Keith Gosselin -
November 30, 2002 - Our corporation entered a Wedge SE (from your kit) in a corporate race sponsored by Siemens. There were 60 cars from all over the globe. Our car won every heat (12 straight), and was honored with the Siemens Cup! Thanks for all the tips.
Mike Corwin -
November 9, 2002 - Last night my daughter had her first Awana race. We started with one of your Wedge GT kits with the extended holes, and carefully prepared the car for racing. The result was that the car was the fastest out of a field of 52 cars, besting the 2nd place car by 0.04 seconds and beating the track record by .07 seconds!
Thank you for creating a quality product - it makes the difference. We will definitely be buying another kit in the near future.
Jim Brennan -
October 29, 2002 - Thanks for the great information! We have
been using your car plans and the information from your website for the last
3 years. Our cars have won the following:
5 First Place Speed Awards (Two of these were the overall fastest car in the
-2 Second Place Speed Awards
-2 Design Awards
Kevin and Travis Worley -
April 9, 2002 - I wanted to thank you for your excellent plans and supplies. My son Travis and I built the Arrow for his first pinewood derby. We are happy to report that it took 1st Place, winning every single race!
Your plans were very easy to read and follow, even for novices like ourselves. Travis is the first of four sons. Rest assured we will be using your plans and supplies for many years to come.
Jon and Jerod VanSant -
April 6, 2002 - We recently purchased your Car Construction Guidelines and Advanced Car Plans booklets. We decided to build the Interceptor as our first pinewood derby car. We found your tips and directions to be very well engineered, and were very pleased to find that the car outperformed the closest competitor by almost two car lengths. We will be using another of your designs next year!!
Mike Eannarino -
April 6, 2002 - I wanted to write and thank you for providing the guidance we got from your website. My son Michael Henry is 7 years old and just entered Cub Scouts in September. I downloaded your free Wedge SE car plan and we have been working on his car a few hours each night. A saw and drill are not the best friends of a 7 year-old, and I am afraid I don' t have a whole lot of skills with those tools either. But we followed your directions as best we could. Praise the Lord for 60 grit sandpaper which really covers a multitude of errors!
We ended up with as close to a Wedge SE as we could with a few extra bumps, dips and saw scars. All along we had stressed the importance of the process, not the end product. He learned a lot about drilling, sawing, sanding, how to spray paint (and how not to!!), humility in mistakes, commitment to a project, making choices (should I watch my favorite movie or work on my car?). He worked through his attitudes about the project and really took pride in sanding (especially the curved front end).
When we got to the race, I felt pretty embarrassed when comparing our simple, no frills car to some of the incredible machines entered in the race. But we were thrilled when Michael Henry's no-frills car won 1st Place! He got a huge trophy to keep and a "keep for one year" permanent plaque, which will have his name on it along with all the winners since 1981.
Thank you for your part in this little piece of our bonding as father and son, and this little part of his life which I hope will be linked with all the other little parts of his life that, when added up, will result in a Christian, God-fearing man.
Wes and Christopher Duke -
March 28, 2002 - I have to admit I was a little skeptical of being able to help my son Christopher and his friend Evan put together Pinewood Derby cars in less than a week. We were pressed for time because both boys had just joined their Cub Scout Pack two weeks before.
I located your site on the Internet and ordered the Car Construction Guidelines booklet and some supplies. Downloading the booklet was a snap, and the supplies arrived quickly - all the way to Hawaii. I was not only impressed with your tips, but how well they were organized and illustrated. Many people have great ideas, but few can communicate them effectively and efficiently.
Using your guidelines, Christopher and Evan finished up their cars the day before the race - thank goodness it was spring break! Because this was Christopher and Evan's first derby, we had no expectations except to have fun. But race after race, they kept winning. The final race included Chris, Evan, and another boy. And the results ... , two happy boys, Chris and Evan finishing first and second! It only goes to show that a little research, persistence, and sometimes 'desperation' can pay off.
Thanks for the help, and for sharing your insights. Now it's on to the island wide finals!"
