When my sons were running their Pinewood races I quickly realized how unfair a “Bracket” system was. If they didn’t place their car on the track quite straight, or the lane they were running in had a bump along a seam, they could be eliminated just because they had ONE bad run. This system prevents that, because it doesn’t use “Brackets” and doesn’t “Eliminate” any racer.
The program is setup so that every racer runs at least once on every lane. Thus, every racer runs on the “fast lane’ and every racer runs on the “slow lane.” It does this by using a system that keeps track of which lane they ran in last time, and it ‘rotates’ the racer into a new lane the next time they run.
When you enter your “race setup” into the computer you tell it how many “Heats” you want to run. Normally, this will be multiple of the number of lanes on your track. If your track has 3 lanes, then you will want to make the number of heats 3, or 6, or 9. If you make it 3, then every racer will run once on each lane with a different lane assigned for each Heat. If you select 6 Heats, then each racer will get to run twice on every lane. And if you select 9 Heats, each racer will get to run 3 times on each lane. Of course, if you have a 4 lane track, then you will want to select 4, or 8, or 12 Heats ... which, again lets each racer run 1, 2 , or 3 times on every lane.
But the program allows you to enter any number of Heats that desire. So you are not ‘locked in’ to this arrangement (but if you don’t follow that method be prepared to catch some heat from the parents ... because it won’t be fair)
Besides eliminating arguments over who ran, how many times, in which lane, the fact that the results are calculated, by a machine, and are accurate down to 1/1000th of a second, that means that if the math says that two racers are “tied”, then THEY ARE TIED! No argument!
For those that don’t have or use a timer, you may be asking “But we only have places!” No problem. Because you can enter their places as well, with 1 being first place, 2 is second place, 3 is third place, and 4 is fourth place. The computer will show those on the screen as “1.000”, and “2.000”, etcetera, but internally the computer still does the math to average those finish places together and sort out the winner. This means that if a racer scores 1st, then 2nd, then 2nd again, and finally 3rd, in each of their respective races, their “average” finishing place will be 2nd, because the 3rd place finish pulls the 1st place finish down so that the average equals 2. (try it on a calculator .... 1+2+2+3 = 8, and they ran 4 times, so you divide by 4 and the “average” is 2) That is exactly what the computer is doing internally. And since the parent(s) can do the math on their own calculator .... they will get the same results! Again, no argument!
Keep in mind that you MUST run the racers on their assigned lane every time, otherwise the old “But the other racer got to run twice on the ‘fast’ lane’ argument will come up. That’s why you assign an adult as “The Gatekeeper” so that you can be assured that the correct car gets placed on the correct lane, every time. (this is 23 years of experience of me officiating Pinewood Derby races speaking here)
Have you ever been to a race where several times one race official says to another one “I thought he was supposed to be on lane three .... No, that one was on lane three last time. He supposed to be on lane two this time.”
Pinewood Master generates the racing order for you, and you can print out the racing order (grid) and hand out copies to all of your race officials so that everyone knows which racer is on which lane, plus they know which racers should be at the starting line, and which ones are running next.
With this system it is possible to run a group of 30 cars, with each car running down the track 4 times, in about 45 minutes.