Pinewood Derby 2011 Rules, Complete

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RACE DAY - January 15th, 2010

The following rules are adopted to coincide with the Chesapeake Bay District Rules for competition. Pack 175 specifics in italics.




  1. Qualification: All registered Cub Scouts may design, build and enter cars that are eligible to participate in the Pack Pinewood Derby event. (Parents & Siblings are welcome to race for bragging rights after the official competition is over.
  2. Essential Materials:  All cars entered must be constructed from the "Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit" only.   (Pre-made pine cars are not allowed.)
  3. Competitor Categories:  All entries must be registered in only of the following categories:  Speed Category, Originality Category or Craftsmanship Category. ( All cars are eligible for all  3 categories)
  4. Attendance:  Cub Scout must be present during racing for the SPEED Category.  They must also be present during judging and awards for the Originality and Craftsmanship Categories.(We hate to have to go looking for scouts…..)
  5. "New Work":  Construction of ALL entries MUST have begun AFTER competition ended in the 2010 Pinewood Derby Races.
  6. Single Entry per Person:  Only one car may be registered by any person in the Pinewood Derby.
  7. Inspection and Registration:  Each car must pass a technical inspection before it may compete.  Registration times will be strictly adhered to.  Registration opens at noon.
  8. Late Registration and Inspection:  No late registrations or inspections will be held once the registration table has closed.
  9. Failure to Pass Inspection:  The Inspection Committee shall disqualify cars which do not meet the Chesapeake Bay District Rules. If a car does not pass inspection, the owner will be informed of the reason his car did not pass.
  10. Impound:  Each unit will impound cars at the conclusion of their Pack’s Pinewood Derby competition.  The cars will not be altered in any way after the Pack’s race or before the District Race.  One adult from each unit is responsible for impounding the district bound cars and will bring them to the District Pinewood Derby.  Scouts will not bring their own car to Districts, or it will be disqualified.
  11. Car Design Judging Criteria:  Originality will be judged by how much creative thought went into the design of the car.  The Scout must have designed the car, not copied it from another source, such as the internet, PWD car manuals, etc.  Craftsmanship will be judged on how much work actually went into making the car.  Does the craftsmanship represent the Scout’s work, or the parents?
  12. Race-Day Rules Interpretation:  On Race-Day, the Cub Scout must make all questions of rules and procedures to the Pinewood Derby Committee or Race Officials promptly.   All decisions of the Pinewood Derby Committee are final.  Note:  Unsportsmanlike conduct by any participant or spectator will be grounds for expulsion from the competition and/or the race area.
  13. Pre-Registration for the District Pinewood Derby:  Each car will be pre-registered for the derby.  Each unit will be allowed up to 3 cars in each competition category.( 4 for each category will be picked at the Pack Derby, 4th place being the alternate competitor if needed for District Derby)  NO registration fee will be charged to the units if the hosting unit will be running a concession stand.  Proceeds from the concession stand sales will cover the cost of running the derby, paying for trophies, and patches and any fee associated with hosting the event.





  1. Material:  Race cars shall be constructed for this event from the parts contained in the Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit sold by the Scout Service Center store.  Materials from the kit may be supplemented but not replaced.
  2. Weight:  Race cars may weigh no more than five (5) ounces (total weight) as determined on the official scales during the pre-race check-in.  Weight cannot be added to a car at the District Race.  Weight may only be removed from overweight cars in the Speed category.   Scout cars will be given 2 chances to meet the weight requirement.  If the car is still over weight, the car will be disqualified.  Weight will not be a factor in Craftsmanship or Originality competition.  The weight must be close, but not required to be dead-on.
  3. Wheels and Axles:  The car shall roll on the wheels from the kit. The wheels shall turn about the axle nails from the kit. The axle nails shall be firmly affixed with glue to the wood of the car body, and MUST be placed in the original 'axle grooves' in the kit supplied wooden block.  It must be obvious to the judges that the grooves, wheels, and the nails from the kit are being used.  Axel covers may not be used.
  4. Size:  All cars may be no longer than 7 inches, nor wider than 2-3/4 (2.75) inches, as determined by the official gages during the Registration and Inspection process. Underside clearance of at least 3/8 (0.375) inches and inside wheel to wheel clearance of at least 1-3/4 (1.75) inches is required, so that the car will run on the race track.  Adequate clearance is the responsibility of the race car builder.  No adjustments will be made on the car at the District race.
  5. Weights and Attachment:  "Weight" is considered to be any material on the car that is not provided in the kit. All weight must be securely fastened to the car, e.g.  By permanent glue, nails or screws, but not by "sticky substances", e.g. tape, or tack spray. Weights shall be passive, i.e. non-moveable, non-magnetic, non-electric, non-sticky, etc.
  6. Wheel Treatment:  Wheel treatment (smoothing hub and tread or polishing) must not result in substantial removal of mass.  It may not reduce the wheel width from the original kit wheels.  Some of the original "tread mark nubs" on the wheel face must remain intact, i.e. apparent to the inspector. Wheels may not be machined to a beveled condition and the portion of the wheel surface that contacts the track must remain parallel to the axle.    WHEEL BEVELING NOT ALLOWED:
  7. Unacceptable Construction:  The following may NOT be used in conjunction with the wheels or axles: hubcaps, washers, inserts, sleeves, bearings.
  8. Gravity Powered:  The race car may not be constructed or treated in such a way that the track's starting mechanism imparts momentum to the car. (For instance, this provision disqualifies cars with sticky substances on the front of the car and protrusions which may catch on the starting pin.)
  9. Lubricants:  Only dry lubricants such as graphite or powdered Teflon "white lube" will be allowed for lubricating the wheels.  Lubricants may not foul the track.  There will be a lubrication table set up at the race.  A single lubrication application is allowed before the beginning of racing.   The Scout must lubricate his own car.  Parents or Adults, with the exception of a Race Official, will not be allowed in the “Pit” area.




