SPORTS: Car Racing Takes Place in Pacific Palisades and AJ Lord is the Pinewood Derby Winner

Pinewood Derby winners were (left to right) AJ Lord who took first place; Jack Pokrywka who placed second; and third place went to James Jelline.

So, you thought there were no sports taking place in Los Angeles the past six weeks because of Covid-19.

Wrong. Fast cars were on display at the annual Pinewood Derby on April 25 in Pacific Palisades, as members of Cub Scout Pack 223 participated in the race – virtually of course.

Race starter Kevin Niles, the American Post 283 Adjutant who has been working with Boy/Cub Scouts since the 1980s, brought impressive experience to this exciting competition, held on a three-lane track.

Twenty-three Cub Scouts entered cars in the derby. Each was given a pine block racing car kit, which includes a block of wood, axels (aka nails) and wheels. The contestants were given latitude in design, but the final car could not exceed five ounces.

Once the cars were designed, they were left on the doorstep at the home of Joanna and Charles Curtis, pack leaders.

“We set up the track and used Zoom to connect the race to the participating Scouts,” Joanna Curtis said. “Some Scouts shared the Zoom link and password with family members across the country, who were able to watch the race.”

Kevin Niles was the starter for the Pinewood Derby.

The winning designer of the fastest vehicle was 8-year-old AJ Lord. The Calvary Christian second grader came up with a Sonic theme after watching the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie. (Sonic is an extraterrestrial blue hedgehog who can run at supersonic speeds.) AJ said by email that “Sonic equals fast.” And he was right.

The runner-up designer was Jack Pokrywka, who called his car “Jack’s Butterfinger.” A first grader at Marquez Charter Elementary, he chose the name because the car “was in the shape of a candy bar.”

James Jelline, a second grader at Corpus Christi, finished third. He said, “I wanted to make a fast-looking car and I wanted to give it a name that related to the color, so I called it ‘Black Widow.’”

This was the first time that Lord and Pokrywka entered cars in the derby.  In last year’s Pinewood Derby, Jelline placed second.

In fourth place was James Tate with “No Name,” and fifth was AJ Martin, who also selected the name “Black Widow.” Sixth was Thatcher Burkart and his car “Chewy Power” and seventh went to Dante Loffredo, who didn’t name his car. In eighth place was Jeevun Sandhu with “76er” and ninth was Owen Margeson and his “The Blue Blazer.”

Joanna Curtis said, “While all of our in-person activities this spring have been canceled or postponed, this Derby allowed us to gather and have fun with our scouting community.”


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One Response to SPORTS: Car Racing Takes Place in Pacific Palisades and AJ Lord is the Pinewood Derby Winner

  1. Tom Meade says:

    I like reading this coverage.

    Good work!

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