(Stevie Dirt note: I received a copy of the following email that went out to Quincy Raceways modified drivers Monday night. One of the drivers sent me a copy. I contacted track manager Ken Dobson and he verified he had sent it, but added he does not yet have email addresses for all modified drivers, so not all would have received the following correspondence. It appears there will be some change(s) in the qualifying format for modifieds. What do you think?)
It’s probably no secret that I’m not a big fan of our current format at Quincy. I tend to like passing points as a promoter, but from my time as a car owner I was always more willing to send my cars to qualifying shows when I could.
We use passing points at Jacksonville for mods and it works OK, but there’s always one heat or the other that has a big crash and guys in that heat get a big benefit when they really didn’t pass any cars under racing conditions. So both formats have their faults.
The fans want to see people pass cars and “earn” a feature win. But on the racing side, I feel like at the end of the night a good show should end up with the best car/driver in the winner’s circle. If we make the hurdle too high for the best car, then we really are running a crapshoot race that’s determined as much by luck of the draw as by racing on the track. I’ve never been a fan of trying to make sure that everyone leaves with a trophy. You have to earn those trophies through performance.
I haven’t made any decisions, but I’ve been talking for a few weeks with our staff kicking around different qualifying formats. There are three ways it’s usually done, and a big problem with each:
* 1. Fast cars at front of heat, heat finish determines feature lineup — sometimes with a feature invert. This is pretty common for UMP shows. The problem is that the fast guy can win without ever passing a car unless you do an invert. If we did draw for an invert, I would like it better and it would be my second choice.
* 2. Invert some cars in the heat race and line up feature by finish position. This leads to guys tanking in their qualifying to try to get close to the front in the heat race.
* 3. Qualify, invert in the heat race, but get your time back. With this format the heat races are almost meaningless unless you have enough cars for a B-main. Qualifying pretty much determines your feature lineup.
Here’s what I’m kicking around and would like your input on before I make any decisions. Nothing is final. If we change the format and see it in action and decide we all hate it, I’m not afraid to try something different. We will know the best format when we see it. As long as you guys are game for trying some new things, I’m game for trying to make it better.
2. Invert the six fastest cars in each heat, sixth fastest on pole. Quick time starts sixth. Rest of cars at the tail.
3. Winner of each heat (assuming two heats for now) start on the front row of the feature.
4. The cars that finish 2-4 in each heat get their times back.
5. Positions 9-20 lined up by heat finish (these are the cars that finished worse than fourth in their heat)
If you were the fast qualifier, you need to pass two cars in a heat race to be guaranteed at least a third-place starting spot in the feature. You are being rewarded for being fast, but we are making you prove it wasn’t a fluke by making you finish fourth or better in your heat. If you are really fast, you can still start on the front row by winning your heat. The only time this could be a problem is on a hammer down, follow the leader track. But even then the fast car should be able to pass two cars. If you can’t get two cars passed, you will probably start around 10th in the feature, but that’s kind of your fault for not getting the job done in your heat.
I want you up on the wheel in your heat race if you were one of the faster cars. If you were a mid-pack qualifier — fifth or sixth in your heat — you are going to start on the front row of your heat. If you can win the heat and hold off all of the faster cars behind you, you earned your front-row starting spot in the feature in my eyes. If you don’t get the job done and finish second on back, you are going to go back to being lined up by your qualifying time — as long as you at least held on to finish fourth.
I’m sure there are some problems we haven’t thought of and that’s why I’m asking for your input. Without having seen it in action, I feel like this is going to motivate people to pass cars, will give a guy who had a bad qualifying run an outside shot of still starting on the pole of the feature, but still giving a slight advantage to the car that did well in qualifying. Again, if you are quick time, just pass two cars and you will start no worse than third.