Pinewood Derby

Announcing the 2018 Pack 32 Pinewood Derby

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

American Legion Post 419 Hall

958 Homestead Road, Santa Clara, Ca. 95050

Optional Pre-Inspection before Pack Show on Wednesday, January 23rd 6-6:30pm.

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

                                                Lions Racing starts at 10:30AM 
                                       Pack Racing starts at 11 AM

What's New?


  • 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 don't have any ideas for a car.  What should mine look like?  Answer: Check out Pack 32's password protected Shutterfly account for pictures of cars from previous Pinewood Derbies.  Here are some links:

FAQ#3:  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#4:  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 kids (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
 Parent 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 Parent 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 kids 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 child 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.

Dr. Pinewood's Tips and Hints

Here are some tips and tricks in approximately the order you will do them:

  1. There are lots of books and tips to make a faster Pinewood Derby Car.  Many of these suggestions are NOT LEGAL for the Cub Scout races.  If you think something may be illegal, don't do it because your car will not pass inspection and will not be able to race.  Winners of the Pack 32 race advance to the Pioneer District race and they are much stricter about inspection.  Pack 32 winning cars have been rejected at District inspection for questionable modifications.
  2. Trace the block of wood on a piece of paper.  Trace the side, top, front, and back.  Then draw and color on the paper what you want the car to look like.  Plan where you will put weights and make sure there is enough wood to support the axles.  When satisfied with the design, transfer it to the wood block.  This should be completed before going to any wood cutting events.
  3. Pre-drill the axle slots on a drill press.  The wheels and axles must be in the same location as the slots cut in the bottom of the wood block.  It is very difficult to hammer the nail (axle) into the slot and keep all 4 wheels on the ground.  Before doing anything else to the block of wood, drill at the top of the axle slot using drill bit the same size as the nails.
  4. Do not attach weights or anything below the car - it may drag on the track and slow you down.  Instead pre-cut or pre-drill into the bottom of the wood block a place to add weight.  Avoid anything hanging below the natural bottom of the wood block.
  5. You will need to add weight to the car.  The kit weighs 2-3 ounces out of the box.  Pinewood derby is a gravity event, so more weight equals faster start!  You'll want to get the maximum weight up to the 5 ounce limit.  The weights should be installed so that you can balance the car just in front of the rear wheels.  Have a way to remove weights, and bring extra weights to registration weigh-in and inspection.  You may have to make adjustments.
  6. Be safe!  Wear gloves and safety goggles while using tools to cut or drill your car design.
  7. Clean and polish the nail axles to remove sharp edges and burrs.  Install one nail in the chuck of drill press at a time.  Use a fine grain file to remove the burrs.  Then use pieces of sandpaper to smooth and polish the axles.  Apply plenty of graphite to the axles during installation.
  8. Trim any flashing from the sides, hubs, and contact surface of the plastic wheels.  Remember that you cannot change the profile (shape) of the wheel.  Only official BSA wheels can be used. The Scout Shop has a selection of official wheels in different colors.
  9. Use small pieces of masking tape to keep paint aways from where the wheel contacts the car.  The surface should be smooth sanded bare wood.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.  Once you are satisfied, glue them into place with epoxy or other glue.
  12. Arrive at registration weigh-in and inspection with plenty of time to make adjustments as needed.  You can return for your race time.
  13. During races, cheer on all participants and show good sportsmanship. Remember that all participants Do Their Best!

Parent Guidelines:

All Pack 32 parents are encouraged to build a car for the parent races.  It is a lot of fun for the entire family.

Parents race on the same track and can follow the Cub Scout rules, or they can create a "Super Modified" Car.

Parent Super Modified Rules:

  • meets weight (<= 5oz)
  • fits on track
  • nothing hazardous
  • nothing flammable
  • nothing exploding
  • can't damage other cars

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