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Competition Ladder


As it applies to drag racing, the competition ladder is the matching of the drag racers from the first round to the final round. This matching is most often based on the qualifying rounds.

Pro Ladder

Also known as a "Progressive Ladder" will put a lot of weight on qualifying by pitting the best against the worst, second best against second worst, third best against third worst and so on. The Pro cars (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle) are so evenly matched that this is the most fair way to reward Qualifying.

In a 16 car field, the order of qualifying would have:

  • 1 racing 16
  • 2 racing 15
  • 3 racing 14
  • 4 racing 13
  • 5 racing 12
  • 6 racing 11
  • 7 racing 10
  • 8 racing 9

Sportsman Ladder

The Sportsman Ladder is a little more "Socialized" as the cars are not quite as evenly matched, and the slower cars are given a little better chance. Basically you divide the qualifying order in half and put the next to each other.

In a 16 car field, the order of qualifying would have:

  • 1 racing 9
  • 2 racing 10
  • 3 racing 11
  • 4 racing 12
  • 5 racing 13
  • 6 racing 14
  • 7 racing 15
  • 8 racing 16

Competition Bye

In the case of an odd number of racers qualifying, one racer won't be matched with a competitor, and so he is given what is rereferred to as a Competition Bye. All he has to do is stage his car and Break the Beams to win the round. This original "Bye" goes to the Top (#1) Qualifier. If there is an even number of qualifiers that isn't divisible by 4, then there will be a Bye given in the second or later round. There are examples of both ladders for various number of car counts in the reference links below, to show how that works. A Competition Bye should not be confused with a Broke Bye, which means one of the competitors was unable to race in the round, so his opponent automatically wins by at least staging his car and breaking the beams.


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