Pinewood Derby

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. All active Scouts will receive a kit as a Christmas present in December. Parents and siblings must purchase if they want to participate. 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.

Official Rules

I. GENERAL RULES: (Applies to all Race Events)

Two things the Pinewood Derby requires each participant to learn are 1) the craft skills necessary to build a car, and 2) the rules that must be followed. Even more important, though, is how we act and behave while participating in the Pinewood Derby or any other group activity. This is called sportsmanship.

G-1. Qualification: All registered Pack 1040 Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Bears, and Webelos Scouts may design, build and enter cars that are eligible to participate in the "Cub Scout Race" event.

G-2. Essential Materials: All cars entered shall be constructed from the "Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit" (referred to below as the kit) as distributed at the December Pack meeting. Additional kits may be purchased from the Scout Service Center. (Kits may be purchased elsewhere if they are of the exact type manufactured by the BSA as specified above.)

G-3. Competitor Categories: All Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos Scouts that are registered within Pack 1040 may enter this Pinewood Derby. Cub Scouts will compete with others in the same Cub Scout Rank. The first, second, and third place winners in each Rank will move on to the finals.

G-4. Attendance: The Cub Scout MUST enter his own car. This means that the Cub Scout must be present at "Inspection and Registration" to enter his car into competition. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis and are at the discretion of the Pinewood Derby Chairman.

G-5. "New Work": Construction of ALL entries MUST have begun AFTER last year's Pack 1040 Pinewood Derby Races

G-6. Single Entry per Person: Only one car may be registered by any person in the Pinewood Derby.

G-7. Inspection and Registration: Each car must pass a technical inspection before it may compete. Technical inspection and registration of cars occurs at check-in.

G-8. Late Registration and Inspection: Registration closes promptly as announced. Any cars not in the process of registering by this time will have to be checked in before the race.

G-9. Failure to Pass Inspection: The Inspection Committee shall disqualify cars, which do not meet the rules as described herein. If a car does not pass inspection, the owner will be informed of the reason his car did not pass.

G-10. Impound: No car may be altered in any way after it has been registered. After a car passes registration, the Pinewood Derby Race Committee will store it.

G-11. Car Design Rules Interpretation: Interpretation of the rules described in G1 through G-11, and T-1 thru T-9 are at the sole discretion of the Inspection Committee Judges present during the Registration and Inspection process.

G12. Race-Day Rules Interpretation: On Race-Day, the Cub Scout must make all questions of rules interpretations and procedures to the Pinewood Derby Chairman or Race Officials promptly. Decisions of Race Officials on questions of rules interpretations and procedure may be appealed to the Pinewood Derby Chairman. All decisions of the Pinewood Derby Chairman are final. Decisions of Race Officials on questions of fact (i.e. the result of a specific race) may not be appealed beyond the Track master and/or Finish Line Judges.

Note: Unsportsmanlike conduct by any participant or spectator will be grounds for expulsion from the competition and/or the race area.


T-1. Construction Material: Race cars shall be constructed for this event from the parts contained in the Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit (referred to below as the kit) as sold by the Scout Service Center. Materials from the kit may be supplemented but not replaced.

T-2. Weight: Race cars may weigh no more than five (5) ounces (total weight) as determined on the official scales during the pre-race check-in. Note: The official scale will be available at the race check-in.

T-3. Wheels and Axles: The car shall roll on the wheels from the kit. The wheels shall turn about the axle nails from the kit. The axle nails shall be firmly affixed to the wood of the car body. It must be obvious to the judges that the wheels and the nails from the kit are being used.

T-4. Size: Racecars may be no longer than 7 inches, nor wider than 2-3/4 (2.75) inches, as determined by the official gages during the Registration and Inspection. Underside clearance of at least 3/8 (0.375) inches and inside wheel-to-wheel clearance of at least 1-3/4 (1.75) inches is recommended, so that the car will run on the racetrack. Adequate clearance is the responsibility of the racecar builder.

T-5. Weights and Attachments: Weight may be added to the car and will be considered part of the car for purposes of all measurements. "Weight" is considered to be any material on the car that is not provided in the kit. All weight must be securely fastened to the car, e.g. by permanent glue, nails or screws, but not by "sticky substances", e.g. tape, or tack spray. Weights shall be passive, i.e. non-moveable, non-magnetic, non-electric, non-sticky, etc.

T-6. Wheel Treatment: Wheel treatment (hub and tread smoothing and polishing) may not result in substantial removal of mass nor in reducing the wheel width from the original kit wheels. The original "tread marks" on the wheel face must remain intact, i.e. apparent to the inspector. Wheels may not be machined to a beveled condition or rounded and the portion of the wheel surface that contacts the track must remain parallel to the axle.

T-7. Unacceptable Construction: The following may NOT be used in conjunction with the wheels or axles: hubcaps, washers, inserts, sleeves, or bearings.

T-8. Gravity Powered: The racecar may not be constructed or treated in such a way that the track's starting mechanism imparts momentum to the car. (For instance, this provision disqualifies cars with sticky substances on the front of the car and protrusions, which may catch on the starting pin.)

T-9. Lubricants: Only dry lubricants such as graphite or powdered Teflon "white lube" will be allowed for lubricating the wheels. Lubricants may not foul the track. In the interest of fairness, the only lubrication allowed is before the car is checked in.


