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Pinewood Derby

We need lots of volunteers to make this event successful. 

Who can race?

The Pinewood Derby is a family event. However, racing and door prizes are limited to Pack 957 Cub Scouts and their Siblings between age 4 and 5th grade. Everyone is welcome to bring cars and display them in the special display area. Parents, please remember that this is an opportunity to do something WITH your son, not FOR your son. Let him plan, dream, design, research, draw, cut, sand, paint, assemble, lube, carry, register, hope, and cheer as much as he can safely do.

What to do on race day?

When the racers arrive they can take their car to Pit Row for a preliminary inspection, or they can proceed to the Registration Area.

At the Registration Area, the car will be inspected and weighed. The racer/adult partner will be given the choice to proceed with registration or to go to Pit Row. If they proceed with registration a number will be assigned to the car.  The number will be placed on the top of the car and on the racer's nametag. The Cub Scouts will receive a voting ballot for the Cub Scouts Choice award. The car will be placed in a secured viewing area.

At Pit Row, the car can be weighed and inspected (Please remember: The Officials at the Registration area have the final say on Weight and the Inspection rules). The Pit Mechanics can help add or remove weight, fix wheels, apply graphite, and make minor repairs. They might even give you some last minute speed tips.

While waiting for the races to start, look around. Check out the other cars. Talk to others about how you built your car. Get your picture taken by some of the racing banners or posters. Get something to eat. Maybe even watch a racing video and see what it's really like to take a car around the track at 240 miles per hour!

When the races start, listen for your car number. Cheer for your friends on every race and have fun!

How are the winners determined?

This is NOT a double elimination event! In a double elimination event, half of the field is eliminated after two rounds, boys are given their cars and they have nothing to do. We use a computerized timer to find the fastest car. By using a time-based system and lane rotation, all the boys continue to race until the very end, when the winners are determined by the lowest average time.

At each race, six cars will run down the track. They are mixed based on the number assigned at registration. After each race, the results for that race are projected from the computer to the overhead. The lane assignments and racers are assigned by the computer to make it fair for everyone. After racing on each lane, the fastest cars will be determined. In the event of a tie, runoff races will be held. This process is easy to track and keeps all the boys involved. In some cases, you even get groups rooting for each other.

What awards will be won?

The first and best award (reward) is that the boys can see the car they made and be proud of their accomplishment. The adults get the reward of working on a project with the boys and having fun with them at the race.

Every Scout that enters a car will receive a Pinewood Derby patch and door prizes.

A trophy and medal will be presented to the First, Second, and Third Place overall winners in the Speed Competition. First, Second, and Third Place ribbons will be awarded to Sibling winners and winners within each Rank.

Static awards will be determined by the votes of Cub Scout Leaders. A trophy will be presented for:

  1. Most Patriotic
  2. Best Stickers/Decals/Colors
  3. Most Scout-like
  4. Most Realistic
  5. Wackiest
  6. Fastest Looking
  7. Most Original
  8. Best Camouflaged Car
  9. Most Christ-like/Christian

A new special award has also been added. This is “The Best in Show” Award. The winner of this award will also be given a trophy similar to that of the fastest car. This award is given to the Cub Scout that demonstrates the following in the making of his car:

  1. Attention to detail
  2. Complexity of the design (the more complex the better)
  3. If it looks like the Cub Scout poured his heart into it
  4. Perceived time spent on the car (the more the better)

The idea of this new award is to be able to give those Cub Scouts that did not go for speed to still get a chance to win a big trophy. Many times we have seen a car that has more work put into it than the fastest car and little recognition went to that Cub Scout. We all love to see those cool designs, but great looking cars are not always the fastest. The scout that wins this award can NOT win any of the static awards or the Cub Scout Choice award. This allows for more opportunities for the Cub Scouts to win in a category. However, the Cub Scout that wins this award is still eligible to win a speed award as well.

Car Modification Rules

Click here for a the official rules. 
  1. The car shall NOT exceed 5.0 oz (142 grams). The car may be hollowed out or built up to reach the maximum weight. No loose materials are allowed on the car. If you want to weight the car earlier, then stop by the Post Office and use the automated mailing scale.
  2. No cheater bars (front spoilers) are allowed on the car. The starting pin must be able to touch the base of the car.
  3. The overall length of the car shall not exceed 7 inches. Caution: Measure your car, some kits may exceed 7 inches.
  4. The overall width of the car shall not exceed 2 ¾ inches.
  5. The overall height of the car shall not exceed 5 inches to clear the electronic finish line gates.
  6. The car must have a minimum 1 ¾ inches clearance between the wheels to clear the center guide strips on the track.
  7. The car must have 3/8 inch clearance underneath the body to clear the center guide strips on the track.
  8. The wood provided in the kit must be used. The block may be shaped any way that is desired.
  9. The wheels supplied with the kit must be used. The wheels may not be cut, drilled, beveled or rounded. You may remove the seam from the wheels.
  10. The axles (nails) supplied with the kit must be used (no full body width axles). They may be polished or lubricated. No bearing, bushing, washer, or tube is allowed. The car shall not ride on any type of springs. The official BSA axle guards are allowed. The axle guards help secure and align the axles (and fix chipped axle groves). The axle guards are available at the local scout shops.
  11. Only dry lubricants such as graphite or powdered teflon "white lube" will be allowed for lubricating the wheels. Only one lubrication is allowed before the beginning of the first race.
  12. The wheelbase (distance between the front and rear axles) may NOT be altered for the race. The front wheels must not protrude past the front of the car.
  13. Only new cars may be raced. Cars from previous years may not be entered.

Derby Schedule

Thursday - Pit Row Night

6:45PM - 8:15PM - Come to Pit Row Night at the church. We will provide scales and measurements to see if your car is legal. Learn tips on improving performance. This is also training night for the Pit Crew and Registration officials.

Friday - Pinewood Derby Setup Night

7:00PM - 9:00PM - Setup the track, decorations, Pit Row, registration, special display tables, and concessions. No kids allowed!

Saturday - Pinewood Derby

8:30AM - Volunteers Arrive to Finish Last Minute Setup
9:00AM - Open Pit Row
9:00AM - Registration Begins
10:00AM - Registration Closes
10:30AM - Gentlemen Start Your Engines (Attendance prizes awarded between races)
1:00PM - All Races Completed
1:30PM - Awards Ceremony
2:00PM - Clean-up


1. Can I get help building my pinewood derby car?

Checkout the Official BSA Pinewood Derby web site for videos and detailed instructions on building a car. If your scout is not already excited about building his car, then this site should do the trick! Also, we highly recommend you attend the Pit Row Night on the Thursday before the race. At the Pit Row event, experts are available to help adjust the weigh of your car, and to help make adjustments. Only minor adjustments are performed on Pit Row on Race Day.

2. How do I build a fast car?

There are many websites offering tips on how to build a fast car (see the Quick Links on this event page). A couple easy tips are: (1) Adjust the wheel alignment on the car to make sure it goes straight, and lubricate your car using graphite powder.

3. Where can I purchase accessories for my car?

Locally, check out the Scout shops and Michael's for a great selection of accessories (graphite powder, weights, decals, paint, etc.).