Down and Derby

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Down and Derby
Directed by Eric Hendershot
Produced by Steele Hendershot
Dickilyn Johnson
Written by Eric Hendershot
Starring Greg Germann
Lauren Holly
Pat Morita
Music by Chuck E. Meyers
Andrew Gross
Cinematography T.C. Christensen
Gordon Lonsdale
Edited by Tony Lombardo
Distributed by Excel Entertainment Group
Release dates
  • April 15, 2005 (2005-04-15)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Down and Derby is a 2005 comedy film about a Cub Scouts' pinewood derby race. The cars in the race are meant to be built from kits by Cub Scouts with appropriate adult supervision, but in Down and Derby the fathers of four Scouts take over the project from their kids, and get carried away by their competitiveness. The family-friendly movie, which was released as Racing Ace outside the US and Canada, was filmed in and around St. George, Utah.


As a child, Phil Davis (Greg Germann) was able to outrun, outjump and outhit anyone in his class, until a kid from California, Ace Montana (Marc Raymond), moved into town. Ever since then, Ace has been number one and Phil number two. Even in the cul-de-sac where the four childhood friends and rivals (Montana, Davis, Blaine Moosman (Ross Brockley) and "Big Jimmy" Scaldoni (Perry Anzilotti)) live, the Montana's mailbox is #1, and the Davis' mailbox is #2. After a basketball game where Phil's son's team loses to Ace's son's team, Phil realizes that the Davis family's second-place status has passed on to the next generation.

Phil's wife Kim (Lauren Holly), the den mother of the local Cub Scout pack, gives a pinewood derby kit to each of the Cub Scouts. Although the boys are supposed to make their own cars from the kits, with appropriate adult supervision, the four dads obsessively take over the project, totally excluding the boys.

As each man becomes more and more obsessed with building the fastest car, their wives eventually become so annoyed that they leave the house, taking their sons with them. Soon, "Big Jimmy" is the first to break secrecy to talk to Blaine, and the two of them then talk to Phil, showing him on the title page of the Pinewood Derby Bible that Ace Montana is the author. Not only that, but the car Ace built as an eight-year-old boy in California still holds the record for the fastest pinewood derby car on record.

The three men decide to collaborate to build one car that will beat Montana's. To this end, they steal Ace's record holding car to reverse-engineer it, the found out that Ace's name is Stacy Lynn but are caught in the act of returning it, barely managing to escape. The three men then succeed in building a fast car that will break the record, and Blaine and Jimmy decide that Phil should have the honor of having his son enter the car in the competition.

At the Derby, the men and their wives are re-united. Kim tells Phil that their son Brady (Adam Hicks) has built his own car while staying with his grandfather, with advice from grandpa's neighbor, and she challenges him to "do the right thing". After some soul-searching, Phil passes up the car the three men built, and allows Brady to register his car for the race – but "Big Jimmy" still wants to beat Ace, and takes the car for his son to enter.

After several races, the competition comes down to five finalists, including Ace's, Brady's, and the car the three men built. In the final race their car is leading the pack but loses a wheel. Ace's car then takes the lead, but on the flat part of the track, Brady's car takes the lead and finishes first, setting a new pinewood derby record. Ace is shocked, but makes a gesture of congratulating the Davises; still, the minute he leaves the room, he throws a temper tantrum.

When Phil asks Brady who grandpa's neighbor who gave me advice was, Brady points out a man in the audience, who turns out to be the man in the instructional video Phil has been watching to help design his car.


  • The creator of the pinewood derby, Don Murphy,[1] makes a cameo appearance in the film.
  • The license plates indicate that the film is set somewhere in Arizona, but the filming actually took place in St. George and Santa Clara, Utah.
  • In the opening scene of the movie, it is mentioned that "Big Jimmy" "hasn't grown an inch since fifth grade." He has compensated by having the biggest mailbox, biggest lawnmower, tallest wife Deborah Ashton, biggest dog and biggest truck.

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