Pinewood Derby Memory – Mikey at the Lube

It looked extremely rocky for Mike’s pinewood car that day.
The car did not look speedy as it ran its opening race.
And as Mike sat and sadly watched his car lose in a rout,
A pallor wreathed the features of this young and trusty scout.

His folks almost got up to go, they’d given up all hope.
“But no,” they thought, “We can’t quit now. Our son is not a dope.”
They thought if only Mike would think to lubricate his wheels…
They’d put up even money, then, that he could beat the field.

But Mikey’s Dad, you see, his brain was often on vacation.
He’d neglected to discuss with Mike the need for lubrication.
So for Mike’s parents hope of pinewood glory seemed afar,
For there was little chance of Mikey lubing up his car.

When suddenly young Mikey sprinted fast along the floor.
He crashed into the donut stand, he bounced into a door.
He caromed toward a window, and rebounded across the room.
And now Mikey, clever Mikey, was advancing toward the “lube”.

There was ease in Mikey’s manner as he lubed his car with grace,
There was pride in Mikey’s bearing, a smile on Mikey’s face.
And as he took his dirty hands and wiped them on his pants,
Dad said to Mom, “Can you clean those?” And Mom replied, “Fat chance!”

Then from Mike’s gladdened parents, there went up a joyous cheer.
It rattled off the ceiling, it echoed far and near.
It rumbled through the spectators, annoying half the place,
For Mikey, and his pinewood car, were getting set to race.

Two hundred eyes were on him as he staged his car on the track.
One hundred voices giggled as he tripped when he stepped back.
And as the official starter set the starting line to trip,
Defiance glanced in Mikey’s eye, a sneer curled Mikey’s lip.

Now down the pinewood derby track the cars unheeded sped.
Mike’s parents shouted loudly as their son’s car forged ahead.
And when the dust had lifted at the finish of the heat,
Mike raised his fists in triumph as his car won by two feet!

Thrice more Mike’s car ran down the track, thrice more it led the way.
The crowd was now behind him, they thought he would win the day.
And when the heats were over and they totaled up the score.
Well, Mike was first, but he was tied with some kid from Den Four.

The Committee quickly huddled, they weren’t sure of what to do.
‘Til a Tiger Cub said, “Race ’em off! Just use lanes one and two!”
And so they raced, and Mike’s car sped to victory, like a dart,
But it wouldn’t count this time because the judges yelled, “False start!”

From the benches, black with people, there arose an awful din,
Like the snoring of a Webelos fast asleep inside his tent.
“Egg them! Egg the judges!”, shouted someone in the stands,
And its likely they’d have egged them had not Mikey raised his hand.

With a smile of Scouting charity, young Mikey’s visage shown.
He stilled the rising tumult, he bade the race go on.
He signaled to the starter, he staged his car again,
The crowd knew now that Mikey would not be denied this win.

The sneer is gone from Mikey’s lip, there’s fire in his belly,
Probably from pastrami he ate earlier at the deli.
And now the starter trips the gate, and now the cars go by,
And now the air is shattered as they cross the finish line.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
But Mike, alas, has suffered the most shameful of disgraces,
His car has been disqualified! You have to lube BEFORE the races!

Copyright ©1997-1998 by Cory Young. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 7, Issue 2

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – December 27, 2013

PINEWOOD DERBY CAR SHOWCASE

Although this is a break from the “norm”, today I am including six photos sent to me by Wade Charlesworth. I know that you will agree that these are very unique cars. Here are excerpts from the note I received from Wade:

“Thank you for the interest in the cars I have made. Every year we try to have a theme so that we don’t end up with the same cars repainted and the same individuals winning over and over. The cars must be retired after the season. This year’s theme was anything in your house. It was a fantastic turn out. If you look around your house you will find an amazing amount of ideas for cars. The elephant, bathroom, tape measure, and knife were from this year (no, there wasn’t an elephant in the house; it was modeled after a statuette).

