Pinewood Derby Memory – Always Thinking Ahead

When I was a Webelos Den Leader the most anticipated event was always the pinewood derby. The Derby was run on a Friday, and the Sunday before was practice day – a day to fine tune and see how your car would perform.
One of the boys in our Den, Kyle, was the quite shy kind, but you could tell he was always thinking about how to improve. On practice day, Kyle and his dad spent the entire 3 hours tuning and adjusting their car. It performed well, completing the runs with good times. The last thing they did as they were leaving was to buy a new car kit.
Race day came around and Kyle showed up with a totally new car. Not the greatest paint job or the sleekest design, but it looked good. One of the other boys in the Den laughed at it because of the way it looked. His car apparently had been built entirely by his dad at the auto shop where he worked.
To make a long story short. The finals came down to Kyle and two other boys. Kyle come in third. The kid with the dad-built car wasn’t even in the top ten. His mom freaked out, and started checking times and saying something like, “This is wrong; how can a car that doesn’t even look good beat my son’s car!”
Kyle had never won anything in his life and this was the biggest thing to him. Talking to his dad later I asked why they changed cars at the last minute. He told me that Kyle had used the practice session to work out the bugs, and then spent the week working on the mechanics of a new car. He wasn’t that concerned with the looks.
Always thinking ahead. Kyle now works for a major auto maker doing design work.
Gary Marquardt
Ann Arbor, Michigan
From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 3, Issue 5
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