How do you race?

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How do you race?

Postby slothead » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:27 pm

The 'What would you do differently' tread made me think about this. I race solo, so this isn't an issue for me now but has been in the past when I raced at a commercial track, with a club, and with my grandsons (now in college). The main point being how do you manage deslots, or wish you did? At the commercial track years ago we had some marshals during racing, but we also used track (power) calls to stop racing when a came out of the slot. At the club races we had power calls for all deslots, unless a car deslotted right in front of it's driver. In both cases the guys with better cars and who were better races complained about stopping races for the guys who couldn't keep their cars on the track. On the other hand a guy whose car was nerfed out of it's slot by a car on an inside lane would be mad if he lost a lap or two due to no fault of his own.

Racing with the grandsons was a crash fest until I came up with the idea of "20 laps, or whoever crashes first loses". Ideally, if I was racing with a club or commercially, I'd prefer to have a system that discouraged crashing. In full scale racing the winner of a races usually has managed to keep all four tires on the track for the entire race. While crash and burn may be a bit harsh, it also doesn't make sense to me that you can crash 10 times in a 100 lap race and still be in contention. There's also the issue of should races be suspended while a driver repairs his car? The commercial track allowed this so as not to create enemies of paying customers, but a good friend and top racer quit racing because he disagreed with this, saying it was a driver's responsibility to have his car prepared to run the entire race and that mechanical problems were a part of racing. Sometimes the only way a driver can make it onto the podium is when a top runner crashes or has mechanical problems.

So imagine your ideal track and an ideal plan for racing. What would that be?

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Re: How do you race?

Postby 4380r » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:32 pm

We use turn marshals as much as possible. Stopping the race every time someone crashes simply would not make for fun racing.

Track calls when a situation is such that cars cannot be reslotted quickly efficiently, such as a wreck in a hard-to-get-to part of a layout, or several cars crashing in front of a single turn marshal.

Thinking about retiring to Florida in a couple of years, and following a club in the area we may be moving to. One guy has, somehow, wired PM controllers (must use his) EACH with a track call button. On his track, there are no marshals. You wreck, you go reslot your own car under green flag, then come back to your driver station, the race goes on without you. Presumably the track calls are used if a wreck obstructs other cars.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby waaytoomuchintothis » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:42 pm

I saw that done once... guys falling all over each other and laughing so hard they almost couldn't get to their feet. Insane in a small space. But I recommend it once in a while just for the laughs. Particularly when the beer swilling lamp is lit.

We use track calls, just because there is so much danger of crashing into someone's hand or another car if you don't. We also use turn marshals. Its not a problem at all, even when we do an enduro.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby mattb » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:42 pm

I agree completely about track calls and allowing slower, bad drivers to remain in contention. We run crash and burn only. Not only are you out after you crash, anybody that started a race can call last lap at any time and the first guy to get to the finish line wins that race. Oh yeah, the leader can't call last lap. On the commercial track we have 4-6 guys usually, we always run this format and everybody wins a couple races, as we have 30 or more races a night.

We have found another "rule" that makes it interesting. Every week one guy is the "rule" man. i usually call out and say who wants to be the rule man tonite? Whoever speaks first is the MAN. He can make up about any rule he wants, such as moving the start/finish line to wherever he wants it, an even calling for a few races to be 1 lap affairs or maybe 2 laps. We have lots of fun and only have one guy that takes it too serious. If he de-slots a lot (usually) or can't keep up, he will go set down and tinker with his cars. The rest of us, laugh and really enjoy the fun.

They have serious racing the other nites of the week and usually have a few guys get mad, arguments and probably more stress than a day at work. Go figure!
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Re: How do you race?

Postby mattb » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:45 pm

We also have a rule about nerfing and wrecking other cars. Pretty simple, we race all out and if you put your car in position to get knocked off by somebody else, it is your fault not the guy racing you. We agree to race full out and if I don't want to get nerfed, I can back off. The other drivers can do the same thing.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby teamwild » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:00 pm

Way back before computers we used crash and burn, where you crash you're out. As computers and more new people came along we went with allowing three crashes before you're out to atleast allow a racer to get some track time if they're having a rough race. This worked well for a long time. Now we seem to be old enough to not remember how many times we've crashed so we just race. track calls are done for crashes as with most of our tracks we don't do live marshaling.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby slothead » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:26 pm

I forgot to mention that when I raced with a club in addition to track calls, the offending car was reset on the track just in front of the lap counter. That meant you lost whatever part of a lap you completed before crashing. I agree with some sort of a penalty for crashes because it put more emphasis on good driving over all out speed. And as my grandsons showed when they were still under 10 years old, when it mattered they could go 20 laps without crashing and run competitive laps.

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Re: How do you race?

Postby Dogsbody » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:40 pm

Emphatically H**L, NO on track calls. The other racers shouldn't be penalized because someone went off. We have marshals or self-marshal if needed.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby nhdungeonracer » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:50 pm

Having done all sorts of different ways to race (from 10 lap sprint races to 24 hour enduros, and everything in between), there are pros and cons on how to run each one.