Last year’s theme was anything to do with food, hence the taco and french fries. We also had a butter tray, a Butterfinger candy bar with a bite out of it, a pumpkin pie, a Snickers bar, celery with peanut butter, and a smore’s car. Please use whatever you feel is appropriate; I just want kids to know that you can make any kind of car you want if you put your mind to it.”

Elephant

Bathroom

Swiss Army Knife

Tape Measure

Taco

French Fries

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 7, Issue 2

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Is Your Finish Line Providing Accurate Results?

(Throughout this article I have identified action items that track owners should take to make sure that the finish line provides accurate results.)

During our April race, a parent caught my attention and stated that the electronic finish line was not accurately identifying the finish order. I carefully watched the next several races, and did detect a discrepancy. Was the finish line malfunctioning? Read on to find out!

FINISH LINE PRINCIPLE

Electronic finish lines use optical sensors(1) to determine when a car crosses the finish line. However, there is one fundamental principle of finish lines that must be understood;

Electronic Finish lines select the finish order based on the sequence in which the light sensors are activated, not necessarily on the order in which the cars cross the finish line.

To better explain how this is true, we must consider sensor, car, and track characteristics which would cause the finish line to record a finish order which is not the same order that the cars crossed the finish line.

SENSORS

— Characteristics —
Optical sensors(2) trip when the amount of light entering the sensor drops below a certain threshold. This light blockage (caused by the car passing between the sensor and light source) is known as ‘occlusion’ (see Figure 1). The amount of occlusion required varies by manufacturer and from sensor to sensor. Manufacturers of finish lines generally test the sensors to make sure that the amount of occlusion required to trip the sensor is consistent within the finish line unit. If the sensors are not consistent, then the finish line results will be less than accurate (i.e., a sensor with a lower occlusion percentage will trip earlier, giving an advantage to the lane on which it is mounted).


Figure 1 – Sensor Occlusion

I tested the occlusion of two electronic finish lines from two major manufacturers. On one, the amount of occlusion required was about thirty-three percent, while the other was about sixty-six percent. Fortunately, in both cases the occlusion percentage was consistent within the unit.

ACTION 1: Check the occlusion percentage for your sensors to make sure they are consistent.

— Placement —
In order for a finish line to accurately judge a race, the sensor holes must be drilled in a straight line, perpendicular to the track. In addition, the sensors must be mounted accurately in the hole. Generally, the sensor is smaller than the hole in the track. For accurate results, the sensor must be centered in the track hole.

ACTION 2: Verify sensor alignment and placement.

— Lighting —
Most sensors are infrared (IR) sensitive, and are generally not affected by room lighting or camera flashes.(3) However, reflective surfaces on the track and car can change the amount of IR entering the sensor. This can be limited by painting a non-reflective black stripe across the finish line area.(4) Light variance can further be controlled by reducing the diameter of the sensor hole. This can be accomplished by inserting a bushing with a small aperture, sized to fit the hole. (see Figure 2)


Figure 2 – Bushing With Small Aperture Inserted Into Sensor Hole

ACTION 3: Reduce reflection with black, non-reflective paint, and reduced apertures.

TRACK CHARACTERISTICS

Most tracks use a raised center guide strip to hold the car on the track. The width of the guide strip, determines the amount of deviation from the center line that the car is allowed to travel.

The typical guide strip width used today is 1-5/8 inches (see Figure 3). This width effectively limits the side to side travel of the car.


Figure 3 – Guide Strip Width on BestTrack and Freedom Track

However, some tracks have a lane guide strip of 1-3/8 inches. Figure 4 shows a photo of a homemade track that was based on plans provided by Awana. Some plans on the Internet also call for a 1-3/8 inches lane guide strip.


Figure 4 – Guide Strip Width on Homemade Track

Narrower lane guides allow the car to deviate a greater distance from centerline.(5) For a car with a full-width (or reasonably wide) front end this deviation causes no issues at the finish line. However, cars with narrow noses can have problems with narrower guide strips.

