Sign in to follow this  
jagabom

My Son won the Pinewood Derby... Yeehah..!

Recommended Posts

What a weekend.Our family had a great weekend. Knowing that we just moved to California in June of this year, not many people knew me in our youngest son's Cub Scout pack. I serve on the committee as Treasurer of my older son's Boy Scout Troop, but nothing in the Cub Scout Pack.Well that changed recently. I had offered back in August to help out with the pinewood derby. Let's just say I know too much about it. Anyway, I find out at the October Pack meeting that there is no Graphite allowed. Now anyone who knows anything about pinewood derby knows graphite is an integral part in making your car go to the end of the track Vs. stopping 3/4 of the way down.The rules inside the box the car comes in even says add dry lubricant. (We only allow Official BSA - Boy Scouts of America - Derby Kits to be used). Being as a lot of people were missing from the October pack meeting, and Graphite was allowed last year, I talked to the Asst. Cubmaster and voiced my concerns. But the odd thing was this pack really had no rules at all. Which means that anyone who wanted to could discover all the little tricks to gain an advantage.So I explained the graphite thing, and also again volunteered to help out. So first thing I was worried about was illegal cars, so I offered up my prior Pack's Rules, which I, along with a few others had perfected over the last 7 years or so.Of course, they implemented them immediately, and the emails started to fly. Mostly from dad's who tried to circumvent the rules. They also stated in the rules I would be the deciding judge along with the Asst. Cubmaster. (What did I get myself into...) Back in Illinois we did registration on the morning of the race. Here in California, we did registration Thursday before the saturday Race. Well, on that night, the Asst. Cubmaster could not make it, so I had to be the bad guy. Now normally, if a car was Illegal, we would run it down the track against my older son's first car. If it was not competitive, we let it run as is. However if it was illegal, we had them correct it in time to race. I can also tell if a car will be competitive by spinning the wheels. Trust me, some of these dad's know exactly what they are doing. And I know what to look for.I also had a dad show up with his own scale, plugs it in and says we can use it. Well, I did not bring a scale, as I use the $3.96 scale at wall-mart when we build our cars. I use my son's 1st year car to calibrate it as I know it is exactly 5 ounces. For the first time ever, I did not have to add or delete any weight, ours came in at exactly 5 ounces. (BTW- I do not inspect my own car, I have two others do it, since I am a judge.) Anyway, the two scales we had at the tables were digital, and both saw my son's car and many other car's at 5 ounces. So I told him, we already have official scales and we are using these. It turns out that his scale read both my car's at 4.8 ounces, which means his car was at 5.2 ounces. So he was all upset he had to remove weight and not use his scale. What that would have meant is that he would of had a car at 5.2, while many others would have come in at only 4.8. Sorry, but that is not the way it works. And a car at 5 ounces almost always wins.Well, I had no track to compare so, So I let a few illegal cars 9About 5 or six) in with advise that next year, it will not be allowed to run if the same techniques are used. (BTW- If you are interested in using our rules, email me, and I will provide them to you. They cover just about every advantage I have seen in 7 years. And they really tick off the dad's who build illegal cars.)So, I let in a few illegal cars, and then came race day. We had a great Janitor at the school we used, and he was very helpful to us on race day.We had a few cars that needed to be fixed because they hit the underside switch on the track. (It will be changed to an overhead for next year.)I had thought my son's car would do well, but their were two cars, One illegal, that I knew had a chance to beat him. One car had Illegal BSA tires from many years ago. This matters because the injection molding mark is not on the tread, so it gives an advantage. Also this car had only 3 tires contacting the track, which means less friction, = faster car. He also drilled holes in the tires to make them lighter, and added more weight to the back.Well, it was a fast car. The other car was basically hollowed out with lead sunk in the rear. Very fast car. - But 100% Leagl according to the rules.I also am the new Pinewood Derby Chairperson for the next two years. (I need to stop volunteering for these things....) JK. Where my kids are involved, I'm there.Well, then came my son's car. We do stealth design, meaning you cannot tell where we added the weight, or what we did to the car. I do plan to reveal my techniques, but I have to put together the pictures and such. I documented everything this year with lots of pictures. I don't really polish the wheels, only lightly sand to remove the injection molding spot.So the race is running, and I am the one doing all the staging on the track. We had 65 cars running in a pack with about 90 Cub Scouts. I determined that lane 3 was the fastest, so in my head I was logging the fastest times as I saw them. My son's car number was 92, and he is a Bear Scout. We ran the heats in stages, 1.2.3. according to rank, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelow, so I had a while before my son's car ran.We also had 4 cameras recording the race in digital format, and will be providing CD-Roms of the race for those that want them. Well, my son's car finally came up, and all I can say is wow. Most times up to that point were in the neighborhood of 3.505 -3.565 - 3.575, etc....My son's fastes time was 3.379, which was a individual track record, (lane 3), and he had a total time out of 4 races of 14.143, which averaged 3.535 each race. The second place car came in at 14.322 over 4 races, which was the illegal car, running with 3 tires touching the track and illeagl wheels.So the difference was a total time of .179 of a second. Yowsa.So it was pretty sweet having a legal car as an example winning. Great example, and of course I had some dad's pouring over my son's car to figure out how we did it.1st Pleace Car = Legal Car2nd Place car = Illegal Car3rd Place Car = Legal CarWhich I told them how. Follow the rules.So, out of 65 cars, my son's car was Number 1, and I am so proud of all the work he did on it. (He spun those wheels in graphite for over a week, at 5 minutes a day per tire.) My oldest son won the overall his very first year, and the other years we were placed very high, ranking at least 1,2,3 for rank and in the top 15 over all. My youngest son placed 12th overall last year, with 1/2 second being the difference between 12th, and 1st. He did place 2nd among wolf scouts, though. So we had a goal of trying to win, and we probably put in more time on this year's car than any other year. And the excitement on his face told the story. He was one happy Scout, and I was one proud dad. I also felt a bit relieved since he really wanted to win the overall because his older brother had won the overall in his pack.Here is a pic of my son's rank trophy, as the overall 1st Place Trophy will be given to him at the next pack meeting for recognition.Regards,Sonar5.My Son's Rank Trophy. He was also the Overall Winner with the fastest time out of 65 Scouts. Congratulations, Willhttp://www.pbase.com/image/23424590.jpghttp://aboutpolitics.net/images/bannerav.gif.About Politics.net - FORUMShttp://pub207.ezboard.com/bpoliticsgivemel...tyorgivemedeath.Contribute to the Richard Harvey Scholarship Fund.http://www.avsim.com/pages/scholarship.shtml

