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Trophy Alternatives

Trophy Alternatives

I do a lot of racing.  Lately it seems like I’m at a big race every weekend.  I am not complaining one bit. In fact, I love racing but one thing has caught my eye lately. No matter the size of the race whether it be a Nationals event or just a glorified club race there always seems to be a giant table of trophies. Not just the top 3 in the A-main, EVERYONE in the A-main and top 3 in lower mains. That is a whole lot of trophies!

It got me thinking, “How many of these racers go home and immediately throw these into the trash?” I started asking around to some professional drivers that get some new hardware every weekend. Unless it’s a win at a very prestigious event, they usually throw it away. Can you really blame them? The quantity would be overwhelming.

I would guess there still are a few people that like “bowling” trophies or small plaques but they must be a small minority. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all about rewarding someone for a job well done.

This brought me to my second thought, “What would be some good alternatives to trophies?”

Lets put cash aside. We all want to win money but that isn’t feasible on all levels of racing. I would love to see trophies be something that won’t find it’s way directly to the trashcan after the race.  Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Pit Boards – These seem to have caught on a bit lately. They look cool and are very useful. I have a couple that I won last year. One is on my pit at home and the other goes to the track with me.
  • Tools – Everyone uses tools all the time. How about a nut driver or allen wrench with the race name and finishing position engraved on it. It would make a cool shelf piece or could be an addition to the toolbox.
  • Cheaper Race Entries – Trophies cost money. I know sponsors often pick up the tab but someone pays for them. Eliminate trophies and pass the saving on to the racer.
  • Tires – Tires are one of the biggest expenses in racing. A tire company sponsors almost every race. Why not give them as prizes for winning? Who wouldn’t want a fresh set after burning up multiple on a race weekend?


What do you guys think about trophies? I would love to hear some of your likes or dislikes or if you have a good idea for trophy alternatives. Leave a comment below!

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Updated: October 27, 2011 — 2:04 PM


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  1. One of my local tracks gives a free race entry for the weekly winners (if you’re good enough, you only have to pay to race once per season!) and the other is doing some t-shirt races where the winners will get special shirts as their “trophy.” For weekly racing, I’d like to see something like dirt tracks do and give out a “feature winner” sticker to the winners so that people can put them on their pit boxes, pit boards or something else where they can display them at the track, sort of how the “player of the game” stickers are used in high school football and they put them on their helmets.

    1. Hey Eagle,

      Thanks for the response. I always love the free race entries or “race bucks” prized for club racing. They make you want to go back and definitely make it easier on the wallet.

  2. Just have the race sponsors kick in prizes and hand them out to the winners. Most people would much rather receive some free R/C product, than a trophy. Leave the trophies for the race series and major events…and then make those trophies actually nice and custom, rather than the typical plastic $10 job. Something you would actually WANT to display.

  3. My local track has started to give gift cards for first through third at the club races. its nut much but it still helps

    1. sorry forgot to mention that the giftcards are for the local hobby shop down the street.

    2. Adam,

      Gift cards or “race bucks” are perfect for club racing. A lot of the tracks do it around here in So. Cal. Unfortunately, I don’t think that system would work well for bigger races that attract non-local drivers.

      Perhaps a gift card to an online hobby shop would be a good solution.

  4. usually, my track does not give out trophies each weekend, but when my track does give out trophies, its usually at races we call “Trophy Races”. these happen every few months or so.

  5. Hello, I have been collecting LA Laker pins for years and I always that pins would be a great replacement for trophies. There could be made with sponsor or track information and handed to to TQ, !st, 2nd #rd..etc… Just a thought.

    Back in the 80’s ASCOT (RCRC) used to have pins for TQing.

    Here is my collection if interested.



  6. What I started doing for my racers is something inexpensive but something they might display proudly. I had those silicone bracelets custom made to say our Track name “Mad Joes Raceway” on the top and the Place they got on the back. The First place bracelets are Yellow. Some will wear them on their arms and some will hang them from their pit tent or table.

    This could be a cool idea for the tips and tricks section of the Mag 😉 Ill even send ya one if you want lol. Ill assume you could have earned it like the rest haha/

  7. a wall of winner at the track you race at….t shirts…good one or hoodys…kits are nice…..for racer who wins all the time ..a small placard you can ad to a biger one for the hole season…like gold sliver bronze.for 1st 2nd 3rd…

  8. skinned acrylic plaques are my favorite.. easy to store, they look good, and it cuts down costs for the race promoter.

  9. At my local indoor track they give out raffle tickes, one per class entered and then 3 for a win, 2 for second, and 1 for 3rd. All of the tickets go into a box, or jar and at the end of the month a drawing is held for whatever that months prize(s) is/are. So far it seems to work out well for club racing. The more you race, the better your chances are. It’s something different and more valued by the racer than the typical bowling trophy.

    At larger events, it might work, but I’m sure there are better things that could and have been done. The pit mats always seem to be popular. It’s something a racer can use. For that matter anything that a racer can use for racing or some kind of support gear for racing is probably a better option for most racers. Though sometimes that trophy is nice to have as well.

  10. A lot of the comments seem to be about the local club scene or day to day races but I think the focus here is on the Regional and National level stuff. I have spent the past few years racing and being RD of many regional races and attending a few National level runs as well and trophies are always a topic of conversation at some point. From the RD side of things if we hold a 3 day race with about 8-10 classes we usually spend anywhere from 1700-2500 dollars on awards. Going to the graphic acrylic has cut some costs over the bowling style trophy and in my opinion look better and take up less space but you still spend about 10-20 bucks an award. The regional series right now has awards to top 10, so discussions come up and it is said lets only do top 3. The problem is the guys who get a top 3 are usually the day to day fast guys/gals who like Brent mentioned just toss anything thats not a #1 or not from a national level event. Its the guy/gal that worked their butt off all weekend and made their first ever A main at a regional event who wants their 8th place that would mean more than the 3rd place that the guy who expected to dominate ended up getting. So where do you draw the line? I know locally we draw about 150 -215 entries for the 2 big regional runs we host each year, but how much of that is paid up front, usually 10-20%. So the track takes a big gamble on ordering all the trophies and then we get a case like our recent race where we ordered 10 stock truck trophies but end up with 7 entries. At 20 a trophy and 30-35 bucks an entry that class barely paid for itself, leaving the track short in paying for other expenses. So I am very curious to hear what other discussions arise on this topic. I personally have gone from the I like a trophy for any A main finish, “gimme my 9th” to if it doesn’t have a 1 on it, then its probably going in the storage pile of no neverminds. I think this is one of those topics that will never please anyone, we want to cater to the person who the trophy means the most but its a crap shoot to where that person is going to finish? I like the idea of the pit mats and T-shirts but the cost of pit mats are also cost prohibitive, you can purchase top 3 for sure and be cost smart but what about 4-10, what can be done there? I think there is a good suggestion in the comments about the little pit stickers, magnets or small aluminum plates that are small enough to maybe make costs less than $10 bucks each and produce something larger for the 1-3 crowd, but it will always be a debate is the 3rd place from that 7 car stock truck race really worth that much more than the 7th place from the 40 car modified buggy main? One thing I feel is that I am never a fan of giving top 3 to lower mains if the lowest finisher in the next higher main did not trophy, at least in our current formats we spend as much effort (more so in the lower mains case) qualifying as we do in the mains, so if someone earned a qual spot and are pitted against higher quality drivers in that main why should they not trophy but the guy who finished 3rd in a lesser talented group of drivers take home hardware.
    Great posts Brent! looking forward to more!

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