Daniel and Ryan Moore -
March 26, 2002 - My son Ryan (a Tiger cub) just participated in his first Pinewood Derby. With me being a procrastinator and very limited on time, we didn't begin working on the car until the night before the race. On the day of the race at noon, I decided to search the web for some help. I found your site and ordered the immediate download version of you Car Construction Guidelines booklet. I read the booklet on my lunch break and highlighted the ideas we could implement in the brief hour between arriving home and going to the race. It was an energizing hour, as we 'un-did' some of the standard car setup and incorporated about 80 percent of your recommendations.
As we drove to the meet I explained to my son that this was a first try, that most of the other kids had raced before, that only one scout could win, and that we have to be gracious in losing as well as winning. I didn't want him to get his hopes up too much as I feared for his disappointment. To our delight, Ryan's car swept every heat in the Tiger Cubs by a significant margin! After all four younger age groups had finished, a runoff was held between the top two from each group. Ryan's car again went undefeated, though the competition was tougher, and the racing closer.
Finally, the pack championship was held, with Ryan's car and the top Bear Cub car pitted against the top two Webelos cars. These four cars all ran within an inch or two of each other in all four heats. To our amazement, Ryan's car swept the championship with a perfect 10 for 10 finish!!!
I cannot thank you enough for helping me be my son's hero, nor can I begin to define the emotion I felt when I saw the look in my son's eyes as he picked up the two First-Place trophies!!! Your booklet was a blessing for a non-woodworking dad like me! Thanks so much!!!"
Scott Webb -
March 23, 2002 - Thanks to the help we received from Maximum
Velocity!, my son's car finished first out of about 55 cars in the Pack
race. He is a first year Webelos scout, and built his car by himself with
just some coaching from me. He has worked hard over the past few years, and
has demonstrated continuous improvement in derby car building. His first
car finished 3rd in his Den. On his second car, we began consulting Maximum
Velocity! and he finished 4th in the Pack. His third car finished 3rd in the
Pack, and now his fourth car finished 1st in the Pack.
Brent and Mason -
March 23, 2002 - Thanks for the supplies and the
excellent tips! My son, Mason, entered his first derby this year without
really knowing what to expect. Through some trial-and-error and helpful
guidance from Maximum Velocity we put together a real contender! Mason
finished 1st in Tiger Cubs, and took 2nd Place in the Pack out of a field
of 41 cars. The first place car nudged him out by only 0.043 seconds! So
close, but now we have something to shoot for next year. We're already
devising how to shave off another tenth of a second!
Jack Dickerson -
March 16, 2002 - My son's den has a pretty good rivalry
going with another den. It always gives them a little boost if they can beat
the other den in a competition. Unfortunately, my son's den has never been
very adept at building Pinewood racing cars. They have placed before, but
never has a member of my son's den won the Pinewood Derby.
Until now. There were 16 competitors in the age group, and my son's car won
all 15 races. So, he will be competing in the regional races next month.
I know this would not have been possible without your plans and products so
I would like to thank you. Your recommendations helped create a winning car.
Jerry Di Scala -
March 15, 2002 - I am happy to tell you that the plans I purchased from you resulted in winners! I helped my two nephews build their cars (the Arrow and the Rocket). After many heats, Sean's Arrow came in first place, while Daniel's Rocket came in a close second. In addition, both cars took the "Best Engineered" trophies. There were at least 150 entrants in the race, so we were all very thrilled to have had such great success! Thanks for the plans and all of the speed tips!
Joe and Joseph Sconzo -
March 15, 2002 - My son and I purchased the Car Plans booklet and some supplies from your web site. We chose the Standard Wedge, and had a blast building, testing, and adjusting it. When we tested the car it was amazing how fast it was compared to the other cars in our den! We went home and made a few adjustments to get ready for the pack-wide race last night. Well, Joseph's car won every heat by a significant margin, and continued on to win the race-off to become Pack Champion! Thanks a lot for the tips and high-quality supplies!
Troy and Clara McCabe -
March 13, 2002 - Just a note about my daughters recent Awana Grand Prix. She was speed champion last year in her first outing, so we knew that everyone would be gunning for her this year. I decided to do more research than last year, and found your web site. The Car Construction Guidelines booklet was informative, and using your information with some of my own ideas she again won the event! Thanks.