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Cool story! And congrats to both you and your son :-beerchug It was not so long ago I was a webelow... I won first place in the Pinewood Derby every year except Wolf :) Car was a beauty, weeks of work went into make every curve in proportion, and the weight perfect... she won her final victory in Webelow Pinewood derby race, when she blew off the track record (which I forget now) and flew right off the track (broke through stoppers at the end) and smashed in to walls, denting the front and taking two of the wheels off.... I fixed her up after that and she now sits on a shelf today next to my trophy from that year :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats to you too Jason.Did your pack allow the same car to be ran multiple years?Ours requires a new car every year. You cannot use a previous year's car.Regards,Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Boy, the cars sure have changed in the last 40 years. Then too, they were still driving "Front" engine roadsters at Indy. Glad to see the scouts are still building cars and values needed for later in their lives.Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a cool story. Congratulations to your son. I actually won a pinewood derby when I was a kid too. That was, oh, about 20 years ago! My car wasn't nearly so advanced as yours so I suppose I just got lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>Did your pack allow the same car to be ran multiple years?Nope, but I carved the kit with the same inde in mind each year- came out pretty much the same, different shades of color and decal stickers, though. Its incredible what some kids did- some would enter the block of wood with wheels on it, and some would go all out and build a toothpick tower on top (it actually won a race, then didn't race again after the tower fell down at the top of the track)Jason :-wave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats!:):):)I've happy memories of Pinewood Derby (I went from Tiger Cubs through til ~8 mos as a Boy Scout; I'll explain why only 8 mos later).I was, as usual, the only kid with disabilities, so I could never do what I so desperately wanted: Design and build the car myself.Instead, my dad always helped.Never did win, though I did come close...ONCE.Then came the actual manned car dens had to build and race, powered solely by a strong push from the other boys in the den and gravity.I loved driving during practice (never mind that I couldn't see what I was doing...), but of course one of my fellow scouts met Mr. Curb and totaled the car before I could actually race the thing.:-/ What can I say? I couldn't (can't) ride a bike. I liked going fast.:-)Ah, hell. Memories.Warning: Rant below.[rant]I try not to think of this, but if you'll all allow, the memories are coming back, and I need to vent a bit, just so I can calm down.I left scouts at 11, after 8 months with my troop. (I'm 20 now) Why?I was the only disabled kid (mostly blind, but my cerebral palsy and other issues had more of an effect), and I couldn't do knots or a lot of the physical stuff. I tried, but...When all my friends hit Tenderfoot and I couldn't keep up with anybody, discouragement hit.When I found it was impossible for me to join the other kids camping w/o help, and even then it was torture...Well, much crying ensued.Scouting got me a lot of my friends. I wanted to be there *bad*. My brother was there (almost made Eagle but for arguments w/ National over the service project, IIRC), all my friends were there. I had no real life w/o Scouts. (Never did, but for brief attempts at Challenger League baseball) But it was a lost cause.It still hurts, and part of that I think is because Scouting has *never*, as far as I could tell, handled disabled kids very well. My Scoutmaster tried DAMN hard. My dad tried DAMN hard. Everybody tried. But in the end...There's something about that desire to be able to keep up with everyone else, to have an equal playing field...Scouting seemed not to understand. I wanted, desperately, to be able to get out and about with everyone else; It hurt like hell to be on the outside looking in later (sure, my dad would drag me along when, say, they went camping at NAVSTA Norfolk and went to USNA and stuff, but...), and it hurt worse to feel like I was only "suffered", not accepted. Scouting is something I still would support for ANY able-bodied kid; I can argue with some of their policies (re gay scouts, for example; I just don't see HOW something like that could possibly be an issue for the kids...Maybe anal-retentive adults, but not the kids. I'm straight, and I don't usually give a damn about such things; They just happened to have f*d it up so badly as to annoy me.), but I will *always* support Baden-Powell's basic vision.For someone like me, being in Cub Scouts was a lifeline; It literally may have kept me from the brink of suicide for a few years. Cuz of it, I had friends. I just wish Scouting could, re my kind (disabled kids), give us a fair shake.[/rant]Thanks all. Plus kleenex, this helped.Actually, that drags on another issue re all this. (Bare in mind my last encounter w/ scouts was really in 92, much may have changed)How relevant still are a lot of things like knots, etc etc? I always remember being flummoxed by that. I couldn't tie my own shoes (still can't, just don't have the fine motor), I couldn't do any knots...And I was always left wondering...why? Why did it matter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Penta,I commend you for sticking with it as long as you did. It is hard for me to appreciate the pains you felt, but it might help that I can tell you times have changed. :-)For example, the Boy Scout Handbook has alternate requirements now for Scouts with special needs. If a Scout is unable to complete the task there are alternate ones he can do.These Alternate Requirements are spelled out for each rank, all the way up to, and including Eagle Scout, and are printed in the books. Instead of these requirements being advised by the troop, the local council is the authority, and has been given special training to help in this area.While our current troop does not have any special needs Scouts, Our prior Troop and Pack did, and all I can say is they were very involved, and the dad attended the campouts with his son, making it a bit easier. It was also great seeing the other scouts participate in a full way ensuring these special needs scouts got the full program.Here is the link showing what the current policy is to give the Scout a chance to earn up to First Class.http://meritbadge.com/bsa/adv/t21-alt.htmAnd the requirements to make Eagle.http://meritbadge.com/bsa/adv/eaglealt.htmI apologize that you were not able to cxomplete yours, but maybe you can help spread the word now that Scouting has finally caught up with the needs of all Scouts.Hope this helps,Regards,Joehttp://aboutpolitics.net/images/bannerav.gif.About Politics.net - FORUMShttp://pub207.ezboard.com/bpoliticsgivemel...tyorgivemedeath.Contribute to the Richard Harvey Scholarship Fund.http://www.avsim.com/pages/scholarship.shtml

