PINEWOOD DERBY – Race and Car Rules

2017 photos:

Below are the rules for our BSA Cub Scout Pack 16 Pinewood Derby.
Please follow them and use them to make your experience live up to its intention, to be FUN for everyone with a PURPOSE.

Any suspicion of failure to adhere to all of the rules and guidelines will result in DISQUALIFICATION by the race committee. NO EXEPTIONS! Akela’s, keep in mind that usually only the innocent are the ones that get hurt.

The bottom line, if it’s not allowed or questionable, JUST DON’T DO IT!

Here is a blank simple car template that you can use to. Bring this to the car cutting clinic if you need help to carve your car.

Blank Pinewood Car Template

This Pinewood Derby was designed to promote the following;
1. Provide an opportunity for a Cub Scout and his Akela to spend time together engaging in a fun learning experience.
2. For a Cub Scout to learn a little about craftsmanship including;

  • Wood Working Skills
  • Craftsmanship
  • Painting
  • Designing
  • Physics
  • Sportsmanship

PLEASE NOTE: The race is not an opportunity for Akela to show his or her skills by building the car for the Scout. Akela’s are welcome and expected to aid the Scout in all aspects of designing, building, painting and tuning the car. Aiding is defined as assisting the Scout with the goal of teaching skills and behaviors and to ensure the safety of the Scout.
If you have a question about rules, please ask Cubmaster Smith or Race Commissioner Marino for clarification.

For our Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, all car kits are handed out at the December Pack Meeting without wheels and axels. Cars are built at home on your own time. Den meeting times can be utilized if the Den Leader decides to do so.

Wheels and Axels will be handed out at the Wheel and Axel Clinics held during the week of the Race. Scouts may attend only one of the Clinic day. Only the wheels and axels provided at those Clinics may be used. All Wheels and Axels must be worked on and affixed to the car and tuned at those sessions in front of the Pack Race Committee to ensure fairness.

When your car is completed it must be inspected and weighed by the Pack Race Committee before you depart the Wheel and Axel Clinics. If the car passes inspection it will be impounded by the Race Committee and held until the completion of the Race to insure no tampering.

We weigh each car with the “official scale” and turn back any car that exceeds 5.0 oz. for adjustment.  We then do a quick visual inspection of each car against the following points:

Car Dimension Rules

  • The overall length of the car body shall not exceed 7 inches.
  • The overall width of the car shall not exceed 2 ¾ inches. .
  • The car must have 3/8” clearance underneath the body so it does not rub on the track.

Derby Car Weight Rules

  • The car shall not exceed 5.0 ounces or 141.74 grams. The official scale uses grams.
  • The official race scale that is used at car check-in shall be considered final.

Car Modifications

  • Only the official Pine Wood block handed out at the Pack Meeting can be used.
  • Official Pinewood Derby Pre-Cut car kits available at craft and scout shops are NOT PERMITTED.
  • Pre-build cars purchased on-line or at any other venue are NOT PERMITTED
  • Cars raced in previous years Are Not Permitted.
  • The block may be shaped in any way that is desired.
  • Only the Official BSA Car Wheels and Axels handed out at the wheel and axel Clinic can be used.
  • You may remove the seams and imperfections from the wheels at the clinic only.
  • The axles may be polished and lubricated at the Clinics Only.
  • Paper Clip fast Start Devices are NOT PERMITTED.

Wheels and Bearings:

  • The use of washers, bushings, bearings or springs are not permitted.
  • There should be a minimum bottom clearance of 3/8 inches between the car and track.
  • Wheels and axles must be as furnished in the official kit. No pre-purchased bonded graphite coated axels “black axels” or solid axels will be allowed. The wheels and axels used must be the ones handed out at the wheel and Axel Clinics.
  • Wheels may be sanded to remove the flashing however NO reductions in the width or diameter may occur.
  • Axels may be polished
  • The raised letter “Official BSA Made in the USA MUST be visible on the inside and outside of the wheel.

Other Pinewood Derby Race Rules

  • Once a car passes inspection and is entered into the race, only race committee members can touch it.
  • If the car loses a wheel, or is otherwise damaged in a race, the racer shall have 10 minutes to make repairs in Pit Row under the supervision of a member of the Race Committee. Re-lubricating a car’s Wheels and Axels or any other part is NOT PERMITTED as part of the Pit Stop.
  • Each car must pass inspection by the official inspection committee before it will be allowed to compete.
  • The Inspection Committee has the responsibility to disqualify those cars that do not meet these rules.

Pinewood Derby Awards Categories

The following Trophies will be awarded immediately following the races on Race Day. Trophies will be engraved with the title of the Award. Award recipients are free to have their names engraved on trophies at their own cost.

Creativity Categories (Voted on by the race participants through confidential ballot)

MOST PATRIOTIC: The car displaying the highest level of Patriotism.

BEST PAINT JOB: The car which has the best overall paint job. Cars must be painted by the scout with minor assistance from Akela. Cars covered by SKINS or utilizing more than 50% of its surface covered by decals are not eligible.

MOST REALISTIC: The car with the most realistic design

MOST HUMOROUS: The car with the Funniest Design or Theme

Overall Pack Championship




  1. Winners are determined based on the average race times recorded by our official computerized racing system.
  2. All race lane positions and order are randomly determined by our official computerized racing system.
  3. Each car will race 3 times in the initial heat. This will ensure that each car races 1 time in each of the 3 lanes.
  4. The twelve cars with the fastest recorded average times will move into the semifinal heats.
  5. Each car in the semi-finals will again race 3 times, once in each of the lanes. The 3 cars with the fastest average times in the semi-final heats will then move into the Final Pack Championship.
  6. The 3 finalists will once again race 3 races. One in each of the lanes. The average speeds of each car in those races will determine the overall Pack Championship Placement; First, Second and Third.

Den “Rank” Races

Upon completion of the Pack Championship Races, each Den/Rank will race once again to determine the Den/Rank Champion. Individual Scouts who have won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in the overall Pack Championship are not eligible to participate in the Den/Rank Championship Races.

Participants in each Den will once again race 3 races, 1 time in each of the 3 lanes. The car with the fastest average speed will be awarded the Den Championship Trophy by Rank

The Committee Trophy’s

Most Original Design The winner of this category is selected by Official Members of the Pack Race Committee based on best overall car design and performance.

Best Name Associated with the Car The winner of this category is selected by Official Members of the Pack Race Committee based on best name associated with the design of the car you built “Have Fun With This”

General Race Information

All race participants registering a legal car must turn in a sign Honesty Contract along with their car at either of the two Wheel and Axel Clinics.

All registered racers will receive the following on Race Day;

  1. Official Pinewood Derby Patch
  2. 3 Raffle Tickets
  3. Official Creativity Category Ballot