It’s All Downhill from Here!

2016 Pinewood Derby Day Wrap-Up

The good times really did roll at the 3rd Annual Pinewood Derby Day held May 19 at the Mitchell 1 headquarters in Poway CA. This year we had 41 cars competing, all designed by employees of Mitchell 1 and other Snap-on divisions in the U.S. and England.

(Click images to expand to full size.)


The competition was fierce and the top three finishers were very close, but for the second consecutive year, David Block, a product support agent at Mitchell 1, was grand champion with the fastest car on the track. The cars were put through their paces on our high-tech track system with race management software that delivers results instantaneously as the cars cross the finish line.

All of the cars underwent a rigorous tech inspection before competing. Mike Alberry, product manager for Mitchell 1 ProDemand, was the race host and coordinator, and was assisted by a hard-working pit crew that included Michell Garcia, Thomas Southward, David Block, Rolly Austria, and Nestor Gonzales.

The action was streamed live from the Mitchell 1 office in Poway, so Snap-on folks around the world could watch the action and cheer on their cars in real time. Racers from Mitchell 1 swept the slates for both the “Fastest” and  “Best in Show” (best looking car) divisions.

There were 41 regular heats, with each car running six times in six different lanes. The final six cars did 12 more heats for the finals, with each car running twice in each lane. After a total of 53 total heats for the final six cars, the race ended with a very close finish.

Fastest Cars:

  • 1st – David Block (2.5904 seconds – 230.31 MPH)
  • 2nd – Todd Mercer (2.6046 – 229.05 MPH)
  • 3rd – Dave Ellingen (2.6065 – 228.89 MPH)


Best in Show:

Judges Clay Underwood, David Niemiec and Susan Schalk selected the “Best in Show” (best looking car) winners:

  • 1st – George Waller
  • 2nd – Michelle Castro
  • 3rd – Julian Woods


The winners won trophies and their two-plus seconds of racing fame. Pinewood Derby Day is an annual event held the week before the Indy 500 race in the U.S.


The Pinewood Derby Day would not be possible without a team effort. In addition to the pit crew and judges, here’s the behind-the-scenes crew who made it happen this year: video/graphics by Lon Mok; camera by Dave Smith; and special thanks to Michell Garcia, Nita Herrera, Tom Southward, Nestor Gonzales, Rollie Austria, Matt Haug and Joanne Kosmo.

About the Author

Jill Schafer

Jill Schafer is the Marketing Communication Manager at Mitchell 1 and has over 20 years of marketing experience with high-technology organizations, including over 10 years in the automotive information industry.