Tiny cars ready for the big race

Darleene Barrientos

They can each fit in the palm of your hand, but to Cub Scout Pack

219, they were the whole world for a day.

About 50 parents, grandparents and siblings gathered at St. Finbar


Parish School to watch the pack’s annual Pinewood Derby, with the

children and parents racing their 7-inch pinewood derby cars.

A hush fell over the room Sunday as the final four cars sat

positioned to race down the 32-foot blue and yellow track. The


audience held its breath as the cars flew toward the finish line,

where an infrared beam shone up from a tiny hole inside each track to

take the car’s time.

“Yes!” Joey Barlak, 12, yelled when he saw his car had made it

into the final three. Lorraine Marks held a hand to her forehead as

she faked anguish that her car was eliminated from the round.

Father and son ended up taking the winning cake in the

competition, which marked its fifth year. Son Joey won first place


with “Lightning Bolt,” and dad Bill won third place with

“Eliminator.” Adam Gardenhier won second place in the race.

“Pinewood Derby is a tradition for Cub Scouts,” Cub Master Dave

LaFrance said.

Cub Scouts of America supplies the car-building kits and the

rules, he said.

“The boys love it -- it’s exciting. They get to build it, paint

it, they get to work with tools,” LaFrance said. “I think all the


boys make their cars themselves, with varying degrees of help from

their parents.”

Her son has been looking forward to Pinewood Derby ever since he

joined the Cub Scouts in August, Marilyn Andrews said.

“It’s like he’s racing Mach 5,” she said. “He’s over there putting

on finishing touches.”

William Andrews, 7, said he had a bit of an edge over the other

boys because he built his car with some help with his grandfather,

who has a woodshop. He spent about two months on his car.