Pinewood Derby

The purpose of the Pinewood Derby is to help Cub Scouts build a team relationship with their parent or partner, experience a sense of accomplishment, learn good sportsmanship, and enjoy the fun and excitement of competition. The model cars are built from a kit which contains a wooden block (pinewood), four wheels and four nails (axles). Under the guidance of their parents or helpers the Scouts shape, sand, paint and decorate their cars to their own liking. Then the Scouts assemble their cars according to specific dimensions and weight requirements as set forth in the Official Rules.

The cars run down a special race track. Our pack uses two 3 lane tracks running simultaneously – one track for the Wolf / Bear division and one track for the Webelos division, although this can change from year to year. All cars must be free wheeling with no stored energy, propelled only by gravity.


  • On the night before the race, you will drop off your car for inspection.
  • Leaders will check your car to ensure it meets the specifications above, including height, weight, and clearance.
  • Weight is measured using a digital scale.


Rules & Tips

Each scout should experience the satisfaction of building his own car from the pinewood derby kit. Parental assistance is encouraged and safety is the first concern, but the car should be the product of the scout and not the adult. The cars should be built in concert with the skills of the participant. Good sportsmanship is expected from everyone involved.

General Rules

  • Only one car per registered Cub Scout may be entered.
  • Open Class (for anyone that is not a Cub Scout) – Parents and siblings can enter a car following the same rules as the Scouts.
  • Once inspected and accepted, the car may not be altered in any way.
  • The car entry must have been built for this year’s race.

Car Specifications

  • Car size shall not exceed:
    • Width 2 3/4″ (including the wheels)
    • Height 1 3/4″ (where the wheels contact the body)
    • Length 7″ (some blocks are longer)
  • Car weight shall not exceed: 5.00 ounces
  • Axle location cannot be altered. (Note: You can however squareup the grooves if necessary to make the car run straight.) All cars will be placed on an official BSA template to verify axle location the night of check-in.
  • Axles, wheels and body must be from the materials provided in the official BSA pinewood derby car kit. No Exceptions!
  • The car must have at least 3/8″ under-clearance from the wheel rolling surface to the bottom of the car (between the wheels).
  • Additional trim items are allowed as long total weight doesn’t exceed maximum weight and size.
  • Wheel bearings, bushings and washers are not permitted.
  • The car may not ride on springs or other suspension.
  • The car must be freewheeling and gravity powered. No auxiliary form of propulsion is allowed including motors, rubber bands, rockets or magnetic devices.
  • No loose materials (weights, characters or trim) are permitted. Fasten all securely.
  • Do not alter the wheel shape or profile. You may eliminate burrs and molding marks.


  • A heavier car is typically a faster car. Weights can be added to your car, but they must be fastened securely. Remember that the total weight of the car cannot exceed 5.00 ounces in order to qualify for the race.
  • Check the links below for additional tips on designing your Pinewood Derby car!



Trophies are presented to winners in the following categories:

  • 1st-3rd Place in the overall Pack
  • 1st-3rd Place in each Den
  • 8 Award categories in overall Pack:
    • Best paint job
    • Best scout effort
    • Best scout spirit
    • Least aero-dynamic
    • Most creative
    • Most patriotic
    • Most realistic
    • Cubmasters choice

Additional Resources

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