Sunday, May 04, 2008

Awana Grand Prix

Our church's Awana program had their first Awana Grand Prix today. It's a Pinewood Derby race, much like the Cub Scouts.

Samuel, Tina and I had been preparing some cars for the race, and today was the day we found out how they would run. We've been sanding, painting, adjusting... our living room has been looking like a wood shop for the past month. I know Tina is glad to have her living room back.

For this pinewood event we had each decided to build a car. We actually wound up building four cars (they're just fun to build). So that gave us an extra car to experiment with. When we found out that we'd have access to the track the day before we gave Samuel the option of choosing the fastest of the four we had built.

One thing we did discover during the time we had access to the track was that one lane (the red lane / lane #1) had a tendency to allow the car to jump track. It was also consistently producing slower times than the other three lanes. Lane two (the blue lane) was also proving to be the fastest lane.

Lanes are assigned at registration, and being "lucky" Samuel was assigned the Red lane! Grrr... not a happy moment, but we knew his car was fast - hopefully fast enough to overcome a lane disadvantage. But my bigger fear was that if it did come off the track it might be damaged.

Races were run four cars at a time, and the best four times from each division raced for their final placings - the winner advancing to the final event where they race the cars from the other divisions.

On to the first race!

First time down the track... Samuel's car derails! Rats!!!! Sure, if a car derails they re-run the race, but it's hard on the nerves. Second time down the track Samuel's car turns a 2.66 second run and wins that race qualifying for the finals. My heartrate slows, Samuel is stoked.

Race 2

This time we've got lane 3 (green lane). It's not a bad lane, but up to this point we hadn't seen anyone jump track there. Samuel's car easily wins this race guaranteeing him a spot in the Final Event.

Final Race

Samuel gets the green lane again. The other two cars he's up against have been quick, both getting times in the high 2.6s. The cars come down at blinding speeds and it's close - really close. Times posted: 2.664, 2.675, and 2.683 - just hundredths of seconds between them. Samuel wins! He's excited, we all were - parents, grandparents, friends.

Samuel also got 3rd place in design, so he brought home three trophies!

The part you've been waiting for...

So I know, you're wondering. What happened with your car and Tina's car? Remember we had access to the track so we had opportunity to see how it was all going to turn out. Her car was faster every time we ran it. Oh, it wasn't a lot faster - just faster. I think if I'd have been able to run in the blue lane I might have had a better chance, but she beat me. I'll have to live with that for the rest of the year.

It was a fun day. Samuel's win helped, but honestly, there's just something fun about building these little cars and letting the run down the track that makes for a lot of good feelings. If you have a child that's 3 years old through the 5th grade and you and there's an Awana program near you - get involved, regardless of if they do the Grand Prix or not.

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