Procare’s 4th Annual Pinewood Derby
Each year in July, Procare Software holds a pinewood derby race officially known as the Firecracker 5000. Our 4th annual competition was recently held at Procare world headquarters in Medford, OR. This is a much anticipated event attended by staff members, and their families, who design and build their own cars in the spirit of friendly competition. Awards are given for the 3 fastest cars, as well as the 3 receiving the most votes for their visual and creative appeal (Best of Show).
Procare’s team of software engineers and developers took the top 3 places in the race, with Wade Christensen placing 1st. According to Wade, his success was due to extensive research on derby cars, “I studied designs put forward by several teams of engineers and based my car on the winning team’s design.” See: Derby Car Design.
Darren Gapp, our Chief System/Software Engineer and 2nd place finisher, took a unique approach by using a plain block of unpainted wood, slapping some wheels on it, and placing screws in the top to add weight. Sometimes the simplest solutions are indeed the best, or in this case, nearly the best! Darren previously finished “in the money” during the 2012 race by coming in 3rd.
3rd place finisher Fred Thieme said his secret was to “re-glue the wheel axles 3 times until I got the car to roll straight across the kitchen floor.” Fred also noted the hammered copper paint was “a departure from the gold and red (can you say Forty-Niners?) of previous years.”
In the Best of Show voting, Scott Schneider of the Tuition Express Team received the most votes for his elegant design and elaborate paint job. Scott is a perennial Best of Show winner having taken 1st place in 2011, and 2nd place in both 2012 and 2013. He also won the racing portion in 2012 and helped build the Tuition Express “team” car that came in 2nd in 2013.
Andy Spliethof, our VP of Creative Services, placed 2nd in the Best of Show voting with his Karmadillo car. According to Andy, he appreciates the camaraderie and says “spending time on a craft that others can enjoy makes this event even more special to me.” Andy’s previous race experience includes a 3rd place finish in our inaugural race in 2011. He’s also the guy who heads up the competition each year and makes sure we order enough pinewood car kits for everyone. Thank you Andy!
And Dan Richards, the Director of Tuition Express, came in third in the Best of Show category with his unique Corvette Stingray design. Dan gives credit to everyone on the Tuition Express team who all met and worked on their cars together.
2014 Race Results
- Wade Christensen (Software Developer)
- Darren Gapp (Chief System/Software Engineer)
- Fred Thieme (Software Developer)
2014 Best of Show
- Scott Schneider (Tuition Express Consultant)
- Andy Spliethof (VP Creative Services)
- Dan Richards (Director of Tuition Express)
A special thank you goes to the annual sponsors of the Firecracker 5000, owners Jeff and Tina Blum, for their enthusiastic support of this fun, team-building event.
You may also be interested in seeing cars from past years.
- 2013 Procare Pinewood Derby
- 2012 Procare Pinewood Derby
- 2011 Procare Pinewood Derby (our very first Firecracker 5000)
See you at the races, and until next time—cheers!
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