I must say from experience that a race can be much more exciting depending on the format. Not that many years back i remember on many nights because of (luck of the draw) i found myself starting 10th in the 4th heat race with only 6 laps to get to the top 2 spots just to get a shot at the first 4 ROWS of the feature event that night. i wouldn’t exactly say i drove harder but i was much more aggressive because i had to pass at least 8 cars in 6 laps. The heat races were just as exciting for the fans as the main.
We had to race our way into our starting spot and still had to wait and see how the draw went for the feature. If i finished 2nd in my heat i could start the feature anywhere from the pole to 8th place.
Be as it may the fast cars were closer to the front but in no way lined up fastest on the pole so the drivers and fans got a pretty good mix in the top 10 or so.
2 Words in my book (happening on a regular basis) will keep the stands and pits full. PASSING and CRASHING are what people come to see. FASTEST CAR ON THE POLE IS A SNOOZE FEST. the fans want to see positions swapped, alot. And crashing is in no way fun for a driver or crew but comes with the territory. How many have been to a crash-o-rama latey? Packed house! Even though i don’t care much for it, folks like to see cars bent.
This post in no way will secure the future of local racing, but, is merely the thoughts of another message board wanna-be promoter:anim_buttkick:.
I LOVE the way they do it at Lowe’s Dirt Track. Lets see if I can explain in fairly simple terms:
By luck of the draw, they formed 10 heat races/qualifying groups (12 cars in each group). They give each group a 3 lap session where each car in your group is timed. Once they know the first through 12th fastest, they take the top 6 and invert them for the Heat race. From the Heat races they only take the top 2 finishers to go straight to the A-Main. 3rd through 6th line straight up in the B-Mains, all else go to the C-Mains.
ALL of the 20 qualified drivers do a complete redraw for their starting position in the A-Main.
This accomplishes a few things:
You only need to out-qualify the other 11 cars in your group, without getting kicked to the curb by track conditions that may be good early, late or somewhere in the middle. A lot of dirt races, you can be screwed for the whole weekend by pulling a bad pill for time trials.
There is no sand-bagging trying to run 6th in your group (to get the pole for the Heat), because if you wind up 7th by accident, you’re screwed the rest of the time
The Heat races start the fastest guy in 6th, but only 2 qualify… you think anyone is holding back at that point???
There is passing, passing, passing! Each one of those 10 Heats meant everything to the guys racing in them, and you could tell as a fan. It was WILD!
And once you knew who the top 20 cars were, you still didn’t know where they would start, because they do a complete re-draw.
Just getting IN the show was a major accomplishment, and it DIDN’T automatically put the fastest cars up front.
The show I’m talking about had 121 cars, which I know is not realistic for what we have around here. But if you took the same scenario for 30-40 cars (trucks), and changed the numbers around a little bit, it would make one hell of a show for the fans, and the winner could be damned proud of his accomplishment.
The last 3 shows I attended, the Governors Cup, the USAC show and the Truckers 200, there was not one single on-track pass for the lead in any one of them, other than possibly the outside pole sitter grabbing the lead right off the bat.
460 laps of feature racing, and not 1 pass for the lead… SOMETHING has to be done. I’ve about had it!
I have said this on this board before…for the weekly racing, the field should be inverted from the week before with any car showing up the next week starting behind the previous weeks winner. This would keep the points races in the weekly divisions tighter and hopefully add interest each week.
Maybe for the touring series they invert the top 10 or 12 in points? I do like the group qualifying, kind of formula one style. With the in car transponders available it would be quite easy to run maybe 5 or 6 cars at a time for 6 or 8 laps. Similar to a heat race but use the times for qualifying and then draw in that order.
I’d much rather see the cars race their way into the feature. Heat races are the way to go but I know some drivers don’t like that. (I don’t know why they want to be called racers if they don’t want to race. JK) Heat races should have at least 8 or more cars per race. It doesn’t make any sense to have a race when everyone qualifies anyway.
I do like the group qualifying for time trials. I’ve seen it done for a couple years in NY and it works out great. 3 cars on the track at a time for 2 or 3 laps with transponders keeping time. One car goes on the track each lap, with one coming off. It’s fast, fair, and there isn’t a lot of waiting. Only time I’ve seen problems is when someone is really off the pace and another car catches them, but that’s rare and the victim is usually given an extra lap. On dirt, the time trials are right after warm ups and the track condition is pretty much the same for everyone. Not always but usually.
I’ve pretty much stopped going to races where the fastest qualifier starts up front. I like it when the top qualifiers have to redraw or pick a number to invert, with a minimum number of 6 inverted. I’m talking about extra distance races here. For a weekly show I like the starting order to be set by points accumulated in the last 3 shows. Higher points start further back. Some tracks use season points to determine starting lineup. I think it needs to depend on the track. I’ve got so I like the so called “twin” races. i.e. two 25 lap features. The lineup for the second feature is inverted from the finishing order of the first. I like to see racing and passing. I hate to watch a freight train. I agree that most spectators like to see wrecks also. I grew up in a family that didn’t eat well for a week when the car was wrecked on the weekend. Not really, but I was very aware of what it cost to fix one. So I don’t go to the races to watch the wrecks but I know I’m in the minority on that count.
I’d much rather see the cars race their way into the feature.
you’ve got to have fields well over 10 cars before you can play games with “getting in to the feature”.
Trim it from 12 classes down to 4-5 and you will see that happen. Too many options.
Time trials have always sucked, especially when the cars start straight up afterwards. Once qualifying is over (which most fans don’t even see), all the drama is over. After a lap or two of the feature, how much action is realistically out there? Someone breaks, someone spins, and Scofield crashes someone. Same story, different track… every time!
I’ve lived in FLA longer than I did in NY, but “up North” still has a lot of lessons that “the South” could learn from. They bitch when the top classes draw less than 30 cars… we BRAG about getting 30.
Other than TBARA, the Southern Sportsman, and most anything on dirt, everything else is almost a waste of effort. I’m completely fed up with crappy shows when I KNOW it could be so much better. 460 laps of Feature races (in December) and not 1 pass for the lead… sad.
Every year I put $-thousands-$ into the race fan business, and I’m just about over it. Other than Speedweeks, where other sanctions, cars and policies are in charge, there is almost NO excitement left. It could and SHOULD be different. I hope soon it will be.
I sometimes think that if Florida wasn’t a peninsula in the first place, then maybe we WOULD have to do what other, successful places do. Face it… we really don’t HAVE to conform to what the rest of the “region” is doing… and we DON’T.
Do yourselves a favor if you think you really are a race fan… check out something in other areas, and see if you really believe we are getting our moneys worth around here. We aren’t.
Call me a complainer or a visionary… I don’t care.
I’m completely fed up with crappy shows when I KNOW it could be so much better.
QFTJ&TAW ( Quoted For Truth, Justice, & The American Way )
I sometimes think that if Florida wasn’t a peninsula in the first place, then maybe we WOULD have to do what other, successful places do.
Speedweeks, that’s the problem.
nobody has to promote to pull a field or pack the stands. then they keep doing the same thing ( nothing ) the rest of the year and wonder why nothing happens.
it shouldn’t be a problem, it should be the greatest free marketing bonanza any short track on the planet could ask for. if you want to know why it is NOT used that way you’d have to talk to the people in charge.