Scouts revving to compete in Pinewood Derby
Updated: January 10, 2013 11:16AM
GLENCOE — Jerry Coleman couldn’t wait to whip out a newspaper clipping from the 1970s to show his son Alec and his friend Clayton Lantz, both Glencoe South School second graders.
Both boys were excitedly preparing their Pinewood Derby cars for the annual car racing tradition on Jan. 13. Jerry Coleman, himself a Pinewood Derby car racer, recalls that 1972 memory.
“My picture was in the paper for best looking car, it was exciting,” said Coleman, smiling, as Alec and Clayton sanded and weighed the unpainted beginnings of what would become sleek Pinewood Derby cars.
Jerry Coleman’s 1972 model was “a dark navy blue, wedge shaped. It wasn’t very fast but it was a very nice looking car.”
Today’s childhood produced a new theme.
“What color Alec?”
“Gray car,” replied Alec.
“No blue car yet, but many years to come,” said Alec’s dad.
Last year, it was ruby red.
Later, Alec shyly revealed his 2013 model name: “Thunderstruck.”
“It teaches some craftsmanship and some design with wood and working with their hands, and a little bit of art,” Jerry Coleman said. “
“The cut is not that important. It’s a very short track, it takes two to three seconds for the car from start to finish. What’s more important is some of the weight distribution. We’ve experimented with all different types of shapes and sizes. It’s more the weight of the cars and the alignment of the wheels than anything else.”
Many parents Internet research Pinewood Derby car designs, hoping for secrets on what makes cars go.
“I don’t think anyone has all of the answers to this particular event,” smiled Coleman, a nine-year Glencoe resident with his wife Kristin.
“The most creative car last year was a car that looked like the (TV) show “Wipeout” with the different obstacles on top of the car.”
Another interesting model was the Chicago Blackhawks Zamboni car,” so you get a lot of different creations here,” Jerry Coleman said.
Alec’s older sister, Annika, a Central School fifth-grader, raced her ice cream-themed car last year.
“She drew it out on paper,” said Coleman, of Annika’s derby design.
“I helped her carve it with a file and I thought it turned out very nice.
“You’ll be surprised how many parents enter their own car, and how many brothers or sisters or siblings, even grandfathers, will enter a car,” said Coleman.
“It’s a great event. It gets very loud in there, I mean, these scouts are just going crazy when their car is on the track. I mean, crazy.”
Come one, come all, encourages Coleman, a business owner of a health care company.
“It’s the first Cub Scout event of the year and one of the most exciting for sure.”
The Pinewood Derby event is at 1 p.m. Sunday at West School, 1010 Forestway Drive, Glencoe. The public is invited, including scouting families. Last year, about 30 Scouts participated along with their extended families, racing about 60 cars.
Glencoe Cub Scout Pack 28 has about 30 boys, aged 6-11.