Competition will consist of heat races within each Rank (Lion, Tiger, Wolf, Bear and Webelos), and a series of final heats at the Pack level. Track officials are responsible for the proper conduct of the races.

C-1. Inspection Gages: The race-day "Pit Stop" area will have the official scale and length box. That check-in equipment will be the official equipment for the race. (The same 5 oz. Master Weight used for scale calibration in pre-race check-in will also be available on race day. Please stress this fact to all Cub Scouts. They should be prepared to make adjustments to their cars if necessary.)

C-3. Car Handling Responsibility: The “Starter Team” will stage cars on the tracks.

C-4. Lane Assignment: To equalize differences among track lanes, each heat will consist of a number of races equal to the number of cars running in that heat. For rank heats, this will be the number of boys in each rank. For Pack elimination heats, there will be three cars in each heat.

a.) From each heat, the top three cars will advance to race at the next level based on lowest total elapsed time.

C-5. Car Leaves Lane: If, during a race heat, a car leaves its lane but proceeds down the track in a manner that does not interfere with its opponent, then the race will be called normally. If the car leaves its lane and interferes with another car, the race will be re-staged and re-run. If the same car again leaves its lane and interferes with another car, that car will be judged last place and the race will be re-staged and re-run without that car.

C-6. Car Leaves Track: If, during a race heat, a car leaves the track without interfering with its opponent, it shall be considered to have ended its heat at that point.

C-7. Car Repair (Without Fault): If, during the race, a wheel falls off or the car becomes otherwise damaged, then the SCOUT may, to the best of his ability perform repairs with the assistance of his adult partner.

C-8 Car Repair (With Fault): If a car is damaged due to track fault, or damage caused by another car or person, then the Track master, at his sole discretion, may allow additional repair assistance to the Cub.

C-9. No Finishers: If, during a race heat, no car reaches the finish line on the track, the car, which went the farthest in its lane, shall be declared as the heat winner.

C-11. Track Champion: The top three finishers shall be accompanied, with his car, from the track to the stage by his parent or other designee. The car will be impounded until the start of the Final Heats.

C-12. Track Fault: If a car leaves its lane, at his sole discretion, the Track master may inspect the track and, if a track fault is found which probably caused the initial violation, the Track master may order the race heat to be rerun after the track is repaired.

C-13. The Race Area: Only race officials may enter the track area. This rule will be strictly enforced.

C-14. Rewards and Recognition: The most important values in Pinewood Derby competition are parent/son participation, good sportsmanship and learning how to follow rules. The Awards Committee is responsible for recognizing and encouraging these qualities in addition to traditional racing awards. Racers will be recognized as follows:

a.) Every participating Scout will receive a Pinewood Derby patch.

b.) Trophies will be awarded to the most original and the best-looking cars in each rank.

c) Trophies will be awarded to the first, second and third-place finishers in each rank.

d) Trophies will be awarded for the first thru third-place finishers overall in Pack 1040.


R-1. Track Length and Drop: The track shall have a racing surface (starting line to finish line distance) of approximately 28 feet with a drop of approximately 4 feet.

R-2. Track Slope: The track slope shall decrease from approximately 30 degrees at the starting line to approximately 0 degrees at the finish line.

R-3. Lanes: Each lane will consist of a straight, smooth wooden strip approximately 1-1/2 (1.50) inches, but certainly less than 1-3/4 (1.75) inches, wide and approximately 1/4 (0.25) inches, but certainly less than 3/8 (0.375) inches thick, centered on a smooth surface no less than 4 inches wide. Each racecar shall straddle such a strip during its heats.

R-4. Starting Mechanism: The "starting line" shall consist of vertical pins of approximately 1/4-inch diameter, extending approximately 1 inch above the track surface and approximately centered in the each lane.

R-5. Finish Line Sensor Location: The track has electronics called "finish line sensors" that shall be in alignment with the corresponding starting line pin and be approximately centered in its lane.

R-6. Finish Line Electronics Sensitivity: Track Finish Line Electronics, if used, must trigger correctly if a lead pencil is passed 3/4 (0.75) inches above the track surface at a speed of 15 feet per second.

R-7. Finish Line Clearance: Track Finish Line Electronics and other track accessories, if used, must be no closer than 3 inches above the track.



The first thing to remember about sportsmanship is that everyone's skills are a little different. You may be good at something like singing or drawing, but not as good at something else like basketball or computers. Parents have different skill levels, too. This doesn't mean that you are a good person one time and not good another time. You can always be a good person, whether or not you have good car-building skills. Remember, you and your friends are individuals first and racers second. This idea is often called having respect for others.

The second thing to remember is to follow the rules. Without rules, there would be no Pinewood Derby. You will never know if you are really good at doing something unless you follow the rules. This is often called being honest.

The third thing to remember about good sportsmanship is that there are winners and losers in every competition. You accept this when you choose to compete. There may be times when you win and feel happy, and times when you lose and feel unhappy. Being a winner is easy, and losing is sometimes hard. If you win, you must not brag or gloat. If you lose, you must not feel jealous or bitter. To be a good sportsman, you must be able to say, "I did my best" and be satisfied with the results. You must also be able to appreciate and feel happy for someone else when he runs a good race or builds a neat car.

There are many instructional videos on Derby cars. Make sure you are within the District rules and have FUN!