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Pinewood Derby

Cub Scout Pack 621
(Brownsburg, Indiana)
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2015 Pinewood Derby - February 20th/21st, 2015


Take YourPlace in History

Join the ranks of millions of Cub Scouts who have stood in the derby winner's circle. Cub Scouts just like you have been building their own cars and competing in Pinewood Derby® events since 1953! At the heart of this event's success is the process itself - bonds are strengthened as the Cub Scout partners with a parent or adult mentor to design, carve, paint, weigh, refine, and race the car. In addition, Cub Scouts build confidence and take pride in their own growing skills and hard work. So enjoy the ride!

Results that Last a Lifetime

While the exhilaration of the actual race lasts only moments, the Pinewood Derby® experience lasts a lifetime. The benefits, for Cub Scout and adult, are discovered through the derby process itself: strengthening bonds, sharing responsibility, developing teamwork, learning new skills, exercising creativity, building sportsmanship,and making new friends.

Racing in the Pinewood Derby® creates a bond between a Cub Scout and all those who have raced before,as well as those who will follow to participate in this same tradition. Walk up to any Boy Scout - youth or adult; if he participated in a derby, his memories will resemble those of all other participants in the history of the event.


Sportsmanship- The Big Win

The father of the Pinewood Derby®, Donald Murphy, described his vision for the event to Scouting magazine in 1999: "I wanted to devise a wholesome, constructive activity that would foster a closer father-son relationship and promote craftsmanship and good sportsmanship through competition." As Cub Scouts learn the skill of good sportsmanship, they are better able to recognize and appreciate the new skills they've acquired, to show respect to all those involved, and to experience the fun and excitement of competition.


The first Pinewood Derby®was held in 1953 by Cub Scout Pack 280C of Manhattan Beach, California,operated by the North American Aviation Management Club. It was the brainchild of Cub Master Donald Murphy. The derby, publicized in Boys' Life in October 1954,was an instant and enduring hit. The magazine offered plans for the track and car, which featured "four wheels, four nails, and three blocks of wood."

The rules of the very first race stated: "The Derby is run in heats - two to four cars starting by gravity from a standstill on a track and run down a ramp to a finish line unaided. The track is an inclined ramp with wood strips down the center to guide the cars." The cars still roll that way today.

Fun Facts - Did You Know?

A fast Pinewood Derby® car can reach a speed of nearly 20 miles per hour. Pretty good for a little block of wood!

If a Pinewood Derby® car racing down the track was enlarged to the size of a real automobile, it would be speeding at more than 200 miles an hour. That's fast!

The first Pinewood Derby®was run in 1953 at the Manhattan Beach Scout House near Los Angeles when Cub Master Don Murphy introduced the idea to Pack 280C.

Over the years, Cub Scouts have built close to 100 million Pinewood Derby® racers. That's a lot of cars!

If you lined up all the Pinewood Derby® race cars, bumper-to- bumper, they would reach more than 7,000 miles - far enough to stretch from Charlotte, North Carolina, to the North Pole!

If every Pinewood Derby®car made this year took just one run down the track, the combined distance would be from the Earth to the Moon and back. That's out of this world!

Reader's Digest magazine included the Pinewood Derby® in its 2006 Best of America list as "a celebrated rite of spring." Way to go, Cub Scouts!

No Pinewood Derby® car has ever used a drop of gasoline. Gravity rules!


Length,Width and Clearance

a)The maximum overall width (including wheels and axles) shall not exceed 2-3/4inches.

b)The minimum width between the wheels shall be 1-3/4 inches so the car willclear the center guide strip on the track.

c)The minimum clearance between the bottom of the car and the track surface shallbe 3/8 inch so the car will clear the center guide strip on the track.

d)The maximum overall length shall not exceed 7 inches.

e)The wheel-base (distance between the front and rear axles) may not be changedfrom the kit body distance of 4-1/4 inches.


