Pinewood Derby

March 24, 2018  |  1:00 - 5:00 pm

A.V. Bull Sallas Park
21681 McCleskey Rd,
New Caney, TX 77357

Hosted by Pack 1775

The pinewood derby is one of the most popular and successful family activities in Cub Scouting. Pinewood derby cars are small wooden models that Cub Scouts make with help from their families. Then they race the cars in competition. The cars are powered by gravity and run down a track. Every Scout can design and build their own grand prix car to enter in the race. Win or lose, Scouts will take pride in having done their best. Scouts learn craft skills, the rules of fair play, and good sportsmanship—things they will remember for life.

The district pinewood derby is being hosted by Pack 1775 (Huffman).  Three cars will be invited per pack, which will include your top three speed finishers.  We are asking that a representative from each pack (e.g., derby chair, Cubmaster, committee chair), sequester these cars following your individual races without further modifications or adjustments. 


Scouts who placed first, second or third in their pack's pinewood derby can participate in the district pinewood derby. The registration fee is $11.50 for the first car and $10 for each additional car. The Cub Scout is not required to be at the event if a conflict in schedules happens; however, Scouts should try to be at the event.
All cars should be pre-registered shortly following your pack races and before car check-in.  This allow us to get all cars in the system and expedite the check-in process. 


Cars can be checked-in between 6:30-9:00 pmFriday at the race location. Lubrication of the wheels/axles of the cars can be done at check-in. If you would like to check your cars in prior Friday, contact the chair. Leave your name and phone number so a time and location for drop off in a safe storage can be scheduled.

What to Bring

  • Field uniform (Scout uniform) or activity uniform 
  • Pinewood Derby car
  • BSA Health and Medical form for every participant
  • Optional: chair, water, snacks, tool box


Beverages and snacks will be offered at the race. Bring the family and come have some fun!


Trophies will be given to the top car of each rank and the top three racers overall based upon fastest average speed.  


To print the rules, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Printable View.


All registered Cub Scouts may design, build and enter cars that are eligible to participate in the event. The cars entered should be substantially the Scout’s work with minimal assistance from the parents. Obviously parents will need to make the major cuts that may require the use of power tools or sharp tools; however, the goal is a Scout built car that parents coach and advise along the way. Please allow your Scout the success of building their racer. The memory you’re building is your time together, not the perfect car. Siblings and friends up to 16 years of age may design, build and enter cars that are eligible to participate in the open class race event. Participants 16 years and older, must enter and race in the outlaw class race. The outlaw race has very liberal design standards.

2. Essential Materials

For all races, all cars entered shall be constructed from the official BSA Pinewood Derby Kit (referred to below as “the kit”). Only the wheels that are supplied with your BSA kit are allowed. Kits may be purchased from the Boy Scout Shop or from the pack committee. Prefab kits from Hobby Lobby, Michael's or other craft stores are not allowed. Derby registration officials have knowledge of these kits and will reject them at registration.

3. Competitor Categories

Scouts who placed first, second or third in their pack's pinewood derby can participate in the district pinewood derby.

4. Attendance

Scouts must enter and register their own car. This means that the Cub Scout must be present at inspection and registration to enter his car into competition. For open and outlaw classes, car entries may be made via proxy.

5. "New Work"

For all race classes, only cars built since last year’s derby will be allowed. Cars that have competed in previous pinewood derby races will be disqualified.

6. Single Entry per Person per Class

Only one car may be registered per race class (Scout, open, outlaw divisions) by any person in the pinewood derby. Cars may only be registered in a single class (no multiple race entries per car).

7. Late Registration and Inspection

Late registrations are at the discretion of the pinewood derby race committee. Under any circumstance, cars that register after the registration deadline will not be placed, nor be eligible for awards. 

8. Failure to Pass Inspection:

The inspection committee shall disqualify cars which do not meet the rules as described herein. If a car does not pass inspection, the owner will be informed of the reason his car did not pass. Cars which fail the initial inspection may be taken to a work area for modifications and brought back no later than the close of registration.

10. Impound

No car may be altered in any way after it has been registered. After a car passes registration, it will be stored by the pinewood derby race committee until racing concludes. Cars will be returned to contestants after the race results have been determined.

