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Adding Brakes to Your Car
By Peter Holzemer

You can't win no matter how fast your car is if it gets damaged at the
stop section of the track. Our district track is a forty foot wood
track with a three foot raised stop section terminated by a foam
rubber stop bar across the end of the track. Unfortunately, the
fastest cars slide through the stop section hitting the foam stop bar
relatively hard. These fast cars either flip over the bar onto the
hard floor, or hit the foam so hard that they bounce backwards through
the stop section onto the track. Sometimes, the bounced cars collide
with other slower moving cars, causing damage to all involved.

In our second year of racing, my son's car was the fastest in the
first heat. His car slid through the stop section, hit the stop bar,
and flipped onto the floor, bending a rear axle. Not realizing that
the axle was bent we kept on racing and winning, only to have the car
slow down in the finals. My son was fortunate enough to place third
overall, but the other top cars were not so fortunate. Those cars
also received damage from the foam stop bar, but ended up losing their
top spots. After that experience, we decided a change was needed -
brakes for the car.

The brake system is very simple, just two small strips of 80 grit
black drywall sandpaper glued to the bottom of the car in front of and
behind the rear axle. This sandpaper causes the car to slow down
quickly when it reaches the raised stop section. The deceleration is
enough to keep the cars from bouncing on the stop bar. Now, we add
brakes to all our pack cars going to the district race. At this past
year's event, none of our pack cars had a crash.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 10, Issue 11

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