Cub Scouts attempt to race into record book

By COLIN SELBO – cselbo@lakecountyjournal.com

On a typical pinewood derby track, it takes cars about five seconds to race from start to finish.

But on June 5 at Camp Crown in Trevor, Wis., even the fastest pinewood cars took close to 20 seconds to complete the time-honored race.

The reason? These cars had a world-record distance to cover.

Cub Scouts from Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana flocked to Camp Crown with their pinewood derby cars in tow for the chance to race their way into the Guinness Book of World Records, said organizer Michele Bauman, who also serves as Scoutmaster with Cub Scout Pack 91 in Grayslake.

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“We’re pretty positive that we’ve got it,” Bauman said of the world record attempt.

The track was just one part of a day-long event titled “A Race Through Time” that took Cub Scouts on a simulated adventure through time to visit pirates, the wild west and the Swiss Family Robinson. The event was put on by the North Star District of the Northeast Illinois Council to help recognize the centennial anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, Bauman said.

Planning for the the pinewood monstrosity started more than a year ago, and was built by about 10 volunteers over the last six weeks in Bauman’s garage. All the materials for the track were donated by the Home Depot, she said.

At 263 feet long with 12 lanes, the engineering marvel attracted an estimated 1,700 Cub Scouts, family members and Scouting alumni.

When the distance of all 12 lanes are added together, the total more than doubles the height of the Willis Tower, organizers said.

“It was huge,” said Jacob Anderson, 8, of Pack 179 in Ingleside.

Thirty-five separate sections of plywood eight feet by four feet in length made up the track, said Rich Przybylski, who helped in the building efforts.

The current record for longest pinewood derby track is 206 feet. Organizers expect to receive official word from Guinness about their record-breaking attempt in about six weeks, Przybylski said.

Speed was not the goal in designing the track, he said.

“We had to come up with a design that would allow the most cars to finish,” Przybylski said.

As one of the most popular and recognizable events in Scouting, racing pinewood derby cars was an appropriate way to celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary, said Bill Pepito, chair of centennial anniversary committee with the Northeast Illinois Council.

The record-long track even inspired some inter-generational races between Cub Scouts and Scouting alumni, Pepito said.

“Everybody has been digging out [their cars] just to let it run down the track,” he said.

In building the track, Bauman hoped to create life-long memories for the Cub Scouts.

“This is something the boys are always going to remember,” she said.

The goal of racing on the track was not winning, Bauman said, but to take part in something that will make the record books.

Zach Guzy, 10, of Pack 290 in Wauconda agreed.

“It’s not really winning that was important,” Guzy said. “Being on the track was cool enough.”

Article Originally Posted at Lake County Journal

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