Pinewood Derby Stories and Photos from Maximum Velocity
Unusual Pinewood Derby Tracks
Whether homemade or purchased, most groups today race on a 32 to 50 foot track, starting on a slope and transitioning to a long flat section. These tracks are made from aluminum, wood, or plastic, and have from 3 to 6 lanes. Some variation exists, but other than length, ramp angle, transition radius, and composition, they are essentially of the same style.
But there are some groups with unusual tracks. These can have curves, loops, an extreme length, or an unusual composition. In today's article, I'll share a few of these with you.
In most cases, I include the source of the photo. However, in a few cases, I do not know the source. If the source is not listed, and you know the source, please let me know.
If your group races on an unusual track, please send me some photos and I'll include them in a future edition of the newsletter.
CURVED TRACKS Generally, pinewood derby tracks do not have curves because the car's rigid axles do not readily negotiate turns. But that doesn't stop people from adding them to the track.
The first track is unusual in that it not only has a big sweeping curve, but it also has a continuous gradual slope from start to finish (no rear- weighting on this track).
The second track could be included in all of the categories in this article. Named, "Goliath", it is an attempt at the longest and tallest track. Unfortunately, there was no David around to defeat this giant, as no cars completed the track. Sorry, but I couldn't find a photo of the assembled track.
LOOPS Since BestTrack is now offering a loop, tracks with loops will likely become more common. Here is a track with not only a loop, but also a jump. The second photo shows the main problem with loops.
LONG TRACKS The first long track I ran across is used by an Awana group. It starts on the stage of a gymnasium and runs almost the length of a basketball court.
Not to be outdone, the Indiana State Museum hosted a pinewood derby event for the BSA Crossroads of America Council. At two stories high, and 125 feet long, it was claimed as the tallest, longest and fastest known track.
S-SHAPED S-shaped tracks were at one time more common, but are now rare. The unusual ramp and short run-out require a different weighting scheme.
Source: Gary Kunschaft
UNUSUAL COMPOSITION I have ran across many tracks of unusual composition including Plexiglass, Formica, etc. Unfortunately, I don't have photos of these tracks, so I'll share the following tracks with you.
The first is from Pack 38 in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. This track appears to be wood, but it really stands out for beautiful construction.
The second track is apparently made from thick aluminum plates. It was used at a council race. I'm not sure why it only has two lanes when a third lane would clearly fit. If you look carefully, you will see two strips going up into the air at the end of the track. These are the braking lanes. Apparently, some cars fell off the strips.