Pinewood Derby

The Pinewood Derby is an annual racing event for Cub Scouts in our pack. With parents’ help, Scouts build their own car from official BSA kit and decorate it. BSA kit contains a standard sized block of pine wood, standard plastic wheels and standard metal axles. All these parts must be present in the finished car. Cars are weighted and measured during official registration (see rules section below). All cars are assigned an official race registration number at the time kits are distributed.

Each car races at least four times – once in each lane. There are awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each rank and overall for the car with the fastest car. This year we’ll have a “Best Design” award for a scout in each rank. We will also have a “Turtle Trophy” available for the car with the slowest time (that crosses the finish line without assistance). There are no design categories this year, so use your creativity!

Participation patches are distributed to all scouts who register their car. Concessions will be available during lunch hour with all proceeds benefiting Troop 247.

How to Participate

  • Get an official BSA kit and stick with it (distributed at the December pack meeting).
  • Get registration number for your car from race organizers or your den leader.
  • Read and follow Pack 197 Pinewood Derby rules (see below)!
    This race is competitive and it’s not fun to get disqualified.
  • Come up with a novel design and build your car with proper clearance and within size restrictions.
  • Attend Pinewood Derby Clinic to get assistance and check weight.
  • The car’s owner (Scout) should be present at race time and at check-in. If your Scout can’t attend, please reach out to the Cubmaster.
  • Scouts are welcome to wear class A or B uniforms. Shirts with Scouting and Pinewood Derby theme are encouraged.

Outlaw Race

Parents, siblings and alumni are welcome this year to participate in the Open Category. Those who wish to participate will need to purchase their own car kit and must follow the same eligibility rules. You can earn their own set of design/speed trophies, but are not eligible to win the best-in-Pack awards.


Passing out Car Kits – December 12, 2023

All registered Scouts will receive a kit. Anyone else can purchase one from the Scout Shop.

Car Building Clinic – January 20, 2024:  Time and Location TBD

Don’t have the tools, time, or woodworking prowess to complete your Pinewood Derby car? No problem

The clinic is an opportunity for our Scouts to get some assistance working on their cars. We’ll have a limited number of design concepts available for the Scouts to choose from, or they are welcome to bring their own ideas. We will have tools for the Scouts to cut out and sand their cars, as well as drill holes for weights. Weights will be available for purchase at the event. Please keep in mind that the cars will not be complete as we won’t be painting or installing wheels. Please also remind your Scouts that we will have a limited amount of time available so we won’t be able to help with overly complex designs

Car Check-In/Registration – February 2, 2024

When: Friday 5-7pm

To avoid long lines on race day, we will be checking cars in early at Heritage. 

Race Day – February 3, 2024

When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm

Doors open at 10 AM for late check-in. The event starts at 11 AM. All cars must be checked in before 11 AM.

Where: Room 230 at the Heritage Christian church.
Car registration number will be used during anonymous voting for the best design and computer tracking of race results. Car must display registration number on the front.

Car Building Tips

Check out this eBook for lots of tips on how to build a fast Pinewood Derby Car:
Free Pinewood Derby eBook

Volunteer Signup

Please help us make this year’s Pinewood Derby a success!

Volunteer Signup Coming Soon

Official Pinewood Derby Rules

  1. All cars must be checked-in prior to 11 AM on race day. No late entry. All cars must display three-digit registration number, pass inspection, be assigned a category for design competition, and be entered into the computer.
  2. All cars must pass inspection to qualify. The inspection points are as follows:
    1. Axles, wheels, and car body must be made from the standard BSA kit provided to scouts. No cars made from other kits or parts replaced will be allowed to race. No other wheels or axles may be used, including those purchased at the Scout Shop or web sites claiming to have BSA license. Other elements may be added to the car for design purposes, as long as the car does not violate any other points of inspection.
    2. The car must have been made during the current Scout year.
    3. The width of the car must not exceed 2 ¾ inches.
    4. The length of the car must not exceed 7 inches.
    5. The weight of the car must not exceed 5 ounces according to the official pack scale. If necessary, you may add weight to the car with any method you wish (weight strips, washers, loose change, etc.) as long as it does not violate any other points of inspection.
      It’s always a good idea to try and weigh the car prior to Race day so there aren’t any big surprises. (U.S. post office scale should be close enough)
    6. The height of the car must not exceed 5 inches.
    7. The car must have 1 ¾ inches clearance between the wheels and 3/8 inch clearance underneath the body so it does not rub the track.
    8. Cutting, drilling, beveling, or rounding of the wheels is prohibited. You may remove the seams and imperfections from the wheels.
    9. The axles may be polished and lubricated with a dry graphite powder. No oils.
    10. Wheel bearings, washers, and bushings are prohibited.
    11. Springs of any kind are prohibited.
    12. Loose materials of any kind (i.e. lead shot) in the car are prohibited.
    13. Any design details must conform to the length, width, height, and weight limits.
      Any design added to the front or back of the wood block will cause the car to exceed length specifications, and will have to be removed prior to passing inspection.
    14. The car must be freewheeling with no starting devices.
    15. The official number must be clearly visible on the car. (Stickers are available pre-race, at weigh-in).
    16. Once the car has been inspected and registered, it must remain in the staging area until the racing begins.
    17. The Inspection Committee (Assistant Cubmaster and Cubmaster) has the responsibility and final authority to disqualify cars, which do not meet these specifications or otherwise break official rules.
  3. No adjustments may be made to the car after it has been inspected and checked in. Design competition is part of the event and alterations are prohibited after check-in.
  4. If the car loses a wheel, or is otherwise damaged, the driver will have no more than 5 minutes to make the repair.
  5. Design judging will take place following the end of check-in hours. Judging may be done by Pack members and attendees of the event.
  6. The car’s owner (Pack 197 Scout) should be present at race time, please notify the Cubmaster of any absences.
  7. Each heat will be announced.
  8. The starter will make sure all cars are on the track properly. Once the cars are set, the starter will initiate the race.
  9. At the completion of the heat, the cars will be returned to the staging area.
  10. The car whose front side is over the finish line first is the winner of the heat.
    1. Results will be tracked electronically
    2. Heats will be generated by the software program. Each car will race 4 times, once in each lane.
    3. In the event of electronic failure, the Cubmaster will switch to visual method for determining the winner, and 2nd, 3rd, 4th places (via place spotters) and the manual method for generating heats.
  11. If a car leaves the track, runs out its lane, interferes with another car, loses an axle, etc., the heat will be re-ran. If the same car has problems on the second run, the car will be disqualified from the heat. The heat will then be ran a third time without the disqualified car.
  12. When all heats are complete, design award winners will be announced. Race awards will be presented to 1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners in each rank and fastest car overall.