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Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 Pinewood Derby Winner!

Whoo-hoo! Dane won a shiny 3rd place trophy at the Cub Scout Pack 711 Pinewood Derby on Saturday, January 8th, 2011! I couldn't help but put his winning photo right up front. He had a grin that didn't go away for a week after bringing in the win. Congratulations, Dane!

It was a tough race day with a big crowd. Before it all started, the Pack leaders got the guys together to take a group shot. Dane was excited and ready to race.


For this year's competition, Dane built "The Tank" to put some fear into the competition. His winning car is the hand-painted green and brown camouflage tank with flags and stars, shown here in the middle.
Don't be fooled by its hefty size when sitting next to the other race cars. While he may have sacrificed a little aerodynamic performance to build an impressive monster, we spent a lot of time polishing the axles, aligning the wheels, and getting the weight just right to make up for it. This baby was meant to dominate the track. He won this heat without breaking a sweat.

Here's his car in a nail-biting heat a few minutes later. Dane's in the middle lane and it didn't look good for him as the cars headed into the stretch. Too quickly for the camera to catch, "The Tank" slipped to the front right at the crossing line to eke out a win.

The first set of races were between the boys within a den (grade level). Each boy in Dane's Wolf Den (the 2nd graders) competed at least three times, once in each lane to eliminate any bias in the track lanes. He won all three of his races, but we didn't know whether he'd won the den level competition or not because he didn't race the same boys each time. We had to wait for results while the other dens raced that morning.

Soon enough, though, the results were announced. He won 2nd place in his den, having been just barely edged out of 1st place by Mason Aaron. Below, Dane is thrilled just to get a participation patch.

The three Wolf Den winners, from left to right:
Mason Aaron (1st), Dane (2nd), and Ricardo Leeper (3rd).
The den races were over. Now it was time to compete for Pack bragging rights. The top three from each den (15 total from 1st through 5th grade) were pitted against one another to see who got the big trophies. Below, Dane's car is a blur in the far left lane, barely a nose ahead of the others. The cars hadn't quite crossed the finish line ... Did he win? Did he win?
YES! Dane won his first heat in the Pack finals! A blistering scale speed of 214.8 mph!

And soon it was time for Dane's third heat in the finals. He raced head to head with his earlier den-level competitor, Mason Aaron. Look closely because these boys are not much more than a flash as they pass.

Ouch! He lost by 6 one-thousandths of a second!

And the final results are in:
The winning times are the sum of the best two heats. Dane's average time was of 2.3010 seconds with a scale speed of 214.8 mph! A little post-racing analysis suggests that Mason Aaron's car was just a litttttle bit closer to the maximum 5-ounce weight limit than Dane's car was. "The Tank" weighed in a 4.95 ounces. We had hesitated at check-in time to add any more weight because that's barely a paperclip's weight (1 g) under the limit! A lesson learned for next year might be to add just a touch more weight for that last bit of speed advantage.

Congratulations, Dane! He was grinning from ear to ear as he accepted his 3rd place trophy for fastest car in the Pack. Handing over the award is Cubmaster Jeff Stivers.

We proudly displayed his 3rd place trophy and car on the fireplace mantle next to his 2nd place car and trophy from last year's Pinewood Derby. We'll get 'em next year! It'll be time to add a 1st place trophy to his collection!



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