Pinewood Derby Memory – Third Place for Perseverance

I was not very enthusiastic about my son’s first pinewood derby. But I pitched in and helped him create a very basic (ugly) car. We simply cut a wedge shaped piece of wood off the front and back of the car (resulting in a trapezoid for those of you that remember your basic geometry). It was then painted military green with some black animal spots. The car weighed less than 5 ounces, the axles weren’t polished, but we did put a drop of silicon oil on each axle. Thus, in less than an hour of work, the car was finished.

The night of the derby came, and I could quickly see that we were outclassed. But the race was organized in (what seemed to me) an unusual way. Although the track was four lanes, the race leader decided that the double elimination format could only identify the first and second place cars. So, a primary race to identify first and second place was held for each of the four classes. Then setting the winners aside, each of the four classes was raced a second time to identify 3rd place. During the primary race for our class, our entry finished somewhere in the lower half of the 25 or so entrants.

Since there were well over 100 cars total (and since the race procedure had quite a few wrinkles) it was getting rather late by the time the 3rd place races began. Many people had become frustrated (with the race procedure and with the antics of their kids) and had picked up their cars and left. So when the time came for our class to race there were only a few cars remaining in the staging area. Amazingly, my son’s car took 3rd place!

Although I realize that the result was a fluke, I must admit that I did get “pinewood derby fever” as a result of that race!

Randy Davis
Peoria, Arizona

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 15, Issue 1

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – November 20, 2015

Today’s cars were submitted by Dennis Pemberton.

Red Car

Yellow Car

Corvette

These three cars were entered in our Awana GrandPrix. The fenders were made of poplar. The Red car won design for kids, the Corvette won for adults, and the Yellow car was fast as snot, but did not place due to a timer error.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 15, Issue 1

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – November 13, 2015

Red Snake – Steve Truver

This car was built by my grandson, Nathan and me in 2008. It took first place for speed in his pack, and placed in the top five in the regionals.

Mater – Jeff Trush


This car was my son, Nicholas’ idea. It actually won first in his den (it was a lot faster than I expected). While it was not quite as aerodynamically competitive in the overall pack derby (over 80 cars) he did end up winning the “Best Overall Car” trophy, and the kids loved watching Mater run down the track — it was quite funny to watch to say the least.

I am a big fan of details, and we tried to stay pretty true to Mater from the movies. We used Play-Doh for the top lights, teeth, and headlight. The Play-Doh was swabbed with super glue to firm it up. We also used several Dremel Tool sanding drums and grinder wheels for the air cleaner and the rollers for his tow hook. The structure in the rear is just pieces of cardboard painted and glued together. For the faded paint effect, we dabbed the colors with a paper towel. It was great fun building it together, and we hope you enjoy it.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 9, Issue 8

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Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – November 6, 2015

Road Grader – Rob Knapp

This is my 2009 Pinewood Derby car, entered in the adult division. As a Cub Scout Den leader, I try to show the boys what is possible to build from a block of wood. This road grader started life as an official BSA kit. The grader is all wood except for a few pieces of copper wire and part of a pop can I used for the cab roof overhang. This was a very challenging build, but I think the results are favorable.

Queen Bee – William Lund

Every year my boys were in Cub Scouts I had to build extra cars for my daughter and me to race in the Open class. Well, one year my mother-in-law wanted a car to race. I thought and thought … then I remembered that I had always called her “The Queen Bee” of the family. So I went to work making her a car. I cut the shape on a band saw, added a little extra wood to the top to make the body of the bee taller. I hand-sanded the round shapes, found some balsa wood for the wings, added the antennae and crown, and painted it to look like a bee. It was the hit of the pinewood derby. It did not win, but came in second in all of its races — I couldn’t let my mother-in-law’s car beat mine!

Hot Wheels – Randal Veenker

It was my last year as Cubmaster of my pack. I ran the pinewood derby race for the pack as well as being the chairman for our district race. I wanted to have a show car for the last pack race in the open class. I found a Hot Wheels car that gave me the inspiration for this car. It was a looker as well as fast, but not quite fast enough to win.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 9, Issue 7

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