Dismiss Notice
Welcome to
Pinewood Derby Online, a forum for questions and discussions about everyone's favorite gravity powered racers!
CLICK HERE to register as a member today for full access to the forum, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free!

New member intro, and a (long) scout car/race question

Discussion in 'General Pinewood Derby Discussion' started by ScoutDad11, Feb 21, 2021 at 10:10 PM.

  1. ScoutDad11

    ScoutDad11 Hammering Axles

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Hey folks!

    New member, first post, but a LONG time lurker of this wonderful forum!

    My Scout (now a Weblos1) has benefitted immensely from your collective wisdom. Thank You!

    Over the years he's run some fast cars, gone to the District Council race a few times, but has never finished better than 3rd. That's not necessarily a negative. He learns more (and does more) each year to get better and faster, and he has. Our Pack race was today, he finished third... but he ran sub 3 seconds (42' BestTrack, on graphite) for the first time ever! We were both stoked with the 2.9774 second average, but what made me most proud was the fact that he was fist-bumping, high fiving, and back slapping the two boys who beat him. :D

    "Do your Best" and sportsmanship in action is a beautiful thing!

    A little setup to my question:

    I've tried not to be *that dad* over the years, but have been the one parent super-cognizant and conscientious about the rules. So much so that our Scout Master has volunteered me to do check in/tech inspection for the last several years. The rules tend to follow (or be slightly less restrictive) than the GNYC Council/National Championships, which is fine - but we also tend to let the younger scouts/less talented woodworking parents run what they brung if they won't be competitive (i.e. the Lion that shows up with a pre-cut Pinecar kit from Hobby Lobby that weighs 3.5oz and has non BSA wheels gets a pass and races against the other 20 or so kids). Participation, fun, and sportsmanship are always the focus.

    With that said, I have a bit of a conundrum/question for those more knowledgeable:

    The #1 and #2 finalists in our Pack were brothers - a Lion and Bear respectively (this year's Bear won handily last year as a Wolf). Dad's an engineer, and the kids are bright (this is a Pack made up of kids from an academics-focused charter school). They boys ran cars that were identical with reversed paint jobs, and are pro-level looking. I'm okay with something that looks "Dad built" - the point is for the boys to work with their parents, and one family's "Do your best" doesn't mean parity with every other family's "...best".

    I checked them in, the cars were fine and they fit the letter of the rules. All good.

    Their winning cars ran an average of 2.9265 and 2.9531 (again, 42' BestTrack, graphite lube only), and the Lion's car established a new all-time record for the track... which is at least 6 years old, tours the District, and is the same track now used at the DC level. It was an outstanding result, and it's awesome to see our pack stepping up their times as a whole (we had 3 kids break 3 seconds average - again, this is with graphite).

    Here's my conundrum. With COVID, we went to an online-assisted voting system for design. That meant I also had to photograph all the cars. While looking through the photos after the race, I saw the word "RAIL" marked on the bodies of the car next to the left-side DFW, and it tripped a memory. When I got home tonight, I started looking back through my photos of the District's 2019 finals and saw an almost identically-constructed car, that had the words "TOUCH RAIL" in the same spot*.

    So here are this years den-level finalists from 2021 (top two), and the car from Districts in 2019 (bottom):

    [​IMG]

    All three are pretty clearly ladder cars with balsa fenders, balsa over the weight area, and film over the body. No problem there, I bet half of the pros here run something similar. The red flag for me is they all feature silver tape wrapped at the back, the DFW on the left, and the fact that example two and three - two years apart, run by two different kids - have an almost identical "RAIL" hand-printed next to that DFW (it's really close to identical - HighRes photo for comparison here: http://209.200.109.169/comp.jpg)

    Is there someone out there building these for sale as "ready to race" with these specific features?

    To be clear, no one will be DQ'd, the cars met the specs, and races are long over. I've googled and can't find anything, but I find it one whopper of a coincidence.

    I don't want to accuse anyone of anything, but my interest here goes beyond being the tech guy for our pack. Engineer dad and are are on friendly terms, our wives are friends, and our kids are close. If this is some off-the-shelf "ready to race" product rather than a kit dad put together with his kids, I'd like to have a personal convo with dad to talk about the spirit of the derby. I don't want it to come across as sour grapes... and it truly isn't, but something like buying into a win goes against what we're trying to instill in our Scouts.

    Has anyone one else run across something like this?

    Thanks in advance for your answers (and for your collective knowledge imparted in the past)!

    -SD11


    * Postscript: The Scout with the blue car won the Den level at the DC and placed 2nd overall, but got called out during final tech after the runs, couldn't ID his own car, and neither he nor mom could answer any questions. IIRC, he passed the inspection, but his uncle had to step in and did all the answering for the Scout. No biggie - it forced a conversation with my kiddo about how rough it must be not to have a dad to build a car with, and what choice he would rather have between spending the time building his own car with me or having a trophy. He learned that not everything in life is fair, and that's a pretty important lesson!
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021 at 7:35 PM
  2. ScoutDad11

    ScoutDad11 Hammering Axles

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    If you made it through all that... Thank you for your patience!

