Pinewood Derby

Announcing the 2018 Pack 32 Pinewood Derby

Saturday, January 27nd, 2018

American Legion Post 419 Hall

958 Homestead Road, Santa Clara, Ca. 95050

Optional Pre-Inspection before Pack Show on Wednesday, January 24th 6-6:30pm.

Weigh-in and Registration - 8:30AM - 10:30 AM

                                                Pancake Breakfast during Registration!
                                                Lions Racing starts at 10:30AM 
                                       Pack Racing starts at 11 AM

What's New?


  • Pancake breakfast during registration!
  • Snacks will be served from noon-3PM while supplies last.  Please bring a reusable cup and plate.

Weigh-in and Registration

Show up anytime between 8:30AM and 10:30AM.  Weigh-in and registration should take less than 30 minutes if your car is in good shape.  Once your car has passed inspection (weight, size, 4 wheels on track, etc), you are done and may leave.  If your car does not pass inspection, there will be a station set up for you to modify the car until it passes inspection.  All Pinewood Derby Cars (Cub's, Sibling's, and Adult's) must pass registration before 11am on Saturday.  Have a friend or Den Leader bring your car if you can't make it to registration before 11am.


FAQ#1:  Can I race a car from a previous year?  Answer: Yes, you can race it, but it is not eligible for racing speed awards.  This includes all age and competition levels (Tigers to Webelos, Siblings, and Adults).

FAQ#2:  I can't make it to race day.  What should I do?  Answer: Give your car to another scout in your den or your Den Leader to bring.  They may make minor modifications to get it to pass inspection.

FAQ#3:  How can I help make this event successful?  Answer:

  1. Sign up to help with setup, registration, or running the races
  2. Bring snacks to share or help with food service setup or cleanup.
  3. Cheer all scouts and participants!  Keep boys (big and small) a safe distance from the cars.
  4. Help cleanup at the end.  Thank you in advance!

Race Day

Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled race time - cars will race even if scout is not there.  Race day is full uniform event.

Setup starts at 8AM

Registration window is 8:30AM to 10:30am.  You must pass inspection before 11am.

There is an opening flag ceremony at 10:30am sharp!

Drivers to the Pole (race time):
  10:30 AM Lion Den (Lego Race)
11:00 AM
 Tiger Dens
 11:30 AM
 Wolf Dens
 12:00 PM
 Bear Dens
 12:30 PM
 Siblings (3rd grade and younger)
 1:00 PM
 Webelos 1 Dens
 1:30 PM Webelos 2 / AOL Patrols
    2:00 PM Sibling (4th grade and older)
 2:30 PM
 Pack Championship
 3:00 PM
 Adult Races
3:30 PM Clean Up
5:00 PM Event End

Scouts of each level will race by Den.

The Siblings races are open to siblings of Pack members.  There may be two sibling division based on age.  Siblings have the option to race in the adult division if they want.

The Adult Division / Super Modified is open to adults making cars, minimal rules apply.  Cars must be made from the kit, fit on the track, and make weight.  No fire or damage to other cars is allowed.

Race Format:
Each den will have its own series of races to determine Den speed champions.

The top three from each Tiger den will then race to determine the overall Tiger speed champions. The top two will be the Pack representative to the District Race, the third will be the back up car.  

The top three from each of the Wolves, Bears, and Webelos dens will race to determine the overall Cub Scout speed champions.  The top two will be the Pack representatives at the District Race, the third will be the back up car.

Please note that cars that will be going to the District Race, under district rules are impounded.  Your son will not take his car home until after the District race.  Here are the Pioneer District Race information for those that qualify:

Pioneer District Pinewood Derby 2018
Muslim Community Association, 3003 Scott Blvd, Santa Clara 95054

Weigh-in and Registration: Wednesday, February 7, 2018
All Scouts: 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Race Fee: $8.00 entry fee per car (due at weigh-in).

Race Day: Saturday, February 10, 2017
Tiger Scouts: 9:00 AM Check-in, 9:30 AM Race
Cub Scout/Webelos: 1:00 PM Check-in, 1:30 PM Race

Pack 32 Awards

The Pinewood derby is an opportunity for scouts to compete in a supportive environment.  There are awards for speed, and some boys may be disappointed that their car is not the fastest. This is an opportunity to teach good sportsmanship (both winning and loosing). There will actually be far more awards handed out and emphasis placed on the design awards (every boy will receive an award).

