Pinewood Derby Memory – You Never Know

My Son, Zachary is now a Webelo 1. We have been racing Pinewood Derby in our Pack since he was a Tiger. His first race was a heart breaker to say the least. His car came in third out of three cars! But, he got to go on to the District race because the top three from each Den gets to go.
The car was a disaster from the beginning. We used a standard Cub Scout block, and I just about cut off a finger trying to work on it! We had the wrong kind of paint, and had to put it on the stove to get the paint to dry, since we didn’t get it finished till the night before the race.
Before the District race, we had some more time to work on it. Well, the extra work didn’t do anything but make it run slower. It barely made it to the finish line! We were both heart broken, and he looked at me as if to say, “What happened former Cub Scout, Eagle Scout, now Den Leader?” I just told him that we learned from our mistakes, and we would work harder next year.
The next year he was a Wolf. This year we bought a kit instead of using the Cub Scout block, but we used the official BSA wheels from the official kit. We put the weight inside the car, which was a rail type. The night before the race while we where helping set up the track it ran fantastic! But the day of the race, we found out it was way too light. So, we added weight to the back. Well again, he came in last. I believe that adding the extra weight at the last minute threw off the balance of the car. I had put it towards the back.
So last year, we went with the rail type kit again. But instead of putting the weight inside, we got the weights that go across the full bottom of the car. I took a few off just in case it was over weight, but could add on at the last minute if need be. It came in at 5 oz. exactly.
Needless to say, he came in first in his Den, and third in the Pack. Then third in the District race a few weeks later. We where both very happy campers after that.
Funny thing is, the Cub who came in first in the Pack had hardly done any work on his car. He stood at the weigh-in putting washer’s on his car until it got to 5 ounces. Then he taped them on with masking tape!!! He didn’t place at District, but still! Like I told my son, it just goes to show you, you just never know how your car is going to run.
Our Pack race is going to be at the end of January this year. We are again going with the rail-type. I’ll let you know how we do!
Don Hoard
Cubmaster, Pack 202 in Greenbelt, Maryland
From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 10
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