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Pinewood Derby - 2017

posted Jan 10, 2017, 3:05 PM by Matt Wagner   [ updated Feb 1, 2017, 6:10 PM ]
Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines. The Pack 30 Pinewood Derby is about to begin. Each year we host a Derby Day where our Scouts compete for the fastest or most stylish cars in the Pack. This year we will be handing out cars at the December pack meeting and race them in February, giving you two months to carve, sand and paint your car so that it’s ready for race day.

We handed out the specification sheet (see below - attached to this article) and below are the rules and regulations (also attached as a word document), which we will use during the inspection day to ensure your car is “street legal”. This assures uniform weight and that the car will run down the track without issue. Your scout has been assigned a number already. Please make sure that appears on your car. Also, please read ALL of the rules below, and read through the specification sheet. It speeds up the registration process if everyone comes prepared.

As our Pack keeps growing, we need to provide ample time to race the vehicles. This year we will be running the Race on Saturday, February 11th, 2017 at the Randall School Gym. To allow us time to register and run the 50+ cars we will have in the race the following times will be important:

8:00-9:00 - Setup of track
9:00-9:30 - Webelos and Bear scouts register their cars.
9:30-10:00 - Wolf, Tiger and Lion scouts register their cars.
~10:00 - Races begin
~12:00 - Race ends, awards are handed out.

This is one of our bigger events of the year, and we can use a lot of parental help to make this event run smoothly. Please sign up for one of our volunteer slots. Most of the positions don't run that long (30 min - 1 hr max). Please follow this link and help us out on race day:

As a father (and engineer) I know how exciting it can be to build a car, but I implore you to please let your Scout do most of the work on this project. It is much more meaningful for them, and you will be surprised at the skill and creativity they bring to this project. Even if it’s just a block of wood with wheels going down the track, it’s theirs and they will be proud of it. If, however, you really want to build your own car, or your Scout’s other siblings want a chance to compete, kits are available for purchase. They are $3.99 and the pack usually has a few extras. Otherwise they are available at the Scout Shop on Bluemound Rd. or at Sherper’s (call to ensure they’re in stock). Any additional cars can be registered the day of the race and will be given a number at that time.

If you have never done this before or are looking for more ideas, I recommend the following resources to help you build your car:

  • The scout shop will have an open test day on January 14th between 9:30am and 12:30pm, at the scout office. They will have a track set up for testing your car as well as a scale to test weights. The scout office also has some great accessories (decals, tools, weights). So, check it out if you have a chance. Menards and Hobby Lobby also has a great selection of accessories, lubricants and weights at good prices. 
  • If you’re looking for more ideas, please check out one of the Lowe’s events as well. There is a fun template program on their Web site that will let you print out one of several choices of car style. Some do not conform to our rules, so be careful. Lowes also holds an in-store event on January 14th this year where you can learn more about creating cars (and using Dremel tools). Check with your local Lowes store, and make sure they are running this event.
  • There are some great sites on the Internet on the science behind the Pinewood derby. Check out these links if you have not seen them yet to provide you with that extra 'edge' when creating your car. (Again, please note you need to follow our rules about wheels and weights, not the suggested methods to make your car faster).
  • Remember, you don't need a woodworking shop to make your car (although it does speed the process). Hand tools work just as well. Just remember to design your car first, apply the markings to the block of wood and cut as much away as possible before sanding. If you still have questions or need help, please contact your Den leaders or other committee members.
  • Lastly, this is a fun project for your Scout to work on. Provide help where necessary, but remember, it's more rewarding if they do most of the work themselves.

The following are the rules and regulations for our race. These were not put here to take the fun out of the event, but instead, to make the race fair for everyone.

Rules & Regulations:

  1. The car must be built for the current Pinewood Derby Racing Season. NO REPEATS or REPAINTS.
  2. A completed car purchased or tuned from a third party is not allowed.
  3. Maximum Overall Width is 3”.
  4. Minimum Width between wheels is 1 7/8”
  5. Maximum Height is not to exceed 3”
  6. Minimum Track clearance (bottom clearance between the car and the track) is 3/8” (please keep this in mind when placing weights on the bottom of the car).
  7. Wheelbase: the distance between the axels must NOT be changed. You must use the existing Axel groves.
  8. Front of the car: No part of the car can extend beyond the starting post and the front of the car must be no higher than ½” where it contacts the starting post. It must also be at least ½” wide at the center of the car.
  9. Official materials must be used: Wheels, axels, wood.
  10. All parts must be securely attached.
  11. Wheel contact – ALL four wheels MUST be in contact with a flat surface when the car is placed on it. The wheels must be attached to the sides of the car body. Each wheel must be attached to the Car’s wood chassis with a legal axle.
  12. Wheel shape – THE SHAPE AND FORM OF THE WHEELS CANNOT BE MODIFIED OR RESHAPED, however wheels may be sanded to remove molding burrs. Wheels may not be tapered or rounded.
  13. Maximum Weight – Not over 5 ounces (141.75 grams).
  14. Lead (Pb) weight, if used, must be completely sealed and safe from all possible contact with youth.
  15. Dry lubricants only for axel lubrication.
  16. No starting devices or propellants.
  17. Most of all, have fun!

The Categories this year are:

  •          Best Designed Car
  •          Best Painted Car
  •          Funniest Looking Car
  •          Fastest Looking Car
  •          Most Realistic Car
As a bonus this year, the top three finishers in the pack will be invited to a Council pinewood derby where they will race against the fastest in other packs. This race will occur in April.

If you have questions on any of this, please ask. We just want to have a good time and be fair to all.

Matt Wagner,
Jan 10, 2017, 3:05 PM
Matt Wagner,
Feb 1, 2017, 6:03 PM