11. Car Design Rules Interpretation

Interpretation of the rules described in 1 through 12, and design are at the sole discretion of the inspection committee judges present during the registration and Inspection process.

12. Race-Day Rules Interpretation

On race day, the Cub Scout must make all questions of rules interpretations and procedures to the pinewood derby chairman or race officials promptly. Decisions of race officials on questions of rules interpretations and procedure may be appealed to the pinewood derby chairman. All decisions of the pinewood derby chair are final. Decisions of race officials on questions of fact (i.e. the result of a specific race) may not be appealed beyond the racemaster and/or finish line judges. Note: Unsportsmanlike conduct by any participant or spectator may be grounds for expulsion from the competition and/or the race area.

II. Scout and Open Class Race Car Design Standards 

Design - 1. Material:

Race cars shall be constructed for this event from the parts contained in the Official BSA Pinewood Derby Kit (referred to below as “the kit”) as sold by the Boy Scout Shop. Materials from the kit may be supplemented but not replaced, such as canopy, molding, driver, tails, fins, lubricants, etc..

Design - 2. Weight:

Race cars may weigh no more than five (ounces (total weight) as determined on the official scales during the pre-race check-in. Note: The official scale will be available at check-in. Official scales at post office or the likes may be used to estimate the weight of the car, but the final weigh-in at registration determines the car’s official weight.

Design - 3. Wheels and Axles:

The car shall roll on the wheels from the kit. The wheels shall turn about the axle nails from the kit. The axle nails shall be firmly affixed to the wood of the car body, and MUST be placed in the original 'axle grooves' in the supplied wooden block. It must be obvious to the judges that the grooves, wheels, and the nails from the kit are being used. Only the wheel axle location precut grooves in the kit are allowed. Modified wheel bases are not permitted. Only the wheels supplied with your kit are allowed. Modified wheels purchased on the Internet will not be allowed and will disqualify your car from racing.

Design - 4. Size

Race cars may be no longer than seven inches, nor wider than 2-3/4 (2.75) inches, nor taller than three inches as determined by the official gages during the Registration and Inspection. Underside clearance of at least 3/8 (0.375) inches and inside wheel to wheel clearance of at least 1-3/4 (1.75) inches is recommended, so that the car will run on the race track. Adequate clearance is the responsibility of the race car builder.

Design - 5. Weights and Attachment

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, e.g. by permanent glue, nails or screws, but not by "sticky substances", e.g. tape, or tack spray. Weights shall be passive, i.e. non-moveable, nonmagnetic, non-electric, non-sticky, etc. No loose coins may be affixed on the bottom of the car. These coins can easily be fall off and interfere with other racers.

Design- 6. Wheel Treatment

Wheel treatment (tread smoothing and polishing) may not result in substantial removal of mass nor in reducing the wheel width from the original kit wheels. Wheels can be “Trued” and “Polished” with sandpaper. No “Narrowing” nor “Wedging” of the wheels will be allowed. Some of the original "tread marks" on the wheel face must remain intact, i.e. apparent to the inspector.

Design - 7. Unacceptable Construction

The following may NOT be used in conjunction with the wheels or axles: hubcaps, washers, inserts, sleeves, bearings.

Design - 8. Gravity Powered

The race car may not be constructed or treated in such a way that the track's starting mechanism imparts momentum to the car. (For instance, this provision disqualifies cars with sticky substances on the front of the car and protrusions which may trip the finish line trigger first.)

Design - 9. Lubricants

Only dry lubricants such as graphite or powdered teflon white lube or the wet lubricant commercially known as NyOil II will be allowed for lubricating the wheels. Lubricants may not foul the track. There will be a lubrication table set up at the Registration. In the interest of fairness, only lubrication at Registration is allowed.

II. Outlaw Class Race Car Design Standards 

Outlaw Design - 1. Material

Race cars shall be primarily constructed for this event from the parts contained in the Official BSA Pinewood Derby Kit (referred to below as “the kit”) as sold by the Boy Scout Shop.

Outlaw Design - 2. Maintain Clearances

The cars must be able to clear all obstacles on the track including start/finish gates. Cars must be designed to maintain their own lane without interfering with other lanes or cars.

