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Pinewood Derby

The purpose of the Pinewood Derby is to have fun while promoting sportsmanship, competition, and basic woodworking skills. This is intended to be a project for the Cub Scout and parent to work on together. Adult supervision and assistance is encouraged. Scouts working alone could get seriously hurt. Parents working alone defeat the purpose of the project. We encourage parents to teach their sons the shop skills to use hand and power tools, as well as, the techniques and theories for building a fast car. Areas of construction that you believe are beyond your son’s capability should be explained and performed by the parent. The Cub Scout should participate in and understand all phases of building the car. It is up to each family to determine the level of parental involvement.

The primary competitions will be for speed. Scouts will compete in double-elimination races against other scouts within their dens and age groups of scouts of their same rank: Tigers, Wolves, Bears, Webelos I, and Webelos II. In each rank, three medals will be awarded to the boys with the three fastest cars of that rank. In each rank for fastest cars, first place is a blue medal, second place is a red medal, and third place is a white medal. Within each rank, one certificate will be awarded for each of the following four categories:


  1. Most Artistic and Creative
  2. Most Racecar Like
  3. Best Design and Appearance
  4. Judge's Pick.


Each first place fastest car of each rank will compete in the George Mason District race where the various Packs of our district compete against each other. In the district race, the boys only compete against other scouts of their same rank. In the district race, trophies are given to each first place, second place, and third place fastest cars in each rank. In our Pack 1116 Championship race, each first place, second place, and third place fastest cars in each rank will compete. Trophies will be awarded to the three boys who place in the Pack Championship Race; first place will be a large trophy, second place will be a medium trophy, and third place will be a small trophy.



Inspection: Cars will be inspected during registration for compliance to the specifications set forth below. Wheel bearings, washers and bushings are prohibited. The car shall not ride on springs. The car must be free-wheeling with no starting device or other propulsion. Each car must pass inspection by the official inspection committee before it may compete. If, at registration, a car does not pass inspection, the owner will be informed of the reason for failure, and will be given time within the official weigh-in time period to make the adjustment. After final approval, cars will not be reinspected unless the car is damaged in handling or in a race.

Impound: Cars will be impounded when registered. Once impounded, no modifications (not even applying lubricants) may be made to the car; however, quick repairs (couple of minutes) may be made to fix wheels or axles that are lost or broken during handling or the race.




  • The body (block of wood) in the official BSA Pinewood Derby kit must be used.
  • Use of other bodies (including pre-cut cars) is not allowed.
  • The body may be shaped, hollowed out, or built-up from the official wood block and any additions to the original body, i.e. steering wheel, driver, spoiler, paint, decals, weights, etc. must be firmly attached and meet all other specifications.
  • Creating a pointed front is allowed, but very much discouraged since the cars are staged on narrow dowels at the start gate. Not only are pointed cars difficult to stage, but they may also cause a delay in triggering the electronic sensor at the finish line.
  • No loose materials are permitted on the car.
  • Cars must be made for this race season.

Length, Width & Clearance:

  • Maximum length shall not exceed kit length of 7"
  • Maximum width, including wheels and axles, shall not exceed 2 ¾"
  • Minimum width between the wheels shall not be less than 1 ¾"
  • Minimum clearance between bottom of the car and track shall not be less than 3/8"


  • Must be the same distance as the kit body distance of 4 3/8"; however, the pre-cut slots do not need to be used.


  • Shall not exceed 5 ounces.
  • Reading on the official scale at inspection will be considered final.

Wheels and Axles:

  • Only the official wheels and axles (nails) that came in the box can be used. Performance wheels and axles are not permitted.
  • Axles may be polished.
  • Wheels may be lightly sanded to remove the mold projection on the tread and to smooth the surface.
  • Alteration of wheel geometry is not allowed. The wheels must have the same shape as the originals.


  • Only dry powdered lubricants like graphite may be used.
  • Oils and silicone sprays are not permitted.
  • Cars must be lubricated before inspection. No additional lubrication after inspection will be permitted.