I’m part of the group that has put on the Cheesehead Challenge the last 2 season. For those unaware, it’s a 2-weekend series at Road America and Badger Kart Club. We consider it a “Travel-light” series as we keep the fees down compared to regional races, and we allow used tires. With all of the regional and club events available in our area, we are looking at ways to generate more interest in the events.
One topic has been race format. The last 2 seasons we have done the traditional Practice/Qualify/Prefinal/Final. The fast drivers love it, I’m sure, but we’re looking for ideas to encourage other, maybe not as fast drivers, to run the series.
At our club (Badger), we rotate between Qualifying, and heat races. I love heat racing, because my son is a mid-pack driver and this gives him a chance to win a race. I also like seeing the forced passing. I know others are not as fond of it.
So, as I ramble on, I am looking for ideas on race formats that would encourage more drivers to run our events. We averaged about 80 entries per day for those events. We want to get over 100, and closer to 125-150. (Don’t we all)
I think pea pick or random heat race inversions is fun for local/semi-local racing.
Gonna argue with you on this one. While I agree there could be some more variation in formats, the heat racing format is my least favorite. It just causes more damage and chaos especially in club racing.
To be honest I don’t run cheesehead just because the class sizes aren’t that great, not for any other reason. Route 66 doesn’t require new tires for 206 anyways so I’d rather just pay the slightly higher entry fee and run that. I’m my opinion the route 66 format is the best since you get points for the pre final unlike many series.
I kind of wish for rental karting that they did two heats… one where you go with quali order and then one where you reverse the order.
Logic being that fleets and weight vary a lot in rentals. Quali: normal. 1st heat normal. 2nd heat, inverted grid. (Fast karts gotta come from behind, making it more interesting).
Your reason for disliking heat races is the common theme. However, in our 7 years of racing at Badger, outside of turn 1, I don’t see much difference in the “Kart damage” in heat races and prefinals. The exception is likely the cadet/sportsman classes. I still see the value in learning to pass, and giving average drivers a chance to be at the pointy end of the field.
As for used tires at Rte66, I believe that was not the rule for the whole season. Also, they will be under new ownership, and rules are TBD I would assume.
Finally, the argument of “I’m not racing that series because entries are low”, doesn’t help grow entries. If less people took that approach, and instead took the approach of, “hey, I’m going to give that series a try, and I’m going to convince all of my racing friends to do the same,” then you would probably have more entries to race against.
In addition to that, I know you’re a pretty fast driver. What is the difference between a field of 5, and a field of 25 is you’re consistently a top 5 driver?
For someone who started karting many years ago the pea pick/inversion was standard at my club, a few years later we switched to the Q/P/F format and the racing suffered tremendously. Our club did a one of race this year with the pea/inversion format and it honestly provided probably the best racing all year for us.
I personally love the pea pick/inversion format. In club racing its never fun to follow the leader, and not always fun to just qualify up front and be the leader. Don’t get me wrong we all want to win, but I love passing too. I’d rather start 15th and drive my way to 3rd or 4th versus Q1, P1 all day. Does it run the risk of damaging stuff? Yeah it does, but again its the local level. People make mistakes and you HOPE they learn from it.
At the local level this is where kids and even adults develop race craft, and qualifying up front means you can lay down a fast lap. Cool…Can you race? Can you manage to drive from the back to the front cleanly? I’ve seen over a lot of years kids/adults who are super fast but when they get to racing other people they lose it, get spooked and they are completely different drivers. They went from the fastest thing, to looking like a noob.
At the end of the day developing racecraft is the key and more importantly having fun!
We allow our members to vote on race format every year. As long as I’ve been there it’s voted by the members to have 50% of the race day Pea Pick/Heat Race, and 50% of the races as Q/PF/F.
The Route 66 rule has been in place for this whole season but yes. I agree about the entries thing, but I think in general the more entries, the more fun racing and battles you can have. If there’s 25 the lead fight might be 5 karts instead of 1 if there’s only 5 entries. I must say I like the points system for cheesehead a lot but 20 lap finals seems a bit excessive. From my experience it seems like the first lap is a lot more chaotic in the heat races just because everyone is out of position and scrambling to make places.
I somewhat agree that there could be room for a new format however I don’t think random grids are the solution. A top 5/10 reverse could work better.
I loved what you guys call “pea pick” in the US. Or another way of doing it is having two heats + final.
Heat 1, order of entry received.
Heat 2, reversed starting grid of heat 1.
Assign points for finishing positions
Final: Gridded by points.
