Pinewood Derby

The Pinewood Derby is one thing that every Scout will remember for the rest of their lives. Ever since Don Murphy, a Cubmaster from Pack 280 in California, organized the first derby in 1953. The term Pinewood Derby is synonymous with Cub Scouting. Pack 47 is proud to carry on this "Cub Scout Phenomenon" since 1957.

So How Does Pack 47 Run It's Pinewood Derby?

The car kits are handed out at the November Pack meeting. Parents and siblings can purchase a car kit to run in the Unlimited Division. From that point the Scouts have approximately 8 weeks to complete their car. The Derby consists of two days, Check In and Derby Day. Check In is a Friday night and the Derby day is on Saturday morning in the end of January.

This is a Scout+Parent project. The Scout is to design, help cut, sand, paint and assemble the car kit.  It is designed to establish teamwork and bonding time with the Scout and his or her parent. THIS IS NOT DAD'S PROJECT. Don't worry Dad, you can still build your own car and race in the Unlimited Division. What if I don't have some one to help? you ask. No problem! There is bound to be someone in the Den to help. How about a neighbor, grandparent, or uncle? Don't feel's supposed to be FUN! 

Check-In Day

Each Scout will bring in his or her completed car on the Friday night Check-In. The car will be measured, weighed, registered and then impounded. During the inspection process, if discrepancies are noted, the Scout is given the opportunity to correct them. Once the car is accepted it is given a number and impounded. No one can touch the car until Derby Day. The Scout does not have to present at Check in, a parent or Leader can check the car in.  If the car is not checked in at the Friday night Check-In, he or she will not be able to compete for a trophy. The car will be allowed to run down the track, but the time will not be eligible for a prize. 

Derby Day!

Pack 47's Derby Day is one of excitement and good spirited competition. We are fortunate to have an aluminum four lane track. At the end of the track, photo sensors record an accurate time to the thousandths of a second. Each car is raced on each lane and the fastest time is the one that is counted. So if a car jumps a track it is not out of the race.

After the Scout’s car has raced, they are given their car back to race as much as they want on the "Classic."

The fastest time in each Den will receive an award. The three fastest overall times are the Grand Prize Derby winners. 

Before the race every Scout can vote for the "Best in Show." Trophies are awarded for the "Top Three" and "Best in Show.” Everyone will receive ribbons and certificates for "Doing their Best." Must be present to win.

Unlimited Division

After the Scouts are finished racing, the fun doesn't end. The parents and siblings have a chance to run their own cars in the Unlimited Division. Anything goes in this race. There are no size or weight restrictions. It's all out competition for all the bragging rights! 

Super Loop

If time permits, we will be inserting the Double Loop in to the track.  Not all cars will make it through the loop. Any car with a long front or rear overhang may rub on the center guides.  Cars can be modified by narrowing the front and rear of the car to stay between the center guides, or by slanting the front and rear of the car to clear the guides.  A second set of wheel mounting holes in the body of your car allows the wheels to be moved towards the front and rear of the car, which will allow the car to make the loop.

The Super Loop is not recommended for trophy cars or any car that a person wants to keep in perfect condition. This loop is intended for cars that will not be used in additional races, as cars may incur damage if they don't make the loop.

Building the Car

There are specific rules in regards to the construction of the car:

Car Specifications 

  • Maximum Weight: 5 ounces

  • Maximum Length: 7 inches

  • Maximum Width: 2 ¼ inches

  • Maximum Height: 4 inches

  • Minimum Width Between Wheels: 1 ¾ inches

  • Minimum Bottom Clearance: 3/8 inch

  • Wheels: Official Cub Scout Grand Prix

  • Axles: 4 each Nails from the Official Cub Scout Grand Prix Kit

  • Lubrication: Dry Graphite


  1. Only currently registered scouts of Pack 47 (dues paid) are eligible to enter a car.

  2. The car must be made in the current scouting year.

  3. Wheels: Only Official Cub Scout Grand Prix wheels that are included in the kit are to be used. Modifications to the wheels are NOT allowed (i.e. filing, machining or any change in dimension). The wheel contact surface may be lightly sanded to remove nubs or burrs made during manufacturing. The words “Official B.S.A. Made in U.S.A.” shall be clearly visible.

  4. Axles: Only four (4) Official Cub Scout Grand Prix nails included in the kit are to be used. NO substitutions or solid axles. Axles (nails) must be secured to the car in the wood block axle slots. Axles may be smoothed and/or polished. Axles may be lubricated with Dry Graphite lubricant ONLY. Use of oil or grease is not allowed.

  5. Weight: Weight may be added to the car and will be considered part of the car for purposes of all measurements. “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 i.e. permanent glue, nails or screws. No sticky substances like tape or tack spray will be allowed. Weight shall be passive, non-movable, non-magnetic, non-electric, non-sticky etc. No loose material of any kind, such as lead shot, is allowed in the car.

  6. Wood Block: The axle slots will not be changed. They may be dressed for alignment purposes only. Pre-cut car blocks from a kit (Revell, Pinecar etc.) are NOT allowed. The axle slots on kit car blocks will be used. Participants must use the wooden blocks provided with the official Pinewood Derby kit.

  7. The car will not ride on springs, or have wheel bearings, bushings or washers.

  8. The car must be freewheeling, with NO starting devices.

  9. All Cars submitted will be “Race Ready.” Any details added to the car for decoration/design purposes must not interfere with the operation of the car on the track.

  10. Any details added to the car must be within the size specifications. All details (fenders, drivers, spoilers etc.) must be securely fastened to the car.

  11. Check In: All cars must be checked in the day before the race. Late entries will not be allowed. Each car must pass inspection by the official inspection committee before it may compete. If, at check in, a car does not pass inspection the owner will be informed of the reason for failure and will be given time within the official weigh-in time to make the adjustment.

  12. After final approval, the cars will be impounded “as is” and will not be re-inspected unless the car is damaged in handling or in a race.

  13. The Pack 47 scale is the official scale used for weighing the car.

  14. Race Officials rulings are final.

Rules developed from

  • Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit Instructions (BSA Kit 17006)

  • Cub Scout Leader How-To-Book (BSA No. 33832)

  • Cub Scout Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Guidebook (BSA No. 33721) Building Tips