Weightand Appearance

a)Weight shall not exceed 5 ounces. The reading of the official scale will beconsidered final. The car may be hollowed out and built up to the maximumweight by the addition of wood or metal only, provided the material is securelybuilt into the body or firmly affixed to it. No liquids or loose materials ofany kind are permitted in or on the car.

b)Details such as steering wheel, driver, spoiler, decals, painting and interiordetails are permissible as long as these details do not exceed the maximumlength, width or weight specifications.

c)Cars with wet paint will not be accepted.


Body,Wheels and Axles

a)Axles and wheels shall be only as provided in the Official Grand Prix PinewoodDerby Kit.

b)You MUST use the block of wood provided. Purchasing pre-made bodies is NOTALLOWED.

c)Wheels may be lightly sanded to smooth out molding imperfections on the treadarea. This light sanding is the only modification allowed. Beveling, tapering,thin sanding, wafering or lathe turning of the wheels is prohibited.

d)Axles may not be altered in any way except for polishing.

e)Wheel bearings, washers, bushings, and hub caps are prohibited.

f)The car shall not ride on any type of springs.

g)The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting device or other type of propulsion.


Only graphite or powdered Teflon "whitelube" will be allowed for lubricating the wheels.



Building Your Pinewood Derby Car

Here is a 10-step process that we've developed for building Cub Scout Pinewood Derby cars over the years. There are a host of free tips out here on the web. But remember that by purchasing information, you'll be handing over money to people who exploit Cub Scouting for personal gain! Besides, part of scouting is sharing information and by freely passing on tips and tools so we can all be winners! We'd all do well to remember the motto we learned as Tiger Cubs... Search, Discover, Share! 

1. First and foremost, make this a FUN project! Scouting is about discovery, growth and having FUN! 

2. Keep it simple, especially if you're a beginner. There's nothing wrong with a simple wedge-shaped car. Besides, a "wedgie" can be modified beyond the "boring" look and design by adding decals, racing stipes, a driver and other accessories (as the rules allow, of course). Trace out your car design onto the wood block and cut it with a jigsaw or scrollsaw . SAFETY FIRST! 
Please follow the safety guidelines for using power tools and ensure that Parents (remember to teach by example!) AND Scouts wear safety glasses while cutting and smoothing the block. Take your time and have fun with your design... get creative! 

3. Once the car is "rough cut", you can begin smoothing it down with a file or rasp and then work your way up the scale from coarse grit sandpaper, to fine grit sandpaper. We recommend placing the car in a wood vise and making sure you pad it with cloth (an old towel) so the jaws of the vise don't bite into the soft pine wood.
Building Your Pinewood Derby Car

4. Once you have sanded your block smooth, it's time to add weight. There is a strict 5 oz. weight limit rule for the Pack 122 Derby. You want to get your car as close to 5 oz. as possible but not over or you will have to race in the “Open” division. 

5. Take your car (do not forget to take the wheels and axles) to your Akela’s work Mail Room or local Post Office and weigh it on a postal scale. This scale may not be exactly calibrated to the scale at the derby, but it should be close enough for government work and get you in the ballpark. You can add or remove lead weights from the bottom of the car in order to stay within the 5oz. maximum. 

6. Now it's time to begin painting the car. When spray painting, remember that several light coats are more effective than one or two heavy coats (plus your car will dry quicker between coats). You may want to sand your car with extra fine grit sandpaper between coats to get a cleaner finish. After your final topcoat, you're ready to decorate your car with decals and accessories.
Building Your Pinewood Derby Car

7. Pair up an axle with a wheel and apply black graphite dry lubricant (you can pick this up at hobby and craft stores or any hardware store that sells locks and keys). Pack 122 rules allow the use of DRY lubricants like graphite ONLY! Liquid lubricants will get your car disqualified and ruin your Cub’s race day.

8. Push the axles into the chassis, ensure that you push them in as STRAIGHT as you possibly can. There's little room for play and little margin for error... the parent/helper should probably perform this step. 

