PWD Track Question and better system

General track discussions.
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Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:21 pm
Location: Pine Island, MN

PWD Track Question and better system

Post by bowtieman427 » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:03 am

We currently run on an old wood 8 lane 32' track that to say the least has seen better days. It is warped, starting gate is in need of repair and the stop is in very poor shape. Our pack is anywhere from 30-50 kids in 5 dens depending on the year. This year we had 30 scouts.

What are the best options for a new track solution in this day and age today (notice a lot of discussion of using electronics and software) ?

We currently use elimination method with 3 judges for our races (we sometime have to rerun for to close to call events or car comes off track). First to win 3 races per den is 1st 2nd to win 3 is 2nd, next to win 3 is 3rd. Each place per den advances to semifinals heat of wolfs against Bears & heat WI against WII best 3 in heats go to finals and it starts again. I think there has to be a better way to do this. I think some Scouts get discouraged as they never win a race and many leave once they are done racing not know the outcome of the event.

In the past 2 years we have been doing this my son has won 1st in pack, first in Den and most creative design last year and I ask him his thoughts and he really feels sorry for the other scouts and says he just likes to race. He even wishes he would lose so he can race more, but likes to win too. last year he was going to give his ribbon away to another scout as he felt bad because the pother scout won nothing, not even a race. This year his car did not even lose once. Perhaps he should scale back ( I will stop sharing insight on making it fast), but my thoughts are to have a better track and system to deal with these types of issues. He may have had the best three lanes the track could offer in the races ?
Need insight and thoughts on the matter ?

I am new to this and have done a lot of research to help him build a fast car using physics trying to teach him the physics behind it to get him to think about what is going on with his car. Now some want me to share our knowledge which I am fine with, but I am no expert as we have not built that many cars.
Thanks in advance for any insight or opinions
Most importantly we need a better way to run the event, a new track with fewer lanes and electronics which could make it a better event for the less speedy PWD cars.

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Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 7:34 pm
Location: Centreville, MD

Re: PWD Track Question and better system

Post by timtrain35 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:42 am

First off, it's great that your son has that kind of heart. Encourage it by all means. As far as the PWD stuff, the million dollar question is what's your budget for the track? I would think that an 8 lane track for that many kids really isn't necessary and you could do with a 4 lane and still have room for expanding the event for more kids. Roughly speaking, a new 4 lane 32' track with a timer is going to run somewhere in the $1500 range. Give or take a couple of hundred depending on how far you take the electronics. Just Google pinewood derby tracks and the popular makers will appear on page 1.

As far as running the event, yours is the age old question. What's the best way to run a race? There isn't really a clear cut answer, it depends on what your needs are and if the race leads into another race, like a district event. Listed below is a good description of the different types of events you can run.

My advice (for what it's worth) would be to take a look at that article and see what type of event best suits your needs. Then, start a new thread asking about that type of race. You might generate some more responses that way. Good luck!

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Stan Pope
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Re: PWD Track Question and better system

Post by Stan Pope » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:55 pm

As you look at tracks, differentiate between the two primary profiles. The profile shown in the Cub Scout Leader's How To Book and implemented in Piantedosi, Freedom, et. al., has a gentle transition in its slope that involves about 12 feet of track, i.e. the track slope is decreasing for much of the first 12 feet of track. Another profile, implemented in Best track and (I think) some others) has a relatively short, sharp transition of about 4 feet following about 8 feet of track with a constant slope of approximately 25 to 30 degrees.

The short transition track is a more demanding track to race on. Some cars that run in a stable fashion on the HowTo Book track lose their stability on the sharp transition track. The HowTo Book track rewards rear weighting more than does the sharp transition track. So as boys are building and testing their cars for the pack's races, they will be optimizing their cars forthe type of track you buy. If they then participate in district or council races and must race on another track style, they are at a disadvantage.

So, before you plunk down your dollars, check around locally to see what is being used locally by other packs, by the district and/or council (which usually borrow tracks from packs in their territories.)

"If it's not for the boys, it's for the birds!"

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