Cub Scout Pack 580 holds annual Pinewood Derby

Ethan Barrow, left, covers his face as Carter Reiber cheers as his car wins the race during the annual Pinewood Derby event for Cub Scout Pack 580 held at Northlake Hills Elementary School in Castaic on Friday, 042322. Dan Watson/The Signal

Parents and Cub Scouts from Pack 580 met at Northlake Hills Elementary School for their annual pinewood derby on Friday.  

Scouts have been sanding, shaping, painting and weighing their cars for months and the time for them to put their (and their parents’) design skills to the ultimate test had finally arrived.  

As Scouts entered the auditorium, which was fully decked out with race-themed decorations, they placed their cars into a display box and even picked up “pit passes” with their names and pictures on them.  

“It’s fun. It’s really exciting. We have an awesome company that comes in and does the track for us. So you can see the kids are extremely excited,” said Chelsea Reheis, scoutmaster of Pack 580.  

Den Leader Nicolet Essex, center, cheers on racer, Rose Wachter, 3, left, as she pounds the starter button as her car takes the lead over a stunned Logan Matthews during the annual Pinewood Derby event for Cub Scout Pack 580 held at Northlake Hills Elementary School in Castaic on Friday, 042322. Dan Watson/The Signal

Darin Hebert, committee chair for Pack 580, said that the event wasn’t just for the kids, but that all were welcome to the derby. 

“The kids are excited to come here and excited to do it,” said Hebert. “It’s totally inclusive. Our Pack is boys and girls. So we have boys and girls in our pack. And we have a lot of siblings that are girls too, that are joining the pack. So it’s gonna be a lot of fun.” 

The track itself was modeled to replicate a real drag race as much as possible and involved some complicated electrical components to measure race times and even false starts. The track and its components were built by Paul Taylor. 

“It’s built around a real drag strip racing track, except there’s four lanes versus two,” said Taylor. “As you can see, you have the reaction time to the green light. And their reaction time isn’t their foot on the pedal, it’s actually pressing the buttons back here.” 

The switchboard acts in real time with four green buttons that racers push once the green “go” light comes on. Faster reactions mean a split-second head start against competitors, but if they start too early, a false-start penalty will be placed on the racer.  

“They won’t be eliminated or disqualified completely, they’ll just be penalized a half-second on the release,” said Taylor. “So instead of releasing, like the others on their reaction time, they will be released one half-second after the green light comes on. So they want to be careful not to jump on too soon.” 

The results of the races were posted on a digital leaderboard, which was on a screen to the right of the track. Awards were given to the top three racers in three categories: one for fastest car time, one for fastest reaction time, and one for total time.  

Before the race, Cub Scout Danny Matthews said he hoped to be among the leaders this year. “I plan on finishing second or first. And I just hope I get a trophy this year,” said Matthews. Mathews ended up earning first place in reaction time. 

First-place awards for the derby were measured in seconds and are as follows: 

• First place reaction time: Danny Mathews (.004). 

• First place car time: Caron Balchen (4.38). 

• First place overall time: Adrian Jackson (4.48). 

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