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MollieDuke

pinewood derby questions

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I may be in charge of PW derby next year and I don't understand the whole "elimination" thing. Also, I've seen most derby's done in double elimination and occasionally triple elimination. Now, I don't really understand these terms, but it's just what I was told. Is there a website or published material that explains these things so I could copy/print it and keep it with the rules books? I know I can get someone to actually "do it" at the event, but I know there are other parents out there that don't really get it and this may help them on race day. Also, do you do double elim. or triple elim where you are?

Thanks,

Mollie

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You can download free elimination bracket chart creators off the web. Here is one option:

 

http://www.sharewareconnection.com/titles/double-elimination-bracket.htm

 

I would recommend considering using a more fair method of determining a winner, such as the perfect n system that ensures each car runs the same number of times down the track, runs the same number of times against each other car, and runs on each lane the same number of times. See -

 

http://members.aol.com/StanDCmr/ppngen.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The "elimination" thing means that you eliminate a car (and the boy) after a specific number of losses. For example, with double elimination, after a boy losses 2X, which for many is only 2 races, he is out of the race completely.

 

The problem with this kind of racing is that after a boy is out of the race what does he do? Some Packs have another track where the eliminated boys can "play". Others have various game areas. What usually happens is that once eliminated, the boy and his family just leave.

 

I think that the elimination method makes for a MUCH more competitive atmosphere. The boys (and their dads) HAVE to have the absolute best car because if they don't they will only get to race a few times. With elimination, I have seen boys in tears and dads yelling about race results.

 

Needless to say we no longer run elimination style races. We want all of the boys to have fun. Yes, some will win and some will lose, but with all of the boys racing lots of races, all will have FUN! They also all stay untill the end of the race!

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Mollie - I really recommend one of the rotating methods, instead of the elimination method. It's been discussed, and I'm of the strong belief that it is more inclusive, more fair and more fun for the boys. They often don't know who won until the very end. And, it doesn't take any longer. In fact, our Derby sped up when we went to the rotating method.

 

Send me a PM, and I'll send you a spreadsheet that can be used for tracking it.

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I LOVE this info. I think this would "eliminate" the problems I've seen in the past. I especially like the fact that each boy races the entire time. I hate to see the boys leave early. It also eliminates the competitiveness I've seen which certainly doesn't embody scout spirit at times.

 

Keep any help coming. I love it so far.

 

Thanks for the links, too. SUPER!

 

MollieD

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I've received a couple of requests for the spreadsheet. I found the webpage where I originally downloaded it. It can be found here:

 

http://home1.gte.net/res06xo8/pine.htm

 

I have taken the 3 lane spreadsheet and added names to it, so it reads the scouts names instead of "A", "B", "C", etc. If you want that version, PM me with your e-mail address.

 

I'll describe our process for you. I no longer use the spreadsheet, I developed a web-based application to manage this for me. But the process is the same.

 

************************

Our procedure (for a 3 lane track)

 

We race in groups (Tigers, Wolves, etc.). We'll usually have anywhere from 8 to 18 in an age group. In the spreadsheet, take the worksheet for the number of boys you have racing and create a copy. This is your working version for this set of races. Assign the boys to the car positions and start the races. Each boy will race in each lane ONE time. If you have more than seven boys, they will never race the same car twice. However, with more than 7, there will be some cars that do not get paired together at all during this first set of heats.

 

For each race, a boy receives points. We give 3 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd and 1 point for 3rd. We now hae an electronic eye finish line, so ties are extremely rare. Before that, if we had a tie, we just gave both of them the points. So, if two cars tied for first, we gave them both 3 points, and 1 point for the 3rd place car. If two cars tied for 2nd, we gave 3 points for 1st and 2 points to each of them.

 

At the end of this set of races (which will be equal to the number of boys) we total up the points. We pick a breakpoint, roughly half-way through the group. If there are 14, we'll try to pick at least 7. This is a judgement call, but the judges have final say.

 

We then do it all over again. We pick the appropriate worksheet (7 racers, for example) and make a working copy. We race those boys through. Typically, there are 7 or less during this heat, so every boy ends up facing each other at least once. After this set of races we total up the points again. If there are any ties, we go to a run-off system to break the ties.

 

This works extremely well, and there is a lot of anticipation. Often the winner is unknown until the announce.

 

If all of this sounds too confusing, I'll gladly come as a consultant to operate it for you. Prices are reasonable in sunny destinations near good golf courses. :)

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I have a question about this thread and a few other like it. Apparently the new trend in PWD is to have the boys keep racing their cars and not do the elimination thing, where a boy knows his car is out of the running and he either cries, goes home or both. I understand the sentiment having never done very well in the PWD either as a cub or a dad. Now, a while back there was a thread about activities where everyone won an award and I thought the forum generally was of the opinion that such "everyone wins" activities were part of the weenie-ing of America. And I understand that sentiment, that kids have to learn that in a race, only one person wins. So, why the rush in the PWD to have the kids continue to race? Isnt this just a watered down version of everyones wins? Just a thought, like I have mentioned, I have a bad head cold so if I dont make sense blame the nyquil

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OGE - I can understand how it sounds that way. I'm not in the 'everyone gets a trophy" camp. (I do think everyone should get a certificate, ribbon or patch, though.)