Paul and Patrick Zimmerman -
March 9, 2002 - I recently downloaded your plans for the Wedge SE and my son Patrick and I followed the instructions exactly. He is now the den champ! Thank you very much.
Michael and Melanie Callan -
March 2, 2002 - Just wanted you to know that our boys, Travis and Coleton, won 1st and 2nd Place. They were so excited and proud of their cars, which were at least two car lengths faster than the other cars. After the race all the other dads from our den had to check them out. We told them to check your web site, and that your booklets were very helpful and easy to read. Thanks!
Patrick and Eric -
February 25, 2002 - We used the extended Interceptor design and modified it to meet Royal Ranger requirements (they use a 3/8" dowel instead of a slot cut in the wood block, and then attach the wheels onto the ends of the dowels with a screw-type axle). After a long round-robin style derby Eric's car was UNDEFEATED in 12 races in his age division. Most of the races he won by 2 inches and some he won by an ENTIRE car length!!!
A race was then held between the winners of each age division. Eric's car took 2nd Place, losing only once in 8 races by about 3/8 inch. We now have a spot in the sectional winners race at the Regional Derby.
We are so grateful for all your insights and techniques, and the prompt response you gave when I had questions concerning the modifications I made to the car design. We also got a lot of great comments on the design of the
car. Thanks Again and God Bless.
Casey and Tim Troyer -
February 23, 2002 - My son Casey is a Bear Cub Scout. He and I built the Wedge from your plans (which we thought were very detailed and easy to understand). Casey chose the extended wheel base option, which required us to drill the new axle holes with a drill press. When he registered his car today before the races, one wheel was not touching (tripod syndrome). I gritted my teeth as we did some axle bending, got all four wheels to touch, and then saw some were leaning at strange angles. We were really afraid the car would race crooked and be slower.
In spite of all that, Casey was never beaten and he brought home the "gold"! I told him after the races, "Gee Casey, think how fast your car next year will be if you can figure out how to straighten your wheels!"
You put out good products and good advice. Thanks for helping my son learn so much and have so much fun.
Frank Conde -
February 23, 2002 - Thank you for your help in building our
undefeated Pinewood Derby Racer! When I ordered your Construction Guidelines
and Plans I was hoping to learn the basics, because I didn't know the first
thing about the pinewood derby. My mission was to have a rewarding
experience with my son, have some fun, and build a car that wouldn't be an
embarrassment (because I'm not the most handy guy in the world).
We received your booklets five weeks prior to the race and took our time
building the car step-by-step. I was surprised how smoothly the building
process went - the booklets were very easy to read and informative. It was
also great having the answers to my son's questions such as, "Why are we
doing this step?" Basically all he wanted to do was build the car and slap
the wheels on.
When we finished the car, we had no idea how it would perform. Well, we
couldn't believe our eyes when the car won the Den Championship, Overall
Pack Speed Champion (68 cars), and even beat the parents' cars in a fun race
at the end of the Derby. The car will now participate in the District
Finals. No matter how that turns out, we accomplished our mission and then
some. Once again, thanks for all your help and keep up the good work."
Bill Andrews and Michael Sananikone -
February 23, 2002 - I haven't been near a Pinewood Derby since the late 70's when I lost miserably to everyone. When my soon-to-be stepson, Michael, asked me to help him with his car I vowed to give him every technical advantage available. I began to comb the internet in search for tips, tricks, hints, and equipment that would give us the edge we were looking for. I discovered your site and showed some of the photos to Michael. We drew up plans for a very streamlined racer. We tried using the non-lead weights they sell in hobby shops. No good! They took up too much room for the amount of weight we needed. Lead was ok... but not the best. TUNGSTEN! That was the answer. After shaping, sanding, painting, polishing wheels and axles, gluing in the weights, and lubing with your Graphite-Moly dry lube we were ready.
On race day, Michael couldn't wait to show off our handywork. After several close heats, he took 1st Place in the Wolf/Bear group. We owe much of our win to the variety of products you have available to racers. Tungsten weights, Graphite-Moly lube, books, plans, etc. Thanks to you, I have a VERY happy stepson on my hands! I'm going to be sure to order our supplies early for next year.
