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spin_out
spin_out HalfDork
10/19/16 12:06 p.m.

SXreX makes a good point about the years without the drags. I believe the year that Vorshlag won, both they and PACC put down drag runs where the Nelsons were clearly the winner, but the drag portion was canceled due to rain. Those drag results were not used. Trying to level out that year would give the Vorslhag car a higher rating than the PACC car. :-( I don't envy you Ed.

I keep forgetting how fast that Jeep was, mainly because it's so hard to conceive. (I was a bit relieved when it stopped showing up to embarrass us all. :)

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
10/19/16 12:11 p.m.

Ed,

I don't want to pull you off your task but I would take a different approach.

I would build the Challenge Hall of Fame website and add it to The Challenge Event site.

Every year you guys wrote the best words and took the best pictures for the time. That work is done, just re-show us that work. The Hall of Fame portion of the website would have the complete article from each year.

I would then write 16 different new articles highlighting "Great Moments in Challenge History" The new article would highlight some of the nuances of that year.
Examples of nuances would be:
No Drag that year
Early Concourse rules
Largest amount of competitors ever
Wet Autox
Free Kuhmos
Free any tires
etc

In these nuances you could also make comments about car/teams that changed the game and other general retrospective insight. Additionally, you could get an interview like what XJR gave here with some back-story to their build.

I would write the new article but use that new article to drive traffic to The Event Website and The Hall of Fame.
Don't just tell me that there was a really good car in 2003. Take me back to 2003 and let me understand what the field of competition was back in that year.

You now have 16 new articles which would provide you with 2 years of content.

conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds HalfDork
10/19/16 12:23 p.m.

The awd Deathscort floored me not just for the concept, which was insane, but by virtue of it's having been driven to the Challenge on public roads.

wheels777
wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 12:35 p.m.

In reply to SVreX: 2011 was worse. 2nd in the A-x, 105 mph in the 1/8 and fought to keep it off the wall spinning to a 10.582, being told we did it, then being told we did not because someone complained....that was a long long ride home.

patgizz
patgizz UltimaDork
10/19/16 12:48 p.m.

Ed, ruffle away.

wheels777
wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 12:49 p.m.
Ed Higginbotham wrote: In reply to Wheels777: Bottom line: Since the article isn't finished and things get refined/changed I don't want to publish the exact scoring method just yet. Here's what I will say: I've tested a couple different methods. One of them uses the existing dynamic scoring method that is currently used at the challenge and just converts past scores to that system. The other method is a much more complicated (but maybe more complete for cross-year scoring) system that weighs all three portions equally with Dscores for each discipline weighted by how much better than average they were for their year and as a whole in that particular discipline. The drawback to this method is that it obviously gives slightly different results than what we actually give at the Challenge (because it's a different scoring system) and I don't want to ruffle any feathers or confuse anyone with different results.

What I did was take the best A-x time for each year and made an average. Then used that number to be the normalization number, and multiplied the A-x finish relative to the best time/normalizer factor for each car per that related year and then plugged them all into the dynamic scoring. It kept the drag and A-x relationship more balanced between years. I lacked data for 2 years of competition so I did not keep it. But it was informative.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/19/16 12:54 p.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham:

Hi Ed:

I think John is on to something with his suggestion.

If you actually figure out a way to compare every year, you may have to rank some cars higher than they actually placed (the aforementioned issues faced by PACC are a good example).

It's gonna be pretty hard to explain why Car A won first place a particular year, but Car B placed higher overall when fully weighted.

I like John's approach- it may not be necessary at all to compare overall. The discrepancies we face (like rain-outs, etc) are part of the challenge of the Challenge in a particular year. It's just part of racing. The conclusions and explanations reached each year had their own merit, but probably won't make any sense at all if measured against other years.

For example- Mike Guido's accomplishments were very significant in the early days of the Challenge, because he understood the game and used it well in it's early years. But he doesn't build competitive cars now, and the game has changed. Drag racing was basically meaningless until 2004. Etc. etc...

Another example... my car (The Mumpkin) made 5 different appearances, each year as a completely different car. The overall contribution to the Challenge of this car had to do with it's 5 appearances, not what it did any 1 year. And it performed significantly different each time, under different rules.

wheels777
wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 1:08 p.m.

