Who won the Wacky Races?
The results are in and the final rankings are available. The overall winner of all the Wacky Races is….. The Boulder Mobile; ably driven by Rock and Gravel, the Slag Brothers. This victory was setup by a breakaway lead in the first season which enabled them to hold first place despite falling off the pace a little in the first half of the second series. In fact, with 7 races left to go The Buzz Wagon was in the lead. It was only a final burst in the last few races which put the stone age twosome into first place.
Bringing up the rear (and excluding The Mean Machine who failed to finish legitimately in any race) was The Army Surplus Special with Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly’s ‘fire power’ failing to prevent them receiving the wooden spoon. Despite a stronger showing in the second series, they were unable to recover from their woeful showing of just 9 championship points in the first series.
|Season 1||Season 2||Total|
|The Boulder Mobile||51||36||87|
|The Buzz Wagon||39||40||79|
|The Bullet Proof Bomb||37||37||74|
|The Creepy Coupe||42||27||69|
|The Compact Pussycat||40||28||68|
|The Crimson Haybailer||37||26||63|
|The Arkansas Chugabug||36||22||58|
|The Turbo Terrific||25||31||56|
|The Army Surplus Special||9||24||33|
|The Mean Machine||0||0||0|
The first thing to decide is what ranking system to use. Most motor sports use a system allocating a number of points to each driver based on their position in each race. The winner of a Championship season is the racer with the most points. There are a number of different point allocation systems with a different number of points across various governing bodies and these have changed over the years.
However, most of these allocate points across all places but in the Wacky Races we only have the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, not all positions. This is very similar to the Olympic’s Gold, Silver and Bronze placings. Unfortunately, while all television coverage of the Olympics includes medal tables these aren’t official. Most of the world as well as the International Olympic Committee use the ‘Gold First’ approach – i.e. rank by the number of gold medals and when equal move to silver, and then bronze. The US however, tends to use a ‘Total Medal Count’ approach.
Which one is our official position? For accuracy it would make sense to use whatever ranking systems were in use in 1968 when Wacky Races was first broadcast. The Olympics include no motor sports so it seems odd to use them. The Wacky Races themselves are predominantly road tracks. IndyCar only use oval tracks so would not be appropriate. NASCAR use 21 oval tracks and 3 road courses. Formula 1 currently has 5 street circuits and no ovals. The Trans Am Series has a mix so is a viable option. The choice is made simpler by the fact that in 1968 Formula 1 and Trans Am both used the same number of points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, so this will be our official point system.
If you look at the Wikipedia entry for Wacky Races, it includes a results table ranked in the US ‘Total Medal Count’ style (which we’ve already discounted). However, this misses an important point. There were two series of Wacky Races – so arguably there would have been two different Championship winners not one. For interest sake we’ll show the results of each series, but if the question is who won overall we need to merge the results together. However, this does mask a significant change in performance between the two series. The first series was also two races longer, so the form drivers in the second series are slightly disadvantaged when merged together. We could weight the second series’ results to compensate, but that seems like over-analysis at this point.