And They're Off!
RAY: This is a quasi-automotive puzzler, sent in by John Whittier. He writes, "This is the season for Cub Scouts all over the country to hold their Pinewood Derby Races.
"My two sons built their cars and wanted to compete against each other at home prior to the real race. I built a simple racetrack using materials I had on hand. However, I only had materials to build a one-lane track.
"I had planned to run the cars individually and use a stop watch to time each car. So, son A would put his car at the top and let it go. I'd start the watch, and when it got across the finish line, I'd check the time. But when we attempted to hold races I discovered that the cars traversed my very short track in such a short time that I could not start and stop the watch fast enough to accurately measure the times such that we could really determine which car was faster.
"My younger son, who was eight years old, came up with a solution. Remember, all we had were the two cars, the short test track, the stop watch and the three of us.
"What solution did he come up with?"
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[ Car Talk Puzzler ]