The Pinewood Derby is an event that Cub Scouts and families look forward to each year. Started in 1953 to be an inclusive event that fostered craftsmanship, sportsmanship and family bonds through creating and competing in a fun race.
Pack 1148 holds its Pinewood Derby in January, February, or March each year. All Pack 1148 Cub Scouts, siblings and children are invited to participate and enjoy building their cars and racing them.
The Pinewood Derby is a fun event where the Scouts get to learn how to build things and feel the satisfaction of racing their creation. Winning is great but so is fun and sportsmanship. As always in Cub Scouting our motto is to “Do your best.” That goes for the adult volunteers and boy scouts who are donating their time and effort to put on this great event. We do our best to communicate the rules to make a fair race for everyone and try to catch any issues at check-in. Many volunteers bring extra tools and parts to help the kids fix issues so they can race and you can too. Things aren’t always perfect and it’s a challenging event to put on so all help is welcome and we hope to work together to have a great event and not let competitiveness get the best of us.
Please review the pages here for the Pack rules and guidelines to make sure there is a level playing field for all the scouts.
Building Your Car
Most of the fun of the Pinewood Derby is building your own car. Seeing a block of wood turn into an actual working toy that can be raced and played with is lots of fun. Cars can be built in any number of ways and at any skill level.
You can build to be fast. You can build to be creative. You can build to be patriotic. Regardless of your approach have fun with it. Remember your STEM!
The easiest way to make sure you have a kit that meets the measurement and rules for the race is to use a kit purchased from the pack or earned from selling popcorn. You can also buy kits from many hobby stores. Please make sure you use an Official BSA Kit. There are many kits out there for pine cars that don't necessarily meet the rules or specifications need for the race.
The body needs to be made new each year. It is not allowed to use hand-me-down, pre-made, repainted, etc. cars. Learning craftsmanship and family time in building the cars is an important part of the Pinewood Derby.
Any weights added to the belly or bottom of the car, with soft glue, temporary tape, or elastic mediums are NOT recommended.
The track has a braking pad, covered in fabric, to create resistance and bring the car to a safe stop, once crossing the finish line. Designs with weights not permanently secured or attached (such as with hot glue or tape) to the belly or underside of the car often fall off or become loose riding on this brake rail during the race. Take this into consideration in your design; screw and/or inset any weights if placed on the underside of the car to ensure they are securely attached and will not come loose when riding this brake rail.
The Wheels and Axles
The wheels are one of the most common points of confusion. Be sure to use only official BSA wheels and nails (axles). Making sure everyone is using the same kind of wheels makes a big impact on having fair competitive races and makes the race more fun for everyone.
Helping your Scout
Building cars and using tools is a lot of fun and everyone enjoys winning. Please follow these guidelines to make sure your scout gets the most out of the experience and learn the skills and tools. The kids really feel a sense of pride watching a car they made with their own hands and a block of wood rolling down the track.
The kids should do as much of the work as they can. Parents/Akela should guide and help but let their scouts drive.
Lions & Tigers should do the design, sanding, and painting. They may need help with cutting and wheel assembly.
Wolves & Bears should do the design, sanding, painting, and wheel assembly. They may need help with cutting.
Webelos should complete the whole car with supervision of the cutting.
For the Family Open use the above guidelines based on the ages of the kids building their cars. We don't yet have a Akela/Parent's division to compete in.
There are many ways to be recognized at the Pinewood Derby and there are many awards to be earned. In addition to awards for placing in the top three fastest times of each rank and top three fastest times for the entire pack there are awards for best design, most patriotic, best in show, and others. The entire list of awards is as follows:
Best in Show (As voted by all Scouts)
1st place (Fastest car in Pack)
2nd place (Second fastest car in Pack)
3rd place (Third fastest car in Pack)
Turtle Award (Slowest car in Pack. Car must finish the race and receive a valid run time, not to exceed 10 seconds)
Best Cub Scout Theme (As voted by parent committee)
Best Paint Job (As voted by parent committee)
Most Unique (As voted by parent committee)
Most Patriotic (As voted by parent committee)
Most Realistic (As voted by parent committee)
Most Effort Spent on Car (As voted by parent committee)
Most Helpful Scout (Unrelated to the Derby cars themselves. As Voted on by Derby event Pack leaders running event on race day, which Scout was the most helpful, providing assistance throughout the event, to make it a success.)
Best in Lion Rank (As voted by Lions)
1st place in Lion Rank (Fastest Lion car)
2nd place in Lion Rank (Second fastest Lion car)
3rd place in Lion Rank (Third fastest Lion car)
Best in Tiger Rank (As voted by Tigers)
1st place in Tiger Rank (Fastest Tiger car)
2nd place in Tiger Rank (Second fastest Tiger car)
3rd place in Tiger Rank (Third fastest Tiger car)
Best in Wolf Rank (As voted by Wolves)
1st place in Wolf Rank (Fastest Wolf car)
2nd place in Wolf Rank (Second fastest Wolf car)
3rd place in Wolf Rank (Third fastest Wolf car)
Best in Bear Rank (As voted by Bears)
1st place in Bear Rank (Fastest Bear car)
2nd place in Bear Rank (Second fastest Bear car)
3rd place in Bear Rank (Third fastest Bear car)
Best in Webelos Rank (As voted by Webelos)
1st place in Webelo Rank (Fastest Webelo car)
2nd place in Webelo Rank (Second fastest Webelo car)
3rd place in Webelo Rank (Third fastest Webelo car)
Best in AoL Rank (As voted by AoL)
1st place in AoL Rank (Fastest AoL car)
2nd place in AoL Rank (Second fastest AoL car)
3rd place in AoL Rank (Third fastest AoL car)
Family Awards (Participants must be 5th Grade age or below)
Best in Family Open (As voted by family car registrants)
1st place in Family Open (Fastest Family car)
2nd place in Family Open (Second fastest Family car)
3rd place in Family (Third fastest Family car)
Keep these in mind when you are building your cars. Good luck and have fun.
Races are broken up into divisions based on Rank and the Family Open followed by the Finals for the top cars in each rank. During the races scouts will be able to vote for the best in their rank and the best in show.
Each division is raced in heats where the best average times will determine the winners. The fastest few cars in each rank will race in heats in the finals to determine the overall winners.
When scouts arrive you will register your cars and they will be placed on the table to await their race. During registration cars will be inspected and weighed and you will be able to make any final adjustments. Please review the Rules Page for a complete list of the rules.
The race is conducted on a four (4) lane track made of aluminum. There are starting pins that are released and start the timer for each car. When each car crosses the finish line the timer is stopped and the times are automatically put into the computer.