Track material vs. track length vs. speed

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Scobod
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Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by Scobod » Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:46 am

First post- Last year was my sons (and mine) first year at the pinewood derby. With absolutely no experience building one and with the help of some online tips, we pieced together a decent little car. It placed 2nd on an aluminum 42' track with a time of 3.128. Not lightning fast, but we were both excited to get a trophy. Just like me, he is super competitive and wants to try to get first place. This year we built two cars, one for him and one for me (open class). We had the opportunity to go to another local pinewood derby competition at a church. This was not his official BSA tournament for this year. At the end of their races, we asked if we could test our cars to check the speed to see where we need to tweak our cars to max performance. The fastest car they had in their competition was 2.5046. My kid ran a 2.4271 and my car did 2.4263. Yes, he did build most of his car with my supervision and advice.Track owner said it was fastest he has seen on his track. His track was plastic. Not sure of the length either. 32' or 35' . Unfortunately, I have no way to compare it to last years because of the different material and different track length. My questions are as follows:

Based on my times above, how well do you think our cars will do on a 42' aluminum track?

If the only different factor of a track was the material and all other factors remain identical, is one proven faster over the other?(aluminum, plastic, wood)



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Re: Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by Speedster » Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:23 am

Welcome to Derbytalk Scobod
I suspect aluminum tracks are the fastest.
Was the aluminum track a "Best" track (Incline) or the Freedom track (Circular Arc) ? Let me guess it was a Freedom track. The track lengths are not the distance a car will travel to get their time. For example, the 35' "Best" track the cars travel 29'10" from Pin to timer. A 42' Freedom track we raced on, the cars travel 35' if the owner is correct in his measuring. That being said, here's what I can tell you. With a stock car, using slots, stock wheelbase of 4 3/8", stock wheels and axles, 3 wheel rail rider, the fastest time turned on a 35' "Best" track at our District race was 2.58 seconds. On the Freedom track traveling 35' the fastest time turned was 3.11 by our 1st car (1st place) and our second car was right next to him traveling 3.13 (2nd place). Obviously, things will vary a bit from track to track but hopefully that will give you some idea.
Would you tell us exactly the builds of your cars and perhaps some pictures ?



Scobod
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Re: Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by Scobod » Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:35 am

Image

Hard time trying to figure out this picture upload. Not sure if I did it correctly. Both are rail riders sitting within .05 of 5oz. The silver car is mine, The flame car is my sons.

This is the track. I think its a Best track. Not sure.

Image

These were my times from this last weekend on the 32' or 35' plastic track.
Image



Scobod
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Re: Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by Scobod » Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:15 am

To add, everything in the cars are 3 wheel stock. The 2.42 times were completed on the freedom track so I suppose that is a major factor.

This is a picture of the freedom track at the church. Maybe someone can identify the length. You will also see the finish times of the other scouts at the church. Compared to out times on my other reply. Does this mean my car is semi-fast, or are their cars slow and mine is average? I don't like anticipation. Yeah, I take this a bit serious, but I love the competition. I plan to get better at building and perhaps someday race them on a more pro level.


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Re: Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by gpraceman » Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:40 am

Scobod,

I fixed your posts so they would display the photos. When pasting those into the forum you do not need to use the Image button, since what you are posing already has the img tags in it.


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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

Scobod
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Re: Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by Scobod » Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:55 am

Thanks. Will remember for next time.



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Re: Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by Speedster » Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:05 pm

The aluminum track is a "Best" track. I can't help at all on the Plastic track which also appears to be an incline track. I can tell you a lot about the "Best" track. I have lots of records for that track and several winners for this year. If you want to mail me your cars, I will run them down lane one of my "Best" track and tell you how they did compared to our 1st place winners this year. I will pay for return postage just to see how fast your cars are. I will also describe in detail our builds. If interested, please email me. scorpiofortynine@roadrunner.com



Scobod
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Re: Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by Scobod » Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:02 am

I appreciate the offer but the derby is only two weeks away. I don't trust the mail system to not lose or damage the car. Plus, there are package thieves. I will just wait it out and hope that our cars do well. I would have ran it against his last years car, but he took it for show and tell. Someone stole it. That was disappointing to hear.



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Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by whodathunkit » Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:46 am

Just thinking out loud here!
Could the timer system's set up on car scale size between the tracks timing systems offer different times as well ?

Even if the track length were the same for the tracks.


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Re: Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by Speedster » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:28 pm

Whoda, on my Best track the cars run 31' because of the way I have mounted my timer. Best track sets their timers at 29'10". If your car will turn a 2.73 in Lane one of my track it will turn a 2.58 at our District track. If your car turns a 2.74 in Lane one of my track it will turn a 3.01 On Northwest Districts 40' Freedom Track and take 1st Place on Commodore Perry District 40' Freedom track. Surely there is always a little variance but it is so close I know what time I have to reach, and hopefully beat, each year. It has been working really well.



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Re: Track material vs. track length vs. speed

Post by Scobod » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:32 am

Offering some closure on our derby day. I was wanting to know if there was any type of general conversion from a 32 foot plastic track to a 42 foot aluminum track. As I mentioned, our cars ran a difference of .007 between each other on the plastic track. You would think that would be comparable finish times on the aluminum track.
On race day, my son ran four races. Here are each of his races in order:

Race one 3.164
Race two 3.141
Race three 3.240
Race four 3.254

I was very disappointed to see the decrease in speed. I can only imagine one of the wheels came out of alignment. I don't foresee the graphite being an issue after only two races. Overall my son's car came in second place so I'm not going to gripe too much. We spent a lot of time and effort working on our cars, so I was hoping to get into the 3.0's at minimum.

My car for the open class (silver) only ran two races. The times were pretty consistent. My first time ran a 3.116 and the second time being 3.118. Just goes to show that there are so many variables were you can't give an accurate guess. Like to thank each one of you that took the time to respond. I've taken what I've learned and have already started looking forward to next year. I will be adding another post shortly after finishing this update about BSA wheels.



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