Top Dog Competition
Top Dog is an evolutionary auto sound competition format that incorporates all of the best elements of existing dBDRA formats with many new and innovative concepts that are unique to Top Dog.
The primary goals for developing this new format include:
Fun – Exciting new competitive elements that promise to be an instant hit.
Inclusion – Anyone can be competitive, regardless of their vehicle or sound system.
Simplicity – No vehicle inspections, installation inspections, or equipment verification.
No Qualifying – Contestants determine their own “target score” for EACH run.
No Brackets – Eliminates the challenges of finding and staging “paired” contestants.
Drama – The outcome of each run is unpredictable.
Video game competition elements such as “high score” and “time extensions” add excitement.
In a Top Dog competition, contestants manipulate the volume control on their sound system in an effort to achieve an average SPL reading that is as close as possible to a “target” SPL without exceeding that value. While simple in concept, achieving this goal can be quite a challenge because the competitor must play music and the SPL reading is a running average that will become less and less responsive to user control with each tick of the clock.
Unique Top Dog Concepts
Contestants define their own “Target SPL” when competing.
The winner of each run (“Top Dog”) remains in the lanes to defend his or her position until someone else takes them out.
Contestants receive points each time they win a run.
Contestants are rewarded for ties with time extensions and bonus points.
Contestants can steal points away from other contestants.
Multiple rounds (optional) allows contestants to “ante-up” and keep the contest going.
Please review “Section 2 – Top Dog Rules” for a complete description of the Top Dog format.
The dB Drag Racing Association (dBDRA) has gone to great lengths to insure that the rules for competing in Top Dog are as comprehensive and unambiguous as possible. Even so, there will invariably be times when a particular application or installation will fall outside the scope of this rulebook. When those occasions arise, it is the responsibility of the head judge to make a determination as to whether the incident in question abides by the “spirit” of Top Dog competition. As a competitor, it is your responsibility to understand the rules contained in this book and to abide by any decisions rendered by the head judge.
Top Dog Creed
I will never operate my system in a manner that will disturb those around me.
I will never operate my system in a manner that could result in injury.
I will never operate my system in violation of the law.
I will do my best to represent the sport of Top Dog in a positive fashion.
I will conduct myself in a professional manner while participating at events.
I will do my best to support those companies and retailers who support our sport.
I will always abide by the Top Dog rules when competing and will do my best to insure that others abide by the rules as well.
The safety of the competitors, judges, and bystanders at a Top Dog event are of paramount importance. As the operator of the competition vehicle and its sound system, the competitor has a tremendous responsibility both to himself and to those around him with regards to safety. Competitors should clearly understand the following issues prior to participating in a Top Dog event.
Operation of a motor vehicle is inherently dangerous. You MUST insure that the operation of your vehicle will not endanger yourself or those around you. Please adhere to all local laws and verify that your pathway is clear before moving your vehicle. Although officiating staff members may sometimes offer assistance in moving and/or directing traffic, the responsibility for the operation of the competition vehicle ultimately lies with the competitor.
Auto sound systems are capable of producing high sound pressure levels. Exposure to high sound pressure levels may cause hearing damage. NEVER operate your sound system in such a manner as to expose yourself or others to high sound pressure levels. In addition, listening to your sound system at high volumes while driving may prevent you from hearing emergency vehicles, vehicle or train horns, etc. Always operate your sound system in accordance with local laws and never operate your sound system in a manner that could interfere with the safe operation of your vehicle. This includes making adjustments to your sound system while you are driving.
Custom auto sound installations may affect the safety and/or integrity of your vehicle. Although some competitors may elect to have their sound system installed by others, it is ultimately the competitor’s responsibility to validate that his or her installation is safe. Particular care should be taken with regards to electrical wiring. All power wires should be fused directly at the battery to minimize the risk of a fire hazard. Sound components such as speakers, amplifiers, enclosures, etc. should be fastened to the vehicle in such as way as to prevent them from causing injury or damage in the event of an accident. Vehicles that have been structurally modified to accommodate the sound system or vehicles that exceed the maximum gross weight limits as detailed in the vehicle’s operating manual should never be driven on public streets or highways.