 

To me, it's more about fun and fairness. A boy can have a really good car, but go up against the fastest car in the group in the first race. He's immediately put into the "loser" bracket. Odds are way against him coming out of that to win.

 

Second, most all tracks have a slight variance in lane speeds. The rotation method allows you to race once in each lane. This greatly reduces the impact of lane speed variances on the outcome.

 

Third, it reduces the impact of graphite and lubricants on the outcome. To win, a car will have to race at least six times. By then, you are much more dependent upon the quality of the car, than having the right proportion of lubricant. (We don't allow them to relubricate during the heats).

 

Finally, and this is very important, this is a VERY COMPETITIVE method of racing. It's much more difficult to win using this method. The best car will almost always win. Imagine if in a NASCAR race, the back half of the cars were eliminated after each lap. That would be pretty boring, in my opinion.

 

Fun, Fair, Competitive, Suspensful, and no "losers" bracket. What else can you ask for?

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I'm struggling with the 'elimination' descriptions myself.

 

Our pack calls the race method 'Single Elimination,' but here are the race rules:

 

"Each car will race once on each lane (6 lane track). So each kids car will go down the

track a minimum of 6 times. When there is more than one den in a rank level, the top three racers from each den will go onto the Rank

Championship. The top three racers from each rank will then go onto the pack championship."

 

So rather than 'single elimination' it sounds a bit like a cross between a balanced racing method and an elimination method. I say a mix because if you've got 2 dens at a level, or a large den, then only the top 3 finishers in their round of 6 heats race each other.

 

I don't know what name this might be, but I'm still stuck with the problem of at least 50% of the kids being done after their 6 heat round.

 

Hey, I'm also curious, are the boys pretty much spectators after car inspection (adults set up and run all the heats), or are the boys responsible for their cars during race day?

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Hey, six rounds is better than two races and you are out in double elimination.

 

After a car is weighed in, the ONLY person that can touch a car is the boy. Believe me, you don't want to be that embarrased leader that accidentally dropped Johnny's car and broke his wheel.

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NCD,

 

When I was CM (sooo long ago), once we checked a car in, the scout did not have access to it until his car was no longer in a pack sanctioned race. We did this basically to avoid secret modifications (e.g., adding weights). A team of adults would man the staging table and track placement and starting. With 100 boys in the pack, it was important to gain efficiencies by having the next racers staged and ready to be set up while the current race was being run. The adults would make sure the cars were handled with the utmost car (scouts grabbing at cars during my first year as a spectator resulted in several cars falling off the table), and ensure proper placement on the lane at the starting gate (many scouts are in such excitement that there placement was bad resulting in their car not even moving when the gate was lifted). That first year when I just watched, once a scout in such excitement to grab his car to get it on the track, tripped over the track resulting in a 30 minute race delay as the track had to be fixed.

 

With 100 boys + parent/sibling races and pack finals and each car running down the track at least a half dozen times, we finished in 6-7 hours. That could not have been done without the adults working the staging/setup area. I think the scouts appreciated because they did not have to deal with other kids touching their cars, breaking the track and the like.

 

Once a scout was done with his races (den race but not moving onto pack finals) he could play with his car all day on the short track set up for fun in the other room.

 

enable a team of adults to stage the racers to have cars ready to run before being placed on the track (we had 100 boys in pack), ensure good track placement at the gate,

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EagleInKY - I agree, when I first saw 'single elimination' in the pack handout I was bothered, because it means 'one & done.' I got one of the old timers to explain what the format is & now us newbies are a bit happier.

 

Semper - I see the pluses to having the cars handled by the officials after weigh in. But it'd sure be nice if the kids were more than observers during race day.

 

The other point I didn't mention is our weigh in is at the monthly pack meeting, which is 10 days before the race. I think that's a bit too far in advance, but you take the hand you're dealt.

 

 

 

 

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WHAT? Weighing in 10 days before? Now, we hae had weigh-ins the week before, but it was just a preliminary weighing. The official weigh-in has to be immediately before the race. That just asks for the over-agressive dad to cheat.

 

And, yes, unfortunately it happens. Many years ago, we caught a dad showing his boy how to slip extra weight into his car between between the pit area and the track.

 

I guess Semper's "adults only" method would prevent that from happening. But, I take just the opposite stance (sorry friend). I believe the boys should be the ONLY people to touch the car. First, it makes them actually involved. Second, they are responsible if they drop it. Third, their parents can't claim that someone was trying to fix the race. (and yes, I've had a dad accuse that as well).

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Actually, the cars are weighed in and 'impounded' 10 days before the race. So the opportunity to cheat is the same as if the cars were weighed in the day of the race.

 

My preference would be to have the workshops & unofficial weigh in earlier and a final weigh in the day of the race. But for some reason we've got folks who think it's easier to collect all the cars early, transport them to a holding area, store them, then transport them to the racing venue, then sort them out before the races - without damaging a single one in the process.

 

 

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