Pack 33's Pinewood Derby Homepage

Race Day
The Derby will be held in the IHM Lower Hall on March 19, 2016.  Registration starts at 10:30am, ALL CARS MUST BE REGISTERED BY 11:15AM, racing starts at 11:30 prompt.  Snacks, lunch foods, and drinks will be provided.  This is a family event so bring the grandparents, uncles, cousins, and anyone else who might enjoy the race.

Pack 33 Pinewood Derby- Pack specific information


When:  Saturday March 19th

Where:  IHM Lower Hall

Time: 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

How the Derby Works:

10:30 –  Car Registration Open,  Track opens for trial runs for cars, Scouts can do weight checks and car adjustments

10:45 -   Final Inspections Open - Impound Lot Opens



11:30 – Opening Ceremonies & Official Racing & Judging begin

12:00 – Lunch – Provided by Pack including hot dogs, chips, fruit, desert & water


As always this is a family event, siblings are welcome to come watch and enjoy the fun.   If they built a car – it may be selected as a dummy car… They can also run it down the track during the testing period.

Awards will be presented to Top 3 Fastest Cars and additional awards will be presented for creativity, design, paint job and a few more to top it off!  


Below are the rules adapted from BSA -


Ground Rules & Competition

1. The race is open to all Cub Scouts registered in this Pack.

2. Each scout may enter only one car in the competition.

3. The car must have been built during the current year (the school year in which the Derby is held). Cars that have competed in a previous Derby are not permitted.

4. Competition will consist of a full track of cars for each race.  (We have a three lane track.)  The competition committee will determine how to race the cars in the fairest manner possible to determine the fastest cars.

5. If a car jumps the track, the race will be run again. If the same car jumps the track a second time, that car will automatically lose that race. 

6. If a car leaves its lane and interferes with another car, the race will be run again. If the same car leaves its lane a second time and interferes with another car, the interfering car will automatically lose that race.  

7. If a car becomes damaged and can be repaired in a reasonable amount of time (a few minutes), the race will be run again. If not, the damaged car will automatically lose that race.

8. Only race officials and scouts participating in the current race may enter the track area. This rule will be strictly enforced. Please help to keep the boys and siblings outside the marked areas.


Inspection & Registration


a) Each car must pass a technical inspection before it may compete. Technical inspection and registration of cars occurs just prior to Impounding the day of the race

Note: The Race Starter will place the car on the track according to axle location.  The back axel is nearest to the end of the car.  The front axel is furthest away from the end of the car.  This determines the direction the car will race unless the contestant clearly marks "Front" on the car.

b) The Inspection Committee shall disqualify cars which do not meet these rules. If a car does not pass inspection, the owner will be informed of the reason his car did not pass (too long, too heavy, altered wheel base, or the like). Cars which fail the initial inspection may be modified for final inspection and registration. A grace period will be allotted for cars not passing inspection.

c) To enter the race, cars must have passed inspection and be registered by the Final Inspection Deadline determined by Race officials. 

d) No cars may be altered in any way after it has been registered. Damage repair shall be allowed during the Derby only if it does not delay the race, but no modifications shall be allowed.

e) After passing inspection, no car shall be re-inspected unless repaired after damage in handling or in a race.

f) Ungentlemanly or unsportsmanlike conduct by any participant or spectator will be grounds for expulsion from the competition and/or the race area.


Body, Wheels, Axels

1. Axles and wheels shall be only as provided in the Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit.

2. You MUST use the block of wood provided. Purchasing pre-made bodies is NOT ALLOWED.

3. Wheels may be lightly sanded to smooth out molding imperfections on the tread area. This light sanding is the only modification allowed. Beveling, tapering, thin sanding, wafering or lathe turning of the wheels is prohibited. 

4. Axles may not be altered in any way except for polishing.

5. Wheel bearings, washers, bushings, and hub caps are prohibited.

6. The car shall not ride on any type of springs.

7. The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting device or other type of propulsion.  


Length, Width, Clearance

1. The maximum overall width (including wheels and axles) shall not exceed 2-3/4 inches.  

2. The minimum width between the wheels shall be 1-3/4 inches so the car will clear the center guide strip on the track. 

3. The minimum clearance between the bottom of the car and the track surface shall be 3/8 inch so the car will clear the center guide strip on the track. The car should not be over 4.5 inches tall total to be able to fit under the finish line sensors.

