With their cars tuned up and sitting in the paddock after passing a pre-race inspection, members of the Waxahachie Bible Church AWANA group were race ready.
For the 15th year, members of the Sparks and Truth and Training age groups challenged their competitors with the pine wood block entries. The cars are based on a kit consisting of a pine wood block with wheels and axles.
From the basic block, the members can create a design of their own while staying within certain size and weight standards. According to Tim Allen, AWANA commander, the cars cannot weigh more than 5 ounces. The size restriction is so the car will travel down the track without interference.
The competitors, ages kindergarten through sixth grades, waited all week as the cars were inspected last Sunday to ensure they met the race size and rules. Once they passed the tech inspection, no changes could be made outside of a few repairs to reattach a wheel or to repair any race damage.
As the youthful car owners arrived Sunday afternoon the long silver track with timing equipment was installed and tested. The four lanes were ready for the competitors. With a “One, Two, Three,” called from the race announcer, the starting gate was dropped. The first heat of entries clattered their plastic wheels, picking up speed down the slope and slowing slightly as they crossed the finish line.
The first heat of racers was the Sparks Group. The younger racers, many of them their first time, watched the finish line as they waited to see whose car would cross under the finish line bridge first.
With the completion of the first heat, Samuel John took first place in his group followed by Austin Robinson in second and Collin Cossette placing third.
The next group to the starting line was the Truth and Training members. Some having raced before, checked their cars before placing them at the starting gate. The older group of racers also lined up on the yellow line to cheer their car, hoping for a first place finish.
Taking the first place trophy with the fastest time was Timothy Grmela. He was followed very closely by Mike Maynard in second and Charles Pike taking the third place ribbon.
Besides competing for the best racing time, the cars also competed for a best design award. Sparks winners were Brook Alford with the first place entry with Bo Davis taking second place honors and Kaden Vaughn in third.
The Truth and Training members’ best design contest winners were Katy Tarver taking the first place trophy, Josef Matthews taking second and third going to Matthew Pike.
This year’s race saw a new division. For the first time adults could enter.
“They’re not racing for a trophy, but for a year’s worth of bragging rights,” race official Holly Pike said, announcing the group of nine adult racers.
Testing their wheels for the last time, the racers lined up for their position on the starting line. Ensuring their entry was perfectly lined up on the track, they moved to the finish line to see who would get the bragging rights as winner.
When the final heart was run, Steve Grmela’s entry had the fastest time, awarding him the first place congratulations. Grmela was followed by Mike Maynard in second with Charles Pike following in the third place position.
The AWANA group is sponsored by Waxahachie Bible Church.
“The membership is open to all youth in the community. They do not have to be a member of the church,” Allen said, saying that AWANA is for grades kindergarten through 12th grade.