Um.,.. point of order, if I may.


I there is a concern about the length of event, I would fall back on a formula that held pretty consistent for us. Unless I am wrong, it's one heat for each car in the event.

a few examples --- 6 lanes, 6 cars - GPRM generated a 6 heat schedule.

taking the same 6 cars, running on 4 lanes, and GPRM generated a 7 heat schedule ( LONGER event by one heat )


Using a 18 car group generates 18 heats regardless of the number of lanes 4 or 6.

The reason I mention this is that having a 6 lane track does NOT increase the number of heats. It does tend to increase your diversity in a points style scoring system by insuring that each car gets more opportunities to race. This translates to this question - do you think that allowing kids to see their cars race 6 times instead of 4 times increases the enjoyment of the event for them? I would submit that it does increase their enjoyment, and worth the effort of the extra work. Regardless of your Pack size, if you have a 4 lane track ( unless you allow two runs on each lane ) gives the kids fewer runs than a 6 lane track.

Other arguements for a 6 lane purchase -- putting together a 6 lane track requires the same effort as a 4 lane, just more bolts. I say this because putting it together ONCE rather than twice ( as in expansion later ) is far preferable. I can tell you that tuning up a bestrack simply takes patience and time. but I can't imagine that it took any longer for our 6 lane than a track with fewer lanes.

ELEVATION - I would say that a 6 lane track with the extension legs ( not getting this option would be a huge mistake ) is going to have a better width x height ratio, encouraging greater stability than a 4 wide track. This is theoretical of course, but the wider the "footprint" the greater the stability.

USE - using a 6 lane track as a 4 lane track is far better than wishing you had more lanes, because expansion is a major undertaking. Depending on the brand of timer, you will NOT be capable of applying your existing timer hardware to the upgrade. Cases also will need to be replaced for wider crates, although I suppose going from 4 lanes to 8 would be a far easier transition in that respect.

USABILITY OUTSIDE THE PACK - Should you be ambitius, you could offer up your Pack as a host for a District or Council Race Event. Additionally, "fun runs" and corporate Derby events are gaining popularity, and this would give you additional revenue earning capabilities to offset expenses.


In conclusion, I would say respectfully that a 6 lane track does not alter the complexity of the effort needed to run an event TO A POINT THAT EXCEEDS the enjoyment the scouts get by seeing their cars run in a greater number of heats. We chose to buy a 6 lake bestrack and timer to replace an aging 3 lane track 3 years ago. We have not needed to change that setup in the expansion of the pack over that time, and have hosted the district and council races successfully as well. It is a long term investment with great benefits, so consider these factors in your decision.


Nicholas



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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by gpraceman » Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:56 pm

pack529holycross wrote:a few examples --- 6 lanes, 6 cars - GPRM generated a 6 heat schedule.

taking the same 6 cars, running on 4 lanes, and GPRM generated a 7 heat schedule ( LONGER event by one heat )
A point of clarification. GPRM will only give you an extra heat if:
1) You have GPRM set to allow for adding a Bye as an upgrade option.
2) Only if by adding the Bye it will give you a better "quality" chart.

For your 6 racer scenario, without adding a Bye, you will get a Partial Perfect-N (PPN) chart with 6 heats. If you allow it to add a Bye, it will give you a Perfect-N (PN) chart with 7 heats, which is a better "quality" chart than the 6 heat PPN chart.

Bottom line, if you don't want the software to add Byes, you can make sure that upgrade option is not checked.
pack529holycross wrote:The reason I mention this is that having a 6 lane track does NOT increase the number of heats.
Increase of heats, no. Increase of time between heats, yes, because you have two more cars to pre-stage, load onto the track and retrieve from the finish line. So, the event can take longer with the two more lanes, even when running the same number of heats.


