Speed Racers! Cub Scouts hit the Pinewood Derby • Brooklyn Paper

Speed Racers! Cub Scouts hit the Pinewood Derby

The face of a racer: Felix Shun Tam is about as excited as any kid could be while he waits to race his handcrafted car at the Pinewood Derby at Kings Plaza on March 3.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Brooklyn Cub Scouts convened in Marine Park on March 3 for a borough-wide pinewood derby showdown at Kings Plaza.

Participating Scouts from grades one through five were each given a block of wood and four wheels, and were tasked with whittling and painting their way to a prize-winning racer.

“One car was designed after the New York Mets, more than a dozen actually looked like Indy 500 cars,” said Scoutmaster Brian Gorman. “You have the more usual ones with a triangle cut, and then there’s a few that look like a regular car, with rounded edges, a hood, a trunk. It’s pretty cool what these kids are able to do.”

Nineteen trophies were handed out that day, three for each grade and four for overall best, with the top prize going to the best time, which clocked in at 2.62 seconds from start to finish down the 40-foot track. Of course, no Cub Scout went home empty-handed — each participant, 160 in total, was given a 2012 Pinewood Derby patch for doing his best.

“People don’t give their kids enough credit these days,” said Gorman. “They’re creative and artistic; this is a great venue for them to show their skills and maybe it can turn into a career if these kids want to get into design or architecture.”

Gorman, who has been with the Scouts for five years, has developed some tricks over the years on how to make the fastest racer.

“Honestly, it’s funny, the simplest designs are the ones that usually win,” said Gorman. “The trick is to get as aerodynamic as possible and to evenly distribute the weight. Of the cars that won, they were just like that.”

The event was so much fun, even the shoppers got involved.

“This is my first time doing the derby in Brooklyn,” said Gorman. “It was pretty interesting to see the influx of parents asking anybody in a uniform what was going on. A lot of them called me the next day, I’ve never seen some many people come up and say they want to join.”

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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