About a quarter of the way through the annual Pinewood Derby races at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church Saturday afternoon, Trek Wedel was worried. He was worried about his car — a car consistently turning in a time of about 2.2 seconds each run down the track.
That 2.2 seconds is a good time — it's a time that can win races. But he, like others in the packed room, were seeing some other, faster times. Times of 2.19 seconds, which is where Wedel is used to being. It's where his car in the previous day's “Outlaw” races were, and got him a trophy.
“There are some cars about me,” Wedel told The Kansan during a break from racing.
Wedel's grandfather, Allan, had noticed as well. But he was not really disappointed. For one, there was a lot of racing left. For another, his grandson was learning something.
“You don't have to be first all the time,” Allan said.
Trek's car kept up at that 2.20 pace. It was unclear where that would put him on the podium at the end of the day — or if he would be on the podium at all. His father Todd, a troop leader, called Trek to the side.
“I think your car is going to stay pretty consistent,” he said. “Others might slow down. We will see.”
Trek didn't seem convinced. The defending champ, and Outlaw Champ, wanted to win.
For his part, Trek told the Kansan the nine-year old in the fourth grade didn't have any secret formula for building a fast and consistent car. He's learned what he knows from his father.
“You have to make sure it is graphite good,” Trek said. “The more weight you have in the back the faster it will go. You have to test it make sure that it runs really straight.”
Powdered graphite can be used to help lubricate the wheels and axles. Each car is limited to five ounces of total weight.
Wedel will have one more year of racing before aging out of the program administered by The Boy Scouts of America. He can, however, continue to race his fast cars in the Outlaw Division as long as he wants.