Pinewood Derby Stories and Photos from Maximum Velocity
PINEWOOD DERBY CAR SHOWCASE
Speedy the Turtle - Derek & Scott Bobbitt
This is my son, Derek's, first Pinewood Derby car. It is named "Speedy the Turtle" (his idea for the name -- it would be "sneaky" and no one would suspect his car was fast, because "turtles are slow, Dad").
To prepare for the race, we read Pinewood Derby Speed Secrets together and shared many discussions about basic physics (his Pinewood Mantra became, "Friction: The Enemy of Speed," was echoed for weeks around the house) as well as numerous tips about how to gain the precious time down the track. Tips we learned, including weight placement for ideal center of gravity, three wheels on the track, block treatment to further reduce weight (like baking for almost 2 hours in the oven), and the addition of weight with Tungsten Putty to idealize the final weight at weigh-in, were all incorporated into the final design concept for his sneaky turtle. The turtle's head was his idea for an adaptation of the "fast start" secret -- including the Wolf scout cap!
Our agreement was simple: you design it and I will carve it -- and design it he did! I did not allow him to use any power tool with a blade, nor any chisels or knives. I taught him to use my pen lathe to polish axles with sandpaper all the way up to 2000 grit -- a mirror shine. He spent 4 1/2 hours sanding the carved block from 60 to 220 grit, learned how to spray paint, and then hand painted the final touches with a Q-tip and toothpick.
In the first heat, Speedy the Turtle generated a track record, and he ended up taking 1st Place. But the best part was watching Derek at the finish line cheering on his den-mates--totally oblivious to the fact that "track record" means "1st Place." Despite winning every heat holding the track record for the entire event, he was blown away that he had won the race.
Geico Car - Brian Keezer
My son, a Webelos II, decided that since we had been pretty inconsistent over his first four years of racing with trying to win the speed category, he wanted to try for best design in his final year. He came up with the idea of the Geico stack of money that you see on the commercials. He built it and painted it entirely on his own. It came out looking great, and he ended up winning for best design in his Pack. He then went onto the District race and took first place for design there as well. The car wasn't very fast, but he certainly accomplished his goal in his final year of Cub Scouts, and couldn't have been happier with the two large trophies he walked away with.