Den Design Awards (partial list)
    • Most Scout Spirit 
    • Most Original 
    • Most Imaginative
    • Most Realistic
    • Most Patriotic 
    • Amazing Attention to Detail
    • Amazing use of Color
    • Looks Fast Standing Still
    • Best Paint Job
Cub's Choice Awards
  • Top Tiger, Wolf , Bear, and Webelos design as voted on by the Scouts & Siblings.  On race day, each scout will vote for their favorite car in each rank and sibling group (not just their own rank).  Yes, they can vote for their own car.
Speed Awards
    • 1st - 3rd at each Den level
    • 1st - 3rd overall Tiger champions
    • 1st - 3rd overall Cub Scout Champion (Wolf, Bear, Webelos)
    • 1st - 3rd Sibling race champion
    • The Akela's Cup - adult race award
For building tips and cool car ideas, check out the official BSA Pinewood Derby website.


The Flaming Arrow patrol is coordinating snacks during the Pinewood Derby.  Be sure to clean up any trash and dispose of properly.

Pack 32 Car Building Rules 


INTENT –The purpose of this event is for the scout to build and race a wooden car. The scout should do as much of the work as is appropriate for his age. It is expected that a Tiger Cub will have quite a bit of help, but a Webelos 2 should be doing almost all of the work himself. Buying pre-made parts is NOT the goal of this event! Each scout is expected to build a new car each year.

THE KIT - The car shall be built from the official "Cub Scout Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit." The Kit is a one piece wood block for the car body with plated nails for wheel axles and wide tread plastic wheels. Only official BSA wheels and axles may be used as replacements. Unofficial kits, bodies, wheels or axles will not be accepted. The "PineCar" or any other pre-cut bodies WILL NOT be allowed to enter the District Race.

THE CAR BODY - You must start with the wood block provided in the kit and, as a minimum, the axle slots and some amount of continuous wood between the slots must remain from the original block. THE AXLES MUST BE INSERTED IN THE PRE-CUT GROOVES THAT ARE ALREADY CUT IN THE CAR BODY. The wheel base (distance between the axles) must not be changed. You may add weights and other decorations if you wish. Decorative parts may be from any source.

WHEELS - All cars must have four (4) wheels. You must use official BSA wheels THE SHAPE AND FORM OF THE

WHEELS CANNOT BE MODIFIED OR RESHAPED, however wheels may be cleaned up to remove molding burrs. Only a minimal amount of material may be removed. The embossed “tread” marks on the outer rim must still be visible. You may not remove material from the inside of the wheel. The molded lettering on the inside and outside of the wheel must be intact and visible to the judges. The wheels may be polished if desired. All four wheels MUST be in contact with a flat surface when the car is placed on it. (Roll the car on a flat surface and all 4 wheels MUST turn)

AXLES - The official kit provides nails for the axles, and you must use the official BSA axles. Wheel bearings, washers, bushings, axle sleeves, and wheel covers are prohibited. The axles may be smoothed and polished if desired. The axles may be glued or clamped to hold them in place in the slots.

PHYSICAL DIMENSIONS - Overall dimensions are: 2.75" wide by 7" long by 3" high. Some kits come with blocks longer than 7" and must be trimmed. The width between the wheels must be greater than 1-3/4", inside measurement. No part of the car can extend forward of the starting post.  Additional components sticking out the back of the car are not allowed.

TRACK CLEARANCE - Track clearance is specified at 3/8" even though the lane strips are only 1/4" high.

WEIGHT - The car weight shall not exceed 5.000 ounces (141.75 grams). No loose material of any kind is permitted in or on the car. The car may be hollowed out and built up to the maximum weight by the addition of solid materials such as wood or metal provided it is securely attached or built into the body chassis. The weight MUST NOT be taped on. No liquid weights are permitted inside or attached to the outside of the car body. No weights may be added after the car has raced in the Pack race. Lead weights should be avoided due to the toxicity of lead. The premade metal weights, or steel, brass or tungsten should be used instead. If lead is used it must be under the surface, sealed from touch. Note that many low cost scales and most post office scales are not very accurate and your car may be overweight if you rely on them. At the district race, an official BSA 5 oz weight is used as the reference, and all cars must not weight more than it does.  Weights should not extend below the bottom of the wood block.

