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Pinewood Derby

What is it?
Pinewood derby cars are small wooden models that Cub Scouts make with help from their families (less so as they get older). Cars are then placed in competition including awards for speed and design. The cars are powered by gravity and run down a track. The Pack provides kits, the track to race on, and the rules of the competition. The race is scheduled during one of the Pack Meetings, typically in February or March.

Race Day

  • Wear your Class A Scout Uniform, Neckerchief & Rank Hat
  • Bring your own refillable water bottle
  • Be prepared for a longer event (snacks for younger children, etc.)
  • Arrive early to have your car inspected & impounded
  • Stay to cheer on scouts in other ranks, and awards at the end
  • Invite friends & family


  • We uphold the scout oath and law while racing.
  • We cheer and support ALL fellow scouts.
  • We listen and follow the rules and regulations that our leaders provide on race day.
  • Qualification All registered youth pack members may participate in the standard races, whereas an open class is available for leaders, siblings, parents, grandparents, guardians, etc. to participate.
  • Materials Scouts will receive one "Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit." Additional kits as well as those for siblings and relatives may be purchased from the pack. 
  • Attendance The scout/parent/sibling/etc. must enter their own car. This means the individual must be present at the Pinewood Derby.
  • Single Entry Only one car may be registered by any person into the Pinewood Derby.
  • Registration Prior to competing, all cars must be registered in the system.
  • Inspection Each car must pass inspection by the Official Inspection Committee before it may compete. Car design standards are outlined below. Inspectors may disqualify any car not meeting these rules. Please take advantage of pre-inspection prior to impounding your car. Cars which fail an initial inspection may be modified and re-inspected prior to the impound deadline.
  • Impound No car may be altered in any way after it has been impounded. Once impounded, the car will be stored in the staging area until the start of racing.

Car Design Standards

  • Width shall not exceed 2.75 inches (including the wheels).
  • Length shall not exceed 7 inches (including  the  wheels).
  • Height shall not exceed 3.5 inches (including the wheels).
  • Weight shall not exceed 5 ounces (including the wheels). The weight shown on the Official Race Scale is final. All weights attached to the bottom of the car should  be countersunk to maintain 3/8” clearance. All car parts and materials must be firmly attached. To increase the car’s weight, add wood or metal only.
  • Wheels & Axles: Use only Official BSA Grand Prix Wheels and Axles. Official BSA Colored wheels, available for purchase at the Scout Store may be substituted for the original stock wheels. You can polish the axles. You may lightly sand the wheels to remove the molding seam on the tread. The initial shape of the wheel must be maintained (no beveling, narrowing, etc.). No other wheel alterations are allowed. Apply NO Graphite or other lubricant on the surface of the wheels. Scouts will be required to wipe off wheels at impound.
  • Wheel Placement: car body must be at least 1.75 inches wide at the axles. Do not narrow the width of the car where the wheels attach. The bottom of the car must clear the ground by at least 3/8 inch. If desired, you may change the wheelbase (distance between front and rear axles) as long as the over all car length of 7 inches is maintained. The four wheels, two on each side of  the car, must be placed such that the car will straddle the lane guide and maintain all four wheels in contact with the surface of the track. If, for any reason, you must bend the axles for all four wheels to touch, you will be required to glue the axle where it touches the wood.
  • Lubrication: Use dry powdered graphite ONLY (no oils, liquids or sprays). No additional graphite may be applied after impounding. Apply NO Graphite or other lubricant on the surface of the wheels. Scouts will be required to wipe off wheels at impound.
  • Details: Details such as Steering Wheel, Driver, Decals, Painting, and Interior Details are okay. The finished car with details must meet the maximum length, width, height, and weight rules.
  • The car shall not ride on any kind of spring.
  • The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting devices.
  • No loose materials of any kind are allowed in the car. Any car losing an item or accessory will be allowed to continue to race without the item attached.
  • Wheel bearings, washers, and bushings are prohibited.

Design Awards

The car that best exhibits the following design characteristics will be awarded, as voted on by scouts present on race day.

  • Best Appearance
  • Best Design
  • Best Paint Job
  • Best Sport Theme
  • Most Unusual Shape
  • Wildest Looking
  • Best Classic Car Design
  • Most Creative
  • Most Patriotic
  • Funniest

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