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View Poll Results: Do you feel that such a grid would be a positive addition to your event?
Yes. The point of qualifying is to get the better position on the grid. 84 80.77%
No. Not digging the challenge. 20 19.23%
Voters: 104. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-26-2009, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default Larger Grid Seperation a Good Thing?

At a recent race we tried something new with our starting grid. Rather than the usual 8-10 feet between the cars on the starting grid for the mains, we skipped a space between each car giving a nice twenty foot separation between each car. This provided some superb starts leading way to great races. In my opinion this also places a little more value on the qualifiers and the starting position you earn.

While some drivers were fans of this grid, others were not. Surprise surprise!

Knowing that many tracks simply are not large enough to allow such a grid, I realize that this just is not an option everywhere. However, if given the option to have a grid with separation larger than just 10-12-15 feet would you take it? Do you see added value in it? Please omit your position from the equation.
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:18 PM   #2
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Such a grid start can lead to "no event" races if the drivers/cars are very well matched (i.e. everybody finishes with the position they started).

On our track this would be very likely in stock and superstock classes, because such a distance between cars is almost the entire length of the main straight when you have 6 cars or more in the race.

If you have a bunch of beginners in the race that might help avoid the pile up in the first corner and also stretch the field on the track early on rather than after a few laps.

But there are other ways of avoiding this problem. I was considering starting in reverse order of qualifying just to give slower drivers a chance and allow faster drivers to hold back and avoid being crashed into (beginners always charge into corners - and especially into the first corner - so they usually rear end you when you slow down to go around corners) in the first corner. They can then pick their way through the carnage and the infield easier. Starting from the first or second position on the grid at our track puts you right in the firing line as you're nearly in the first corner whereas at the back of the grid you still have some 10m or so of straight line ahead, so it's easy for inexpereinced drivers will floor it and forget they have to go around the corner, ending up in the car in front of them or the barriers. Starting at the back on the other hand, I have quite often found myself leading the race after the second corner!
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:20 PM   #3
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Well, even though we may have differing opinions in other areas, I have to agree with you on that one Quinton. I have always asked for more space between starting positions. People don't realize that those eight feet between positions turns into eight inches when the cars reach the first turn. It's the accordion effect. We slow or brake for the turn and bunch up, then we stretch back out coming out of the turn. Sure we all have dreams of driving with teh precision of Paul or Ralph or Hara... but the reality is that the vast majority of us don't and probably never will.

I'm sure you've heard me repeat my sarcastic "joke" about what's the point of having qualifying or even having start positions. Around here qualifying is just to see who makes the A or B etc, after that it's just a free-for-all. How many times have we raced together and I start 2nd or even occasionally first only to be in last before the first lap is over? Unfortunately for me, that's just how it is. My tendencies are to be conservative the first lap and usually everyone else's tendencies are to blow through every turn the first lap...lol
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:26 PM   #4
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mrrc, I agree with you. The point of qualifying well is to give yourself an advantage in the race. What's the point of qualifying better than the next guy when he can just dive bomb the first corner and take you out?

You guys usually have 8-10ft between cars? I'm pretty sure the races I run at, it's more like 6ft. This idea that everyone has to be on the back straight is ridiculous and arbitrary. Giving some meaning to qualifying should take precedent over that arbitrary factor.

Expanding on the idea, personally I think that the process of 3-5 rounds of qualifiers and 1 round of mains is also a poor format. We spend 80% of the race day/weekend/week to come up with advantages that any driver can nullify and overcome just by executing a simple dive bomb. Drop qualifying down to 2 rounds in club and 3 rounds at big events, and use the leftover rounds to run multiple races that really mean something.

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Old 07-26-2009, 11:51 PM   #5
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Interesting feedback here.

Here is what we did today. I feel this is a great format for club racing.

After running ONE round of qualifying, we went to open practice for and hour and a half. We then rand one more qualifier and went straight into the mains.

This 1 1/2 hour of open track mid day was a huge hit with the racers. This gave those who wanted to do some serious testing or just wrenching plenty of time to do so. Also those who just wanted to relax in the pits were able to do so without having to worry about keeping a frantic pace. I know I took full advantage by putting in three runs on my car and I still had time to help four other drivers with their cars.

Everyone came into the second round or qualifying with much improved lap times.
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrrcguy View Post
Interesting feedback here.

Here is what we did today. I feel this is a great format for club racing.

After running ONE round of qualifying, we went to open practice for and hour and a half. We then rand one more qualifier and went straight into the mains.

This 1 1/2 hour of open track mid day was a huge hit with the racers. This gave those who wanted to do some serious testing or just wrenching plenty of time to do so. Also those who just wanted to relax in the pits were able to do so without having to worry about keeping a frantic pace. I know I took full advantage by putting in three runs on my car and I still had time to help four other drivers with their cars.

