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CO2 Racing Brothers Collaborate and Compete

When it comes to siblings in competition, there’s Peyton and Eli. There’s the Harbaugh brothers, who coached against each other in Super Bowl XLVII. Don’t forget Serena and Venus. Now, you can add another pair to the list: David and Michael Woodruff.

David is the champ of the middle school Dragster Design competition at the 2015 Technology Student Association Conference held in Dallas, TX. His younger brother Michael took second place in the same event.

David is now an eighth grader at Louise R. Johnson Middle School in Bradenton, FL. He also took first place in the event as a seventh grader. Like last year, his car was disqualified at the Florida state-level TSA event. For the second time, he overcame that setback to triumph at the national event.

The big difference for this year, however, was that younger bro Michael – a seventh grader – was also designing, building, and scheming to claim top honors in the same events.

“I had to try the opposite, to be different. You can’t build it the same because that doesn’t show personality.”

This begs the question: Did brotherly love win out over sibling rivalry? Did they collaborate or compete? According to Michael, “We competed.”

Michael – new to CO2 racing this year – is just as quick to acknowledge that David also helped him. David coached Michael in the use of SolidWorks, solid-modeling CAD software used by professional engineers and, yes, middle school dragster builders.

Like most siblings, there’s a point where the sharing ends and the competing begins. According to advisor Suzanne Jarrell, “David is awesome, he’s really good about helping his brother along, but there was still competition between them. It kept them changing things to one-up each other. It was the good old brother rivalry.”

The competition was beneficial to both boys. David thinks competing with his brother actually helped him make his car faster. He explained that the collaborating/competing process causes an exchange of ideas that can change your opinions and lead to important design improvements.

David and Michael both pointed out the differences in their car design. “My car was a bit shorter because surface area equals wind resistance and slows down the car,” David said. “Michael was going for a smoother, less abrupt ending to his car to help the air to flow around it easier.

“When he went for the longer approach, I had to try the opposite, to be different. You can’t build it the same because that doesn’t show personality.”

What does the future hold for this sibling rivalry? The brothers both plan to return to TSA next year but won’t be in the same event (David will be moving on to the high school competition). We have a hunch the Woodruff brothers will be designing, building, racing, and collaborating in the TSA dragster event for years to come.

Oh, and David, if you’re reading this – beware that your bro has a few tricks he’s keeping secret and planning to unleash in future events.