Pine Wood Derby

Official Pinewood Derby Rules and Regulations


PARTS AND MATERIALS: Each participating Cub Scout is to build a new car each year using the official pinewood derby car kit. Official pinewood derby car kits, weights, and other optional accessories and kits may be purchase from Boy Scouts of America approved distributors, including the Twin Rivers Council Service Center, Michaels,, etc…


WIDTH: Maximum overall width allowable, including wheels, is 2 3/4 inches.


LENGTH: No portion of the car will be allowed to extend forward of the starting gate.


HEIGHT: Maximum overall height should not interfere with the digital timer.


CLEARANCE: Minimum clearance under the body should not interfere with the grooves that the cars are placed in on the track.  At no point should the bottom of the car come into contact with the track.  The wheels are the exception. 


WHEEL BASE: The wheel base should not extend beyond the front or rear of the car.  At no point should the wheels be in front or behind the car.  New axels slots can be made but must be aligned as straight as possible. 


WEIGHT: Weight cannot exceed 5.00 oz. (141.75 grams). The car may be hollowed out and built up to the maximum weight by additional of wood, metal, or any other material, provided they are securely attached to the body and chassis. No loose material (that may become dislodged during the race and interfere with other racers) of any kind is permitted in or on the car including, but not limited to, liquids. Materials that could potentially be health hazards are not permissible to be used as weight. Lead is permissible for weight provided that it is completely enclosed within the body of the car.


MATERIAL: The car body, wheels and axles must be from the official pinewood derby car kit. The car may not ride on any type of springs. Details such as decals, pin stripes, cockpit accessories and interior detailing are permissible as long as the car does not exceed the maximum weight. Plastic, metal and other detail parts are allowed as long as they are securely attached to the body and chassis and do not exceed the front of the car.


WHEELS: Wheels must be from the official pinewood derby car kit or from the optional colored Cub Scout derby wheels & axle kit. Wheels may be lightly sanded only to remove bumps, burrs and ridges. They may not be shaved or reduced in diameter or width. Wheels may not be beveled, tapered or in any other fashion modified from the original size and shape. Wheels may not be painted. Wheel covers, bearings, washers, and bushings are strictly prohibited.


AXLES: The axles (round head nails) must be from the official pinewood derby car or from the optional colored Cub Scout derby wheels & axles kit and maybe polished using files, sandpaper, etc. or by using the pinewood derby high performance kit to remove burrs, scratches and ridges. The axles may not be machined or reduced in diameter anywhere along the axle shaft. Substituted axles will not be permitted. Full length axels may not be used.


LUBRICATION: Lubricant, if used, must be applied prior to inspection and registration of the car. No lubrication is permitted after registration or during the derby.


INSPECTION: The car must meet weight, clearance, and size limitations as stated above and use only the materials specified in the parts and materials sections above. A repair table may be made available to make adjustments prior to registration. A car with illegal parts may have them replaced or removed prior to registration and will be allowed to participate in the race with only legal parts.

            All cars must have visible evidence of the scout’s participation in its preparation. At weigh in, if two leaders question whether a car was created solely by a parent or purchased as is, then the scout master (or assistant scout master) will discuss the car with the scout. Provided the scout can adequately describe what contributions he made to the car, the car is eligible to race. If the scout is unable to describe his involvement in the creation of the car, then the car is disqualified from racing.


DISQUALIFICATION: Per the judge(s) or race official(s), a car or scout will be disqualified and not allowed to race if any of the following occur:

1. Any use of improper material as outlined above, including, but not limited to, wheels, axles or body wood.

2. Changing the car after registration, except for authorized repairs.

3. Removing the registration sticker from the car.

4. Handling any car without permission of the judge(s) or race officials(s).

5. Not following the instruction of the judges(s) or race officials(s).

6. Not following any other rule specified for the pinewood derby.


HANDLING: Only the volunteers on race day are allowed to handle the cars during the event.  In the event a repair needs to take place the please see RERUNS for rule determination.


RACE PROCEDURE: Each car will participate in at least two races. This means that a car will not

be eliminated from the race until it has at least participated in two separate heats. The numbers of the cars in each heat will be called by the starter, judge or race official. The heat will be run, with the lane winner and loser noted and posted on a chart, and the cars will be returned to the judges table. The starter will make lane assignments so that a car does not race in the same lane twice in a row during a race.


RERUNS: If the starter declares a mistart or a car leaves the track and interferes with other cars, the race will be rerun. When a car has left the track and requires repair, the judge(s) and/or race official(s) reserves the right to decide whether the car may be repaired and rerun or forfeit that heat. If a car leaves the track twice in the same heat, the car will automatically forfeit that heat.


PARTICIPATION: Every Cub Scout must be present to race his car and receive any award. Should the need arise, the judge(s) and/or rack official(s) reserves the right to allow substitutions.