Grand Prix Racing - How To Make A Fast Pinewood Car

A Race Worth Winning

Read this page to see how pinewood Grand Prix racing works in our AWANA club and how it relates to life.

God reveals Himself to us in everything He made.

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

We can see God in the details of ordinary things.

For example, a race:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25

The apostle Paul spoke of his mission for the Lord as a race!

We can see God and His message of salvation clearly illustrated in our AWANA Grand Prix race.

Block Heads

Our cars are like us. They begin as bulky blocks and need a lot of cutting, gouging and shaping to be made useful. Filing and sanding are hard work and they produce heat. It's uncomfortable for the block and the craftsman. Paint and other finishes don't smell nice either. These procedures and treatments are like the training we receive when we are young. Our parents hope to shape us into responsible adults and many desire us to realize our need of God. But no one would think to enter a carved up block in a Grand Prix race!


In order to get somewhere, our cars need wheels. To put wheels on them we need axles. Axles determine how tightly and how straight the wheels are held. They can't be too tight or the wheels can't spin; too lose and the wheels start to wobble. We are told to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. When you put your wheels on your car, think about how the axles are committed to hold onto the wheels. When we acknowledge Jesus as Christ, He "nails" our sin to His cross and "nails" his salvation to our spiritual body. That's a commitment and promise worth holding on to!


We all started out with no wheels. It takes axles to grab hold of the wheels. The first thing wheels do is lift our burden. Then depending on a few other things, they allow us to go somewhere, to make real progress in the race.

Our wheels are like Jesus lifting our burden and placing us at the starting line in the race of the Christian life. What Jesus does for us is like our wheels. But He is the master of the race. When we supply the axles to accept the wheels, Jesus supplies the wheels and sets us on His path to travel. Off we go! We call this important event salvation.

Those who try to live the Christian life without Jesus are trying to race with no wheels. They have no hope of finishing! But Christ's salvation comes at some personal cost too. As those wheels spin up, they take a small amount of our car's energy. It takes some energy on our part to grow to maturity in Christ as well. But we must not hold the gift of God too tightly just for ourselves, but share it with others. Too tight a grip and our axles begin to act as breaks turning Christ's freedom to ritual and judgment. Too lose and one begins to slip back into the sin from which God saved us. This person is double minded.

Just putting wheels on your car allows you to finish less than 2 feet behind the winner. But you do finish! Our desire to know and serve Jesus after salvation helps to close the gap (note the dashes in the diagram below) even further.

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Our elevated position at salvation represents great potential at the beginning of our Christian race in obedience to God. He gives to His children "the" measure of faith to profit by, just like we weight our cars to the limit set by the rules to keep their energy high on the track.

Weight Placement

But we find to really put the most into fellowship with God, our hearts must be in the "right place"; humbled before Him. We must take the back seat and let Him lead. We all have the same measure of faith, but if we don't let God lead, we limit what faith in God can do through us.

The heart of each car is its balance point. The further back it sits, the more power will flow through your car at the bottom of the track. You'll gain a few inches over other cars if your heart's in the right place.

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There would be no race if there were nothing to overcome. On the track, there are many forms of energy loss. The Bible calls these things dissipations or sin. This is energy spent on the things of the world rather than those of God. Sin will only be eliminated in the world to come. But just as we can overcome much friction in our cars, we can overcome much sin in our lives. Grand Prix cars that win at our regional races still lose by two car lengths to the theoretically frictionless car that represents Jesus' sinless life.

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For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 6:23 and 24

Axle Friction

Let's look at some sources of friction. The greatest source of friction is axle friction. This is like daily sin that besets us even when we are not aware of it. By reading the Bible and praying regularly, we begin to weed out habits and thoughts that cause much of our insensitivity to our sin. Scripture makes it clear that our greatest struggle with sin is not direct conflict with Satan, demons or the world, but with our own thoughts and desires - axle friction. Breaking those habits and capturing those thoughts is like polishing the axles of our cars. It can cut friction in half if there is one more thing.


That thing is lubrication. We can grind away at our axles all we want, but if there is no lubrication, there is no reduction in friction. Lubrication is well developed in Scripture. When we think of lubrication, we think of oil. Oil is the symbol used in the Bible for the working of the Holy Spirit.

Now pay close attention to this one! When does the Holy Spirit come into a believer? At salvation! By the analogy above, salvation comes when you put your wheels on. Did you know that if you try to lubricate your wheels after you put them on your car your first race will be terrible and the rest will be inconsistent? You have to lube your axles and wheels WHEN you put your wheels on your car!!! You can gain a foot or more over your competitors by polishing your axles and lubricating properly. This is a great illustration of just how important the Holy Spirit is to us in our Christian race.

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Aerodynamic Drag

A lesser source of friction is the air. As our cars zips down the track air resists them. Who is the Prince of the Power of the Air? Satan - the god of this world. Even though Jesus did not sin, He was beset by enough sin in the world to physically kill him! He willingly died so that His return to life could prove God's power over sin and its penalty, death. Satan's ultimate weapon against us was broken as Jesus offers His victory to us in salvation. We live in Christ.

The only way to decrease our exposure to Satan and the sin he works in the world is to hide ourselves in Christ. As John the Baptist said, "He (Jesus) must increase. I must decrease." That's also the way to reduce the effect of air resistance on our cars. Make a lower car. It doesn't need to be particularly smooth either, mostly low. God is more concerned about what is inside us rather than what is outside. Here is an opportunity to gain another half car length at the finish.

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Median Collisions

Friction can also come from the correcting force of the lane median. It is the reaction of our cars to these small collisions that really count. Unlike the other types of friction that beset us constantly, this type happens at special times. These are events and tests in our lives that require a response. A car that allows its wheels to slosh around, side-to-side across its axles, can lose up to 1 percent of its energy on EACH encounter. A car that does not "turn to the left or the right" but accepts the full impact of correction will lose very little energy. It will also tend to stay away from further collisions with the lane median longer!

What is your reaction to correction? If you have "wheels", are your wheels lose, or do you hang on to them tightly, yet giving them enough room to spin? Experts say it is this type of friction that determines the real winners. Experimentally, as in real life, this is the most difficult kind of resistance to measure, understand and master. We can't even make a simple diagram to compare it with the other types of friction.


One way to deal with collisions is to avoid them. Start out with our wheels aligned straight along the track. The better aligned, the less correction needed. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:6 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. - James 4:8 As we draw near to God He will make us more like Jesus.

Entering The Race

A Grand Prix car is just a block of wood that has been worked over and set on wheels. Yet, God has given us the privilege of racing them in our AWANA program to show boys, girls and their parents how God can use even these common things for His purposes. God can use us in ways that are even more wonderful if we let Him. But first, we must get into the race.

If you aren't already on the "track", enter the "race" now! Tell God that you know the penalty for your sin is death; you're just a scarred up block going nowhere. Tell Him that you have no way of getting on the right track. Let Him know your only hope is in Jesus' payment of your penalty; His death on the cross and resurrection is your payment and hope. Ask God to forgive your sin and accept you as His child. Secure your new "wheels" by committing to follow Jesus and letting the Holy Spirit work in you. He will make you a new creation and lift you up to start a new life. Begin to clean up your axles and try out your wheels. Tell someone about your decision to follow Jesus. Tell us. And welcome to the Christian race!

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13 and 14

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Grand Prix Racing - How To Make A Fast Pinewood Car
Copyright © 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 by Michael Lastufka, All rights reserved worldwide.