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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.

It depends on the scheduler being used. In most cases, it will not matter.

With Perfect-N Type schedules, you will not get empty slots (Byes) in the schedule, unless you select one of the upgrade options to add a Bye to achieve a better quality schedule.

Normal, Modified and Phase Shifted Lane Rotation schedules are the same way. Though, with Clustered Lane Rotation schedules, you will end up with one or more Byes added to make the number of racers divisible by the number of lanes. If possible, these Byes will be spread out, so you don't have more than one Bye per heat.

With Dynamic scheduling, you will end up with one or more Byes added to make the number of racers divisible by the number of lanes. If possible, these Byes will be spread out, so you don't have more than one Bye per heat.

I you are using some other scheduling method, then it is up to that scheduling method on how it deals with that situation.

These are some of the ways you can accommodate a latecomer:

  1. Pass all of the racers through inspection in the Registration tab, then each racer will have a spot reserved for them. If they miss a heat, then you will have to decide if you want to run them separately and then manually enter their time into the heat they missed (only works for times scoring).
  2. Adding a Bye racer or two. You have the same issue as above with them coming after a heat is already run.
  3. Run them as a separate group, but then you'd need to manually tabulate the standings to factor them in (only works for times scoring).
  4. Use the Manual Scheduling feature (Pro Version) to add in heats for that racer (only works for times scoring, since the racer may only be competing against no one else).
  5. Restart the race, but of course, this is likely to be the most disruptive to the other racers.

If you have more than one race group, master scheduling (Pro Version) will simply alternate which race group is currently racing.  This keeps all race groups involved, as they don not have to wait until other race groups finish racing before they get their chance.  Racers still only race others within their race group.  Master Scheduling does take into account group size.  So, a smaller race group will run fewer heats than a larger group before the schedule alternates to a different race group.

The built-in "static" schedulers (Perfect-N and Lane Rotation) will ensure that every racer will run in every lane of the track and will do so an equal number of times. This is so no one can complain that the reason they did not win a trophy was because they drew the "slow" lane. Whether there is a slow lane in actuality or not, people always perceive there is (even with a brand new track).

Have you already done what you can to be more organized so you can crank out the heats quickly, instead of trying to decrease the number of runs for each racer?  See this FAQ for some tips on getting better organized.

However, you do have a few options to run racers in fewer lanes than you have on your track.

  1. Don't use some of your lanes. Just because you have a track with X number of lanes, doesn't mean that you have to use all of them. Personally, I think it is a waste of money to get anything more than a 4 lane track. Much more cost, harder to store, harder to setup, harder to transport, and leads to a slower race (more cars to pre-stage, load to the track, and retrieve). Besides, for the slower racers, it feels worse going up against so many more cars and being in the bottom half of a heat, than being in the bottom half of a heat on a 4 lane track.
  2. Run a Dynamic schedule. You basically build the schedule as all racers complete a run. Each run down the track for all racers is a "phase". At the end of each phase, the software will ask you if you wish to start a new phase. Stop after the desired number of phases. A Dynamic schedule is a slower way to run a race as opposed to a "static" schedule like Perfect-N and Lane Rotation, since you build the schedule one phase at a time.
  3. Build a custom set of schedules that you can then import into the software. Each schedule file will represent a certain number of racers. After your check-in is complete, import the schedule corresponding to the total number of checked-in racers.

In the end, we believe that Option 1 is the best choice of these, so you can avoid the "slow" lane argument as everyone will run down all lanes of the track an equal number of times.

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 you 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. Assign at least two people to your staging table, to get cars lined up for each heat.
  3. Assign at least one person to put the cars back in their assigned "parking spot" after their heat is completed.
  4. Once you have your schedule(s) created, print out a copy and give it to your crew at the staging table. 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.
  5. Make sure that your MC is not slowing down the pace by inserting too much commentary.
  6. 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 to 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. If you do have some smaller race groups, you may want to consider using the software's Master Scheduling feature, which alternates through heats from your different race groups.

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.