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Pinewood Derby

The Scout Shop is Pinewood Derby Central, and has all of the tools and supplies you’ll need, plus other tips and useful information that will help you be successful.

Design Awards

There will be some design awards that cars can win. A panel of parent judges will select cars for the following categories:

  • Best of Show
  • Fastest Looking
  • Best Scout Spirit

The Cubmaster will also select a winner for:

  • Cubmaster’s Choice

(The judges also reserve the right to add more categories at the time of judging. We want to see your creativity. Show us what you’ve got!)

Rules

These rules are consistent with BSA and Longhorn Council Pinewood Derby rules. Following these rules will ensure that your scout can compete in council events, if they choose to do so.

1. Cars should be made by Cub Scouts in the current year.

Please limit your pinewood derby cars to what your scout understands, can design, and can enjoys building. As a parent, you will likely need to help with power tools, but the scout should design the car and trace the lines onto the block for you to cut. You may need to help weigh the car, but let the scout glue the weights on. Your scout’s hands should be on the car much more than yours.

If you “help” your scout make a lightning-fast, three-wheeled, polished-axle, aerodynamic speed machine, take special care to make sure you’re not robbing your Cub Scout of the joy of building his own car. Cub Scouts are permitted to make use of “advanced” building techniques, but scientifically perfect super cars designed by adults should not be raced in the cub division.

This rule does not apply to the “outlaw division.” In fact, outlaw cars need not be pinewood derby cars at all. If it will move down the track safely, you are welcome to try and race it.

2. Max width is 2-3/4 inches.

This includes all parts, including decorations.

Note, that cars should have a flat nose, so that they can rest behind the starting post. Cars with a pointed nose may find it difficult to sit behind the starting gate, and will be at a disadvantage when driving over the finish line sensor.

This rule does not apply to the “outlaw division,” with the following caveat: Your car must fit on the track and not interfere with other vehicles.

3. Max length is 7 inches.

This includes all parts, including decorations.

This rule does not apply to the “outlaw division ,” with the following caveat: Your car must fit on the track and be capable of moving down the track without scraping the track bottom during the curve.

4. Max weight is 5 ounces.

This includes all parts, including decorations.

You can use any kinds of weights as long as they are firmly attached to the car. The Scout Shop sells several weight sets. These two are popular:

Cars will be weighed using the scale sold by BSA Scout Shops, but any digital scale or postage scale should yield reasonably accurate results. Come to check in prepared to tweak your car’s weight, if required. (The check-in scale is the final authority on car weight, no matter what your scale at home says.)

Please note that cars weighing less than 3 ounces may struggle to finish the race depending on track length. You should try to get as close to 5 ounces as possible. Placing the weight on the back of the car will give it more energy on the downhill portion of the track, and will make the car faster.

This rule does not apply to the “outlaw division,” with the following caveat: Our track is made of light plastic, and we do not have a sophisticated stopping mechanism at the end. If your car makes the track “move” due to weight or if the car cannot be stopped safely, it will not be allowed to race.

5. Axels, wheels, and body should come from an official BSA kit.

See the following:

BSA sells two pinewood derby bodies. One is a blank block of wood with two cuts in it for recommended axle placement. This body comes in the Official Pinewood Derby Car Kit, and includes axles and wheels as well, plus some stickers.

The other body is pre-cut into a wedge shape. This pre-cut block may be especially useful for families who don’t have powertools at home or who don’t have as much time to commit to the project. If you go with this option, you will also need to buy the axle and wheels pack to go with it.

When configuring your axles, please be aware that there is no center rail on our track. A car configured for “rail riding” may instead find itself rubbing against the side wall. It is recommended that cars be designed so that they will move down the track in a straight line.

This rule does not apply to the “outlaw division.”

6. Wheel bearings, washers, brushing, springs, liquid lubricant, loose materials (such a lead shot), and “starting devices” are prohibited.

The recommended lubricant is graphite powder.

This rule does not apply to the “outlaw division,” with the following caveat: Liquid lubricant can be messy and wiping down the track slows down the race. If your car leaves a liquid residue behind on the track, it will be disqualified.

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