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Pinewood Derby Rules Q&A

What are the official pinewood derby rules?
There is no one set of official pinewood derby rules. Each organization has a set of rules, and usually each local group has a set of rules based on the organization's rules. If the rules for your race are not provided, make sure to ask your race leader for a copy of the official rules for your race.

Are the products on your web site legal for my pinewood derby race?
All of the products on our web site are legal in "some" race, but not necessarily legal in your race. So, make sure you understand your local rules before purchasing our products.

What questions should I ask the race official?
Here are some of the key questions you should ask:

Here are the rules that come in the official BSA Pinewood Derby kit. They are oftentimes the only rules for a Cub Scout race, and are very typical of the rules provided by other organizations.

KIT NO. 17006
Please read these Rules and Instructions before building your car.

The Pinewood Derby® is open to all Cub Scouts. Cars should be built by the Cub Scouts with some adult guidance. Any technical assistance should be fully explained to the Cub Scout so that he can use that knowledge on future projects. Because it is difficult to establish how much help was given in building the car, some Packs have a separate Pinewood Derby Race for adults.

IMPORTANT: The Race Committee should decide on rules and race procedures, then have them printed and distributed to all participants at least two weeks before the race.

  • Width: - 2-3/4" • Length - 7" • Weight - Not over 5 Ounces

  • Width between wheels - 1-3/4"

  • Bottom clearance between car and track - 3/8"
Wheel bearings, washers, and bushings are prohibited. The car shall not ride on springs. Only official Cub Scout Grand Prix Pinewood Derby wheels and axles are permitted. Only dry lubricant is permitted. Details, such as steering wheel and driver are permissible as long as these details do not exceed the maximum length, width and weight specifications. The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting devices. 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 re-inspected unless the car is damaged in handling or in a race.

Check the grooves to ensure that each is at a perfect 90-degree angle to the car body. A car with untrue axles tends to steer to one side or the other, causing it to rub up against the side of the lane strip, slowing it down. You can check the groove angles by using a square, a protractor, or even a piece of paper.

Lay square on block to check for squareness and alignment of slot.

Use two hacksaw blades side by side to redress the slots. Use the edge of the square as a guide.

Choose your favorite design, then mark the block accordingly (See Figure 1). Lay car body on the side, then gently drive the axles into the grooves within 1/4" of the axle head. Axles should fit tight. With a pair of pliers, remove axles by pulling and turning gradually (See Figure 2). Repeat on the other side of block. Most of the cutting can be done with a hand saw, then finished with sandpaper (See Figure 3). Details such as fins and scoops should be added now. Any additional weight needed to achieve a total of 5 ounces should be built into the car.
NOTE: If the car design you chose has a narrow body, make sure the area where the axles are inserted into the body remains 1-3/4" wide, or wheels will not fit over the guide strips of the track.

Apply several coats of sanding sealer; then sand entire car with a fine-grade sandpaper. Give model at least two coats of fast drying paint in your choice of color. When paint is completely dry sand with a fine sandpaper, apply a final coat of paint and allow to dry thoroughly. TO FINISH, rub entire car with a rubbing compound. Details such as steering wheel, windshield, driver, racing numbers, etc., should be added now. For a super finish apply a coat of auto wax and rub to a high gloss. Pre-lubricate axles and wheels using dry powdered lubricant. Do not use regular oil or silicone spray, since it may soften the plastic. Slide wheels over axles, then gently tap them into the car body grooves with a 1/4" dowel or similar object to within 1/32" of car body. (See Figure 4). Make sure wheels turn freely.

Due to many requests we have eliminated the cockpit section in the Pinewood Derby block to allow for more designs.

©Copyright 1997, Boy Scouts of America
®Pinewood Derby is a registered trademard of Boy Scouts of America

Copyright © 2017 by Maximum Velocity, Inc.

® Maximum Velocity! is a registered trademark of Maximum Velocity, Inc.
Pinewood Derby is a registered trademark of Boy Scouts of America.
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