SPRINGS - The car shall not run on any type of springs. The car must be freewheeling with no starting devices.

LUBRICATION - The wheels and axles may be lubricated with any lubricant desired. However, a car that is dripping any oil or excessive amounts of graphite on the track will be disqualified. No additional lubricant may be added after the race starts. If wheel or axle repairs are necessary during the race, the replacement part may be lubricated under the supervision of a race official.

Registration Weigh-in and Inspection

All cars must be registered, inspected in order to run in the race. NO EXCEPTIONS. Cars that are not registered and inspected will not be allowed to race. Note that there will be no lubricants allowed after a car has completed registration. 

The car drivers and their parents should be at the registration and inspection in case the car does not meet the physical dimension requirements or is too heavy and weight must be removed. To minimize any issues with weight we suggest adding weights in a manner that allow easy adjustment, addition or removal.

The Most Important Hints

o Carefully trim all flash from the sides, hubs, and contact surfaces of the wheels. Remember that you cannot change the profile (shape) of the wheel.

o Remove the sharp edges on the axel nails by first filing, then placing in the chuck of a drill and using sand paper to make smooth. After you can use pumice, or polishing compound to polish the axles. Pay special attention to the heads of the nails that will contact the outside hub of the wheel.

o When mounting the wheels leave between 1/16th and 1/8th inch of play (total) on the axle. This prevents binding and makes it easier to lubricate the wheels.

o Make sure that the car rolls straight when placed on a level surface and that all four wheels touch the ground; adjust the axle nails as needed.

After the axles are perfect, use two-part epoxy or hot glue gun to set the axles in position. The BSA axle clamps may also be used.

Adult Super-modified Rules:

meets weight (<= 5oz)

fits on track

nothing hazardous

nothing flamable

nothing exploding

can't damage other cars

must work by itself

Webelos 2 / Arrow of Light Planning

Pack 32's Pinewood Derby Race is Organized by the Webelos 2 / Arrow of Light Rank.  Here are some things done in previous years:

  • Purchase and distribute BSA car kits in late November
    • Single-Cub-Scouting families get 2 car kits - one for Cub Scout and one for parent/sibling
    • Multi-Cub-Scouting families get 2 car kits for older Cub Scout, and one additional car kit for each younger registered Cub Scout
  • Order Awards in December
    • 1st, 2nd, 3rd place Blue/Red/White Ribbons - one set for each Den
    • 1st, 2nd, 3rd place Trophies for Pack championship - one set for Tigers and one non-Tigers
    • Cub's Choice Design Awards - one per rank + one for each siblings division + one for adults
    • The Akela's Cup is a trophy that is passed on from year to year; the previous winner brings it back, and it seems the new winner takes care of their own name engraving for the nameplate
  • Decorations - purchase, setup, cleanup
  • Coordinate snacks during race day (optional)
  • Coordinate other activities during race day to keep non-races busy (optional - movie, games, activities, word searches, crafts, etc)
  • Print Design Awards before race day - one per scout + estimate one per sibling and adult
    • Determine appropriate design award for each car and complete certificate.
    • Lots of templates can be found on Pinterest
  • Create Driver's Licenses before race day (optional)
  • Track Work
    • Test track and timing system in early January - make updates as needed
    • Setup and Cleanup track on Race Day
  • Provide Adults to do car registration and inspection.  One adult for each job (they can rotate):
    • Weight Check (5.000000 ounces or less)
    • Size Check (fits in box)
    • Wheel Check (4 on the ground, not illegally modified
    • Registration (photo, inspection, computer entry)
  • Audio/Visual
    • Projector and Screen to Show results
    • Other cameras for live action (finish line camera)
    • Shutterfly pictures/videos
  • Opening and Closing Flag Ceremonies (Scouts)
  • Voting - print ballots in advance and tally votes for "Cub's Choice" Awards
  • Setup Day of Pinewood Derby
  • Impound Pack Winners (bubble wrap), and coordinate Pioneer District Race
Example: 2018 Pinewood Derby xls - tasks, description, owners, timings

Toby McPheeters,
Dec 28, 2015, 10:54 PM
Serena Zhao,
Feb 12, 2018, 10:03 PM
Serena Zhao,
Jan 24, 2018, 3:39 PM