Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

Pinewood Derby

Pinewood Derby Presentation (click here)


Length, Width and Clearance:

  1. The maximum overall length shall not exceed 7 inches.
  2. The maximum overall width (including wheels and axles) shall not exceed 2-¾ inches.
  3. The minimum width between the wheels shall be 1-¾ inches.  This will insure that the car will clear the center guide strip on the track.
  4. The minimum clearance between the bottom of the car body and the bottom of wheels or track surface shall be 3/8 inch.  This will insure that the car will clear the center guide strip on the track.
  5. The wheelbase (distance and location between the front and rear axles) may not be changed from the kit body.

Weight and Appearance:

  1. Weight shall not exceed 5 ounces (142 grams).  The reading of the official scale will be considered final.  The car may be hollowed out and build up to the maximum weight by the addition of wood or metal only, provided the material is securely build 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.

Wheels and Axles:

  1. Wheels and axles shall be only as provided in the Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit.
  2. Wheels may be slightly sanded to smooth out molding imperfections the tread area.  This light sanding is the only modification allowed.  Beveling, tapering, thin sanding, wafering or lathe turning or the wheels is prohibited.
  3. Axles may not be altered in any way except for polishing.
  4. Wheel bearings, washers, and bushings are prohibited.  Dry graphite is the only lubricant allowed.
  5. The car shall not ride on any type of springs.

Ground Rules and Competition:

  1. The race is open to all Tigers, Wolfs, Bears, Webelos and Arrow of Light Cub Scouts that are registered in Pack 758.
  2. Each Cub Scout may enter only one car in the competition, except for entries in the outlaw race.
  3. No construction of cars can be done at site on race day or the day of registration.
  4. 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 place last in that race.
  5. If a car leaves its lane and interferes with the other car, the race will be run again. If the same car leaves its lane a second time, that car will automatically place last in that race.
  6. Only race officials and scouts participating in the derby may enter the track area.

Inspection and Registration:

  1. Each car must pass a technical inspection before it may compete.  Technical inspection and registration of cars occurs one hour before the race.
  2. The Inspection Committee shall disqualify cars, which do not meet the rules.  If a car does not pass inspection, the owner will be informed of the reason his car did not pass.  Cars which fail the initial inspection may be taken the pits and make modifications.
  3. To enter the race, cars must have passed inspection and be registered by the final inspection deadline.
  4. No cars must 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.
  5. After passing inspection, no car shall be re-inspected unless repaired after damage in handling or in a race.
  6. Ungentlemanly or unsportsmanlike conduct by any participant or spectator will be grounds for expulsion from the competition and/or the race area.

Rewards and Recognition:

  1. The most important values in Pinewood Derby competition are parent/son participation, good sportsmanship and learning how to follow rules.
  2. Every participating Scout will receive a Pinewood Derby patch.
  3. First, Second and Third places for each Rank; Tigers, Wolves, Bears, Webelos and Arrow of lights (see group details below) as well as the overall winners will be awarded a trophy.
  4. Trophies for funniest, coolest, and many more other categories will also be awarded.
  5. All the non-winners will receive trophies for their Best Efforts.

Rank Groups and Subgroups:

  1. Considering the size of our Pack and Dens, its important to divide each Rank further in 2 more more subgroups.
  2. These groups are not based on the actual Den assignment, but are divided based on the number of participants from each group and are divided equally to make it fair for each Rank.
  3. Each Rank is divided in subgroups based on alphabetically order which is not equal to the Den level assignment; WHY ? for the following reasons
    • Not all Cub Scouts participates in the Pinewood Derby
    • Not all Den sizes are equal; cubs might transfer in or out of the pack in the middle of year.
    • Most importantly; all Dens are equal for the Pack activity level, Den assignment is just for the administration purpose and we treat each Rank as what they are; i.e. Tigers, Wolfs, Bears etc.
  4. Subgroups for each Den is based on the registration count for that Den and are divided equally; e.g. 1 big Arrow or Webelo den is divided in 2 equal size groups.


Fast Cars Have Thin Shape: An aerodynamic designed is preferable.  Tests show that thinly shaped Pinewood Derby cars are faster.  Although the wedge design is most common, curved designs can be just as effective.

Heavier Cars Go Faster:  The Pinewood Derby car may weigh no more than 5 oz (142 grams).  While a well made “frictionless” car can sometime outperform a heavier car.  Lead is the weighing substance or choice because of its high mass and availability.  Shops sell lead as rectangular or triangular plates that can be affixed under the car in slots routed out for that purpose and as tubes to be inserted in holes drilled in the car.

Weight Placement:  To balance Pinewood Derby car, do not add too much weight behind the rear axle.  Many experts balance a car approximately 1 inch forward of the rear axle.  To find a balance point, temporarily attach the wheels to the car plus anything else that will be affixed to the car, tape weights in place, and balance the car on an edge of your choice.  Weigh your car on calibrated scale and keep working with your weights until you reach a weigh that is satisfactory.

Friction is Our Enemy:  Perhaps most important step in building a fast car is reducing friction.  Any time there are moving parts, there is friction.  Polish the axles first with 400-grit sandpaper then with 600 grit sandpaper.  Polish the head of axles the same way.  Take off the flushing and seam from the wheels with a 600-grit sandpaper.  Do not sand too much or you’ll create a flat spot.  Polish the axle holes with some suitable file.

Final Touches:  Sand the car for a smooth surface, and put sanding sealer on the car to fill in nicks.  Select glossy spray “enamel” paint and apply several light coats.  You can also polish the car with regular car wax.  Lubricate the wheels and axles with graphite, and then install the wheels on the body.

Other Resources & Links: 

Pinewood Derby – Special Car Category Awards

  • Best Paint Job
  • Most Colorful
  • Best Workmanship
  • Best Use of Imagination
  • Most Aerodynamic
  • Most Unusual
  • Best Decals
  • Most Humorous
  • Judge’s Favorite
  • Sportiest Looking
© 2023 Cub Scouts Pack 758 - Boy Scouts of America
© 2023 Cub Scouts Pack 758 - Boy Scouts of America