A Game of Inches: Week 5 recap of World of Speed Summer Camp

This week we had two very diverse groups of students in two very different programs. The older of which was the Racing 201 group of 8-10th grade students. This is the first time we've taught this comprehensive class. They learned applied terminology and spent a majority of their time out at Pat's Acres Racing Complex. Here they laid down an abundance of laps, many of which rivaled the track record.  They learned just how strenuous racing is by climbing behind the wheel for numerous sessions three days in a row. By the last day a majority of our students were comfortably in the 49-second range. Thirteen-year-old Porter came into the World of Speed summer camp wanting to be around other kids that like cars as much as he does. “I just have a smile on my face the whole time.” He said.

A few guests came in to talk to the group this week including Clackamas County Safety Commission’s Patty McMillan. She spoke of making wise decisions on the road such as not driving impaired and not driving faster than conditions permit. The other guest was 18-year-old Late Model racer Gracin Raz who is working his way through the ranks in an effort to become a professional NASCAR driver. “It is a little intimidating at first but it’s about getting respect. It is a game of inches,” he explained to our impressionable students.

The Fun and Games group did as advertised: They had fun and played games!. With an emphasis on focus, this program fired up the RC cars, our slot cars and in our real life racing simulators. Besides having fun and playing games, this group of 3rd-5th graders had the opportunity to design, build and race their very own pinewood derby cars.  During the sketching period, 10-year-old Mackenzie said, “ I looked up on the land speed wall and drew from that.” On race day 10-year-old Ashon won the pinewood derby competition in his ‘Wendigo’ car by a matter of inches. Eight-year-old Isaac’s ‘Green Machine’ and 10 year old Owen’s ‘Black Lightning’ weretied for second at the finish line.

In the end Cole’s ‘GT’ pinewood car won the design competition from the Fun and Games crowd and 13 year-old Nate was crowned all around best driver of the week. Scores were averaged from Pat’s Acres lap times, slot car times, RC car times and simulator times. We emphasized the fun in spending time around cars and learning about control this week both on track and in games. Overall these programs are about learning how to dream big in context to motorsports. Gracin Raz said it best during his presentation, “Anything is possible.”