Last week I touched on television reruns and ran a “rerun” Blog from two years ago, but this week I’d like to go over reruns that are a little closer to our mindset; that being reruns on the track.
First of all, as the saying goes, S##T HAPPENS. I believe that fortunately with the timing equipment used today, the incidents of reruns happening today is increasingly rare, but it does happen from time to time. When it does, whether you think you’re in the right or not, the best you can do is suck it up and follow an official’s decision. I know that’s hard to understand because I’ve been in those positions.
I was in the semifinals of a race recently where as both myself and my opponent went in to stage; he staged first and as I went in to light my second bulb, his car immediately jumped and went down track. It was at that exact moment as I was lighting my second bulb, my trans brake didn’t hold and I too jumped through the beams. I think we were both baffled as to what happened. This being the semis, were we both out or what?
Back at our trailers, the track owner came down with his own questions, the first being “What happened?” I explained my take and my opponent his, with my question, “Does that mean we’re both out because we both had jumped?”
The track owner asked us both our opinions as to what should happen, but I wanted no part of that decision-making process. I felt he had the right to make whatever decision he felt was right and while I did want a rerun, I would be okay with whatever he chose to do. When you think about it, I just brought my “bat and ball” and I’m playing on his ballfield. After he conferred with his starter, the starter said he had yet triggered the tree and was just as stymied as to what happened as we were. The decision? Rerun. Fortunately for me, it gave me time to rectify my problem, I won the rerun and finally won in the final.
Now over the years, I have had some interesting reruns. One I clearly remember was a Wednesday night gambler’s race in Englishtown. I was racing Tom Dauber in our door cars (yes this was a long time ago) and for whatever reason, something happened and we both stormed the tower looking for a rerun. Time was fleeting and I don’t thing the track manager wanted to give in to us and finally made the executive decision that rather than a rerun, he’d consider us both winners and advanced us both to the next round. Weird, and it may have thrown the car count out of whack, but again, it was his decision. I don’t remember the end result of that race though.
My son was racing in a bracket race with him giving up the handicap to his opponent. As soon as he left the line, a one-second elapsed time showed on the scoreboard and when his opponent crossed the finish line his win light was on. What the #### was that? As it turned out, a bug or something had crawled up on the finish line photo cell causing the one-second elapsed time. That was an easy decision and a rerun ensued.
In the days before infrared photo cells, actually bulbs were used across the track as beams. At some tracks, and with highly polished front wheels, it would cause a phenomenon known as “shine back.” The Sun would reflect on the wheel and set off the timers, forcing obvious reruns. The end result was a slew of black or shoe polished front wheels to cut down on the glare.
As I stated though, reruns today happen a lot less than before even though I’m still always amazed that we can measure runs down to tens-thousandths of a second with any kind of accuracy.
So, these my rerun stories, although I’ve had some other interesting ones. What are some of yours?
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I was racing at Texas Motorplex in bracket race and got down to 5 cars. When I went to stage my bottom bulb flickered before I even pulled in then I staged and went in and Won the round giving me a Bye run into Final. My opponent thought I was somehow cheating and asked for a rerun. The Competition director checked everything out and was all good. We did end up running again and I lost. That night it happened a few more times. We later found out there was an Ant nest under the light and it was just getting up high enough to partially block the beam in that lane. I think I got a free entry to next race but still was not happy. It was one of those things we have no control over but it cost me.
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There was no real reason to re-run it, it was self evident who's foul start was worse.
Just because both cars left before the tree was activated, and the time slips couldn't tell you, it was still self evident the other guy left on nothing, before you did.
That's not a situation where a re-run should be considered.
I've had a few reruns over the years. The most memorable one was at Atco raceway against Severn Johnson 4th rd. He was in his dragster and I was in my doorcar. We both stage and my second yellow comes on, I completely missed the top bulb and never saw it come on. I leave with the green blaring and lift at the 1000ft. I was shaking my head and completely distraught over how I missed the top bulb completely. Was I that out to lunch, I couldn't be right? As I made the long drive up the return road, I noticed no cars coming down track. As I approached the starting line, the starter was standing on a ladder replacing the top bulb. I didn't miss the tree, the bulb burned out dammit.
The owner met us back in the pits and put us both into the 5th round with the stipulation we would be the first pair out, same lanes, same dial ins. It actually added a round to the race.
Another one was a few weeks later, again against Severn but this time at MDIR. We both stage and 3 seconds into the run and ET pops up on the board. A mouse or something blew thru the beams on my side making me run out by 7 seconds lol. The owner put us both back in the next round to rerun.
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Probably more but when Alan Carpenter was running Roxboro I had to re run after they said I did not courtesy stage when going deep. You know how that usually works. So we come back up, I let him light the top bulb then I go straight in deep without stopping. Guess who won that one.
Had a re run against Bart Templer (AKA Little Bart} at Capitol. I had won but don't remember the circumstances causing the re run. Anyway I changed my dial in and although Bart didn't care a huge drama happened among those not involved. I also won the re run..
Only ones I remember in all these years.
I was involved in a race recently where, when down to 16 cars, there was a goofy timeslip for one pair of cars. Race director put both cars back in the race, despite it being pretty obvious to all which car clearly won the pair with the jacked-up timeslip. This resulted in 9 cars for the next round instead of 8, which added a round to the race, which gave more total season points to the winner, runner-up, and semi, reduced the purse (one semi-final loser instead of two), added a bye run to each round, etc.
I don't fault the race director - there's no way to make everyone happy.
On the goofy timeslip, the win light came on in the left lane despite all numbers at all incrementals showing the right line to be the winner, no breakout nor red light in either lane, the right lane getting clearly to the stripe first, left lane driver acknowledging that he was late on the tree and lost, etc. Just unexplainably weird.
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