Wooden Racers Streak to Victory at Pinewood Derby

The finish line at the 2012 Pinewood Derby.
The finish line at the 2012 Pinewood Derby.

Tiger Cub Scout Keegan Scott walked away with the tallest trophy at Cub Scout Pack 79’s annual Pinewood Derby at Crozet United Methodist Church Jan. 28. His car hit 177.4 miles per hour on a 29-foot aluminum ramp. He finished a scant 3/1000s of a second ahead of Alex Flamm (also a Tiger, a first-year Scout), who clocked in at 177.3 mph. Camden King’s car came in third at 176.8 mph. He is also a Tiger.

Former Cubmaster Mike Carmagnola came back for the derby to announce the event in his smooth, repartee-seasoned style. Arin Sime handled the timing duties on the computer. Other parents manned a concession stand that provided pizza for lunch. Twenty-two pizzas were eaten.

Fifty-one wooden cars, many with ingenious shapes, were entered. Thirteen had been built by adults or Scout siblings and 38 were made by Cubs. Fifty heats were run on the four-lane track, each car racing in each lane one time, and each car’s worst time was dropped.

Whenever a leader said “Pinewood Derby,” the Scouts shouted, “Swish! Yea!” If their cheer did not seem enthusiastic enough, the words would be said again until the room’s vaulted ceiling was jammed with sound and the boys were focused again on the race. The pack has 40 Scouts, including 11 in their first year.

Cubmaster David Vance asked the scouts to tell him what the value of the month is. They volunteered sportsmanship. He was looking for positive attitude and in a bit someone remembered it.

Scouts crowded around the finish line and accepted their cars’ fates. Carmagnola steadily pointed out new speed records for the day. Occasionally the Scout sign, three fingers up on the right hand, was raised, which means be quiet and pay attention. “Sign’s up,” Vance would declare firmly. The boys hushed. Parents needed repeat training on the cue.

Fourteen trophies were awarded, three tall ones to the top finishers, and the rest for car design and workmanship. David Gallik and Max Somers got trophies for creative car design. Darius Mehta and Turner Smith were recognized for construction effort and Nathan Vance and Joshua Sime won the Scout spirit awards, which reward ways to get Scouting references into the cars’ appearance.

Kudos for speedy cars also went to Gavin Saucerman, Jeb Blackman, Gibbs Gresge, Shane Keeton and Josiah Walcott.

First place went to Keegan Scott, left, and second to Alex Flamm.
First place went to Keegan Scott, left, and second to Alex Flamm.


  1. Outstanding coverage of a great traditional Scouting event! Stories about Scouts and Scouting are always appreciated. Thank you!

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