9. Its Race day... you've done your best to build a fast car and you're ready to race. Good sportsmanship is key on race day. If you win, win with grace... if you lose, lose with grace as well. No one likes a gloating winner or a sore loser. 
After each race, whether you win or lose, shake the other scout's hand and tell him "good race". Have fun, get excited, and allow the festivities of the day to keep ya racin'! 

10. Remember the most important step in this process... go back and re-read Step #1!!!!!!

Links to Resources and information about the Pinew

(information obtained online from other Scouters)

PinewoodDerby Info:

Our PinewoodDerby Chairman, John Salmento, is 'the' source for help on Pinewood Derby carbuilding.  John has captured some of his best tips, tricks and guidelinesfor Pack 88.  Just click here to read what advice John has to offer.

If youreally want to win a Pinewood Derby, the links below go into more detail thanyou'll ever need.  Everything from building a car, a race track, puttingon a race, performance tips and awarding prizes are covered. - step by step guide for building a car

Pinewood Extreme

Agentz Pinewood Site

Applied Machine Control - Race Software

Award Ideas for a Derby

Colonial District Pinewood Derby Links

Conducting Pinewood Derby Races

Derby Assistant Shareware Program

Derby Song & Opening Ceremony Plan

DMOZ Pinecar Links

Do-It-Yourself Pinewood Derby Timer

Effects on Weight Placement

FastTrack Derby Timers

Gran Prix Pinewood Derby Page

Guyasuta District Pinewood Derby Rules

Hodges Hobby House

How the Race will be Run

How to Build A Competitive Derby Car

How to Build a Pinewood Derby Track

How to Build Great Pine Derby Cars Video

How To Improve A Pinewood Derby Car

How To Run A Better Pinewood Derby

How to Win a Pinewood Derby

Indian Guides Pinewood Derby Race

Indy Products

Jay's Pinewood Derby Page

Learn to Build A Winner

Lucerne Valley Pinewood Derby

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Guidelines & Plans

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Tips (images at top of page are from this site)

McGrew's Pinewood Derby Page

MicroWizard Derby Timers

NewBold Products Timers and Finish Lines

New Directions "The Judge" Score Device

New Pinecar Kits vs Old Kits

NoGreenBananas Pinewood Derby Page

Onondaga District Program Helps

PineCar - For All Your Derby Needs

Pine Pro Pinewood Derby Products

Pinewood Derby - Build a Winner

Pinewood Derby Car Design

Pinewood Derby Car Display Stand

Pinewood Derby eGroup

Pinewood Derby Excel Spreadsheet

Pinewood Derby History and Guidelines

Pinewood Derby Model Car Racing

Pinewood Derby Model Car Racing

Pinewood Derby Plaques

Pinewood Derby Purpose and Rules

Pinewood Derby Racing Webring

Pinewood Derby Reference Materials

Pinewood Derby Song from Pack 191

Pinewood Derby Songs

Pinewood Derby Songs and Yells

Pinewood Derby Supersite

Pinewood Derby Times

Pinewood Derby Track Design 101

Pinewood Mania

Pinewood Pro: Winning Pinewood Derby Secrets

Pinewood Mania - A Cub Scout Phenomena

Polaris District Pinewood Derby

Pope's Pinewood Portal

Race Methods for a Shape N Race Derby

RaceView Pinewood Derby Manager Software

RaceView Pinewood Derby Links

Scales for Weighing Pinewood Derby Cars

Smooth Sailing Derby Software

Speedzone - Tips For a Faster Car

Stearns Method for Judging Pinewood Derbies



S & W Crafts Manufacturing


Swan-Tech Pinewood Derby Timer

TimeKeeper 2000

Tips For a Great Car

Top Secret Pine Wood Derby Video

Troop conducts Pack Derby Races

Ultimate Pinewood Derby Site

Unusual Derby Car Designs

Yahoo Links for Pinewood Derby Speed