Pinewood Derby Rules

The following rules are taken from the Wachovia District Pinewood Derby Rules. This ensures that Scouts who advance based on performance in the Pack’s Pinewood Derby race will be eligible to compete at the District Level. We have added specific rules for the Pack’s design competition (which is not part of the events at the District level).

The Pinewood Derby is designed to be a learning experience for each Cub Scout. It enables the Scout to design, construct and detail the Scout’s car through adult supervision. The race itself is an opportunity to enrich competition, sportsmanship and sharing. These rules supersede the rules included in the race kit.

Pinewood Derby Race Rules

  1. Each participant must be a registered Cub Scout to enter this year’s race.
  2. Cars entered in earlier Derby races are not allowed to compete. Only cars that have raced in this year’s Pack race will be eligible to advance to the District.
  3. The car must be built using the materials in the official Cub Scout pinewood derby race kit. This includes a block of wood, axles (nails) and wheels. Only BSA wheels and axles from the kit or BSA replacement kits, including colored BSA wheels, are permitted. No aftermarket wheels or axles will be permitted. Axles that have been grooved or nickel plated are prohibited. The car must use all four wheels and axles. The use of only three or less wheels is prohibited.
  4. All cars must pass a pre-race inspection before they can compete.
  5. The overall width of the car shall not exceed 2 ¾ inches (this is the width of the original block of wood plus the width of two wheels). The car must have a 3/8 inch clearance underneath (from table top to the bottom of the car). The maximum height of the car shall not exceed 3 ¼ inches.
  6. The length of the car shall not exceed 7 inches.
  7. The maximum weight of the car shall not exceed 5 ounces (141.8 grams). The car may be hollowed out and built up to the maximum weight by the addition of wood or metal as long as it is securely built into the car.
  8. The axles must be inserted into the slots provided on the car body. If the slots are not visible due to paint or putty, the distance between the front and rear axles (wheelbase) must be 4 7/16 inches.
  9. The width of the wheel surface touching the track must not be reduced. Wafering or rounding of the wheel surface is prohibited. Wheels may be sanded or polished. Excessive sanding or polishing that makes the BSA markings on either the exterior or interior of the wheel unreadable, will render the wheel illegal.
  10. The car must be “free-wheeling” with no starting devices.
  11. No oil, grease or silicone spray may be used on the axles or wheels. Only powdered graphite is allowed.
  12. Painting and detailing are allowed. Any obscene or derogatory markings or words are prohibited.
  13. The car will be impounded at the weigh-in and cannot be altered in any way except for damage repair.
  14. After the car is impounded, only race judges, starters and runner may handle it.
  15. The front of the car cannot be shaped in a manner which will allow any part of the car to extend beyond the starting gate / pin. (To prevent this, the bottom edge of the car should not be higher than ½ inch from the track). Cars that cannot start in a forward position will be allowed to race backwards. If the car cannot be held in either position, it will not be allowed to race.
  16. If a car jumps the track, there will be no heat. If a car jumps the track three (3) times it will be disqualified. A heat in which a car fishtails or goes through the finish line without interfering with the other car will be considered a valid heat.
  17. At the race judge’s discretion, and under his/her supervision, a repair time of three (3) minutes will be allowed for repairs on cars damaged while competing. Should the car be called to race during the 3 minute period, the race will be halted until the car is repaired or the 3 minute period has expired. Should the 3 minutes expire before the repair is completed, repairs may continue, but the car will forfeit any heats while repairs are made. Missed heats cannot be made up.
  18. All decisions of the judges are final. A scout is obedient and cheerful.
  19. Cars will not be allowed to race with wet paint.
  20. Over zealous parents may cause the disqualification of their Scout’s car! Please remember this is the Scouts’ race for the Scouts to enjoy.
  21. Cars that qualify for a trophy (1st, 2nd, 3rd places) may be required to undergo a post-race inspection. This includes disassembly of the wheels and axles for inspection. Any illegal parts found during the post-race inspection will result in the disqualification of the car. By entering the derby, scout and parents agree to allow the post-race inspection. Refusal to allow the inspection will result in disqualification of the car.

Design competition rules

  1. Cars entered in the design competition must conform to all the above-listed race rules. Items may not be added to or removed from the car for the design portion of the competition.
  2. Pre-packaged and/or themed decoration kits (e.g. Batman wings, pre-cut designs, light bars, spoilers, engine parts, etc.) may not be used for the design competition. Household materials may be used in Scouts’ designs.
  3. Cars that are disqualified from the race are also disqualified from the design competition.
  4. Each Scout participating in the Pinewood Derby will have two (2) votes in the design competition, and they may not vote for their own car. The cars with the highest three vote totals will be named as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, respectively.

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