Pinewood Derby Memory – Not a Bad Day

My youngest son, Owen, was in his first pinewood derby. He loves his big brother Jackson so much that while building our cars he said, “I want Bubby to win, but I would like to finish 2nd.” Jackson responded, “Well, maybe you can get in the top four.”
On race night Owen broke his big brother’s track Record on his very first run. Then, as Owen had predicted, Jackson finished in first, and Owen finished in 2nd, so both got to move on to the District Race.
On the day of the District Race, we arrived and went through tech, with an hour to spare. With two racers I wanted plenty of time to fix the cars if they did not pass. All was well.
Ten minutes after racing should have started (An hour and 10 minutes after passing inspection) more than forty cars (just shy of half the field) were called to the front. For various “new” reasons they would not be allowed to race. We had only twenty minutes to comply.
The issue with our cars was that the inside hub was coned and should have been flat or square. My boys were very upset – probably because their Dad was in a panic.
I knew I couldn’t get both of my son’s cars repaired in time. How do I choose which one? I couldn’t choose, so I started sanding the hubs flat. Miraculously the cars were finished in time and were able to race.
Both did well, but Owen, in his first District Race, came in 3rd. (The Dad that caused the forty plus cars to be re-worked came in 1st – funny, huh?).
That same day our family had planned to drive to Indianapolis to celebrate my birthday; so immediately after the race we drove to Indianapolis (40 minutes away) to celebrate.
Also, that day the Indiana State Museum was allowing people to race on a three-story,”World’s Fastest Track”. Wow! It was awesome! We allowed the boys to bring their cars and each “Racer” (not scouts) was allowed two runs. Then we would be off to dinner.
It was so much fun. Wow! Over 400 mph scale speed!
Upon trying to leave, we could not find our cars? Oh, no!
Someone finally said, “You know, the fastest twenty four cars raced all week are having a little runoff tonight. Have you checked the “Fastest 24” table?
So, we did and to our delight both boys’ cars made the “Top 24” fastest cars of the week.
I know that:
a) no less than six states were represented,
b) while going through tech inspection, other than me and my boys, the average age of the racers was 50,
c) each had as many as twelve different cars in nicer cases then the Hope Diamond.
Anyway our day just got longer since we felt we had to allow the boys to participate in the runoff.
Well Jackson ended up getting bumped, 26th fastest. Then, Owen got to race. Owen came in 2nd on his first heat, 4th on his 2nd heat, then 1st on his 3rd and 4th.
Wow! He gets to keep racing! He’s in the top twelve.
He comes in 1st on his first heat. “No way!” say his parents.
He comes in 3rd on his 2nd heat. Okay more realistic.
Then 2nd place in both of his final two heats. Okay, that was fun now we can go eat dinner (7pm).
Oh my gosh! He made the “Final Four”. Are you kidding me? My wife and I are beside ourselves. Here is this teeny weenie six year old dancing and smiling, and the men are getting whooped by a kid barely 40 lbs. (No offense, but yes, many were engineers)
The “Final Four” race begins. Owen wins the first of four. Dad almost faints! In the end he comes in 3rd place overall (out of about 1,000 cars).
So, at the end of the day, a first year racer is driving home with two, 3rd place trophies.
Not a Bad Day!
Michael Onieal

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 9, Issue 14

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