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Running the Race

Running the race schedules.

Many things go into how long it will take you to run your race, including the number of racers entered, number of lanes on the track, which scheduling method is being used, and race crew organization. Since you have little control over the number of racers entered, we will cover the other issues that you do have control over.

Race Crew Organization
How efficient your race crew is has a tremendous effect over how long it will take to run your race. Here are some things that we suggest:

  1. Each car should have its own assigned "parking spot", so it is easy for your crew to pre-stage the cars for each heat.
  2. Each car should have its car number clearly displayed on top of the car, so it is easy for your crew to find it when needed.  Your check-in process should make sure this happens.
  3. Once you have your schedule(s) created, print out a copy and give it to your crew at the staging table (or use our DerbyWeb software). This will help them ensure that once one set of cars is racing down the track, then they have the next set of cars lined up and ready to load to the track. They may even be able to get multiple heats pre-staged. Note, it is faster for the crew to go by the printout than trying to depend on looking at software's racing screen via your projection system.
  4. Assign at least two people to your staging table, to get cars lined up for each heat.
  5. Assign at least one person to retrieve cars from the finish line and take them back to the car staging table.
  6. Assign at least one person to put the cars back in their assigned "parking spot" after their heat is completed.
  7. Make sure that your MC is not slowing down the pace by inserting too much commentary.
  8. Practice with the software before the race, so you are comfortable with the steps needed to run the race in the fashion that you need.

Scheduling Method
Some scheduling methods are faster to run than others. Ideally, you do not want to wait for cars running in back-to-back heats, as this makes you wait for cars to return from the finish line before starting the next heat. Perfect-N Type, Phase Shifted Lane Rotation and Modified Lane Rotation schedules are better at reducing the back-to-back issue. Though, having a small number of cars in a race group and how many lanes your track has can also affect the back-to-back issue, regardless of the chosen scheduling method. Also, you may want to consider using the software's Master Scheduling feature, which alternates through heats from your different race groups.  This is another way to prevent cars in back-to-back heats.

Number of Track Lanes
Many organizations when they go to build or buy a track feel that more lanes is better. Well, that isn't necessarily the case. It takes more time to run each heat as you add track lanes. There are more cars to load to the track, to retrieve from the finish line and to put back in their assigned "parking spots". If you have a track with more than 4 lanes, you may want to consider reducing the number of lanes that you will actually use for your race.

Make sure that you have setup and tested your timer in the Hardware Settings screen.

When using timers, it is important to follow the sequence of operation from your owner's manual. Usually, this is from doing something out of the prescribed order. You may end up with times that are extremely small or ones that are the maximum allowed.

The software's Help file has a wealth of troubleshooting information, under the Troubleshooting section, so make sure to refer to that as well.

This can occur if trying to display racer images. You can do one of two things, hide the racer image column or change the size of displayed images.

To hide the racer image column, go to the View menu of the Racing screen. The Image Column option will be checked if that column is being displayed. Select that menu option and it will then hide that column.

To change the displayed size of the images (not the size of the images themselves), go to the General tab of the Software Settings screen. Adjust the Maximum Height of the racer images until you are able to see all lanes on the racing screen.

The computer display can be duplicated on a projection system or TV or you can split up the computer display between the two displays by configuring Windows to run in extended desktop mode.

If Windows is not configured to run in extended desktop mode, everything that you see on the computer screen will be displayed on the secondary display screen.

If you have Windows configured for extended desktop mode, you can click on the title bar of a screen and drag it over to the secondary monitor. In this way, you can just show the audience certain screens, like the Racing screen.

Note 1: With laptops, to enable the video output to a secondary monitor you usually have to hold the Function Key down and then one of the "F" keys. Consult your owner's manual if you are not which of those "F" keys to use.

Note 2: For a TV, you may need to use a video adapter unit to connect it to the computer.

The software's Help file has a Tiebreaker section that goes into detail on how to deal with tie situations.

If you are using GrandPrix Race Manager in combination with our RaceReplay software, then GrandPrix Race Manager can control the recording of video and trigger the replay sequence or you can do the recording and replay manually.

Instructions on interfacing the two programs are in the help files for each of these programs.  In RaceReplay go to the "Using RaceReplay" section and then to the "Interfacing with GrandPrix Race Manager" section.

If you have problems interfacing the two programs, you can go to the "Troubleshooting" section of the RaceReplay help file and then to the "Video Replay Troubleshooting" section.

We've added a video on interfacing these two programs.  There is a link to it on GrandPrix Race Manager's Video page, http://grandprix-software-central.com/gprm/videos.php.