    Here's my son's 2021 car:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    BSA block that he shaped to match the fenders at the rear
    3D printed fenders (from Shapeways - Laserman252?)
    Total body weight before paint was ~25grams
    Routed weight pockets for tungsten cubes
    MV Pro SR91 axles (aftermarket axles allowed by the Pack rules)
    Pledge treated and graphite lubed
    1.70" wheels with coned hubs
    1.125" COG, 2.75" drift over 4'
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021 at 11:48 PM
  3. HurriCrane Racing

    HurriCrane Racing PWD Royalty 25+ Pro Race Wins! Pro Racer National Champion

    Messages:
    1,172
    Likes Received:
    355
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    There are many places that will build and sell you a car. That being said, I don't think any of the cars approach a pro level.
    The Blue 2019 car appears that it may be on lightened wheels. This is a big advantage. Are light wheels allowed?
    It's also curious that none of the cars show any signs of graphite? That should be a huge red flag during inspection.
    Honestly, if I were the one doing the inspections, I would have flagged all the above cars for a post race inspection for oil.

    It can also be said that there are a fair number of fast racers from Wisconsin. It could be that you are running into one in your pack or district.

    I've often said that there is enough cheating going on in Scout racing to make a NASCAR crew chief blush.
     
    ScoutDad11 and T-Bone Racing like this.
  4. T-Bone Racing

    T-Bone Racing District Champion

    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I’ve seen bought cars in scouts a few times. Those are typically everyone’s favorite person to beat!

    it’s a tough balance between what the scout should do and what they simply can’t do, but buying a car isn’t even an attempt from a scout.
     
    ScoutDad11 likes this.
  5. ScoutDad11

    ScoutDad11 Hammering Axles

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    *Note: I'm not sure if parsing quotes is a social faux pax on this forum - if it is my apologies. I tend to do it out of habit to address specific points, and have no intent to offend/come across as argumentative.

    Hello HurriCrane, I was hoping you'd chime in due to the location!

    "Pro-level" here was used broadly. If someone else built the car and got paid for it, I guess I'd call it a professional job. I was more-or-less looking for confirmation or rejection on the suspicion that these cars were built by someone specific/known, maybe local, and ready-to-race cars rather than kits built by parent/adult (with or without kid help). The cars were run pretty far apart in time and over two different families in the district, but the similarities were pretty uncanny, and that raised the red flag for me after the fact.

    If it's not anyone identifiable right off the bat, I think I'll pull/redact/repost the images from the initial post [I need to update the average run times as well]. I think the only thing I hate worse than cheaters is those folks who will accuse others of cheating/deception when the evidence isn't there. That's not my intent here.

    I think that the rule was pretty much "as long as you have the writing/fluting you're good" that year. I think our wheels were turned down just a hair under 1.70", but they certainly weren't ultralight or anything. I'd have to look, but it might have been a 2 gram requirement with the intact markings.

    On the cars from our Pack race this year, I wasn't even thinking of that. We had plenty of cars with no graphite dust, which I think of as more neglect/lack of knowledge than someone trying to sneak in an oil car. We made graphite available, and I know one or two kids that added some last minute. If they did run oil it won't matter at the next level, they're supposed to have graphite added at the initial tech inspection at the DC race. That might have been why the blue car was inspected after the DC race in 2019.

    If you're including the purple flame/black car (my son's), it was wiped down pre-race, but there's still plenty of sparklies/fingerprints/smudges on it. :oops:

    I suppose it's possible that the Dad (or the uncle from two years ago) is running a side business out of his basement, but I would think that the cars in question would have enough distinctive features for someone to chime in with "Oh! Bob Smith built those!"... and even that would still likely violate the spirit of the Derby at this level.

    I've seen enough questionable stuff (some of which affected my Scout) at the District Council level to have the same opinion. I've used it as a teaching point for both when he loses AND when he wins. Life isn't fair, and it's up to you (him) to overcome the obstacles you can in an honorable way by following the motto "Do Your Best". If you can say that you did, you can walk away with your head held high, trophy or no trophy. He is totally unaware of any potential controversy here, and he was thrilled with his times. That's a win for me as dad no matter what! :)
     
  6. ScoutDad11

    ScoutDad11 Hammering Axles

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    As a dad, I hear you, but we haven't had much of that in the 6 or so years my son and I have been involved in PWD. The only clear example I can think of is the blue car above from 2019, and (maybe?) this years 1 and 2 cars.

    No argument.
     

Share This Page