Off to the Races!

The Pinewood Derby is a popular cub scout tradition. Fathers and sons nationwide have been carving cars from blocks of wood since the early 1950s. Here in Naperville, Cub Scout Pack 87 recently watched their little speed racers burn rubber cross the finish line.

But it takes a lot of elbow grees to move from a dream to a finished speedster.Cub scout Nick Kleinhenz and his father Joe agree that building the car is a great father-son activity.

“It’s more of like a constructive thing between father and son,” Nick said.”We have a lot of fun coming up with how we wanna make the car and what we want it to look like and finding parts for it,” Joe Kleinhenz added.

Nick won last year’s race and is hoping for a second victory. But dad says there’s more to the derby than taking home the gold. “That’s always nice but it’s more about the experience and having fun with his friends,” Joe Kleinhenz explained. “[And] the look on his face when his car’s all done and he can see how fast it goes.”

More than 40 scouts raced their pinewood cars down a four-lane, 48-foot track. The cubs enjoyed themselves, no matter what place they came in and even learned a thing or two.

“They’re introduced to skills of learning how to build things, painting, using hand saws and sandpaper,” said dad Heath Sapiega. And dads like Brian Scifers and Mark Minter recalled their own pinewood derbies dreams.”I did this when I was a kid,” said Scifers. “I had a lot fun and he [his son] is really enjoying it.” “Oh this is the best event the Cub Scouts put on,” added Mark Minter.

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