Derby Day at Davis-Besse

Two racers get their cars ready at the start line for a championship run.

May 23, 2019

The races were run on the same day, but there’s no confusing the Kentucky Derby with the derby run at the Davis-Besse Energy Education Center. About 50 Girl Scouts took to the track in the annual Pinewood Derby held for the first time at the nuclear plant.

In a Pinewood Derby, each girl shapes a race car out of a block of pine wood and customizes it for the event. Hosting an event like the Pinewood Derby is the perfect example of Davis-Besse’s commitment to community and to science education, because creating a contender is a hands-on engineering challenge.

“It’s a fun event, but there’s also a lot of science at work,” said, Davis-Besse Engineer Jarrod Nolan, whose daughter Marin was among scouts competing. “By coming up with creative and practical solutions to a problem, the girls are embracing the role of an engineer, researching car designs, designing with the most aerodynamic vehicle shape, and strategizing about the best weight for their car.”

Racers competed in several different age groups. Trophies were awarded to the top three finishers, and the best car designer in each group received a medal for her work.

(R.) Jarrod Nolan, in his role as Pinewood Derby commissioner, gets cars set in the starting block for another exciting Pinewood Derby race. Jarrod’s daughter Marin (l.) won this race with a blistering 2.49 second run in lane two. She was third in her age group.

A pair of Girl Scouts gets excited about a close race to the finish line in the Pinewood Derby.