Consider a car with a 1/2 inch wide nose crossing the finish line on a track with 1-3/8 lane guides. The finish line sensors require a 66 percent occlusion. If the car is positioned at the center of the track when the finish line is crossed, then the finish will be properly registered. However, if the car is riding the rail, then the car may not register properly. In Figure 5, the car has crossed the finish line, but the sensor has not tripped (not 66 percent occluded). This car will need to proceed nearly 1-1/2 inches past the finish line before the sensor trips. Figure 6 shows a finish between this car and a car with a wider nose.


Figure 5 – Narrow Nose Car Not Tripping the Sensor


Figure 6 – Finish between Narrow and Wide-Nose Cars

In this case, the narrow lane guide, the narrow nose on the car, and the 66 percent occlusion requirement add together to create a major discrepancy. But note that narrow nose cars can cause discrepancies under less severe circumstances. When the two cars in Figure 6 were tested on a track with a lane guide measuring 1-5/8 inches, and a sensor requiring a 33 percent occlusion, the narrow nose car still had a 1/4 inch disadvantage when it rode the rail.(6)

If alerted to the narrow nose issue, entrants can choose to either design the car with a wider nose, or install a nose wing on the car.

ACTION 4: Test your track for discrepancies when using narrow-nosed cars. If a discrepancy exists, insert a note into race rules and handouts alerting the builder of the issue.

CAR CHARACTERISTICS

In addition to a narrow nose, other car characteristics can result in finish line discrepancies. These include:

1. Reflective surface on the underside of the car (delays sensor trip due to reflective light)
2. High-nose on the car (allows more reflective light, possibly delaying the sensor trip)
3. Narrow ‘Cheater Bar’ on the front of the car (not enough material to occlude the sensor) – See Figure 7.


Figure 7 – Spoiler May Not Trip Sensor

ACTION 5: Alert builders of any car characteristics which can result in finish line discrepancies.

CONCLUSION

After discovering these issues with our track I painted a flat black stripe across the finish line and inserted bushings with narrow apertures into the sensor holes (see Figure 8). This has eliminated light reflection issues.


Figure 8 – Modified Finish Line

In addition, I plan to put an alert in the race rules regarding narrow-nose cars; I will recommend a minimum of a 3/4 inch wide front end for accurate judging. Furthermore, when our group chooses to invest in a new track, we will choose a track with wider lane guides, and preferably, an electronic finish line with a lower sensor occlusion requirement.

If you are a race leader, then I encourage you to test your equipment and take the necessary actions to ensure a fair race. If you are competing, then consider using a car with a wider nose and painting the bottom of the car flat black.

(1) With one known exception: the Supertimer uses physical switches to determine the finish order.

(2) For more information on sensor occlusion and timer accuracy, please refer to Volume 5, Issue 11, “Pinewood Derby Timer Considerations”.

(3) Infrared sensors are not intended for outdoor use, as the sun produces high levels of infrared light which can affect the sensors. A sunlight option is available on the “Judge” timer at:
http://www.newdirections.ws

(4) Entrants can also reduce this issue by painting the bottom of the car flat black. I used Krylon-brand “Ultra-flat Black” with success.

(5) The amount of wheel hub to car body gap also affects the amount of deviation. I am assuming a normal gap of 0.035 inch.

(6) Generally, a car nose width of 3/4 inch is sufficient for tracks with a 1-5/8 inch lane guide.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 7, Issue 2

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – December 18, 2013

Shooting Star – Don Fish


This pinewood derby car was built by my son Nick for his Tiger derby.
He loves Speed Racer, so we did our interpretation of Racer X’s
Shooting Star. It won the den race, took third place in the pack and
fourth place at district. The car has highly polished and notched
axles, a raised front wheel, the center of gravity just in front of
the rear axles, four wheel alignment with polishing, and of course
Racer X and his rear engine V8!

