Stockcar Teams Racing Explained

If you haven't been to this event before, this is a sporting event that has everything any other big time sporting event has to offer. Its got drama, its got excitement, its got a few refs calls that suit some teams.. And exasperate some others, but above all its got some of the bravest competitors in any sport anywhere in the world. 

There are only ever two teams on track per race and each team has six cars, but only five will start the race, although all six cars will come out on to the track prepared to go.

They start with a 4 lap warm up, to check setups and if any car issues are lingering (teams first race of night only) and then they line up on the infield for a coin toss for poll position. The drivers will then jostle around for what usually seems like an extraordinary long time, trying to trick the other team into thinking they know which team car is sitting out and which car is on the front row. Eventually they manage to get themselves lined up two by two and the race begins.

In qualifying on the first night, the first five cars that crosses the finish line will collect points, with 100 points being awarded to the car that crosses first, down to 10 points for 5th place. The total number of points a team gets over their qualifying races is added up and the top 4 teams with the most points over the night progresses to the championship round on the second night.

On the second night, its sudden death - the team that manages to get a car across the finishing line first, gets the win. No other points are awarded. The losing team will go in to the race for third place while the winning team progresses to the final championship round.

As you can imagine the type of racing you will see on the two nights will be a bit different!

Contrary to what the casual observer may initially see, there is a lot more going on than just crashing and bashing on the track. Every team has a strategy in place and has selected the best teams racers from their track - these guys are smart, cool and collected, so if the strategy goes out the window, they guys still know how to adapt to the situation and achieve the best result possible for their team.

Strategy for each team differs depending on the situation, but typically there will be two cars nominated as “runners” and three nominated as “blockers” by their manager. The runners are the guys who are trying to get around the track as carefully as they can, without running into the other teams blockers. In order to achieve maximum points for their team, or the win, depending on what is needed. The blockers have the dual role of protecting their team mates and trying to stop the runners from the other team. Of course if one of your runners gets blocked, you need to reassess your strategy!

As the first night is all about points, you could see some funny things happen. The cars will cross the track at all costs so don’t be surprised to see cars cruising (hopping/crawling/wobbling) around the track with a few flat tyres, and maybe only tow or three wheels.

 There’s likely to be at least one guy who is pushed across the finish line in his destroyed car by a luckier team mate who still has a semi-functional car and the chances of someone crossing the finish line in reverse gear are also quite high!

 You might think this sounds dangerous and yes, you’d be right. It is! However, the safety requirements are very high and strictly enforced. All cars and safety gear, including helmets, belts, and overalls, are checked each day by Speedway New Zealand Officials.

The cars are checked every session to ensure they are safe and compliant with the rules, and every driver must pass a medical check after a teams race before they can race again.

The second nights racing will be a completely different story from the first night. As each team just needs one car to finish, and finish first, there’s no holding back to stop the opposing team.

Get ready to see some full on contact, hard hits, cars pinned to the wall by their opposition and some really spectacular rollovers!!

 As soon as each car returns to the pits, a swarm of crew will be all over it. First they’ll do the basics like cooling down the car, and then they’ll talk to the driver about what’s going on with the car. That only takes a few seconds, by which time the driver is out of the car and there’s a whole lot of guys yelling out random words that appear to be completely meaningless to an outsider, but that’s actually just stockcar talk, and within a few more seconds there will be tools, jacks, tyres, fluids (welders if the car is really damaged) and all sorts of other things flying all over the place in a desperate effort to repair the car and get it back on the track for the next teams race.

The various crews within the team will also manage to talk to each other while this is going on and, within minutes, the cars most worthy of being saved will be decided upon and the focus will switch to them. This might mean another car is sacrificed - that’s part of teams racing.

However, its awesome to see the adrenalin and camaraderie combine to make miracles happen and its not unusual to see a car that appeared to be completely destroyed, back on the track for its next race within an hour.

What’s really great about the whole process, is that when a particular part or specialists help is needed to get a car back out on to the track it almost seems like the team barriers are forgotten - guys who are in teams who have already been knocked out will jump at the chance to get a wrecked car racing again and the focus is all about helping your mates, no matter what team they are from.

The spirit in the pits during teams racing really sums up what teams racing, and speedway, is all about. Sure, the guys are here to race, and they will race hard and it will be exciting! But after each race, the drivers from both teams will congratulate each other with hand shake and at the end of the nights racing, all of the

Drivers, families, and crew from all the teams will get together to have a beer and a laugh, congratulate the winning team, and look forward to next season.