In reply to SVreX:

I did not include rain out years when developing my plan. The goal was/is to win, not dodge a major component.

How can any car be "the greatest" if it did not do each phase competitively? IMO, it's not in the running.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
10/19/16 1:20 p.m.
wheels777 wrote: What I did was take the best A-x time for each year and made an average. Then used that number to be the normalization number, and multiplied the A-x finish relative to the best time/normalizer factor for each car per that related year and then plugged them all into the dynamic scoring. It kept the drag and A-x relationship more balanced between years. I lacked data for 2 years of competition so I did not keep it. But it was informative.

Yes, that is very close to option number one.

Interesting you guys are interested in a more subjective approach rather than crunching tons of numbers. Honestly I did not expect that at all.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/19/16 1:25 p.m.

I remember my first challenge in 2002, where it rained all weekend. Someone messed up the scoring at the event, as I had one of the better autocross runs, but didn't finish in the top 10 at the banquet.

It wasn't until I got home that it was corrected and I finished 10th. No drag race that year. And the lack of a drag race- people speculated that the BMW wasn't going to go fast doing that....

And IIRC, my 2004 results would have put me 8th (instead of 10th) with the scoring system used a year later.

wheels777
wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 1:26 p.m.
Ed Higginbotham wrote:
wheels777 wrote: What I did was take the best A-x time for each year and made an average. Then used that number to be the normalization number, and multiplied the A-x finish relative to the best time/normalizer factor for each car per that related year and then plugged them all into the dynamic scoring. It kept the drag and A-x relationship more balanced between years. I lacked data for 2 years of competition so I did not keep it. But it was informative.

Yes, that is very close to option number one.

Interesting you guys are interested in a more subjective approach rather than crunching tons of numbers. Honestly I did not expect that at all.

Choosing the subjective route would be very difficult. Some cars that drew folks to them, repelled others. Subjectivity and the concour is not predictable.

Its easier to focus on what is in our control; ie. dynamic. 9 of 12 winners were the dynamic winner, and 12 of 12 winners were in the top 3 in dynamic. Surprise!!

In the end (and I can only speak for our Team), we realized there were 3 differing approaches with 1 common thread. We are anxious to see your results. We have no intention of sitting still. Your analysis will be scrutinized for a better mousetrap building ideas.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
10/19/16 1:29 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver:

It looks like we've kind of come full circle. Not a whole lot we can do about the years it rained and cancelled drags, but I want to see all these awesome cars scored on a level playing field. Thought you guys might be into seeing the same thing.

wheels777
wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 1:57 p.m.
Ed Higginbotham wrote: In reply to alfadriver: It looks like we've kind of come full circle. Not a whole lot we can do about the years it rained and cancelled drags, but I want to see all these awesome cars scored on a level playing field. Thought you guys might be into seeing the same thing.

You would have to have 2 lists. One full competition and one without drags. If you try to interject a balance between the 2, you would potentially inflate cars that could not get to the top. Example - the Sucker Vette would have been outside the top 5 in 2007 if we had run the drag racing portion of the event.

tb
tb HalfDork
10/19/16 2:01 p.m.

[long rant deleted]

Ed, Please stop now; this probably will not end well.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
10/19/16 2:16 p.m.

In reply to wheels777:

Good point. In 2002, drag runs were optional on Sunday, after the event ended. That meant many teams set down times that can be referenced. However, 2007 doesn't help us at all. We can at least compare them to other autocross and concours scores.

wheels777
wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 2:23 p.m.

In reply to Ed Higginbotham: Exactly.

Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
10/19/16 2:31 p.m.

Thanks for the input, everyone. I'm going to forge ahead with the project and see what we end up with. Hopefully something interesting and engaging!

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
10/19/16 3:07 p.m.

It will be interesting either way and I look forward to.

Please understand I was not trying to change just suggest.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman HalfDork
10/19/16 3:13 p.m.

I also look forward to seeing it, and would like to hear lots of details about the old events as I was 12 when the event started. I didn't even know about the event until 2011 when one of my family members got me a subscription to the magazine for Christmas. Saw the article and said that looks like fun, I could do that. I've been to every event since 2011.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/19/16 4:52 p.m.

