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

The Pinewood Derby Bling-Mobile
By Susie Boyce

My son brought his pinewood derby flier home from Cub Scouts exactly
two weeks before the race. My first instinct was to throw it away and
cross my fingers that my husband would never find out. Having lived
through previous derbies, I wasn't sure I was prepared for another

Weighing our marriage in the balance, however, I decided to disclose
the race information. My husband furrowed his brow, grumbled something
about short notice and got right to work.

With some trepidation, I will divulge what happened next.

The following instructions and warnings could either be used as
pinewood derby navigation tools for families or simply as a pinewood
derby cautionary tale.

Either way, I hope they prove helpful.


Your Cub Scout is free to choose any design he wants. That is,
providing the design he wants has been pre-screened for outstanding
aerodynamic qualities by Dad. Dad must then spend a minimum of one
entire Saturday in the garage cutting, sanding, painting and spinning

Both his and the car's.

The Cub is welcome to help but may also disappear for long periods of
time to ride his Ripstick, play with friends or get a snack - all
without Dad necessarily noticing his absence.


A trip to the craft store is essential. Since the aesthetic fate of
the car hinges on this trip, Dad should think twice before inviting
Teenage Sister along. Should this error in judgment occur, however,
keep in mind that the final product may well be a race car with a
startling amount of bling. It could even end up ornamented with
sparkly silver weights, a dozen or so gems (the tiara kind) and an
ever-so-swirly letter "S".

Blinded by Teenage Sister's zeal for the car's breathtaking design,
your Cub might temporarily forget that a pinewood derby car festooned
by sparkly stuff isn't necessarily manly.


On the eve of the race, Dad will be unavailable, so Mom must accompany
her son to have his car weighed. Once the car is found to exceed the
maximum 5 ounce limit - which Dad had sworn would not happen - Mom
should use the provided drill to make holes in the bottom of the car
in an attempt to remove the surplus weight.

After several holes fail to do the trick, Mom will need to get more
aggressive with the drill. This is a risky strategy, of course,
because she might drill all the way through to the top of the car.

Should this unfortunate event occur, Mom can simply remove a gem from
another area of the car and place it over the offending hole. In doing
so, she will find that removal of gems doesn't damage paint, which
will give her another idea for shedding weight: taking off more gems.

If the scale still refuses to budge, Mom is allowed to mumble mild
curses (under her breath only, kids will be present) while she drills
more and more and more holes with the miniscule drill bit.

When approximately half of the car's wood has been removed and its
underside appears to have been caught in a crossfire of tiny bullets,
the car will finally weigh in at precisely 5 ounces.

Later that evening, upon describing the problematic weigh-in ordeal to
Dad, Mom should be prepared for the look of alarm on his face as he
asks, "Did you drill the holes symmetrically? The car has to be

Mom is permitted to react with passion, and not the kind Dad dreams


Mom will drag all her kids to the derby without Dad, who will be
running late. It is imperative that she disguise her reaction upon
seeing her son's blindingly sparkly vehicle in the lineup alongside
red, black and yellow cars boasting serious stripes and fire bursts of
the traditional race car variety.

Just as the announcing begins and while Mom is trying to keep her 3-
year-old from dismantling the track, she should expect her cell phone
to ring and hear Dad's panicked voice hollering, "Have you put
graphite on the axles? You have to graphite the axles before the

Moderate cursing from Mom is expected at this point, although she
should try to keep it under wraps as much as possible.

Mom must speedily fish the graphite from her purse, toss it to Teenage
Sister, yell across the gym for her to help graphite the wheels,
continue to restrain her 3-year-old, and finally breathe as her son's
car comes in second place in the first heat.

At which point Dad will sprint in to take charge for the balance of
the evening.


Despite the aforementioned stellar efforts of so many, the car will
not place. It will, however, receive the distinction of being named
"Weirdest Car" at the derby. As parents, try not to hold a grudge
against members of the award title-writing committee. They certainly
wouldn't have seen this one coming.


Weighing his marriage in the balance, Dad must be careful to never say
this out loud.


But he will be inclined to blame the car's losing status on all those
holes riddling its undercarriage.

They were simply not drilled symmetrically.

Used by Permission


Susie Boyce and her husband have "successfully" navigated six Pinewood
Derbies and have three more to go. Her column, "Momsensical," is
featured in several North Dallas area newspaper. Visit her web site at:

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 12

To subscribe to this free e-newsletter, please visit:

(C)2011, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.
35 36 37 38