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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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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by slojim » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:25 pm

Thanks for all the discussion. I've effectively been talked out of a 3 lane track, but I'm stopping at 4. 6 sounds great, but we don't need it to be successful. I have a question on this statement
ELEVATION - I would say that a 6 lane track with the extension legs ( not getting this option would be a huge mistake ) is going to have a better width x height ratio, encouraging greater stability than a 4 wide track. This is theoretical of course, but the wider the "footprint" the greater the stability.
I specified to our banker to get the leveling feet, but not the extension legs. Most of the boys sit on the floor as close to the track as we'll allow. For our arrangement, I think the extension legs would result in a lot more standing, which leads to more movement, which inevitably leads to disaster. Or chairs, which means moving chairs, and kids swapping places when their car is up. Why in your opionion is not getting the extension legs a huge mistake? Unless I am misreading, it seems you are saying the 6 lane track gives better stability, or are you saying it is the extension legs that do so?
Has anybody found the 4 lane track on leveling feet but not risers to be unstable?

Again, thanks for all the feedback.



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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by Buckeyefan » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:23 am

Slojim,
The extension legs are a great idea, but our pack has had great success going another route. We are a huge pack (over 120 cubs) and we expect upwards of 400 people at the PWD. We have the good fortune to be sponsored by an elementary school and use the gym/cafeteria for the derby. We set the track up on lunch tables which are rock solid and pretty level, then carefully level the track with shims. We use a row of chairs and checkered flag pennants to rope off the track, pit area and computer area. This gives a lane around the track to stage and retrieve cars and keeps the boys more than an arms length away from the track. The first row of spectator seats is reserved for the den who is currently racing, and the den leaders swap them out between races. This way, more than just the first row of boys can see the race. It also raises the action higher than the extension legs would, allows the crowd to be seated, and gives everyone a great view of the action. Pictures come out better also without having to shoot through the crowd.
Also, we just replaced our wood 3 lane track with a 6 lane Besttrack. Under our old format, each car ran 6 heats, TWO in each lane and the slowest heat was dropped. Best average of top 5 times wins the den. Under the new format, each car also runs 6 heats, ONE in each lane, slowest time dropped. We will thus have half the number of heats. This will, in my opinion, more than make up for the increased staging time with 6 lanes.

Buckeyefan



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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by Stan Pope » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:32 pm

One more aspect of the decision ... How many boys finish their day of racing with at least one heat win?

Increasing the number of heats increases the percentage of racers with at least one heat win (provided that the pairings are not simply repeated) toward a method-dependent average.
Increasing the number of lanes decreases the percentage toward a method-dependent average.

The racing scheme affects the percentage of racers with a heat win. For instance, 4 runs against thoroughlly mixed opponents on a 4-lane track produces heat wins for around 35 percent of the racers. Double elimination on a 2-lane track produces heat wins for around 75 percent of the racers. Quintuple elimination on a 3-lane track produces heat wins for around 88 percent of the racers.


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Re: How many lanes, and why?

Post by pack529holycross » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:36 pm

dna1990 wrote:Me too - I vote four.

I had only one distant experience with an alum 6-lane, and I know they had difficulty in getting it aligned each time.

The money saved can be put into more software, projectors, quality scales, video options, trophies, building workshops, etc.

As others have said, the logistics of staging 6-at-a-time is better suited for 12oz cans than 5oz cars.

When running a -N chart...same number of heats, only longer to stage and reset.

I can tell you that the time it takes to run an event is calculated by the number of cars that you have x 1 minute each ( racing time ) -- 50 cars = 50 heats = 60 sec between heats.

The way that you insure this happens efficiently is two fold -- points racing, and master scheduling... master scheduling interweaves each group so that no single group runs in consecutive heats.... why is this good for you? you never stage a car in consecutive heats... therefore you dont have to wait for car retrieval -- you have three guys manning the pits.. two stagers and a starter.. each stager is working of the same master heats list, staging up the next heat of cars... build yourself a little tray color coded to the track lanes ---- give the tray to the starter.. he stages the cars as the OTER stager is already ready for the heat after that,,,, I can tell you that my crew has done turnarounds averaging from 25-35 seconds in this process, which permits MORE racing because you can do each car running TWICE on each lane efficiently...

I love it, the kids love it, and the racing performance data is doubled to further increase diversity of opponents and decrease instances of ties... also..bottom line... a kid who sees their car race 12 times rather than 6 or 4 is a happy kid !!!


just my two cents

nicholas



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