The dB Drag Racing Association and its affiliates are not qualified to determine the safety and/or legality of a given competition vehicle. This responsibility lies with the competitor. As such, the dB Drag Racing Association and its affiliates cannot be responsible for any accidents, damages, or injuries that occur at a Top Dog event. By participating in a Top Dog event, the competitor agrees to take full responsibility for his or her actions and any accidents, damages, or injuries that may occur. The dBDRA strongly encourages competitors to operate their vehicles and sound systems in a manner that is consistent with local laws. Flagrant disregard for safety will result in disqualification and subsequent ejection from the event.
1-1 Competitors may use the program material of their choice while competing.
The program material being played must originate from a source unit that is specifically designed for installation and operation in a 12-Volt auto sound environment. This includes cassette decks, CD players and changers, DVD players and changers, VCR’s and VCP’s, MP3 units, AM / FM / Satellite radio tuners, and any other playback device that is specifically designed for installation and operation in a 12-Volt auto sound environment.
The program material must consist of music. No “test tones” are permitted. Test tones “camouflaged” as music or “songs” that are advertised as music but are, in fact, test tones will not be permitted in competition.
The program media may be from a commercial source (such as a CD you purchase) or a custom, homemade recording.
1-2 Adjustments to the sound system may be made while the vehicle is being metered as long as no other applicable rules are violated during the adjustment process. (Metering is the process where the Sound Pressure Level or SPL of your vehicle is measured.)
1-3 The contestant’s vehicle may be running while in the judging lanes as long as the following conditions apply:
Operation of the vehicle or sound system must not endanger the judge, competitor, spectators, or any real or personal property on the premises.
The vehicle’s parking brake must be set.
The wheels must be chocked.
The hood must be closed.
The maximum engine idle speed must not exceed 2000 RPM.
A remote “engine kill switch” must be easily accessible from outside of the vehicle for those competitors that are bolting (clamping, strapping, etc.) the doors of the vehicle closed while in the judging lanes.
It is the competitor’s responsibility to comply with the conditions listed above. Competitors found to be in violation of one or more of these conditions may be eliminated from the competition.
1-4 Competitors may choose to remain either inside or outside of the vehicle during competition provided no other applicable rules are violated.
1-5 Doors, windows, or other openings in the vehicle can be open or closed at the competitor’s discretion provided no other applicable rules are violated.
Local laws, ordinances, show policies, or safety issues may prohibit excessive noise. If this is the case, then all doors, windows, and other openings to the vehicle must remain closed when competing.
All Top Dog participants must pre-register prior to the start of competition. Each contestant will be entitled to two runs with their registration. These two runs comprise one “round” of competition. Most events will only offer one round of competition but some may offer two, three, or even more.
Once all of the contestants have registered, the Term-LAB meter will assign a random competition order for each contestant.
2-2 First Run
Contestants shall line up and compete based upon their assigned number (1, 2, 3, … n).
There are no “qualifying” runs. Every run will be conducted as a “head-to-head” style match-up between the “Challenger” and the “Top Dog”. (The first run of the day will be between two challengers. The winner of that run will become the first Top Dog of the event.)
When both contestants are ready to compete, the Term-LAB meter will call out or display “Ready!, Set!, Go!” to start the run. If a contestant begins playing music before the Term-LAB system announces “Go!”, that contestant will “Red Light” and receive an SPL reading of “0.0”.
2-3 Target SPL
Each contestant’s “Target SPL” for a given run will be calculated individually. The first 10 seconds of each round is used to accomplish this task. There are four possible target values available; 129.9, 139.9, 149.9, and 159.9. The target value that will be used for the remainder of the run will be the lowest target value that is greater than or equal to that contestant’s average SPL at the 10 second mark.