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joe: Thanks, but it's been a few years. It's now one of those 'annoying preteen/teen memories'. (I'm scarred, but who hasn't been scarred by that time?:))What you describe was much what happened in my case; Thing is that I was always mainstreamed in school and such. NOT being mainstreamed was frustrating, especially since (until I was faced with the issue of driving) I utterly REFUSED to admit I couldn't do what anyone else could do. (Boy Scouts...Well, my dad had to force me to face reality. That was...a legendary fight.)However, thanks for the info; Upon reflection, it doesn't look much different. That being said, I should note my local council was New Jersey's Monmouth Council....(Yes, THAT Monmouth Council, the one that had BSA heading to the Supreme Court for the second time in a decade or so, in Jones v BSA; I'm told they were nearly driven in by the legal costs, and I've seen "for sale" signs around the previous HQ (very close to my house, and on prime real estate which they never got taxed for) for years. Local opinion was neither as enthusiastic or as conservative as may have seemed, I guess.) My scoutmaster was great, as I said, but...I dunno. I never got good vibes from anybody outside my former troop when we were at district or council events. Until this came up, I must say I'd never thought about it all that much; I tried to push it aside, it stayed there, I was happy...I saw this thread, I blinked...I had silly memories of Cub Scouts come back (I only remember one of my friends winning Pinewood Derby...I always wondered if it was rigged...)...And then the bad stuff came back, and I needed to vent, just so I could go back to not thinking about it.:(Bah.That being said, I've heard that after Cub Scouts, few kids stick around; I'm honestly curious as to how much Scouting as we know it in the US can survive, given what seems an evident culture clash between the higher levels of Scouting and the troops. (My personal opinion is that Scouting's path will often follow JROTC and similar things, because of the outward similarity to the uninitiated (and, frankly, some of the similarities in mindsets among the psycho types). BSA, however, has the problem of increasingly shooting itself in the head, in the way JROTC could never pull off.)But that belongs in another topic, I suppose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this