BY: JORDAN ELDER
Hotdogs and donuts may seem like an unlikely combination, but it definitely works for restaurant-food truck combination Short Leash Hotdogs & Rollover Donuts. This Roosevelt Row eatery is anything but typical, and each April they host a very unique event.
They call it the Pinewood Classic. It is a spinoff of the Pinewood Derby, a racing competition traditionally held by Boy Scouts. With the help of parents or grandparents, children build their own cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine, plastic wheels, and metal axles.
After four successful years in Phoenix, the Pinewood Classic continues to draw in new faces each time it rolls through.
“The great thing about the Pinewood Classic is it’s grown greatly over the past four years,” Bryan Bazley said. He has attended every Classic so far and doesn’t plan on missing out in the future.
This event costs about $15 to enter, but families can come enjoy the races for free. Many repeat attendees noted how quickly registration filled up this year, saying that if you didn’t register right when the site opened in February, you most likely didn’t get a spot in the race.
“Everyone puts a lot of work and effort into it,” Bazley said. “You see people who are very technical with their cars and then you see people that just make funny cars.”
And these cars aren’t just made in a day. Many contestants work for up to a month on perfecting their creations. This year’s entries included a watermelon car, a skateboard, a ballet slipper and a unicorn.
Griffin Wilson, a first-timer at the Pinewood Classic, said that he and his father spent about a week making his vehicle, which needed a few coats of paint, a Yoda figurine, and weights in order to meet regulation. “It’s red, it has little yellow details, and Yoda!” he exclaimed.
Children of all ages can come out and compete, as well as get their faces painted or pick up a balloon animal. Oliver McNamara, 3, helped design his car and was excited to watch it roll down the track.
“He really loves Hot Wheels and he loves the movie cars,” said Michael McNamara, Oliver’s father. “I’ve really enjoyed, one, building a car with him, but I also let him design it. He won his first heat and just seeing the smile on his face when he won his first heat, that was totally worth it.”
The event is run by the Short Leash staff, who sell hot dogs inside and donuts outside. Ricky, a Short Leash employee, was in charge of sweeping the track to make sure the cars had a clean finish, literally.
Each car runs down the track against two opponents and the fastest one moves on to the next round until a winner is declared. This year, winners got Tuft & Needle mattresses and gift certificates to local restaurants.
The kids races run from noon until 2:30 and then there is an adult derby from 5-9 p.m. that features beverages from many local breweries and more mature car themes.
The Pinewood Classic will be back next April for its fifth year of creative cars and rambunctious racing. For more information on this unique event, visit http://thepinewoodclassic.com or search for it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.