Little lords of the pinewood

Posted by Iannucci | 3/29/2009 | 8 comments »
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This has very little to do with IndyCars, so most of you can skip this post. It's just a little show of congratulations to my two oldest kids, each of whom emerged victorious in the two classes of the Pinewood Derby at Pack 282 here in Arizona.

That's right - two classes, each won by an Iannucci. Feel the pride.

Here's the deal: last year in his first year of Cub Scouts, P2 built a little school bus that finished first in his den and sixth overall for the entire pack. Encouraged but motivated, he and I set forth toward researching what it would take to bring home the checkers in 2009. (Hints: reduce friction, move the weight to the back, use good wheels, and make the car durable since these little racers slam into a foam barrier at the end of each race and often flip onto the floor.)

So my little man built a low-profile stock car model, added some well-placed weights, and used some Jimmie Johnson stickers from a Lowe's Kids Workshop to complete the model. (I know, it's not an IndyCar, but if your 7-year-old can turn a block of pine into a Dallara then more power to ya.)

Older sister P1 was a bit miffed that Girl Scouts have no similar program, since she's afflicted with a massive case of "anything you can do I can do better" disease. Lucky for her they have an "Outlaw" division for relatives where there are no rules, so we found a kit that I helped assemble (meaning put together) and we added weight wherever we could. Hey, the boy put his car together by himself (sans a little drill work), but I fully admit doing a lot of the work on the Outlaw Danicar.

Especially the part about crafting the striking driver representation involving a doll from a Happy Meal, a Sharpie, and a 3-inch nail.



While waiting in line to register two moms in front of us were discussing my daughter, seeing she made a car, and one of them remembered there's a female driver named "Danica", and they both start trying to figure out what kind of car that Danica girl drives - never realizing that P1 is standing there with a DANICA PATRICK SHIRT AND CAR! Friends, our work isn't even close to being done.

Anyhow, the Outlaw division finished first, and despite having a wheel fall off at the conclusion of each race, the Danicar - which irony of ironies weighed well over twice the amount of her brother's five-ounce Jimmie Johnson stock car model - handily won every race in the Outlaw division. BY A LOT. The Outlaw division is mostly dads, so my daughter was getting some strange looks when she went to receive her congratulations.

Meanwhile, despite struggling in some of the preliminary rounds, the Jimmie Johnson car advanced to the final round of eight, where it went undefeated in the double elimination finals. My son was so excited he - honest to God - wanted to run out and by some milk. I gently informed him that's for winning the Indy 500, but offered to douse him in Gatorade. After discussion we all settled on a bottle of Sparkling Cider instead.

So congrats to my mini-mes. I posted the pic so they can show their friends and if Penske, Ganassi, Andretti-Green et al, are recruiting for any kind of junior engineering candidates, I'll be sure to forward their names to them.

8 comments

  1. IndyTrackside // March 29, 2009 10:14 PM  

    Very cool, congratulations young Iannucci's. I remember pinewood derby's well even though I'm in my mid 40's now they were a blast

  2. AZZO45 // March 29, 2009 10:17 PM  

    Do I see a NAPCAR derby entry?? You couldn't "sell" an optional, LOWE"S non- OW car??? Your Name is IRL for Pete's sake!!!

    A Fernandez/ LOWE"S / ALMS Acura???????? The Power of the 48 is strong

    :) :) ;)

  3. AZZO45 // March 29, 2009 10:21 PM  

    ...and they both start trying to figure out what kind of car that Danica girl drives - never realizing that P1 is standing there with a DANICA PATRICK SHIRT AND CAR! Friends, our work isn't even close to being done.


    You mean the Pimp Daddy & the SI shoots aren't working??? Oh well, my dental hygienist watches more than Indy after learning of Danica.

    Its a start, eh?

  4. AGRfan26 // March 30, 2009 6:43 AM  

    Congrats, Kiddos! Bet you had to much fun with the Happy Meal doll and the 3 inch nail...

  5. pressdog // March 30, 2009 6:45 AM  

    This just in ... Jeff builds a wind tunnel in his back yard in preparation to defend the title ... Penske on line one for your kids, Jeff. Can I do a Q&A with them at some point? MONSTER traffic for me. Congrats. Props on the MONGO HEADED Danicar.

  6. Bash // March 30, 2009 7:02 AM  

    Wow - good going! I've been reading comments on Twitter and Facebook about Pinewood results, and the Iannuccis have posted the best results I've seen! (Ex: Luke Armstrong and the LUKEstrong car finished third overall in his pinewood this weekend in Austin...)

    Congratulations!

  7. mmack // March 30, 2009 8:48 AM  

    First off, congratulations to P1 and P2 for sweeping the field. They should be very happy with what they've done.

    I loved the picture of your daughter's car. Apparently Danica! pulled out of the pits sans helmet, or she was having a very bad hair day (Ryan Briscoe, look out!)

    Lucky for her they have an "Outlaw" division for relatives where there are no rules.

    CAN-AM for nine year olds! I love it!

    The Outlaw division is mostly dads, so my daughter was getting some strange looks when she went to receive her congratulations.

    Jeff, how many of the dads are engineers? I see this room full of 30, 40 and 50-something guys looking at their pinewood cars thinking "Now how in the $#%^ did she do that?!?!?!"

    the Jimmie Johnson car advanced to the final round of eight, where it went undefeated in the double elimination finals

    And P2 shows his intelligence here. If he chose to do his car as Jimmie's teammate in the #88, he'd be a lap down halfway down the track, the wheels would fall off during the run, and the rest of the day he'd blame you for giving him such a lousy pinewood car

    (Just sayin'. Go Junior, whoo-hoo!)

    I joke, but thumbs up to both of your children for winning their divisions.

  8. scott kuhar // April 01, 2009 5:47 PM  

    I made two cars when I was in scouts. The first was a '60's skateboard car, and the other was a fully aluminum winged indy car complete with removable sidepods for insertion of lead shot for weight. Will send pics very soon.