Points vs. Times Scoring

Discussions on race planning, preparations and how to run a "fair" and fun race.
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3 Cub Dad
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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.


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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by Pinewood Po » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:24 pm

For those of you that read my recent post, you know I questioned the timing accuracy at this years district races. So when I came across this topic I eagerly read it. I must say it is a very good thread and many many good points by all.

I think ultimately the main thing that should be kept in mind is having a fun event for the kids. My grandson enjoyed the pack races much more than the district races. It wasn't as much that he won at pack level and ran 5th at district as the way the race was ran. At pack the kids staged their own cars then ran down to the end of the track to be there when their car crossed the finish line. At district someone else staged the cars then the boys stood there until the race was over and then went to get their car. The excitement of the race just didn't seem to be there at district. I know why for my grandson, he has a vision problem and couldn't see if he had won or not. We had to tell him after the races and for him it was kinda like the difference in watching a football game and being told the score after the game is played.

I now see running the show is much more complicated than the casual observer is led to believe. Lots of things to think about and many will be overlooked.



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by rkibby » Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:59 am

I really like this tread, love the different opinions and experience involved. I'm extremely new to pinewood. But I'm extremely experienced in drag racing. When I was asked to take over last year it seemed right up my alley. But my pack at the time just got a 4 lane Best Track with no timer. So we just used two lanes with a judge and I found a free excel program and ran Perfect-N, was very odd for me but I managed to run the event. Had a few ties, and had to do a couple run offs to figure placement but everyone was happy with the total out come. This year we got the Champ timer, and I used time, and didn't even give points a thought. Compared to last year everyone was really happy with me how the whole event went. So just adding the timer was a big plus for the pack. Specially in one of the Den races we had a 1st and 2nd place finish .001 difference. The crowd went nuts. That right there paid for the timer.

But I'm a drag racer, we dont race to the finish for points we race to the finish for the "W", and when I drive my car back I dont get a Point slip, I get a Time slip. Now after reading this I'll have to think about it for next year, points makes it awhole different race. It be interesting to show the pack. Hard thing is selling it. Since Districts and Council run time, and I think everyone would like to see it ran the same.



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by rpcarpe » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:03 pm

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.
We dealt with this in District. When racers KNEW they'd run all their runs and weren't competitive, they came and got their cars and the sad kid plus the exhausted parent all took off to lick their wounds or do whatever was next on their hectic Saturday schedule.

In our pack we tried something different this year. We had a TEAM trophy and we explained many times that EACH race for EACH racer counted towards it. BTW, the team trophy was a huge ol' wrench I picked up at an auction (came free with $5 rusty tool box). Big Team trophy, little tiny 1,2,3 trophies.

This changed a few things. Instead of the 2 Webelos that are intense rivals on PWD, they became teammates and tried to help others. And they cheered for everyone in their Den. All the other racers did likewise. Dads shared secrets and talked OPENLY about what they used, how they did it etc. It made for a much friendlier event.

So no matter your Pack size or scoring system, keep them involved by:
- Only Cubs handle Cubs' cars. I even coached them through the scale and a ruler portions of check-in. Easy!
- Big Traveling Team Trophy
- Winners, before they get their trophy, share their Best Speed Secret!
Dads and Scouts get a free mini PWD lesson. Nice incentive to stay 'til the end. 'Stick around, you might just learn something'.

That's my .02


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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by 68sportcoupe » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:51 am

