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Pinewood Derby



The annual Pinewood Derby race is one of most exciting events we do in Cub Scouting.

It is sponsored and planned by the Longmont Colorado Stake Primary for all Cub Scout Packs in the stake.

Our main goal is to make this event a fun and wholesome activity for all Cub Scouts, leaders and families. Since the race in competitive in nature, we strive to teach our cubs good sportsmanship, and the importance of personal achievement.

The race is generally done in March and the Cubmaster hands out pinewood derby kits out at the January Pack Meeting. Extra cars are kept in the clerks office, to be handed out as need at other event’s and meetings.


We award 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for:

  • The fastest cars in the pack.
  • The best workmanship of cars in the pack.

Everyone will receive at least one type of award and recognition for participating and doing their best.

How we determine the Fastest Car

All cars must pass inspection to be eligible for the race.

Racing is done by having each car race 3 times (3 heats) on our aluminum racing track, each time on a different track slot.

The cars with the best average times, are the winners.

Best Workmanship Judging Criteria

Any car can participate in this competition, excluding the fastest 3 cars.

The cars are judged by:

  • Shape / Design
  • Paint Job / Decoration
  • Completion / Finished look and feel


    1. Maximum overall width (including wheels & axles) shall not exceed 2 3⁄4 inches.
    2. Minimum width between the inside edge of the wheels shall be 1 3⁄4 inches.
    3. Minimum clearance between the car bottom and the track shall be 3/8 of an inch.
    4. Maximum overall length will not exceed 7 inches.
    5. The wheel base (distance between front and rear axles) may be changed however the axles must be parallel (i.e. the measured distance between the axles must be equal on both sides of the car).
    6. Maximum height from the track to the top of the car shall not exceed 3 inches. (includes tails / antennas, etc..)
    7. Center front of the car must be the leading edge (no notches, no off center fronts), and must be at least 1⁄4” in width to allow for fair starts due to our start pin which is centered on the track.
    1. Cars weight shall not exceed 141.75 grams (5.00 ounces). Readings of the Official Race Scale will be considered final. The car may be hollowed out and built up to the maximum weight by adding solid materials only, provide they are firmly attached, or built into to the car. No loose materials are allowed (i.e. not rattling).
    2. The original pine block received in the kit must be used. Additional materials may be added as long at the length, width, height and weight limitations noted in Section 1 & 2a are met.
    3. Use of Mercury for adding weight will not be allowed.
    4. Details such as steering wheels, drivers, spoilers, decals, painting and interior details are permissible as long as these details meet the length, width, height and weight limitations noted in Section 1 & 2a.
    5. Cars with wet paint or any other wet spray-on material will not be accepted.
    1. Only the Official Scout wheels and axles may be used and must display “OFFICIAL BSA” imprint on inside of hub. Official BSA wheels and axles may be altered by entrants provide the “OFFICIAL BSA” imprint remains legible.
    2. Wheel bearings, washers, or bushings of any kind are prohibited. The wheels may only contact bare wood, painted wood, and the axle.
    3. Axles must be attached to the BSA wood body and not onto/into another material attached to the car.
    4. Hubcaps of any kind are not allowed.
    5. The car shall not ride on any kind of springs.
    6. The car must be free wheeling with no starting device or other propulsion.
    7. Only the wheels may be used to guide the car down the track. No rollers, or similar devices, may be used to guide the car.
    1. Only powdered graphite may be used as a lubricant.
    2. Cars may be lubricated before the race but not during the race.
    1. Cars must have been made for this year’s pack level race. Cars from a previous year’s derby are not permitted.
    2. If a car jumps off the track, or leaves its lane, the heat will be run again. If the same car jumps off the track a second time and it is determined not to be a track problem, the heat will be run again without the interfering car. The interfering car will lose the heat (time will be 6.00 seconds).
    3. If a car suffers a mechanical problem (i.e. loses an axle, wheel, etc.), the repair must be accomplished within 10 minutes and then the heat will be run again. If repairs cannot be made within the 10 minute period the car will lose the heat.
    4. Only Race Officials will be permitted into the registration and track areas. THIS RULE WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED.
    1. Each car must pass inspection done by the individual pack before it may compete. The Inspection Team has the right to disqualify those cars which do not meet these rules. Car owners will be informed of the violations and given an opportunity to modify the car to meet the rules before the race.

The Pinewood Derby and Its History in Cub Scouting

Like many popular Scouting programs, the pinewood derby began at one unit and spread nationwide like wildfire. The grassroots program—because of its very nature, its inherent merit, and the fact that it is just plain fun—went from one father’s idea at a California Cub Scout pack to sweeping the nation in the early 1950s.

Cubmaster Don Murphy of Pack 280C, Manhattan Beach, California, had a son who was unable to compete in a local gravity-powered car competition. Murphy came up with a way for his boy and his pack to make and race miniature gravity-powered cars on a small indoor track, and the pinewood derby was born. That first derby was held May 15, 1953. By 1955, the pinewood derby was part of the official Cub Scouting program and, while always optional, has become a key part of many Cub Scout packs’ annual programs.

Variations of the pinewood derby have been developed over the years, including the raingutter regatta and the space derby, both of which demonstrate the worth (and the fun) of the pinewood derby in a slightly different form. The basic elements of this course can be used in any of these variations.

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