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Creating the race schedules.

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.

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.