It’s simple to implement, easy to manage and super fun. I remember $hitting myself on pole ahead of about 37 karts as it was my first race off novice plates. My kart and driving ability did not earn the right to be there on pace. Kept the lead for 3 laps and finally went off track. Got back on and finished but I think that was the hardest three laps I’ve ever driven.
The qually setup was nearly always driven buy the guys that were racing on the intl scene and wanted club\national level to adopt it so they could get familiar with it. But IMO local\regional in the US should serve what accommodates the general karting populus, not the five vocal drivers (or their parents)that get upset when things are not contorted to serve their grandiose version of racing.
I think a cool variation of the setup above would be another heat that is a pea pick in addition to the grid order determined by the order race entries are received.
I appreciate your feedback. Feedback, both positive and negative, helps us create a better event!
This is very similar to how Badger does it. The difference is we do a random draw for heat 1, and reverse of that for heat 2.
The fast drivers usually find their way to the front, and the final starting lineup isn’t too much different than if it were qualifying, but many drivers get that same thrill of being on point for a few laps.
That is how the heat races work here too.
I know people that didn’t like pea-pick because they felt like there were more crashes, but in my opinion it was never any worse than regular qualifying. People just feel like they have something to point at when there’s a crash in heat races versus qualifying where drivers feel like they “earned” their position.
I also think this teaches drivers racecraft that they wouldn’t experience of it was only qualifying all the time, something very beneficial to the drivers overall.
Regarding final length, 20 laps isn’t really excessive. It’s a pretty standard length for major races, and adds another dynamic to the race. Instead of just outright pace for 10 laps, you have to manage a kart and set it up to go a longer distance. Managing tires and having the consistency to go 20 laps is a skill that drivers should have.
Perhaps consider a heat race Saturday and qualifying Sunday type deal, with a longer final on Saturday since you have more time and you can allow drivers to recover if they do end up in the wrecks that are supposedly more common in heat races, say 20 laps Saturday and 15 Sunday?
With some other parts of the discussion, I would be onboard with no new tires needed for 206. It stays in line with 206 being a budget focused category and reduces overall cost if a driver chooses so.
This, I really believe the crashing at the national level is in some part caused by the reduction in heat racing at a club and regional level. I can remember when we first started racing in Europe and watching the Euro’s unable to overtake or crashing trying to because they had no racing experience, and that was directly due to their lack of experience racing because they’d been doing a Q,P,F format since they were kids.
I had the same experience of coming directly out of novice to being on pole in front for 33 karts. Its a life lesson and one that every kid should have lol. I can remember kids being so happy they’d won a heat race, that just doesn’t happen now with the Q,P,F format.
I can see both sides of this and have raced in both formats. (heats with an inversion, overall points in heat set main, and Q/PF/F) They both have pros and cons, many mentioned above. To me the Q/PF/F format puts too much emphasis on qualifying. At our track in KA passing is difficult and if a midpack runner can set a fast 1 lap it will be tough to get by them. At my track the difference between midpack and front runner is less than 1/2 second.
With the heats format, it rewards consistency since both races matter. I will say the track I have run that uses the heat format is also very quick to penalize overly aggressive driving. That may be something to consider too,.
You could always do moto scoring and just do a single warm up and 2 15-20 lap motos each day. Invert a determined number in moto 1 based on practice. Moto 2 is finishing order.
If your looking for different…
This should make for some good convo
We have been doing heat(8 laps) for a while and we are finally switch to QPF next year. Since Bridgestone quite making karting tires, we switch to MG tire. This year is the first year we race MG for full season. As far as we can see MG red will heat cycle way too quick than the tread. 2 weekends (4 day of racing) is about maximum what we can push, otherwise you will be struggle for grip. We used to be able to run the YLC to the core and still have plenty of grip left. Top guys went through ~ 6 set of tire this season which is quite a lot for club racing. I understand that you cannot stop people spending money.
I am looking forward to QPF format next year. I think at least we can finish the tread on the tire rather than toss it into trash with good amount tread. Also podium can be more exciting since it only take one final race.
Please enlighten me on Moto Scoring. I haven’t heard of it before. Is it easily googled?
It’s what Motocross uses, hence, moto scoring. A good place to start is Greg Jasperson, Steve Vermeer or @NSEWnoah. They can give you the +- of using it.
It’s actually the scoring system Cup used back in year 1 and 2 and I believe is what Eau Claire(MKA) ran and why it originally carried to Cup.
It’s fun to use. Is different and definitely changes up the racing.
Edit: went back on speedhive and it was 3 heats a day and a daily overall.