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Highest and Longest

We had heard about the upcoming World's highest and longest
Pinewood Derby track event, so we decided to go. We picked out some
cars from my son Patrick's, collection, and I took him and his friend
downtown to the museum. Patrick chose the car that he made as a
Tiger Cub, an Indy-style racer. His friend, Bryce, picked out a car
loosely based on the Dragonfire car plans that were part of a design
booklet we had purchased. I got greedy and took two cars, a car based
on a 60's Indy Watson Roadster that I made for myself when Patrick was
a Cub Scout (so I could keep my hands off of his car), and a vintage
"skinny wheel" car made in the 1960's.

We had seen the track on TV, so we knew it was going to be high and
long, but it was even more impressive in person. There were lots of
friendly volunteers helping out with the racing. We quickly got our cars
inspected, and were ready to roll.

The aluminum track was four lanes suspended from the ceiling. The
starting gate was perched over the second floor railing, and the track
made a graceful arch down to the main floor and the finish line. The
scoring results were recorded and displayed on a big screen TV near the
finish line. Each car was allowed three timed runs. The fastest ten cars
would be eligible to compete for one of the top five trophies that were
being awarded for the event.

All of our cars ran nicely, but not near the top ten times. The top times
were in the 4.5 second range; the best any of ours did was 4.6 seconds.
Still, it was awesome to see the cars from below, rocketing down two
stories of Pinewood Derby Race track right down to the finish line. You
don't always have to win to have a good time.

I was surprised to see the vintage Pinewood Derby car, made in the
1960's, holding its own racing against the newer models. It brought
back fond memories of my son's Cub Scout enjoyment of the Pinewood
Derby. I found this reflected in the faces of all the kids who were having
the time of their life racing their cars on this day.

In addition to the kids, there were several "Old Timers", like me, who
brought their boyhood creations down for one more taste of Pinewood

Two kids that we met that day stood out the most. One boy was there
with his Mom. The boy's dad was out of town, so Mom got Dad's old
Pinewood car for the young man to run. It was probably a seventies
car. The builder used the wider 70's tires for the back and a couple of
older skinny wheels in the front. It gave the car a very distinctive look.
The son was having the time of his life "driving" daddy's car.

The other youngster who caught my attention was probably 6 or 7 years
old. His car was one that he had made "All by himself"... with a little
help from Mom. The car, was nicely painted silver, and had a Lego driver
in the cockpit, with horns on it's helmet, and he had found a matching
sticker to decorate the back. It was really neat to see the joy and pride
on the face of that little boy -- it brought back lots of fond memories of
Pinewood Derbies past.

All in all, we had a really great day taking part in a bit of Pinewood Derby
History. I heard from one of the volunteers that they may make this into
a yearly event. I sure hope so.

Bob & Patrick Henderson

Read More at: Pinewood Derby Times Volume 8, Issue 5

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