First Posted: 3/7/2009
It took 8-year-old Cameron Smith almost three weeks to perfect his miniature wooden race car, trimmed in Wake Forest University logo and colors, for the 2009 Dogwood District Pinewood Derby Saturday morning.
But once the race was underway, it only took a little more than four hours for him to claim first place for speed.
Smith, along with about 30 other Cub Scouts ages 7 to 11, spent the bulk of Saturday morning racing their hand-built cars to earn top spots for speed and design inside the gym of Mount Airy Christian Church.
It feels pretty good to win, Cameron said with a huge grin. Im excited.
Grasping the trophy in his hands, he nodded at the suggestion that he thought he had a good shot at winning first place. But quickly added that it wasnt only about the winning.
Its just fun anyway, said Cameron, who came in third place in last years competition.
The Pinewood Derby is a racing event for Cub Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America. Cub Scouts, often with the help of parents, build their own miniature cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine, plastic wheels and metal axles.
Typical rules of the Pinewood Derby include that the finished car must use all pieces, must not exceed a certain weight usually 5 ounces must not exceed a certain length and must fit on the track used by that particular scout pack.
Blocks can be whittled with a hand knife or a band saw or Dremel carving tool for major shaping, and the Cub Scout is able to carve and decorate the car as he chooses including using decals.
Participants in the 2009 Dogwood District Pinewood Derby did not limit their imaginations in transforming unfinished blocks from different objects to accurate replica of real cars.
Jacob Hiatt, 8, of Pack 596 stuck with a more traditional race-car shape, but added a yellow driver to his green car.
Jacob said, with the help of his father, Stewart Hiatt, he drew out a shape for his car before constructing it, which he said happened to be the hardest part.
It was my first time, I think its good, he said, in-between races. I had fun doing it, but the hardest part was cutting it out.
We sanded it down and worked on the axle and wheels to make it faster, his father said. I think the biggest thing was fixing the car when it got banged up (during construction).
Tony Cashatt, the father of Cub Scout Derek Cashatt, said shape, design and good old aerodynamics are what play an important role in the speed of the miniature vehicles.
When it hits the curve of the track, the lower the weight of the car, the more energy will carry it through to the end, Cashatt said, as he watched his son prepare to race.
Center it good, boy! he urged from his seat in the audience.
Without looking at his father, Derek, 10, quickly adjusted the vehicle more toward the center.
There are many things that can be done to reduce the friction, he continued to explain as he watched his sons car soar down the track beating the other car to the finish line.
Good job, buddy, he shouted.
He suggested buying multiple kits and matching the best parts from the various kits, since some parts have defects.
Smith and his son, Cameron, suggested adding a quick start modification to the car to increase starting speed, using graphite lubricant to reduce friction on the wheels, include holes in the car to eliminate unnecessary weights.
Its this winning combination of secrets, the pair said, that helped Cameron earn first place.
Im happy for him, but it doesnt matter about winning or losing, Smith said. Its about making friends and doing things like this together.
Those awarded in the Tiger Cubs Division included Jackson Tumbarello, Jack Brevard, William Marshall and Nick Bryant. All are of Pack 596. The Cub Scout Division included Cameron Smith of Pack 556, first place; Austin Critz of Pack 538, 2nd place; Ben Marshall of Pack 596, third place; and Nick Conzone of Pack 556, best design.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.