02 03 Pinewood Derby Stories and Photos from Maximum Velocity 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33


A Crashing Halt and a Great Finish!

To start with, at forty-nine, I'm a fairly old Dad to have three sons aged
eight, seven, and five. My two oldest sons are Cub Scouts and my
youngest son will start scouting in the fall. My middle son won our
overall Pinewood Derby championship last year. I compete in the open
class of our Pinewood Derby.

I was a Cub Scout way back in the 1960's and early 1970's. The
Pinewood Derby was a big deal back then too! When I was a Bear
Cub, I was entered in our Pinewood Derby. It was Cub Scout Pack 27 in
Fort Worth, Texas. I can't recall what the track was constructed of, but
it was the coolest thing that I had ever seen! They had created awards
out of coffee can lids, leather, and gold glitter. Those simple awards
looked like Olympic Gold Medals to me!

I think my Mom and Dad did more than their "fair share" of work on my
car. My Dad could build anything out of metal or wood and he was very
competitive. So was my Mom as my car was awarded, "Best Paint
Job". I still have that race car and you can tell by looking at it that no
little kid built this by himself.

We had our pre-race ceremonies and the excitement built up even more
for me. I was very excited about getting a chance to race my car. My
car looked like it would be fast and I was very proud of it. Both my
parents kept telling me over and over again to be very careful with my car
and to not drop it. As with any kid, I could not put my race car down. I
carried it with me everywhere.

Well, we started the race and my Pinewood Derby car was a speed
demon! I don't remember how many boys were in our Pack, but I was
beating everyone from the Webelos to the Bobcats. After every heat that
my car was in, I snatched it up and pranced around with it. I
remember looking at my Dad a couple of times and he was smiling and
laughing along with me. Those were very special moments for me as my
Dad was "old school" and he didn't let on too often that he was pleased.
I can still hear my Mom and Dad saying, "Be careful with your car and
don't drop it." Those same words haunt me to this very day.

Our Pinewood Derby was finally winding down and I was still undefeated.
I had just finished grabbing my car off the track after another victory
when disaster struck! I can still recall that exact moment like it
happened yesterday. I still see it in slow motion. I was holding my race
car when suddenly, I wasn't holding it anymore! It seems like it took two
minutes for my car to hit the floor. As it smashed down, the two front
wheels shot outwards away for my car. The wheels and nails went
rolling and spinning away.

I remember the room went quiet and I looked towards my Dad. That in
itself was a memorable moment. The expression on his face was a
mixture of sadness, anger, and defiance. He came over and gathered
the wheels and nails. I was upset and he told me that it would be
all right; he could fix it. I was in shock as I thought the car was ruined!

Pinewood Derby cars were way different than they are these days. The
axles were mounted into glued-on wooden struts. The front axle strut on
my car had actually shattered and was gone! So my Dad laid the car on
it's side and with the palm of his hand, he actually pushed the nail axles
right into the side of the wooden car body!

The race continued. Two other cars had only one loss each and they
ran their race. Now, it was just me and my repaired little racer versus
another car we had already beaten once. Well, not all stories have a
happy ending, but this one did. My little broken car beat the other Scout
just barely and we won the final race! That is still one of my proudest
days as a Cub Scout.

If there is a moral to this story, it's leave your race car alone and listen to
your Mom and Dad. Sometimes, they are actually right about stuff!

Carl "Crash" Wilson

Read More at: Pinewood Derby Times Volume 8, Issue 11

The Pinewood Derby Memory is a regular feature of the Pinewood Derby Times Newsletter. To subscribe to this free e-newsletter, please visit:

(C)2010, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.
35 36 37 38