1. Inspection:  Each Scout in all three categories will present his car to the race officials at the registration table for inspection.  Inspection will consist of the following:


Weight – The car will not exceed 5 oz.

Length – The car will not exceed 7 inches

Width – The car will not exceed 2.75 inches

Height – The car will not exceed 3 inches

Wheel Inspection – The wheels will meet the treatments in items 6, 7 and 9 in section II of these rules.

Underside Clearance – The car body and any added weights must have at least a 3/8” clearance between the table surface and the lowest point on the bottom of the car body.


2. Race Day Lubrication:  There will be a lubrication table set up at the race.  Lubrication must take place before registration.  No lubrication will be applied once the car is registered.


3. Car Handling Responsibility:  Scouts shall be responsible to present their own cars at the "Pit Stop" area for lubrication, and at the starting line for staging.  Cars will be staged on the tracks by the scout.  If, in the opinion of the Track-master, a scout's physical limitations prevent him from fully complying with this requirement, the scout may ask for assistance from a race official. In any case, the scout shall participate up to his limitations.


4. Lane Assignment:   To equalize differences among track lanes, each car will race once in each lane of the track.


5. Car Leaves the Lane:   If, during a race heat, a car leaves its lane but proceeds down the track in a manner that does not interfere with its opponent, then the race will be called normally.  If the car leaves its lane and interferes with another car, the race will be re-staged and re-run.  If the same car again leaves it's lane and interferes with another car, that car will be judged last place and the race will be re-staged and re-run without that car.


6. Car Leaves Track:  If, during a race heat, a car leaves the track without interfering with its opponent, it shall be considered to have ended its heat at that point.


7. Car Repair (Without Fault):  If, during the race, a wheel falls off or the car becomes otherwise damaged, then the SCOUT may, to the best of his ability perform repairs with the assistance of a Pit Crewmember.


8. Car Repair (With Fault):  If a car is damaged due to track fault, or damage caused by another car or person, then the pit crewmember may allow additional repair assistance to the Cub.


9. Call to Race:  Competitors will be called name to the staging area for racing.  Scouts will be racing or “on deck” waiting to race.  Scouts should pay close attention to the racing board to watch for their time to race.


10. Track Champion:  The overall champion will be the car with the fastest average recorded time on the track.  2nd and 3rd place will be the next fastest and third fastest average time on the track.


11. Track Fault:  If a car leaves its lane, at his sole discretion, the Track-master may inspect the track and, if a track fault is found which probably caused the initial violation, the Track-master may order the race heat to be rerun after the track is repaired.


12. The Race Area:  Only race officials may enter the track area. This rule will be strictly enforced.  Parents and other adults must stay clear of the track area.


13. Rewards and Recognition:  The most important values in Pinewood Derby competition are good sportsmanship and learning how to follow rules.  Racers will be recognized as follows:


a.) Every participating Scout will receive a Pinewood Derby patch.


b) Trophies will be awarded for the top 3 winners in each of the three categories; Speed, Originality and Craftsmanship.



We intend for the racing environment to remain positive and that all participants, spectators and officials behave accordingly.


1. Once all cars have been registered we will proceed with the following:

Flag Ceremony

Opening Remarks

Quick Overview about racing procedures


2. When the speed races begin, the judging for the Originality and Craftsmanship will also begin.  One unit representative from each competing unit will be a judge.  Other adults will not be in the judging area unless they are Race Officials.  The Judging should take no more than 15 – 20 minutes.  Once the judging has concluded, the judges will stay in the judging area until the votes are tallied in case of a recount or a tie breaker is needed.


3. When the judging is completed, racing will stop during the presentation of the appearance awards and restart after the awards have concluded.

a.) Scouts in the appearance categories will be allowed to leave the District event, but only after they have assisted in cleaning up the areas they occupied during the race day, and checked the outside of the building and picked up any litter in the parking lot, lawn or adjacent areas.


4. When racing has concluded for the speed categories, the awards for the top 3 speed cars will be presented.

a.) Scouts and Parents will not leave the Derby until they have assisted the Race Committee in clearing up any messes or helping put away as many chairs and tables as possible.





Two things the Pinewood Derby requires each participant to learn are 1) the craft skills necessary to build a car, and 2) the rules that must be followed. Even more important, though, is how we act and behave while participating in the Pinewood Derby or any other group activity. This is called sportsmanship.


The first thing to remember about sportsmanship is having respect for others.


The second thing to remember is to follow the rules.


The third thing to remember about good sportsmanship is that there are winners and losers in every competition. You accept this when you choose to compete. But either