Gery and Sean Mayes -
February 23, 2002 - My son Sean and I prepared the Interceptor using your plans and guidelines, and we would like to thank you for your tips and suggestions. In his pack competition, he took 3rd place among the Bears and 2nd place in the pack (over 60 cars). His car actually got faster as the day went on! He also took 1st place for most unique design.
His win in the pack made him eligible to participate in the district competition. We did some extra work on the wheels (alignment and lubrication with graphite) and guess what -- He took 1st place for speed in a field of 84 cars!!! The look on his face when he accepted his trophy was reward enough for me.
We're not done though. Now we go on to the council competition and hopefully more success. Thank you again for giving us a winning edge!!!
Chris and Brandon Booth -
February 18, 2002 - I just had to drop you a note
regarding our first Pinewood Derby experience. Brandon is a Tiger Cub and we
were both excited about building a car and competing for the first time.
Your Car Construction Guidelines and Car Plan booklets are a must have, and
the tungsten weight and axle polishing kit worked out great!!
Once Brandon saw the Rocket on your web site he was sold. However three
weeks before race day we received detailed rules for the race at our pack
meeting. The rules in our council allow the use of an extended wheelbase,
which inspired us to expand our "garage" to include the Extended Interceptor. Here again your templates and detailed instructions helped us
build two "Maximum Velocity" cars.
We had no idea what to expect on race day, and we had several of those
father-son discussions about "just trying your best, and may the best car
win". Following a pre-weigh in and technical inspection we ran the cars on
the test track and determined the Interceptor was consistently faster and
would be Brandon's ride while the Rocket would be entered in the adult race.
By the time the Tiger's got a chance to tear up the track we were pretty
well calibrated to the fast times to beat, or at least we were calibrated
until the Interceptor showed up in the starting gate. The Interceptor
absolutely dominated every race, coming in 1st Place in every race of all
heats. Brandon and his younger brother were so excited they went out of
control (almost), and Brandon is proud of his First Place Trophy.
Additionally, the Interceptor set a record low elapsed time for the event,
and became the car to beat. It's job was not over yet.
At the end of the day the parents got their turn to tangle. The derby
director (who had built five cars, three of which were in the Adult class)
invited the Interceptor to join the event to round out the 12 cars needed to
run. This time the Rocket placed 1st in every race that didn't involve the
Interceptor, and as you can well imagine the Interceptor found no
challengers at the finish line. The final standings projected on the wall at
the end of the event listed Brandon's Interceptor 1st with my Rocket 2nd.
What a great day at the Derby!!
Thanks again for helping us get started in Pinewood Derby racing in a big
Chuck Weiss -
February 11, 2002 - My son Andrew and I used your free plan to build the Wedge SE. Your plan was easy to follow and had a very professional appearance. Not only did your plan and tips help, but we won every race in both our den and in our pack!
Tom Brumbaugh -
February 6, 2002 - I recently purchased two of your booklets and my son Seth (7 yrs) and I chose to build the Wedge GT. It looked simple and straight forward, and in fact IT WAS! Seth did nearly all the work! He cut out the pattern and traced the pattern on the car. With my supervision, we located the holes for the weights and he drilled them with my drillpress. He then used HIS coping saw and rough cut the design. I power sanded it while he watched me. He finished sanding the car, primed it, and then apply the finish coats of paint. Seth watched me turn the axles and the wheels. We then lubed the car with graphite. WE FELT PREPARED!
There were 21 cars in the competition and Seth's car won every heat. Some of the wins were by as much as 18 inches, with the closest 3-4 inches. Needless to say my son (and our family) was very pleased. This has served as an excellent example that preparation and work can lead to success! Thank you so much for being involved and writing your booklets. I hope everyone else that chooses to purchase your books are successful as well.
Michael Braddick -
February 2, 2002 - My son Aaron (age 6) and I built a
Wedge GT and he won 1st Place in his pack and 3rd Place in his
district. What makes this even more exciting for us is that it was our
first time building a pinewood derby car. To be honest, I was hoping (and
praying) that the car would just make it down the track in one piece!
There were 34 cars entered in his pack's derby and each car raced 16 times.
