Pinewood Derby cars hit high gear

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 17, 2013

KANNAPOLIS — The Pinewood Derby cars are ready. “Let me have a car in lane 1, lane 2, lane 3, and lane 4,” contestants hear.

A starter releases the cars, and the small wooden speedsters head down the shiny aluminum runway. All eyes are on the four flashy colored speeding objects zooming toward them. Necks strain to see. In a couple of seconds the race is over. There are “oohs, aahs, wows.” Arms extend upward in victory. The ritual is repeated heat after heat in the Lowe’s Derby Days races.

For the second year, Lowe’s Home Improvement Store in Kannapolis has sponsored the event for boys and girls who want to make the small wooden cars and test their speed. You could even bring your car from last year to test it against the new cars. Lowe’s employee, Bruce Conser put the event together with help from Nicole Fisher, who is Cub Scoutmaster for Pack 47 in Kannapolis.

Fisher furnishes the track that will also be used for the March 2 Pinewood Derby sponsored by the Central N.C. Council of the Boy Scouts at the Carolina Mall.

Conser says he is pleased with the turnout of 67 entries for this year’s event. Conser explains that growing up, “ I was a Cub Scout and I remember how important the family was. I just wanted to do an event that includes all our families.”

Making the cars is usually a father/son event that gets them to work together. Many mothers were with the family to see the small cars race.

Jonathan Shapiro worked with his father, Paul, to make his blue car. Paul laughs and says that they worked about 6 hours over two days making and painting the car. Jonathan enjoyed painting his car metallic blue. Jonathan, in his excitement, says “the race is fun” as he hustled off to get his car.

William Pillsbury worked with his father, Bill, in building their car. William says that “spray painting the car was the most fun.”

He boasted , “My car did it two times (heat races) in first place.”

Holding his car in his hand, Victor Conser said, “This is a new car. Dad wanted me to make it slick like glass. We sanded it. I like this car even though it was second and third in the races.”

Many Cub Scouts used the event to test their pinewood derby cares before their scout pack races. Both boys and girls could take part. One young girl, seven year old, Ryleigh Fulghum named her pink car Glamor Barbi.

Trophies were given in a number of categories and a Dremel tool was given in a drawing. The tool is useful in shaping the cars with the detailed sanding.