Hot Rod Muscle Car – Jason Villarreal

A friend of mine wanted a fast, muscle looking car. So I cut out a
design of what would be a hatchback. I started with a thin bottom
plate and added the sides and top (so the car is hollow). The car took
1st for the age group, and 2nd overall. It also took 1st in the design
category.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 13, Issue 6

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Handle Those Cars Carefully

By Randy Davis

Sometimes I receive an e-mail that fills me with sympathy and some
anger. Here is one of those e-mails from Scott Carpenter:

“This was the result of an accidental drop after a small child got
hold of the car. We had another car get broken in the same race.
Needless to say we will no longer race with a group that does not
impose car handling guidelines.”


Photo 1 – Scott Carpenter’s Car

Ouch. Clearly, this car didn’t have much structure and needed to be
carefully handled. But regardless, the real question is why was a
small child allowed access to the car?

I believe that the race officials are responsible for safeguarding
cars that have been checked-in. This safeguarding is not only to
prevent damage to the cars, but also to prevent tampering with the
cars by the car owner or by competitors. Therefore, after a car is
checked-in, it may only be handled for the following reason:

1. A race official may place a car onto the check-in/staging table.
2. A race official may verify a car’s registration number if needed.
3. A race official may place a car into storage (if the race is at a
later date than the check-in).
4. A car owner may stage the car (or a race official, depending on
the race rules).
5. A car owner may retrieve the car and put it back on to the staging
table (or a race official, depending on the race rules).
6. Under supervision of a race official, a car owner may repair a car
(race rules should specify what repairs are allowed).
7. No other person may touch a checked-in car.

If these guidelines are followed, then mishaps such as Scott
Carpenter’s should never happen. However, there are many other
factors that race officials need to address in order to minimize car
damage and to prevent unauthorized access to cars. Let’s look at each
stage of the race event and address car handling for each one.

CAR STAGING EQUIPMENT
First, race officials must provide a way for cars to be safely held on
a staging table. Years ago, before any commercial solutions were
available, we taped 1×2 inch boards lengthwise on the staging tables.
The cars would then straddle the board, which kept them from rolling.
Although a bit crude, this solution did secure the cars. I have seen
photos of other simple solutions, as well as more elegant solutions,
such as table-sized trays with slots for each car.

But if you don’t want to make your own solution, now there are
commercially available solutions that work quite well. One solution
is the DerbyStop, which is an inexpensive solution available at many
pinewood derby sites.(1) The DerbyStop is basically a large sheet of
card stock that is creased so that one pair of wheels is immobilized.
Although the DerbyStop seems too simple to work, it is actually very
effective at immobilizing cars.


Photo 2 – DerbyStop

Another solution is the “Car Staging Parking Lot” from Lisano
Enterprises.(2) The parking lots have a raised cushion to keep the
wheels elevated. We use these parking lots at our race as they can be
lifted and slipped into our storage cabinet while fully loaded.


Photo 3 – Car Parking Lot
Source: www.grandprix-software-central.com

CHECK-IN
Now that there is a way to immobilize checked-in cars, let’s consider
area security. Pinewood derby cars are an attraction and people will
naturally want to look and touch. So, race officials must establish a
perimeter to keep unauthorized people away from the cars. I believe
you do want people to be able to see the cars, but not allow them to
touch the cars.

At our check-in, we use a line of tables as the perimeter. These
tables are used as a work area for checking in the cars, and the
staging tables are located behind the perimeter tables. Only race
officials are allowed behind the perimeter tables.


Photo 4 – Our Check-in Area
(The corners of the perimeter tables are shown in the foreground.)

Another common way to limit access to the staging tables is with
barrier tape (see “Race Day” for photos of barrier tape in use).
However, with any method, you must have a person assigned to watch the
staging tables to make sure unauthorized people do not gain access by
going around, over, or under the perimeter barrier. It’s amazing the
number of people that think that barriers do not apply to them.

