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Mid-America Council shatters Guinness World Record for longest Pinewood Derby track

You’ve never seen a Pinewood Derby track this long, guaranteed.

The Nebraska-based Mid-America Council now owns the Guinness World Record for the longest Pinewood Derby track ever constructed, with a track that surpassed the previous record-holder by more than 2.5 times.

The track, unveiled at the Mid-America Council Boy Scouts Jubilee on Oct. 15, 2016, in Ashland, Neb., had an official measurement of 1,819 feet and 3.75 inches.

That beat the previous record — 713 feet, 3 inches — set on Sept. 19, 2015, by the Order of the Arrow’s Wenasa Quenhotan Lodge in London Mills, Ill.

The longest-ever Pinewood Derby track measured more than 606 yards — or roughly the length of six football fields. It took the winning car 1 minute and 16.7 seconds to make it from start to finish, and some cars were clocked at speeds of 45 to 50 mph in the steepest section.

News of the new Guinness World Record was first reported on Scouting Newsroom.

The event

The Jubilee was about more than setting a Guinness World Record.

As explained in this Omaha World-Herald story, the event brought together more than 5,000 Scouts and their families to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Scouting in the Nebraska area.

The superlong track was a draw, sure, but the event’s real success came from the message underneath.

“We had the moment where we set a world record, and that was awesome,” said Greg Dawes, a Scout leader and one of the men behind the idea to build a record-setting track. “But this is not about the record. It’s about teaching our young men what we can do when we have a vision.”

The team

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As with any Scouting project, this one took teamwork. A critical member of that team was engineer Shawn Ovenden, who also is Scoutmaster of Troop 558 in the Mid-America Council.

He said the hard work paid off when they opened the track for Scouts to test their cars.

“There were hundreds of kids and adults in line waiting,” he said. “This is a great example of what you can accomplish as a community when you work together.”

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From left: Mike Evano, Mid-America Council program director; Jimmy from Guinness World Records; Shawn Ovenden, HDR Engineering and Scoutmaster of Troop 558; Chris Merk, Omaha Carpenters Union; Greg Dawes, Mid-America Council Pinewood Derby Committee Chairman and leader in Pack 558 and Troop 558; Glen Jewkes, Jewkes Engineering (Pinewood Derby car builder); and Rob Barrett, Mid-America Council Activities and Civic Service Chairman.

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Glen Jewkes, Jewkes Engineering (left) and Greg Dawes of First Mortgage and leader in Troop 558 and Pack 558

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Chris Merk (center) of the Omaha Carpenters Union is project construction lead. Members of the carpenters’ union are to his left and right.

“These gentlemen did an incredible job with the construction,” Ovenden said.

The flyover

The first-person view

17 Comments on Mid-America Council shatters Guinness World Record for longest Pinewood Derby track

  1. Holy cow! That is awesome!

  2. Tim Robinson // October 26, 2016 at 1:37 pm // Reply

    Isn’t this the longest? 1/2 mile

    http://www.unionleader.com/Boy-Scouts-break-Guinness-record-at-jamboree

    • Bryan Wendell // October 26, 2016 at 1:48 pm // Reply

      After checking with Guinness, I was unable to find any confirmation that a record was set at that event. Indeed, Guinness lists the Mid-America Council event on its website.

    • In our extensive research – they were only able to get a car to go part way down the track not the entire distance, which is key in setting the record, according to Guinness Book of Records … not to mention you have to have lots of documentation of things, etc.

  3. Jon C Halter // October 26, 2016 at 9:03 pm // Reply

    Six football fields would be 720 yards.

    • I don’t think he was including the endzone lengths.

  4. Duane Cihacek // October 26, 2016 at 11:30 pm // Reply

    http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-pinewood-derby-track

    • Terrr Nooyen // October 27, 2016 at 10:09 am // Reply

      The statement “roughly the length of six football fields” refers to the 100 yard playing fields…not including the end zones.

    • No, 600 yards is the length of the infield. We usually do not count the end zones.

  5. Shawn Ovenden // October 27, 2016 at 10:18 am // Reply

    Six football fields is 600 yards, 100 yards per football field, or 1,800 feet plus 19 feet 3 3/4inches.

  6. Where are the BOYS? I only see adults. Shouldn’t the youth have been involved in design, layout and construction?

    • Interesting question. I have not seen many packs where the Cubs assemble the track. I know our boys did when it was wooden once they were Webelos or Boy Scouts. That’s almost as fun as building the cars. Not sure who can mess with the new aluminum track.

      In any case, watch the video from the car-mounted camera and see the boy at the end. At least one youth was involved in testing the track.

      • They were involved. I had the scouts out helping this the surveyors setting the layout stakes. The Carpenters Union brought in dozens and dozens of job corp. kids to help. Scouts were helping the day of the event. What you see are the Corp leaders who spent countless more hours planning, organizing, building the track. Hundreds of scouts and adults then enjoyed the track the day of the event. Like they say, it is easier to criticize than it is to create.

  7. My picky question: with the camera mounted, did the car weigh over five ounces?

  8. This can’t be within BSA regulations for a Pinewood Derby track. Also I wonder if the cars had some sort of power to propel them down the track. I would not think that the cars would stop half way if they even make it that far. However I don’t really care about that. This is a cool idea and it makes me want to go get a pinewood derby kit from my local BSA store make a car and go out to this track. I am an eagle scout. I only remember that I won one of the pinewood derby races once years ago when I was in cub scouts. This is very cool and thanks for doing it.

    • There are no BSA regulations for a Pinewood Derby track, and very few rules for the cars themselves. Most units/districts that put on the derbies are the ones that put the rules in place.

      There are no regulations on size of track, slope of track, number of lanes, construction materials (aluminum vs. wood), etc.

  9. I remember this from when I was a kid in the early 70’s. And the one thing that stands out the most to me, is that the kids were an afterthought. It’s ALL about the Dad’s. 99.9% of the cars were made by the fathers, each trying to outdo the other. There was NO way most of the cars that showed up at our Cub Scout derby’s were made by elementary school kids. I even knew one kid whose dad actually sent it out to be custom made. It was a sham & a farce. Looks like it still is.

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