Remember the Pinewood Derby? Did your dad help build the car? Or did you do the "right thing," build the car yourself, and came in last place?
Most of us gearheads experienced our first competitive car race in the Pinewood Derby. A seven-inch-long piece of wood, four nails, four plastic wheels and a sloped track- that's it. Gravity is the only motor in this race. At first glance it seems like there isn't much to the Pinewood Derby. However, after getting your ass kicked your first year you realize that a derby car can be as complicated as any real racecar. Aerodynamics, rolling friction, center of mass, weight, alignment, lane choice, there are all sorts of things that can make the car roll down the track or get stuck halfway down the hill. Of course, as a seven-year-old kid you have no idea how to change the center mass of a Pinewood Derby car, that's where dad comes along.