4. The maximum overall length shall not exceed 7 inches.  

5. The wheel-base (distance between the front and rear axles) may not be changed from the kit body distance of 4-1/4 inches. 


Weight and Appearance

1. Weight shall not exceed 5 ounces. The reading of the official scale will be considered final. The car may be hollowed out and built up to the maximum weight by the addition of wood or metal only, provided the material is securely built into the body or firmly affixed to it. No liquids or loose materials of any kind are permitted in or on the car.

2. Details such as steering wheel, driver, spoiler, decals, painting and interior details are permissible as long as these details do not exceed the maximum 

length, width or weight specifications.

3. Cars with wet paint will not be accepted.

The following are suggestions from others, but are not requirements regarding the race.



1. Use graphite only. Oil damages the paint and collects dust.

2. Break in the wheels by spinning them with lots of graphite. 

3. Right before check-in, fill the wheels wells with graphite and cover with stickers like a hub cap. You can paint the 1 inch stickers in a contrasting color. It looks great! 

4. Put a small drop of white glue where the axle goes into the car body and put powdered graphite on it there. That causes less friction if the wheel should rub against the car body.

5. Other than the good polishing of the axles, dump the axles and wheels in a ziplock bag with some graphite and shake them for a few days prior to the race. That way the wheel and the axles are as slick as can be.  



1. Get the weight as close to the 5 ounce limit as possible. Add the last little bit of weight with lead tape from the golf shop. This can be trimmed with scissors at the last minute. Remember, the official scale may not weigh the same as yours.  

2. Everyone has an opinion on where to put the weight. My belief is that the weight needs to be predominantly in the rear so that gravity can act upon the weight further up the incline and for a longer period of time A car with more 

weight to the rear generally grabs more speed down the slope. Many suggest having the center of gravity at 1 to 11/2 inches in front of the rear wheels. But be careful not to put too much in the rear or you'll pop a wheelie.  

3. What kind of weight? I think the melted lead is dangerous and unnecessary. Tubular weights can be sunk in the sides; flat weights, like those sold at hobby & council stores can be attached to the car bottom if it is carved in a bit. Incremental weights ( with pre-marked grooves) are easier to snap off into the size you need. Some folks just use BB's, nuts & bolts, etc., but these must be glued so that they can not move. No movable weights or mercury are allowed.  

4.  I like the round weights found at the hobby shops and craft stores.  This allows us to stick the weights out the back of the car.  We paint them and tell everyone that they are jet engines or tail pipes.  What they really do is allow us to get the weights as far back as possible.   

5. Keep the weight low on the car and in the center (Left/Right of the car). Put the weight just in front or behind the rear wheels for less wheel chatter. 


Race Day Prepared

1. Have extra axles and wheels on hand. You never know when your car may be the one dropped by your son as he shows off his handiwork.

2. Have a derby tool kit handy. It should include superglue, sandpaper, a drill, extra screws for your weights, extra weights, a small screwdriver. You may not use it, but it will make you the most popular person at the event.

3. Transport your car in a shoebox. Dropped cars are unfortunately a too common experience.

4. Add LOTS of graphite right before check in.

5. Explain to your son that running the car along the floor prior to the race will cause it to lose!

"Be Fast... or Look Good Trying"

The pinewood derby is one of the most popular and successful family activities in Cub Scouting. Pinewood derby cars are small wooden models that Cub Scouts make with help from their families. Then they race the cars in competition. The cars are powered by gravity and run down a track. Every boy can design and build his own "grand prix" car to enter in the race.


Race Day Highlights

We have multiple divisions...  

The Scout Derby - with the three fastest cars qualifying for the District Pinewood Derby 

Other - Included in the past have been- Most Patriotic, Most not like a car, most original/creative

Prizes and Recognition

The Derby is about doing one's best and having fun, so all child participants will be recognized.  But that doesn't mean our race winners won't take home some shiny hardware. 

Derby Building

The boys are encouraged to design the shape of their cars, sand them, and decorate them accordingly.  Parents are encouraged to assist the child but they should let the child do most of the work.

Equal Ground

All entries in the derby will start with the "Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit" which includes the body, 4 axles, and 4 wheels.  All nine pieces MUST be used before the car can race. The kits are sold at the local Scout Shop or online.   Cars may not exceed 5 ounces in weight and must conform to certain size restrictions and specifications.  Decorating the cars are up to the imagination of the boys.  
Printable Rules
We will post the printable rules below when they become available