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PINEWOOD DERBY MEMORY
Perseverance


My son Alex worked very hard on his car. I tried to help as best as I could but being a single mom and not that talented with power tools, I prayed a lot. His design was a nice race car shape we found on your site. It seemed simple enough until the band saw had a mind of its own. In one fell swoop the nice race car shape became a wedge. I was a little worried, but after reading the hints on your site it seemed like it might have all happened for a reason.

I then drilled the weight holes on the bottom and broke the first cardinal rule; I went right through the body. Again I was a little worried but it looked like a logical place for the racer's head! I handed over the car and Alex set to work sanding, priming, sanding again. We made a windshield from a plastic soda bottle and he painted the final coat.

Now it was time to weigh the car; it came in at 1.5 ounces! I guess I cut off more of the block than I realized. Panic set in. I scrounged up some flat metal and asked my brother to take them to work to be cut in the machine shop. The original idea of fishing weights nearly caused us to fall over with laughter - with a car at 1.5 ounces it was going to take more weights than car.

Then after the final finish coat of clear acrylic the car fell and split in front. A little glue, some clamps and a few prayers got us back on track. We got the car up to weight, 4.97 ounces, and Alex had to repaint. Thinking that I had totally ruined my son's first Pinewood Derby, we set off to the pack race. He was so excited when
his car finished a full two car lengths ahead of the other Tigers. In all he took 1st Place in his Den, and he then raced the bigger boys and took 4th overall in the Pack. We celebrated with plastic stemware and ginger ale (champagne substitute)! Alex then raced at the Districts, and finished 21 out of 88 racers.

We had a good time building together and I learned it does not matter that I am a single mom. We can still do 'guy' things together and have good results. Alex learned that it does not matter if he won or lost but that he did his best and that we can count on each other to get things done.

Susan Hanna
Proud mom of Tiger cub Alex Hanna
Cub pack 41, Johnsonsville, Pennsylvania

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 5, Issue 2

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