Outlaw Design - 3. Safe Operation

Outlaw cars must be designed with the safety of race participants in mind. Any car deemed to be unsafe or that could potentially damage the race equipment will be disqualified.


** In order to provide the fairest environment for the pinewood derby race our Pack has purchased an aluminum track, computer timers, and race organization software with immediate scoreboard style displays and charts. We have a highly rated software package. Competition will consist of racing each car through both lanes and the winner(s) will be based on fastest average time of both lanes, utilizing a computer scoring system. Track officials are responsible for the proper conduct of the races.

CONDUCT - 1. Inspection at Registration

The Registration Day will have the official scale and length measures. That check-in equipment will be the official equipment for the race. (They should be prepared to make adjustments to their cars if necessary.) Numbers will be assigned for each car by computer and a label will be attached to each car in a standard location for all cars.

CONDUCT - 2. Lubrication

There will be a lubrication table set up at the registration. In the interest of fairness, lubrication is only allowed at or before registration. NO LUBRICATIONS will be allowed on race day.

CONDUCT - 3. Car Handling Responsibility

Racers shall be responsible to present their own cars at the "Pit Stop" area for lubrication prior to registration at the registration table. Once a car is registered for racing, it is turned over to the race committee and may not be touched by the Scout or his representative before, during, or after the competition. Cars will be placed on the track by the racemaster and his “pit crew” from the ready table organized by the race committee. Cars will be returned to the Scouts at the conclusion of the race or a meeting thereafter.

CONDUCT - 4. Lane Assignment

Cars will be assigned lanes by the computer software with a priority on rotating lanes for a specific car as much as possible in a random race assignment system. The software is designed for racing among many different combinations of racers and track lanes in the fairest way possible.

CONDUCT - 5. Car Leaves Lane

If, during a race heat, a car leaves its lane but proceeds down the track in a manner that does not interfere with its opponent, then the race will be called normally. If the car leaves its lane and interferes with another car, the race will be re-staged and re-run. If the same car again leaves its lane and interferes with another car, that car will be judged last place, and the race will be re-staged and re-run without that car with maximum time charged to the offending car.

CONDUCT - 6. Car Leaves Track

If, during a race heat, a car leaves the track without interfering with its opponent, it shall be considered to have ended its heat at that point with the maximum time charged.

CONDUCT - 7. Car Repair (Without Fault)

If, during the race, a wheel falls off or the car becomes otherwise damaged, then the Scout may, to the best of his ability perform repairs with the assistance of his adult partner or Pit Crew member.

CONDUCT - 8 Car Repair (With Fault)

If a car is damaged due to track fault, or damage caused by another car or person, then the Racemaster, at his sole discretion, may allow additional repair assistance to the racer.

CONDUCT - 9. No Finishers

If, during a race heat, no car reaches the finish line on the track, each car will receive a maximum time charged as a result and continues on with the remaining heats.

CONDUCT - 10. Call to Race

Competitors will be called by name prior to each heat and which lane his car is in.

CONDUCT – 11. Track Fault

If a car leaves its lane, at his sole discretion, the Racemaster may inspect the track and, if a track fault is found which probably caused the initial violation, the Racemaster may order the race heat to be rerun after the track is repaired.

CONDUCT - 12. The Race Area

Only race officials may enter the track area. This rule will be strictly enforced.

CONDUCT - 13. Awards and Recognition

The most important values in Pinewood Derby competition are parent/child participation, good sportsmanship and learning how to follow rules. The Awards Committee is responsible for recognizing and encouraging these qualities in addition to traditional racing awards. Racers will be recognized as follows:

  1. Every participating Scout will be judged and received a Pinewood Derby ribbon for a particular
  2. category.
  3. Special ribbons, medals, or plaques will be awarded to top three fastest finishers in each Rank.
  4. Trophies will be awarded for top three overall finishers.
  5. Open and Outlaw awards will be determined each year by the race committee.

IV. The Racing Environment

Racing - 1. Track Length and Drop

The track shall have a racing surface (starting line to finish line distance) of approximately 40 feet with a drop of approximately 4-5 feet.

