Now this is what I call hands-on fun.
Right this second up in the Cloud area at the 2013 National Jamboree, Scouts are building a real race car, rivet by rivet, for Team SLR (Scott Lagasse Racing), the folks behind the BSA No. 8 race car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
But this is more than just a model car destined for a museum or a garage somewhere.
This race car the Scouts and Venturers build at the jamboree is headed to the dirt track in two weeks. Yes, Team SLR mechanics will check the car over before the green flag is waved. But still, merely taking the wheel behind a car built by Scouts might raise a few eyebrows in the racing world. But that’s the point of this first-of-its-kind effort in a special exhibit in the Technology Quest area of the Cloud.
“I don’t know of anyone in the racing world doing it,” driver Scott Lagasse Jr. told me. “They’re gonna say we’re nuts. When we said we’re going to do this, we said, ‘Let [the Scouts] do everything.’ We didn’t want it to be fake, because Scouts would know.”
Lagasse has gone full throttle into this BSA partnership, and you can tell he’s right at home working with Scouts. He talked with great excitement about all the Scouts he’s met so far, including Boy Scouts from all over, young women in Venturing and some visiting Scouts from Saudi Arabia.
“It’s been crazy,” Lagasse said. “I’m not sure whether the adults are having more fun, we’re having more fun, or the Scouts are.”
The prospect of fast cars and power tools draws Scouts and Venturers to the Team SLR tent. But once there, they get a little education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) on the side.
“The Scouts have impressed me with their mechanical abilities,” Lagasse said. “There’s a lot of race fans in there, too.”
As for me, I gained a new respect for the level of technology that goes into these racing machines. Lagasse showed me the data from a recent race, comparing a good lap with a great one, side by side. With Lagasse’s help, I could easily see the difference between the laps. On the faster one, Lagasse actually braked more going into a turn, giving him even more ability to accelerate on the home stretch. I was fascinated.
Then I checked out the Scout-built car, which will say Scouting inside and out. In addition to building every piece inside, there are other touches outside. The decals on the panel for the hood, roof and other pieces are even made from Scout signatures (see pictures below).
Scouts who helped build the car can watch it in action online and be able to say “I built that.” Be sure to Like Scott Lagasse Jr.’s Facebook page and follow him on Twitter to stay up-to-date on race times.