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Derby winner relied on science

by Kurt Hildebrand

Winning Cub Scout Pack 341’s Pinewood Derby was a question of science, not luck, according to Skylar Van Rensselaer’s dad, Rick.

The 10-year-old Bordewich-Bray Elementary fourth-grader took the derby with a fluorescent orange-and-green car built by the boy and his father. Van Rensselaer said his background in physics and engineering helped him design the car.

A Webelo scout, Skylar has been in the winner’s circle before, according to his father, a Gardnerville jeweler.

“Last year, he lost to the winner when his car was damaged,” Van Rensselaer said of the race which Zach Thompson won and in which Skylar took second.

This year, Zach, a Carson Middle School student, came in second.

Van Rensselaer said the car that won was the slowest of three he and Zach built together.

“He is the body and paint man, and I handle AAW, axles, weights and wheels,” he said.

“I’m a third-generation Cub and Boy Scout, and I passed tips down to him. The cars go so fast they hop out of the backstop.”

Skylar was born in Reno and lives in Carson City. He only has one more race before he moves on to Boy Scouts.

“This will be the last time this car races, unless we can find somewhere else to go,” Van Rensselaer said. “Skylar is only going to be 10 for one year.”

However, his younger brother turned 6 on Saturday.

“Now he wants to join the Cub Scouts,” Van Rensselaer said.

Skylar took first place two years ago and second place last year.

Garrett Lawson took third place, according to Cub Scoutmaster John Copoulos.

Contact Kurt Hildebrand at hildebrand@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.