Awana Grand Prix, 2016

As the parents of two daughters there are a few things that we assumed would never be in the cards for us. Little league, football practice, and The Pinewood Derby to name a few. Even though we’ve come to peace and have fully embraced (dare I say rocked?!) our girl parent role. I won’t deny the excitement that was buzzing in our house the day Marissa came home and asked her daddy if he would make a derby car with her for the AWANA Grand Prix.


“Daddy, can you please build a car with me?!” I’m pretty sure there was no way in the world that Russ could or would have declined that invitation. So they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. I wish I had documented the whole process… but I didn’t. They worked sneakily and quietly in the garage. Probably hiding from me and my camera. But I did manage to take this photo before they started.

They worked and worked, learning so much along the way. In the end they were left with a car that they were both proud of. Marissa was just so sure her car was going to be fast. Russ was prayerful that all of the hard work and hours spent would equal a car that didn’t fall to pieces and hopefully win at least one of the races it was in.


I watched a nervous girl (with an even more nervous dad behind her) while the car was being inspected. A trial run and then the agonizing wait for the races to begin. All while my head was swimming from a cold and I was trying to be the calm reminder that even if our car wasn’t fast, we’d still have fun. 

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Finally it was time for the races to start. Marissa won her first heat, her second heat, her third heat and her fourth. Her car WAS fast and it appeared to be one of the fastest cars out there. She jumped, she giggled, she grinned from ear to ear… and so did her dad. Okay, maybe he didn’t giggle.


“This must be what people like Rick Hendrick and Joe Gibbs feel like.” He said as he posed for a picture with Marissa.
(Jess & Whitney I think you may be the only two girls who gets that reference :). )

After waiting for what felt like forever, they finally were ready to give the results. They took the 4 run times and averaged them, awarding trophies to the top 4 fastest cars. 

She won 3rd place!
It was so sweet. She just kept saying “I can’t believe I won a trophy!”

I was so proud. Proud of Marissa and proud of her awesome daddy who spent so much time working on that car with her. 

Take a look at Marissa’s car in action!

Our first Grad Prix was a huge success and Russ already has ideas of how we can build an even faster car in 2017. That is if Marissa even wants to build one… but I feel pretty safe assuming that answer is a YES!

Have you ever built a derby car?


Sharing all the details of our very first #Awana #GrandPrix! #derbycar #IJustWannaGoFast Click To Tweet
  • Jessica

    OMG!! I have tears!! That is so amazing. Way to go Marissa and Russ!! I love how excited they both were and his comment about Rick Hendrick. HA ha! You know I understand! 🙂

    • Aaaawww sweet friend! They just had so much fun. I love that even though we have girls, they still have a love for all things car related.

  • That’s awesome and even more awesome that he got to do this with her.

  • What a wonderful post. You must be so proud of your little team. And yay for doing so well!

  • Lizzie Simantz

    Wow, what a fun event!! And how awesome for Marissa and Daddy time to make the car. We actually have a derby car that my in laws gave me, my husband built it with his Dad when he was younger and now Brayden has it. One day they will build one together too!

    • That is so much fun! They totally should build one together. It would be a full circle that way :).

  • That’s awesome! My kids do the Pinewood Derby and they need a good car design because it’s coming up!

  • OH my goodness! That is so stinkin’ cool! What a fun event and way to go Marissa!

    • Thank you. She had the best time with it.

  • This is seriously so much fun! My dad used to race in derby races when he was little! Congratulations again to your sweet girl for 3rd place! I know she was excited!

    • Thank you so much friend! It was a great day for her!

  • I love it!! Totally stuff we do with Sadie too – so glad she wanted to get involved!

    • I am too! It was a daddy’s dream come true.

  • Amy Smith

    Way to go little lady! {And Daddy, too!} How awesome!!

  • 3rd place!!! That’s awesome! My Russ wants to do an adult pinewood derby sometime. I think that would be fun!

    • They totally have a division here for 7th grade – adult! It would be fun!

  • Whitney Jordan

    How sweet!! It looks like they had a blast working on the car together. What a fun project for your car loving family. I’m guessing she’ll want to participate again next year 🙂

    • They really did. It was a lot of fun and a very unexpected thing to get to do with a daughter. I see this becoming something we do for YEARS to come.

  • Awww! Way to go, Marissa!!! She looks so proud, and so does her daddy! XOXO

  • Oh how fun is that!!! Russ’s dream come true! I bet he was SO proud of Marissa!

    • It totally was his dream come true… at least one of them :).

  • What a fun experience for Russ and the girls?! He is just so proud of them I know it.

    • It was so much fun! Can’t wait to do it again next year!

  • Desiree @ Macke Monologues

    Awww, this is so sweet. How awesome that Russ and Marissa got to do something like this together. And, talk about so perfect for your car-loving family!!

  • Gah! How much fun!!! You can just see her excitement in that one picture!

    • It was a highlight for her for sure. Can’t wait to make it a tradition!

  • chall1018

    Oh this is so awesome! What a fun Daddy/Daughter project to work on together. I love the excited Marissa pictures. So sweet!!! Mason gets to do something similar for Boy Scouts next year. We are excited!

    • You gotta love the Pinewood Derby. I grew up in a scouting family so I am VERY familiar with it. I never thought we’d get to be a part of anything like it having girls :).