The simplest way is if (note the "if") the track is easy to marshal and there are enough marshals, is to just race a set # of minutes per lane (usually 3 minutes) and keep track of the laps. Most laps is the winner. But I also feel this is also the most boring way to run a race. For the most part, it lacks side by side racing. Not that it doesn't happen because it does, just not as often as other types of racing. Also, in this type of racing, there seems to be more yelling going on (Marshall!!!, Track!!!, Damn it!!, etc. and my favorite - Hey, what are you doing!!! {right Steve?} :lol: )

Heat or points racing are usually more exciting, and also doesn't have as much effect on how the race turns out when doing track calls. Each heat has all racers lined up on the starting line, and heats are generally 15 to 20 laps. There tends to be more side by side racing. Points are awarded based on how you finish in each heat. One with the most points is the winner.

As far as crash and burn racing, there's a club in Quebec City that do something along that line. Each heat race is a 10 lap sprint, and you get awarded points according to how you finish each heat. But if you crash or deslot before the heat is over, you get zero points for that heat. In order to get points, you must finish the heat. So yeah, you're encouraged to stay on, even if you finish last. And they use track calls to try and limit the damage to cars.
Something else they do is the host has to subtract 10% of his total points for the night. They do this to try and eliminate the home track advantage. Having raced with them a couple times, what they're doing seems to work well.

As for the live marshalling vs. track call "debate", it really depends on the track and if there are enough people. If there's enough people and the track is easily accessible, then live marshalling is generally the best way to do things. However, most tracks I've raced on, this is not the case. Most tracks I race on are home based, and generally have hard to reach spots, so track calls is what we do. Is it fair to the "fast guys"? Who cares? They generally end up winning anyways. So they have to "suffer" through a few track calls. Big deal. What we find is track calls gives us all a chance to laugh and joke about what just happened. We've had times when guys were rolling on the floor because of what just happened on the track, so yes, we like track calls. :D

I just re-read what I wrote before posting this, and I realized something. Racing with live marshalling is usually more "serious" (meaning guys get upset when things happen), whilst racing with track calls seems to be more entertaining and less stressful (ie-more laughter). That's my experience anyways.... :D
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Re: How do you race?

Postby waaytoomuchintothis » Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:12 pm

Exactly correct. When people want to run crash and burn, I don't run at all. I've seen fistfights between brothers because very competitive people go nuts with that format. Its one of the most damaging of formats to expanding the hobby. Frankly, most of the folks I run with can do without timing at all. Counting laps is sometimes useful, but the best gatherings are "run what ya brung" with good food and drink, encouraging people helping each other to have more fun, run better cars, solve car problems, etc.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby chappyman66 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:39 pm

Our club runs a 2 lane track. We use marshalls but track call as well.
We also use a timing system with handicapped fuel stops. Faster drivers have a longer fuel stop and you must take all of the fuel. Since the handicap is based on qualifying time (and we use a breakout 0.4 sec below qualifying time) a slower driver can have a chance to win with a good pit stop and consistent driving.

It seems to work well...we often have 20 lap races decided on the last lap as the faster driver chases down the slower car after a long pit stop.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby vonsirius » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:11 am

We are a small "club", a friend , my son and myself.

When not racing solo, I use track calls if we´re two people and marshalling if the three of us are present.
We race on "gentlemen" basis, we don´t take it to serious , so track calls (just crying "track " or "marshall") work for us, Anyway if your car finished for whatever reason upside down or out of the track ( upside or jumping the barriers ) you´re out of the race, so can de slot but also have to be careful.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby waaytoomuchintothis » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:25 pm

You remind me of something funny that happened once in our group. I was intensely concentrating and doing well, about halfway through a heat, and suddenly took the slightest flick and was off the track instantly. In my excitement, I called out, "SLOT!" instead of "track", and we all collapsed laughing. It took a while to get going again, and as usual, I was somewhere in the back half of the field when it was all totalled up.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby mattb » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:56 pm

In our crash and burn races if we de-slot and end up in another lane, we call "live on red" or whatever color lane your car is setting on.
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Re: How do you race?

Postby RichD » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:44 am

I race with HOCOC, which is an HO club and Shoreline Model Raceways, which does 1/32nd cars.
In the case of HOCOC we always do track calls on ovals, the cars come around too fast to marshal the cars without interfering with other cars. Most of the time we run without track calls on road courses. We do run on one track with difficult to reach places, so we use a track call when a car comes off in one of those. In all cases we do track calls for riders. When we run with track calls we impose a one lap penalty for each off and we have a maximum number of offs before you are out of the race. The maximum number is based on the length of the heats, for a regular race with 3 minute heats that would be 7 offs.
With Shoreline Model Raceways we almost always run with track calls because all of the tracks except one have inaccessible spots. There are also track calls for riders. Area 51 is the largest track, it is 130 feet long with five lanes. If we have enough people we can run without track calls, but it takes a minimum of five people to cover the track properly.
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