Below shows the setup if running one or two computers:

Replay Interface

Normally, to start a heat, you would click on the "Ready Timer" button.  For a heat that has already been run, that button will instead say "Rerun Heat".  Just click on that button to rerun the heat.  You will get a warning asking if you want to reset the times, and then you will run your heat as before.

If you are inputting results manually, click on the "Manual Entry" button, change the results as necessary and then save them.

  1. On the Racing screen, click on the button next to the race group name and select "Test / Tiebreak".  That will display a generic set of racers on the screen.
  2. Put the racer in the appropriate lane.
  3. Run the heat, just like any other heat.
  4. Write down the time, as times are not saved when in this mode.
  5. Go back to the original heat.
  6. Click on the Manual Results button to edit the times for that heat.
  7. Click on the Save button to save your changes.

 

See also the Partial Heat Rerun video on GrandPrix Race Manager's Video page, http://grandprix-software-central.com/gprm/videos.php.

No. You can easily jump around between groups and even run the heats out of order. Just make sure to verify that all heats have been run before starting a new round or viewing the standings.

With GrandPrix Race Manager V8.0 and above, you can use the Master Scheduling feature (Pro Version) to collate all the heats from the group schedules into a single race schedule. This helps keep all racers more involved in the race and not waiting around for their group's turn to race.

 

Heats can be run out of order, by selecting the heat number from the drop-down list or clicking the Next or Previous button until you get to the desired heat.

This can come in handy if someone needs time to conduct a repair before they run again. Just make sure to go back and run that skipped heat(s) before you finish the round and move on to something else.

Track records (Pro Version) can be changed by going to the clicking on the Settings button on the Main screen, and selecting Track Records Settings. In the Track Records Settings screen you can set, reset or delete track records.

Yes, you can replace the existing sound files with other ones, as long as the file name is the same. Just copy the new sound files into the Sounds folder for GrandPrix Race Manager to replace the current file(s).

Currently, though, there is not a way to modify the button images.

If you are looking for more flexibility in sound effects and the ability to play a lot more sounds, check out our RaceFX Sound Effects Player software at http://grandprix-software-central.com/rcfx/.

Scale speed is if you shrunk yourself down to the size of the the race vehicle, it would be how fast it seems that you are going.

The formula for determining scale speed is:

Scale Speed (miles/hr) = (TrackLength * 3600 secs/hr * VehicleScale) / (5280 ft/mile * Time)

Track Length (in feet) and Vehicle Scale are what you have entered in the Software Settings screen.  Time is the racer's elapsed time (in seconds).

If you prefer to use actual speed, you would set the Vehicle Scale to be 1 inch = 1 inch.

Note: Scale Speed is only a calculation.  It is not used for determining the standings.  It is just for the Ohhh and Ahhh factor.

It is certainly very discouraging for a racer when their car can’t even make it to the finish line.  It can also cause you some slow downs in your race, as you deal with the DNF cars.

There are actually some easy things that your race crew can do to help all of your cars finish:

  1. At check-in, visually inspect for lube.  This is easy if you have a graphite only lube rule, as you can see the graphite on the car.  If your rules allow for liquid lubes, then you may need to ask the racers (better yet their parent) if the car had been lubed.
  2. At check-in, if a car is below 4.5 ounces make the racer add weight.  Make sure that you make available a glue gun and some extra weights (washers, BB’s, fishing weights, etc.) in your pit area.
  3. Make it a part of your check-in procedure to test each car down the track (individually and not timed).  Any car not finishing should go to the pit area for a tune up.  If it crosses the finish line, then and only then, it is officially checked in.

For the races that we run, we do these things and we rarely have cars not finishing, unless a wheel falls off.

The font sizes on the audience display screens are affected by many things, such as which columns you are displaying, if displaying photos, size of the top section of the Racing screen, how much text is being displayed, screen resolution, and so on.

Here’s some things you can do to affect the font sizing:

  • If you are displaying racer photos and not all lanes are being displayed, you can go to the Software Settings screen and reduce the Max Height of racer images.
  • If the fonts are too small, then consider not displaying one or more of the columns.  Using the pop-up menu on the Racing screen, you can turn on/off Vehicle#, Custom Field (usually used for vehicle names), Scale Speed, and Image columns.
  • You can change the height of the bottom section of the Racing screen by clicking and dragging on the top border of that section and dragging it up/down, as needed.
  • You can trim or abbreviate really long racer names or car names so they don’t make the fonts too small.
  • When making a change, you may need to jog to another heat (+ button) and then jog back (- button) to see how your changes affect the font sizing.
  • Try reducing the screen resolution of your display.