5th Annual Pinewood Derby at Procare
Although 2015 marked Procare Software’s 5th annual pinewood derby-style race, affectionately known as the Firecracker 5000, it was our first year holding the event in our new location in downtown Medford, OR. The track was so long it ran not only through our lunch room, but the adjoining game/break area as well. The electronic timing system ensured accurate results, while staff members vied for six prizes: three for the fastest cars and three more for the most creative designs (Best of Show).
This year designs ranged from basic blocks of wood (which performed surprisingly well) to an elegant piano, a hand-carved warthog, a red racer with Lego driver, a 70’s style hippie van, a sleek racing sedan, a 4th of July car, a Saint Louis Cardinals car, a firecracker, a crayon, and even a hotdog.
The winner of this year’s race was support manager Danny Pomeroy, whose car was appropriately covered in a flag-patterned wrap. The prior year Danny spent a great deal of time on the car and didn’t do very well, so this year he used a different strategy. According to Danny, “I waited until the very last second. When I came to work on race day I didn’t even have the wheels on yet.” He has had previous success though, coming in second back in 2011.
Finishing in the number two spot, Steve Suarez, from the Communications Department, joked that “Hard work and perseverance will always get you second place.” Steve is a familiar face in the winner’s circle with a victory in the inaugural race in 2011 and a second place finish in 2012. A heavy dose of graphite is part of Steve’s formula for success.
Sofia Spliethof, daughter of our Creative Services VP, was thrilled to round out the top three. She said the secret to her success was having “No secrets” and that “Dad built the car, but I painted it. I liked the idea of stripes and wanted to make a 4th of July car.”
Most Creative Designs
Each participant voted for the three cars they liked the best for design and creativity. Those with the most votes were our “Best of Show” winners, which included the following artistic autos:
Taking first place for Best of Show was software developer Chuck Bailey for his highly detailed upright piano, which included a removable candelabra, miniature keyboard with sheet music, and a cat sitting on top. Chuck gave credit to his spouse saying, “I owe it all to my wife” and that the idea was based on two things… wanting to make “minimal saw cuts” and doing something with a musical theme.
Second for Best of Show went to VP of Creative Services, Andy Spliethof for his intricately hewn and hand-painted car. According to Andy, “Each year I like to carve something unique and this year I came up with a warthog.” He also finished second in this category in 2014 and had the third-fastest car in the original 2011 race.
In third place for Best of Show were Creative Assistant Janet Brien and her husband Steve. Their Formula One-style racer featured its own miniature driver, along with plenty of weight over the rear axles. In fact, the uneven weight distribution caused the car to careen off the track—adding a little excitement to its preliminary heat. The judge allowed a special dispensation so some of the weight could be moved to the front, which helped it perform quite well—nearly making the top finishers for speed. Janet said, “We were excited to work on it and put to use our woodshop brimming with tools. After much sanding and many layers of candy-apple red paint, our car was nearly ready. Steve then found a perfectly furious little Lego driver, at a hobby shop, to complete our Red Rocket!”
2015 Race Results
- Danny Pomeroy (Technical Support Manager)
- Steve Suarez (Training & Documentation Specialist)
- Sofia Spliethof (Daughter of VP Creative Services)
2015 Best of Show
- Chuck Bailey’s Piano with Candelabra (Software Developer)
- Andy Spliethof’s Warthog (VP Creative Services)
- Janet Brien’s Red Rocket with Lego Driver (Marketing & Creative Assistant)
You may also be interested in winning cars from past years.
- 2014 Procare Pinewood Derby
- 2013 Procare Pinewood Derby
- 2012 Procare Pinewood Derby
- 2011 Procare Pinewood Derby (First year of the Firecracker 5000)
As always, many thanks to the sponsors of our race, Jeff and Tina Blum, and until next time—cheers!
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