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Riverhead brewery pairs beers and toy race cars

A car in the Pintwood Derby races down

A car in the Pintwood Derby races down the track at the Long Ireland Beer Co. in Riverhead. Credit: That Guy Events Photos

The Long Ireland Beer Co. in Riverhead is putting an adult spin on a racing event popularized by Cub Scouts. On Saturday, July 23, the brewery hosts the second annual Pintwood Derby — pairing its craft beers with a pinewood derby car contest.


The event is inspired by traditional pine car competitions that date back to the 1950s, when Cub Scouts would handcraft wood race cars and race them in timed competitions. Cars are created out of blocks of pinewood, carved into various shapes and sizes, and painted, all within the 5-ounce weight limit.

Because beer is served at the Pintwood Derby, it is an adults-only event.

“The Pintwood Derby brings together the appreciation for local craft beer with the excitement that surrounds competition,” says brewery co-owner Dan Burke.

Sheaugh Costello, 23, of Mastic is looking forward to defending her title at this year’s contest. Neither Costello nor her boyfriend, Michael Todd, had ever taken part in a pinewood race before entering two cars in the inaugural event. Her winning time for the 35-foot race was less than 3 seconds.

“As soon as I heard about it, I knew it was something I wanted to get involved in,” says Costello, who with Todd shares an interest in craft beer. “I bought about eight car kits and shared them with friends and family to try and get more people involved.”

Costello convinced her parents to enter two cars last year, but neither placed. Still, her parents stayed to cheer on their daughter when she made it to the finals. The event, Costello says, is as much about the camaraderie as it is the competition.

“The Pintwood Derby is an event that people of all ages — 21 and over — can participate in, and even if they don’t enter a car, it is very fun to watch,” Costello says. “People get so excited over their cars and the work they’ve put into them.”

Brian Tellerman is one such person.

Tellerman hopes to redeem himself after his loss in the first competition.

“Last year, I raced a car I built years ago with my dad back when I was a Scout,” says Tellerman, 31, of Oakdale. “While seeing the car again brought back great memories, the car was not a strong finisher.”

Tellerman says he’s made some improvements to his tiny ride and hopes to gain some speed to up its standing.


Organizers are anticipating at least 200 competitors and 500 spectators.

The daylong event also will feature local food trucks: Rosie’s Grilled Cheese and Brockenzo’s Neapolitan Pizza, as well as a cigar vendor.

Competitors must drop off their cars on event day beginning at 1 p.m. Racing will start at 4 p.m. Preregistration is advised and costs $25, which includes admission of one car in four races. The fee doubles for same-day entrants.

Finishing times are averaged into a final time. Trophies will be awarded to the top three racers and a $250 prize will go to the first-place winner.

Pintwood Derby

WHEN | WHERE 4 p.m. Saturday, July 23 with car registration 1-3 p.m. at Long Ireland Beer Co., 817 Pulaski St., Riverhead

INFO 631-940-7290,

ADMISSION Free ($25 advance race car registration; $50 day-of-race registration)


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