STORAGE
If your race is held immediately after check-in, then you do not need
to store the cars. But if your race is held on a day following the
check-in, then a safe and secure storage method needs to be in place.
We have a purpose built cabinet that was made to fit the parking lots.
The cabinet is on wheels, has locked doors, and is rolled into a
locked closet.


Photo 5 – Our Storage Cabinet

For even more security, we place a seal (actually a sticker name tag)
across the doors. The name tag is signed by the club leader and me.
If the cabinet is tampered with before it is officially opened on race
night, then the tampering will be evident. This process may seem
excessive to you, but if a parent ever asks how we ensure that no
tampering occurs while the cars are stored, we are ready with a good
answer.


Photo 6 – Security Seal

RACE DAY
On race day, the cars are secured on the staging tables, the perimeter
is secure, and an official is watching the cars. All cables are
secured with gaffer’s tape so that they are not a trip hazard. All
cables that run the length of the track are on one side of the track,
and all walking is done on the other side of the track.


Photo 7 – Use of Barrier Tape Around Race Area


Photo 8 – All Cabling on Left Side of Track, Traffic on Right Side
(Small table near track on right side is removed before the race)

Owner Staged Cars
If the race format has the car owners stage and retrieve their own
cars, then all you have to do is supervise the staging table,
starting line, and finish line to make sure the owners are only
handling their cars. The rest is up to the owners.

Official Staged Cars
However, if your race format is for the race officials to stage and
retrieve the cars, then some additional procedures must be in
place.(3) First two rules must be established:

1. A race official never holds more than one car in each hand.

2. A car is always held in the body area between the front and rear
wheels. It is never held by the wheels or by the front or rear of the
car.

These two rules greatly reduce the risk of dropping or damaging a car.

Now, it is just a simple matter of procedure. I will outline what we
do; you can use this as a model, or modify it as needed.

Starting Line
We use three officials at the starting line. The first official pulls
the cars for the next heat (two cars at a time), and places them on a
parking lot near the starting gate. The other two officials place the
cars (two per official) onto our four-lane track. One of the officials
then triggers the starting gate.(4) We have found that having a third
official pull the cars for the next heat while the current heat is
being run greatly speeds up the event.

I have seen some races where a carrier box is used to bring all of the
cars to the starting gate at one time.(5) This method can work well
but it tends to be a little slower for staging heats. If you do use a
carrier box, make sure the box immobilizes the cars so that they do
not roll and do not bump into each other.

Finish line
We place two additional officials (usually responsible teens – this
job involves a lot of squatting and can be tough on us older folks!)
at the finish line to retrieve the cars. When the cars pass through
the finish line, each official picks up two cars (one in each hand),
brings the cars back to the staging table, and places them in their
proper position. Admittedly, this job could be done by one official
with a four-car carrier box.

CONCLUSION
Car safety and security should be foremost in the mind of race
officials. People put blood, sweat, and tears (and money) into their
cars and they have a right to expect that their cars will be treated
with care. So, take the time to review your car handling procedures
to make sure you are treating the cars with the care they deserve.

(1) Available from Maximum Velocity
Here.

(2) Available from Lisano Enterprises at:
www.grandprix-software-central.com

(3) At our pinewood derby, we have five races: pre-school to
kindergarten, first and second grade, third and fourth grade, fifth
and sixth grade, and an outlaw race. The race officials stage and
retrieve the cars for the first three races, and the car owners stage
and retrieve the final two races.

(4) The gate is triggered after first getting a “nod” from the person
running the computer, and after verifying that the people retrieving
the cars are in place and squatting down.

