For those of you who are slightly triggered by the fact that the track wasn't good/your hovercraft didn't perform up to expectations, here's a little story:
In the month before nationals, I tried to get data about my hovercraft with the track that my coach built me, but due to modifications/the track not being good (it kept on stopping at about 120 cm), I was unable to get any real data. However, due to the fact that my hovercraft didn't depend on the material of the side walls/track and that the target distance was 120 cm. I was able to get a pretty good time through intuition at the competition itself (19.67s). Yes there was definitely a bit of luck involved right here, but my main point is that I feel like it depends on more how you use your 8 minutes efficiently at the competition then taking a whole ton of data before it. (Of course this doesn't apply to the people who had a bad track, that's just bad luck.)
Also, my partner and I bombed the test (left 9 questions blank), but we still got 6th, showing that few teams were able to get a good time score and the test was hard as well.
I actually didn't really test my hovercraft at all before nats, since at states and regionals, they let us have a bunch of trial runs during the 8 minutes, so I just guess and checked until the time score was close to the target time, and then I started my actual runs. I went into nats thinking the event was going to be run the same way, and I was pretty shocked when i realized that it was run wrong at states and regionals. My time score was pretty bad (29 seconds), but we managed to place 18th somehow.