Aaron's car came in 2nd the first time down the
track. However, his car won the next 15 races. It was truly amazing
because it seemed like the margin of victory kept getting bigger with each
race. Thank you for the booklet. I believe it was the main reason for
Mike Fitzpatrick -
February 2, 2002 - I think you can now make the claim
that your site/information can 'win you a
trophy.' It did for my son Sean! Not only did Sean win the Pack derby, but
he did so without a single loss. Talk about a happy child! We can't wait
for the next round. (By the way I also won the adult event with the same
car design, the Wedge SE).
Richard and Ian Mansfield -
January 26, 2002 - Our pack pinewood derby was
held last Saturday. My son, Ian, and I
worked very hard on his car. As part of the process we utilized your car
plans and car construction guidelines, axle polishing kit, and lead and
tungsten weights. Since this was Ian's last pinewood derby, we wanted to do
our very best.
Over 40 cars were entered, and as usual the competition was fierce. We knew
we had a fast car, but we were both surprised when he won not only his den
race, but also the pack race! In fact, he did not lose a single race.
Needless to say you were a great help to us, and we are truly appreciative.
Thank you so much.
Steve Raatz -
January 26, 2002 - We bought your Car Construction
and Car Plans to build the Racer for our first pinewood derby . We had
great fun building the car and your helpful hints and speed tips were
wonderful! Not only did we take 1st Place for the Tiger Cub division, but
we also took 2nd Place for the whole Pack (over 100 cars)!! We could not
have done it without your help.
Tim Lanz -
January 26, 2002 - We used your new car plan and won, not only
taking 1st Place in the Tiger Cub den but taking 1st Place for the whole
Pack (~ 60 cars)!!! My son was thrilled! Thanks loads!!!
Tim Arnold -
January 26, 2002 - Notch up another win for your designs! Our pack race was today, and both of my sons won their divisions. We did not have a pack elimination round to determine pack champ, but both of our cars handily took their classes. My sons are looking forward to the Divisionals.
I have to admit I was more nervous than when my first son was born when the cars came down the track - I was actually shaking! But as you suggested I had my boys help with the tools, and as many things as they could, so every ounce of sweat shed by me was shed by them also. It was a very great time building and racing. Thank you again!
Roy Svendsen -
January 25, 2002 - My family made both the Rocket and the
Arrow. It was a successful experience all around from research, design,
creation, and of course racing!
Ten minutes before leaving for the race, my 10 year old, Bjorn (Rocket),
came to me and my wife showing us a body covered with chicken pocks; what a
disappointment! I ended up pulling my truck next to one of the side windows
of the building where the race was being held so Bjorn could watch through
the window. What he saw was his Rocket win his division! He also
saw his brother, Kristian (7), win his division with his Flaming Arrow! The
Arrow went on to take 1st Place in the overall championship. The Rocket
finished in 3rd Place overall (placing 2nd once and 3rd twice due to lane
assignments). Thanks for all your help!
Lee Schmelz -
January 23, 2002 - This was my second year of involvement in
the derby. Last year, my 9 year old pretty much built the car himself. We
had no idea what we were doing and obviously didn't fare too well. This
year, my second son became a Tiger so we had to build two cars. I was
determined that my oldest was not going to be disappointed again this year,
so we subscribed to your newsletter and purchased your Car Plans booklet.
We built slightly modified versions of the Low Rider and the Rail. Both
boys sanded religiously, spray painted, and helped me with polishing the
axles according to your recommendations. After we added the graphite, they
spun the wheels for several days. Both cars looked pretty good.
On race day, both boys won their den competitions! Per the timer they were
rated 2nd and 3rd in overall speed for the pack. But after the den races,
we take the fastest 6 cars overall and have a one race run off for the
overall 1-2-3 winners. In that race, our cars finished 1st and 2nd. Both
boys were estatic, my oldest son in particular. It seems as though nothing
good has ever happened for him his entire life, so this was a monumental
triumph for him. They both now have huge trophies that are proudly
displayed in their rooms alongside their cars.
I am no handyman so I can tell you that if you follow your directions, you can build a pretty good car!!! Thanks for the help and tips. They do work.