(5) I am not a fan of carrier boxes as even a slight trip or misstep
could result in cars flying out of the box. If one car is held in
each hand, the person is more balanced and better able to recover from
a misstep. But this is just my opinion.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 13, Issue 6

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Pinewood Derby Memory – Saved by the Glue

This year, Ryan and I built a pinewood derby car that, by design, had two pieces: a front section and a rear section that were connected by telescoping aluminum tubing. This telescoping aluminum tubing allowed us to adjust the wheel alignment precisely. Then, to hold it in place, two temporary turnbuckles were attached to each side, allowing us to roll it down a long smooth surface, observe the direction it turned and then correct it quickly and easily by adjusting the turnbuckles. Once it was going as straight as we liked, I had Ryan put super glue on the aluminum tubes to hold it in place and add a second straight piece of aluminum tubing about a quarter of an inch below the telescoping aluminum tubing. We then remove the turnbuckles and it worked great.

Before doing this procedure with Ryan, I had tried it on my own with my car (for the parent’s race). I used brass tubing, one on each side and one in the middle of the top side of the car. To make the front end lighter on Ryan’s car, we used aluminum tubing instead of the heavier brass.

With Ryan’s car, something happened that required us to perform the operation again. This meant cutting new tubing for the telescoping part (maybe I could have unbound the glue, but didn’t think of it at the time).

We had to adjust it again after the car came off the track because the front end was too light. So we wound up putting a small piece of lead in the front to keep it on the track. A third redo of alignment was required when we decided to replace one damaged wheel with a new wheel.

When we arrived at the race, we had time to weigh-in and have one test run. The pack allows you to race before hand for fifty cents per run. The proceeds go towards buying a track. So, we placed the car on the starting line and counted down 3-2-1 GO! Ryan did not pull the lever down fast enough and the car hopped over the starting peg, bounced once on the track and fell to the floor, breaking one wheel off Ryan’s car. The wheel ripped the axle out of the wood as the entire weight of the vehicle came down on that side. Now remember all that work we did to make it go straight? Forget that, it was all immaterial now; we had to just glue it back in place and eye-ball it. There was no time to do our elaborate alignment process.

He won the first race anyway. He won the second race and several more before the next structural problem occurred. The end of the track had a four inch piece of foam rubber as a stopper with two large screws in the middle to hold it there. That gave us about two inches of foam before it hit metal. That abrupt stop is okay for solid body cars, but for this thing that looked like a rail, it was disaster. The aluminum tubing started to bend more and more after each race, making the center bow up like the hunch back of Notre Dame (see photo below). At one point it was so bad, that the front end scraped the center guide and it stopped half way down the track. Up until then, we had taken first place on every heat. To fix the problem, I slowly bent it back down, fearing that the aluminum tubes would crack or just snap. I did not go so far as to try and straighten it completely, I just wanted it to clear the center guide. Then we applied glue to the lower support tubing as it had come loose. We had already re-glued that piece several times with fast drying super glue. It didn’t dry all the way prior to the next heat, so it kept breaking off and we were in the pits after almost every race. Someone suggested running it backwards and that resulted in a second place finish. Now we had one second and one third place. I came up with the idea of putting my jacket sleeve down after the finish line, in Ryan’s lane, as a stopper and that helped greatly. By slowing the car down more gradually, we did not have to do any re-gluing and we could run faster not going backwards. Don’t let anyone tell you rear-weighting the car is not important!

