Best of the best race at 2017 Pinewood Derby World Championship in New York

Cub Scouts don’t let a little rain ruin the day. They adapt.

Same goes for the Greater New York Councils, organizers of the 2017 Pinewood Derby World Championship last month in New York City.

Even though morning thunderstorms forced the competition to change locations at the last minute, GNYC put on another successful event.

The 276 Cub Scouts came from 26 different states and represented 60 different BSA local councils. The racers qualified by finishing in the top three at their district or council races.

The epic Pinewood Derby event, now in its third year, was scheduled for the heart of Times Square — mere feet away from those iconic red steps atop the TKTS ticket booth.

But Mother Nature had different plans, and so did the Greater New York Councils.

They moved to their rain location: inside the Marriott Marquis hotel a block away.

“The Marriott was amazing to us, letting us use the room for free and bending over backwards to accommodate the more than 2,000 people in attendance,” says Dave Swartz, the councils’ program director.

Race day fun

When they weren’t cheering on Pinewood Derby cars, the Cub Scouts and other spectators got to build and race Lego Pinewood Derby cars on an exhibition track.

During breaks between races, hosts interviewed Cub Scouts to learn about their stories. Songs from a pop-heavy playlist got the crowd dancing and singing.

Cub Scouts from Maine to California and from Washington state to Florida entered one of two divisions: Stock Car or Pro Stock. The Pro Stock division allowed entrants to modify their wheels and axles; the Stock Car division did not.

Why two divisions? Because not every district or council has the same rules. This allowed Cub Scouts to race on a level playing field.

In the early rounds, Cub Scouts of similar rank raced against one another. Tigers vs. Tigers, Wolves vs. Wolves, etc.

The top three finishers in each of the five ranks — 15 in all — got trophies. These 15 became the “Fast 15” and competed in a final mini-tournament for their division’s Champions Cup.

This yielded two overall winners — Stock Car and Pro Stock — whose names and pictures I have included at the end of this post.

Naturally, there were design trophies, too. Some ultra-creative Cub Scouts went home with awards for Most Patriotic, Best Paint Job, Best Scout Theme, Most Creative and Most Realistic.

Bonus photos!

2017 Pro Stock Champions Cup Winner

Michael Olsey, Webelos I, Westchester-Putnam Council (based in Hawthorne, N.Y.)

2017 Stock Car Champions Cup Winner

Gregory Merkel, Webelos II, Suffolk County Council (based in Medford, N.Y.)


Photos by Jose Galletti. Thanks to Dave Swartz of the Greater New York Councils for the info.