Howard Braverman -
January 20, 2002 - Last year we built the Rocket and came in 2nd place overall. This year we built another Rocket - just a little better and a little closer to what yours looks like. We stated off slow with 11 points (2 seconds) in the first round. Then we started to warm up with a score of 10 in the semis and a 10 in the finals. But this year they added a race-off between the top three finishers with rotating lanes. We won all 9 races, wining each by at least a half car length, and took 1st place overall. Next year we'll retire the Rocket design and move on to something new. Thank you for the booklets and designs!
January 20, 2002 - My sons Patrick (age 9) and Brendan (age 7) and I used your plans and built 2 Standard Rails (which we immodestly renamed "Wortner Mark IIIs"). Brendan fell in love with the picture in your booklet, so his car is a virtual duplicate, down to the black finish and "Drag Star" decals. Patrick decided on a red car with "Firebird" decals. We finished both with several coats of high gloss polyurethane over the decals. When another father saw Patrick's car before the race, he remarked, "That one looks like a winner." Little did he know ...
In Patrick's first race I was amazed when his car took a full car's length lead near the half way point in the track. It repeated this performance in every heat it ran. After the field had been narrowed down to five finalists, Patrick's car stood alone as the only undefeated racer. The finals were yet another repeat of this car's incredible run: a quick and unambiguous win. Patrick was truly all smiles when he heard his name called as the overall winner. He and his car will go on to the scout district race in April.
Brendan did not fair quite as well, but his car did manage to capture 4th place. We later traced the car's slower performance to a misaligned wheel. We had waited until the last minute to install the wheels and axles, and did not carefully align the wheels. Oh well. Brendan still got to pose in the official winners photograph, so he was happy.
All of this was a vast improvement over last year, when Patrick and Brendan's "Batman" and "Superman" cars were beaten by a wheeled block of wood with several bolts taped to the top. (I had helped a very unprepared Cub Scout and his mother build an "instant car" that defeated our supposedly carefully crafted cars!) We finished just about last.
This year, thanks to your comprehensive instructions, we learned how to build very competitive cars. Patrick and Brendan went from finishing at the bottom of the pack to first and fourth place out of a 21 car field. Truly amazing! Thanks to your books, we now know how to build truly competitive cars, and we look forward to doing it again next year!
Don and Tommy Giaquinto -
January 20, 2002 - Just a few lines to tell you what occurred as a result of purchasing your Car Plans and Car Construction Guidelines booklets. This was my 7 year old son's first derby. When we got the box with the piece of wood, nails, and wheels I looked at it in dismay. I had no idea what I was doing. I figured I'd go on line and see what I could get. I picked your sight and it was the best thing I could have done!
I went from a buffoon to someone just shy of an expert (I have no desire to be humble about this one). From learning about the center of gravity to the weight placement to the finishing touches your information did it all.
On race day my son raced against 27 cars from his Wolf Pack and he came in 1st Place! This car was true and quick! In the finals, he came in second overall (and I mean it was close)!
Needless to say my son, my wife, my daughter, and I were very happy. I went in that day hoping that the car would run straight and never expected that it would take 1st place in the pack and 2nd place overall (out of 108 entries).
I owe it to Maximum Velocity. Your booklet made a Dad and son who knew nothing about making a pinewood derby car into a team that made a first place car in less than 2 weeks.
Les Dawson -
January 19, 2002 - With the Rocket, my son won his division and overall, never once being defeated. On to the regionals next. Your weight distribution and wheel/axle prep tips were invaluable. Every penny I spent was worth it, and the smile on my son's face said it all. Thanks for everything!
John Burns -
January 12, 2002 - I just wanted to let you know how we did today. My son Joe (Webelos) built a Rocket, and my son John (Tigers) built a Dragster. The Dragster won 8 in a row to take 1st place out of 28 cars. The Rocket won 8 out of 9 to take 1st place out of 30 cars. The only problem with that since both sons were in the finals, only one could take 1st place overall! Well, John's Dragster went undefeated and won the finals, and Joe's Rocket took 2nd place overall. Thanks for helping to make this a great day for the three of us. After four years of racing, this is by far our best finish!