Everyone came into the second round or qualifying with much improved lap times.
I like that idea! Id love to do that
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:48 AM   #7
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You guys are going to LOVE waht we have just done in NZ. I'm being sarcastic for any who won't get it.
Now for finals we have SINGLE file, with 1.5m (that's about 5 feet) nose to nose, so about 4 feet rear to nose.
It was GREAT!
On the tone I was 2nd on the grid. my mate in front had a stutter due to a faulty sensor and I smacked him up the arse. That gave us both about 1/2 the race to claw back our places.
Next time I may just ask to have the cars placed on top of each other, as that seems to be the next progressive step....

Last edited by JR007; 07-27-2009 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:59 AM   #8
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I prefer wider/longer stagger on tracks that can accommodate it. I think it helps (sometimes) with preventing the first turn pileup. I often wonder how 8th place manages to make it up to the first turn to cause a huge crash. hehe. But I also agree that it places more prestige on qualifying position too. I think a good judge of separation is the length of the straight. Divide it up amongst the qualifying cars. Unless of course, the start/finish is on the straight.
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:07 AM   #9
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We grid through the infield with 5 to 10 feet of seperation trying to always keep the top three in the same turn for the start. Results in usually very good clean starts an 8th never takes first out. Qualifying definatly means something then
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:38 AM   #10
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Adding space between cars would make things a bit easier, but takes away from the challenge of getting a good start. Our starting grids have always been tight (~5 ft. between cars), usually shrinking to 3-4 ft. during indoor season. The key item I've focused on during a start is reaction time - if you're one of the first cars to move, the chances of being hit from behind decrease significantly. Taking this aspect out of racing would remove most of the challenge, and would hurt developing drivers by not allowing them to learn the importance of car control in tight quarters. Sure, we've all been "run over" from behind every so often, but that's part of the excitement (especially for non-participants that might want to buy a car and join the fun). With the cars spread so far apart, the first few laps are throwaways instead of being the most exciting part of most races. If you wanted to move the cars so far apart, you might as well go to single car qualifying, and use a series of races (mains) to decide your winner.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:06 AM   #11
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We space 9 ft apart at our track, its usually not a problem but qualifying first if kind of a disadvantage because you have to head onto the sweeper immediately where others get a bit of a straight to gain speed first. I think the spacing is fine but perhaps the start should be moved back to just halfway down the straight and if the cars at the end need to wrap around to more technical parts of the track then so be it. More encouragement to qualify better.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:15 AM   #12
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I've been racing for a long time and have always seen the grids bunched up. Very rarely has there been a great start. I have seen a few, but not many. I like the way Scotty runs the mains. If the start has problems before the first few corners, he restarts the race. I would personally like to see the first lap of the main a clean start. After the first car, be-it car number 1 or car number 10 hits the start/finish line after the first lap then "Let's Race" What I'm saying is if any of the cars get out of line during the first lap and nobody gets taken out, then the race is a GO. I've seen this happen at the Indoor Champs in Cleveland a couple of times in stock racing. Usually in mod it was always a great first lap, let alone a great main race. All of these mod drivers had respect for each other, unlike the stock racers!

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Old 07-27-2009, 08:23 AM   #13
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my local track is tiny, 10x15m so if we had very spaced out grids, one car would be loosing a lap

Seriously though, I think in general, there is usually too much aggression/adrenalin at the start of a race. Things happen.

And with stock, when everyone has the same amount of power, there can be a big fight into the apex of the first corner, then all you have is the voltage of your cells to try and reel them in if you are in a consistant lap race, such as (usually) the A or B main, or pray for a slow lap/tangle by the guys in front of you.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrrcguy View Post
At a recent race we tried something new with our starting grid. Rather than the usual 8-10 feet between the cars on the starting grid for the mains, we skipped a space between each car giving a nice twenty foot separation between each car. This provided some superb starts leading way to great races. In my opinion this also places a little more value on the qualifiers and the starting position you earn.

While some drivers were fans of this grid, others were not. Surprise surprise!

Knowing that many tracks simply are not large enough to allow such a grid, I realize that this just is not an option everywhere. However, if given the option to have a grid with separation larger than just 10-12-15 feet would you take it? Do you see added value in it? Please omit your position from the equation.
I prefer that the grid be spread evenly across the longest straight. So on some tracks they are close and some they are far apart.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1fastdude View Post
Usually in mod it was always a great first lap, let alone a great main race. All of these mod drivers had respect for each other, unlike the stock racers!
Yesterday at my local club race, it was the exact opposite. Our mod final start was SO bad, that the director actually stopped the race before the first lap was over to do a restart! Cars, parts, and radios flying all over the place!

On the flip-side, our novice race had a 100% clean start and i'm pretty sure there was 0 contact around the entire first lap!
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