Pinewood Derby Stories and Photos from Maximum Velocity
PINEWOOD DERBY CAR SHOWCASE
Green Airfoil - Bob Drag
This is the car my son, Glenn, entered for his Pack's, 2008, Pinewood Derby. This design features an extended wheel base, with a COG approximately 7/8 inch forward of the rear axle hole. The weights consisted of 3.5 ounces of tungsten cylinders. Overall weight was dead on at 5 ounces. The airfoils were made from 3/4 inch aluminum streamline tubing. The front airfoil helped us create a high 'front end' that was still inline with the front of the car in order to take advantage of the forked body. And, it allowed us to keep a maximum distance on the wheelbase. Now, we never expected the airfoils to add any aerodynamic advantage, but in the mind of an 8-year old if it looks fast, it goes fast! And, when the car was unveiled on race day, the '8-year old mind' in a lot of parents sure took over. The intimidation factor was off the charts. But, the end result paid off for all the hard work that went into the building of the car. Glenn's car was the fastest at his level and the bonus was the 2nd place for best design. Since our Pack does not run an overall Pack championship race, the next stop is the Council race.
Deuce and a Half - Robert Knapp
This year I decided to build a replica of the Deuce and a Half I once owned. It is a 1952 GMC M-211. I made the truck with two derby kits and a 2x4 for the cargo area. By hollowing out the underside of the truck I was able to get the weight down to 4.9 ounces, it is also regulation length measuring 7 inches. Two of the rear wheels were raised using the Pro-Body tool. The truck performed well in the parent-sibling race. It seemed to be a hit with the kids as well.
Carcophagus - Kyle Wilson
My son wanted to do 'Most Unique' car again this year. He has tried this every year since winning it as a Tiger. Since he was doing a school project on Egypt, he was 'bitten' by the mummy bug. He came up with "Carcophagus". It was a pretty cool idea. The most involved part was the painting. I put the tungsten weights in the back above the wheels. I drilled a little hole underneath for the tungsten putty. This was great for adding .01 ounce.
On race day, he shocked everyone! He pulled the fastest time of the day on his first run. It was 2.574 seconds. Most scouts were in the 2.6 range. It just didn't look fast. He won the next two races also with times under 2.6 seconds. He was well on his way to the top speed.Then on his last run, he was leading a good bit, when the car suddenly slowed down one foot from the finish. It finished with a 2.8 seconds.
I couldn't believe it! Then someone picked up something from his lane and handed it to me ! It was that tungsten putty. It had fallen out from underneath his car ! I felt devastated. This was MY fault for not jamming that putty in the cavity HARD. I still haven't forgiven myself. I'll give credit to my son; he took it better than I did. He just asked if we were still going to Dairy Queen afterwards. Of course we did! I am so proud of him and his car. Lesson: jam that putty in there after it passes weigh in.
Editor's Note: Tungsten Putty will stay much better in a smaller, deeper hole, than in a larger, shallower hold.