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? -JOHN DiBARTOLOMEO