Pinewood Derby with a twist of LeMons

KriderRacing38s 2010 Acura CL

The 24 Hours of LeMons Sears Pointless race last weekend was host to 148 teams racing $500 cars. Once the checkered flag dropped on Saturday night, then the action switched from the world famous twelve turn technical road course of Infineon Raceway to a sloped four lane wooden straight track for teams racing $5 cars –pinewood derby cars.

Since Speed:Sport:Life had featured a Racer Boy story on Pinewood Derby, it only seemed right that we should represent at this event. So to prepare for the race we built three fresh cars and brought my son’s Boy Scouts of America District Champion car. Why four cars? You wouldn’t ask Penske why he brings four cars to Indy. We did it to hedge our bets, of course.

KriderRacing38s 2010 Acura CL

We built our #38 hero car, to look similar to our LeMon’s Acura Integra, red, sleek and lightweight. I’ll admit I got a little crazy with the Dremel on this one. We had so much Tungsten in the trunk in order to put the center mass toward the rear that we had to carve away the rest of the chassis to make the 5 ounce weight.

KriderRacing38s 2010 Acura CL

LeMons actually encouraged cheating in this event so we built our toxic waste delivery car, the toxic waste being 14 ounces of molten lead. To really make this car wicked fast we picked up a set of nickel plated polished axles and some crazy thin and super fast wheels from Maximum-Velocity.

KriderRacing38s 2010 Acura CL

A bunch of LeMons teams arrived with cars, some were decorated to match their actual racecars, some had different contraptions to attempt to make them faster. As the eliminations began all four of our cars won their first rounds.

KriderRacing38s 2010 Acura CL

We were feeling pretty good until the guys from the ZZ Uber team ran their first round. These guys built a remote controlled electric engine pinewood derby car. It was absolutely ingenious and was insanely fast.

KriderRacing38s 2010 Acura CL

Or cars were crushing the “old school” pinewood competition, especially our overweight and Maximum-Velocity wheels equipped toxic waste delivery car, but we couldn’t even touch the RC car. It was a blur as it went down the track. The car was built creatively and was perfectly executed. We’ll admit when we get out engineered and beat. They cleaned house in the pinewood race. At the end of the event they ran the car up the track backwards, using the track as a launch pad to propel the car fifteen feet through the air. You’ve never seen anything like it at a pinewood race.

KriderRacing38s 2010 Acura CL

We had to settle for not winning the pinewood race, which was fitting since the following day we finished second best in the LeMons race as well. But like Ricky Bobby’s daddy told him, second place is the first loser. Congrats to Team ZZ Uber. Outstanding ingenuity, we just wished we had thought of it too.

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Rob Krider

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