Reading this discussion, my question is - are the "greatest" Challenge cars the ones that were the most competitive based on 2016 rules (which some were not built for), the ones that were the most competitive in their own years...or the ones that rocked everyone back on their heels and moved the game on? The first two involve lots of numeric masturbation, which is what people like Andy are doing as part of their plan to dominate 2017 - which should probably worry his competition.

For me, it's the latter. So what if the sucker Vette didn't run the drags because they were rained out? It was a sucker car using a tank fan! An epic vehicle. Sorry, I don't have the deep knowledge of the event that others do to provide a whole range of examples. I'd rather read "Highlights of Challenge Builds" than "Cars That Should Have Won The Challenge But Were Totally Robbed, Dude". Also, I think stretching this into a two-year series would force new Challenge articles out of the book, or else we could just rename the magazine to Grassroots Challenge Report Sort-Of-Monthly.

wheels777
wheels777 SuperDork
10/19/16 5:47 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner;

If you are referring to my comment(s) above, I don't know of any claims that a win was rubbed. In 2011, I told the GRM staffers that I endorsed their decision and that I don't have to like it. That did not change the fact that the trip home was long after the change in decisions. In 2007, the concept of the Sucker Vette was moderately received - some loved it, some hated it. The dislike was focused on the safety infractions - thing only seen in person. I had no dog in the fight....it rained so the drags were eliminated and I was 9th in the Auto-X.

As far as cars being judged relative to the rules of their event, I agree. I told Denny at breakfast 2 weeks ago that I thought the Miata was and is the greatest Challenge car. He disagreed and shared his thought on which one he would pick...I was surprised.

If you weren't referring to my comments, please accept my apology and disregard this post.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
10/19/16 6:18 p.m.
Ed Higginbotham wrote: In reply to alfadriver: It looks like we've kind of come full circle. Not a whole lot we can do about the years it rained and cancelled drags, but I want to see all these awesome cars scored on a level playing field. Thought you guys might be into seeing the same thing.

I'm not feeling bad about it- heck, based on some testing we did in the parking lot- we were going to have an ignition problem at the drags, lol!!!

You know one thing that would be interesting- cars that kept coming back and got better. I was just thinking of our car, but Andrew's cars are some classics where weak points were fixed. Which is really cool.

BTW, to all- before we get into a big debate about what the "best" car is, lets not forget that the whole point of the event is editorial. Which is done to sell magazines, of course, but more importantly- it makes people think, it encourages them to get out and play with cars, it forces them to be creative. It's a great event for that.

People can choose what they want to be really good at, and a few have been really good at all 3 things.

But we can't forget the cars that turned into more fun daily drivers, or a real autocross or track toy, or even the handful of cars that ended up going racing.

The greatness of the event is to stir people to do things. Which is awesome.

Everyone can have their top 10 list. And they are all right.

Pat
Pat HalfDork
10/19/16 10:34 p.m.

Lots of great builds, but my favorites (as a competitor since 2008) are the XJ-R, the black Nelson Bug, the Condor E-30 and the ScAries. I will always have a (very biased) soft spot for the ScAries. My favorite challenge pic I have is the Donahue themed Jeep with the Donahue themed ScAries.

G_Body_Man
G_Body_Man SuperDork
10/19/16 10:39 p.m.

Didn't you guys have a crazy Neon with a 440 or something like that show up several years back? That thing was nuts.

Ovid_and_Flem
Ovid_and_Flem Reader
10/20/16 7:25 a.m.

Given the rules changes and technology changes over the years it's sort of like trying to pick the greatest baseball player of all time. Why don't you do something like establish a challenge Hall of Fame. With cars being nominated say three years after they they retired from participating. Might be fun. Each year the staff nominates 10 cars and challenge participants and/or subscribers to the magazine vote on which cars are admitted to the Hall of Fame. It just seems impractical to me to try to choose the best. Of all time Is that best-before LS Motors became readily available or after cheap Nitrous system became available? Like in baseball was that before the steroid era or after? LOL

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