The day of the big Pinewood Derby race

Aw man, who knew a bunch of boys racing wooden cars down a sloping track could be so stressful? Annually, it seems each Cub Scout pack member holds a “Pinewood Derby” race. The boys either buy or receive a Pinewood Derby box which includes: one block of wood, four plastic wheels, and four nail (“axles”.) Each boy picks a design for their car, gets it cut, sands it, customizes it, paints it, and then they race on the big day. Depending on your car’s design and performance that day, a scout can win a trophy based on their overall placement (1st place, 2nd place, etc.) or another trophy for Most Creative, Most Patriotic, etc.

Being us, we got a late start on designing and building the car. I helped Josh on picking a design, showing him how to trace the design onto the wood, then took him to different workshops at some Cub Scout Masters’ houses to get it cut. After he sanded it, I took him last week to a local hobby shop to pick out paints. I primed it, then helped him initially to paint it. He changed the name a few times, but finally settled on the “Patriot Arrow.”

We had some issues Friday night before the race to get the wheels installed, and the wood chipped. I had to use a lot of Krazy Glue to get the wheels/axles to stay on. Friday night, we drove in the snow to the local VFW hall to weigh it, and then use a hot glue gun to fasten additional weights to get it as close to 5 ounces in total weight.

Saturday morning, I took Josh back to the VFW hall for the final check-in, and then the big race. We hung out to watch the previous den race, then for his den to finally race. Josh’s car surprisingly stood up to all 9 heats, placing in various positions, from #3 to #4 to #5 throughout. Who knew? His car eventually placed 4th in the den, so he didn’t advance, but he had a good time, so I think it was worth it.

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