We were running out of glue so I went out to the car to get more glue and when I returned I found Ryan with a sad face holding two pieces of his car. He had to run it once without my jacket as the stopper while I was gone and it just busted it up. My first though was, “We are done. That’s it. I have tried and tried to keep this car going, but its over.” After thinking about it a while, I started re-gluing it again. We found a rubber band to hold one piece while we glued another and by the next heat, we were standing there with wet glue all over our hands. They held up the entire race waiting for us, but finally we were back in the race again. He won the next race. He won every race after that. Kids were cheering for Ryan’s car. It looked ugly now, but earlier, the boys judged it as Most Unique Car. People were joking, “He should get a prize for the most enduring.” I mused, “Is this a demolition derby or a pinewood derby?” We kept tabs by asking the kid behind the computer, “How many more heats?” Could this junker hold out? Six more to go, five more to go and then when it was only three to go we had to start applying glue again, but were able to nurse the sick beast through to the end. After all the heats were complete, the tallies were in … they announced a tie. The Scout leader (Bill) did not say if it was a tie for first, second or third. He said Ryan Wolff and some other kid would have to have a tie breaker. Earlier, Ryan asked me if we could let it hit the end of the track on the last race so he could watch it break up again, just for the fun of it. I said, “What if there is a tie?” Glad I thought about that! So it was a close race, but Ryan beat his opponent by a few inches and the crowd cheered. The jalopy won! Bill asked us all to take a seat as he prepared to announce the winners. Third place was not Ryan and Bill didn’t call his name for second place either. He won first place, against all odds, broken and bent-up, the jalopy won first place.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 7, Issue 1

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – December 6, 2013

The Natural – Mark & Will Osbourne


My son Will is in his third year of Cub Scouts and really loves working on his pinewood derby cars. Shown is “The Natural”, his car from the 2007 season. After I cut the block down to the thin wedge that he wanted, he sanded off the saw marks and found that the straight grain lines were quite striking. So, instead of paint, he opted to just clear coat the car. The car took third place in the pack pinewood derby and thus qualified for the district races (his third trip). The night before districts I added more graphite and he worked it in and we must have gotten it right. At districts (where there were 118 entrants) he beat his pack mates in the first round and then got faster and faster, eventually moving to seventh place overall and fastest Bear Vub Scout.

Clothes Pin – Tom Bybee

I am the Cubmaster for our pack and, due to some very successful recruiting last year, we had about 20 boys who built their first pinewood derby car this year. To make sure everyone had a chance, we provided a hands-on seminar where experienced leaders provided tools and showed the boys tips and techniques to build faster cars. Since I noticed that all the boys designed cars that looked like typical racing cars, I was determined to build something different for our open class to show them that pinewood racers can be anything. This clothes pin car is what I came up with. Our open class has fewer restrictions and is mainly for Dads so they will let their Scout build his own car. The wire bail on the front rests on the starting pin and is set high to allow it to take off sooner than other cars. This technique combined with your outlaw wheels made this a very fast car — second place was three car lengths back. It had the added benefit of not needing to be painted. It got a lot of comments from the boys and will hopefully spark their imaginations for next year.

Mater – Mike & Mikey Ferraro

This year my son and I built this “Mater Truck” using supplies from your site and received a trophy for most original. Thanks once again for all your tips and advice.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 7, Issue 1

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – December 3, 2013

Some unusual cars …

Propeller Car – Ron Kohl

We used your propeller car kit, along with our modifications to make
this car. It includes both capacitors and batteries. A slide switch
on the rear turns the battery on and off. The screw on the front
prevents the switch from accidentally closing and charging the
capacitors when the car is in the holding area. Just in front of the
arrow point is an LED that flashes when the capacitors are charging
and the fan is running. It adds some suspense. The body, wheels and
axles are from a Pinewood Derby kit. The car did win, and all eyes
were on it at the district race held in April 2013.

’63 Corvette Stingray – William Groner

Here is my ’63 Corvette Stingray, “Hot Salsa”, with your Max-V wheels
trued to 2.2 grams. The car set the track record at APR in July. As
you can tell, it’s a plastic model on a wooden frame. APR rules for
the Door Slammer class require a 1/25 scale model of an American-made
production car prior to 1973.

St. Mary’s School Bus – David Farlwo


I thought this might inspire those who want to try something
different. The bus met all the regulations for our group. It is a
three-wheeler with the weight in the rear of the roof (primarily).
We’ve got a very competitive crowd, so the bus was a way to run and
win best of show. It placed just under the fastest cars, taking fifth
place. The best part was that it wasn’t a wedge and could still keep
close company with the other cars. Not too much bragging when your
wedge just barely beat an old school bus!

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 13, Issue 5

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