old thread but heres what i think.
I agree times are more accurate.
but points are more interesting to watch.
to do points correctly you would have to look to the pros and see how they do it.
and the first thing they do is every car has a qualifying run.
then they set it up off of that.
but the problem with this is you brake it down into single or double elimination and the faster cars race the slower cars eliminating them.
and you have the faster cars left at the end.
its nice to watch all the fast cars race together and the slow cars race together but if you do that then out of the 4 fastest cars you will probably eliminate 3rd and 4th rite away.
wich would not be very fair.
its a tough choice maybe we could run all the cars by time then take the top 8 on a 4 lane track and do an elimination round to find the winner.
but still with top 8 you would race 1st 8th 6th and 4th then the next set would be 2nd 7th 5th and 3rd .
or two cars at a time .
1st -8th
2nd-7th
3rd-6th
4th-5th.
then the winner of the first race races the winner of the last race..
and the two middle race and if the cars remain consistant than when you have two cars left you should have 1st racing 2nd.
i would think the software would do all this.
thats just my thought.
we had our race yesterday.
first time with a best track timer and gprm software.
i was amazed at how fast it whent.
we had over 60 cars ran the first 2 heats all cars in two lanes in 25 minutes.
then took a brake.
and did it again.
it was an awesome time.



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by Darin McGrew » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:57 am

68sportcoupe wrote:to do points correctly you would have to look to the pros and see how they do it.
and the first thing they do is every car has a qualifying run.
then they set it up off of that.
There has been some discussion of systems that do something like this. Basically, the race schedule is random for the first round. Then, for the second and following rounds, the race schedule matches up cars of similar results, so all the races are closer (i.e., more interesting to watch).

The catch is that you have to make sure that everyone understands how the final results are determined. If someone watches their car win most of their races, then they may not understand that they were racing with other slow cars in a consolation bracket because they did poorly in their first race or two.

Another system was designed for larger regional derbies. It used multiple tracks. Cars are assigned randomly, but then cars that win move up to a faster track, and cars that lose move down to a slower track. After a while, all the faster cars are at the fast track, with very close (and exciting) finishes, and all the slower cars are at the slow track with very close (and exciting) finishes, and everyone else is on one of the middle tracks with very close (and exciting) finishes.

But I think it works just fine to schedule everyone for a round-robin type of schedule. Everyone gets the same number of races, the same number of races in each lane, against as many different opponents as possible. There's no need to seed the schedule based on times (especially for those of us who don't have timers).
68sportcoupe wrote:but the problem with this is you brake it down into single or double elimination and the faster cars race the slower cars eliminating them.
and you have the faster cars left at the end.
I'm confused. Are you talking about a points system, or an elimination system?
68sportcoupe wrote:its nice to watch all the fast cars race together and the slow cars race together but if you do that then out of the 4 fastest cars you will probably eliminate 3rd and 4th rite away.
wich would not be very fair.
Yeah, that's one of the problems with double elimination. It's great if you care only about first and second place. But if you want to determine fourth place with any accuracy, then you need quadruple elimination. Stan has a nice description of a quintuple elimination system that doesn't require a computer, and that works well for large regional derbies. That system determines first through fifth place reliably.



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by 68sportcoupe » Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:45 pm

yes i did get carried away my fingers where typing faster than i could think.
i started thinking elim and not points.
ive never raced with scoring points.
sry about that



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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by Stan Pope » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:16 pm

Darin McGrew wrote:...
Another system was designed for larger regional derbies. It used multiple tracks. Cars are assigned randomly, but then cars that win move up to a faster track, and cars that lose move down to a slower track. After a while, all the faster cars are at the fast track, with very close (and exciting) finishes, and all the slower cars are at the slow track with very close (and exciting) finishes, and everyone else is on one of the middle tracks with very close (and exciting) finishes.
...
Our district derby will utilize this method in just under 2 months from now. Chairman has figured out how to fit 8 tracks across the gymnasium. Seven of them will be used to sort the cars from (roughly) fastest to slowest during a fixed duration. At the end of this period, the finalists will all move to the 8th track for a timed competition. Meanwhile, the seven tracks can start sorting out the next age group! I'll try to get a good report on what went well and what needs work after the event is over. I'm hoping to be able to say that even the driver of the slowest car got to race a bunch of heats, that all went home at the end of the feeling that they had enough excitement and racing to make the time they spent seem worthwhile, and that the speed trophies ended up in the hands of the most deserving.


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Re: Points vs. Times Scoring

Post by rpcarpe » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:23 pm

Look forward to the follow-up!


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