The run begins. At the 10 second mark the contestant’s average SPL is 137.7 dB. The target SPL for this contestant will be locked in at 139.9 dB because 139.9 is the lowest target value that is greater than or equal to 137.7. Once the target value is locked in, the contestant may not exceed that value during the remainder of the run or an “over shot” violation will occur and the contestant will receive an SPL reading of 0.0 for the round.
2-4 Winning a Run
To determine the winner of each run, Term-LAB will only compare the xx9.9 portion of each contestant’s SPL reading to his or her target SPL. The contestant whose SPL reading is closest to their target SPL will win the round. This technique allows contestants with different target scores to compete against one another.
Contestant A finishes the round with a 129.9 dB SPL reading. Contestant B finishes the round with a 149.8 dB SPL reading. Contestant A would win the round because his SPL of 129.9 is closer to his target score of 129.9 (0.0 dB difference) than Contestant B is to his target score of 149.9 (-0.1 dB difference).
The winner (“Top Dog”) of each run shall REMAIN in the lane to defend his or her position.
To win at Top Dog, a contestant must accrue the most points (“high score”) during the course of the competition. The contestant with the highest point’s balance (“high score”) at the end of the event will be the winner.
Basis Points are awarded when the following actions occur…
All contestants receive a 1000 point bonus at the start of a new run “cycle”.
Contestants score 1000 points each time they win a run.
Contestants are awarded 100 “bonus” points for EACH SECOND their SPL reading is equal to their target score.
Contestants are awarded 200 “bonus” points each time an “overtime” extension occurs. (See “Overtime” below.)
The winning contestant of an overtime run will be awarded half of the losing contestant’s point’s balance. (See “Overtime” below.)
In the event that both contestants have “red light” violations, or in the event that both contestant’s have simulteneous “over shot” violations, 1000 points will be deducted from each contestant’s point’s balance. (See “Special Circumstances” below.)
There is also a point “multiplier” that will be applied which is based on the current run “cycle”. Basis points will be multiplied by this value at the time the points are awarded.
Round One (All events will have at least 1 round consisting of 2 runs)
The points awarded for the first run of the first round will be the basis points multiplied by 1X.
The points awarded for the second run of the first round will be the basis points multiplied by 2X.
Round Two (Optional)
The points awarded for the first run of the second round will be the basis points multiplied by 3X.
The points awarded for the second run of the second round will be the basis points multiplied by 4X.
Round Three (Optional)
The points awarded for the first run of the third round will be the basis points multiplied by 5X.
The points awarded for the second run of the third round will be the basis points multiplied by 6X.
There are no “tie-breakers”. If the SPL readings for two contestants are tied when the 30 second clock elapses, the following actions will take place…
BOTH contestants will be awarded 500 “bonus” points.
A 10 second time extension (“overtime”) will be applied to the run.
The meter will CONTINUE to run.
This process will automatically repeat until there is a winner.
The winner of an overtime run will be awarded HALF of the loser’s current point’s balance.
2-7 Second Run
When all of the contestants have completed their first run, the second cycle of runs will begin.
The current Top Dog will remain in the lanes.
Contestants shall line up and compete based upon their assigned number in REVERSE order (n, … 3, 2, 1).
Competition will continue in the same fashion as the First Run cycle.
2-8 Additional Rounds
When the round is complete (all contestants have completed both of their runs), the event promoter MAY extend the competition with additional registration rounds.
Only participants from the previous round of competition may re-register.
The current Top Dog is not required to re-register but he or she must defend their position.
The competition will continue with the First Run for the new round and continue through the Second Run of the new round.
Competition placement is based on each contestant’s points balance at the conclusion of the event. The contestant with the “High Score” wins.
2-10 Special Circumstances
If BOTH contestants “Red Light”, OR have simultaneous “Over Shot” violations during a run, the following actions will take place…
Each contestant will be “docked” 1000 points.
The Term-LAB meter will reset and automatically start 30 seconds later.