Racing - 2. Track Slope

The track slope shall decrease from approximately 30 degrees at the starting line to approximately 0 degrees at the finish line.

Racing - 3. Lanes

Each lane will consist of a straight, smooth aluminum strip approximately 1-1/2 (1.50) inches, but certainly less than 1-3/4 (1.75) inches wide and approximately 1/4 (0.25) inches, but certainly less than 3/8 (0.375) inches thick, centered on a smooth surface no less than 4 inches wide. Each racecar shall straddle such a strip during its heats.

Racing - 4. Starting Mechanism

The "starting line" shall consist of vertical pins of approximately 3/8 inch diameter, extending approximately 2 inches above the track surface and approximately centered in each lane.

Racing - 5. Finish Line Sensor Location

The track has "finish line photo sensors" that shall be in alignment with the corresponding starting line pin and be approximately centered in its lane.

Racing - 6. Finish Line Judging

Heat finish judging is determined by the finish line photo sensor. If the track's photo sensor finish line sensor's result is challenged by the Race Chairman, the race will be re-staged and re-run.

Racing - 7. Race Committee Exclusions

If a race committee worker is working inside the controlled race area in any capacity when their child’s car is in the division, they will try to excuse themselves from the controlled race area until thier child’s heat has finished.

Racing - 8. The "Scoreboard"

The competition shall be head-to-head bi-lane competition. The result of each heat will be displayed on the finishing line called the "Scoreboard." Attempts will be made to display Scoreboard on a large screen.

Racing - 9. Finish Line Electronics Sensitivity

Track finish line electronics, if used, must trigger correctly if a lead pencil is passed 3/4 (0.75) inches above the track surface at a speed of 15 feet per second. The timer will be accurate to .001 of a second.

Racing - 10. Finish Line Clearance

Track finish line electronics and other track accessories, if used, must be no closer than 3 inches above the track.

V. Siblings/parent's race car design standards.

Open Class Race

Everyone is encouraged to build their own cars. The open class race will be held the same day of the Scout’s Pinewood Derby. Siblings and friends (under 16) of a Cub Scout or any invited Boy Scout may enter this race. Rules for open class are the same as the Cub Scout racing rules.

Outlaw Class Race

The purpose of the outlaw class race is to take derby racing to the extreme! Testing new techniques, pushing the limit on racing designs. Outlaw class is open to any individual. Racers 16 years of age or older must compete in the outlaw race.

There are only five rules in the outlaw class race:

  1. Official BSA car kit must be used to build the car. Wood, axles and wheels all must be official BSA. Additional, decorative or functional parts may be used also.
  2. Car must meet all track clearances.
  3. Car must not interfere with other racers or lanes.
  4. Car must be safe.
  5. Car must not damage track or race equipment.

Other than the five rules above for outlaw class , anything goes!

Open and Outlaw - 1. Number of Entries:

You may race only one entry per class.

Open and Outlaw - 2. The Car:

You may NOT use your son's car for this race.

Open and Outlaw - 3. Weigh-In:

Cars will be inspected, weighed, and registered during regular car registration.

Open and Outlaw - 4. What Do The Winners Get?

Winners will be recognized with honor, glory, and maybe a trophy!

Open and Outlaw - 7. Race Format

Race day officials will determine on race day whether a single elimination or average time race format will apply to the open and outlaw classes.

VI. Special Notes 

This project is a parent and son event and is recommended as such by the Boy Scouts of America. The pinewood derby committee strongly suggests that each parent emphasizes this idea with your son. In all of the events, we require that the cars be built this year by you and your son (not the physics labs of the university or other such facilities not generally available to the public).


Two things the pinewood derby requires each participant to learn are 1) the craft skills necessary to build a car, and 2) the rules that must be followed. Even more important, though, is how we act and behave while participating in the pinewood derby or any other group activity. This is called sportsmanship.

The first thing to remember about sportsmanship is that everyone's skills are a little different. You may be good at something like singing or drawing, but not as good at something else like basketball or computers. Parents have different skill levels, too. This doesn't mean that you are a good person one time and not good another time. You can always be a good person, whether or not you have good car racing - building skills. Remember, you and your friends are individuals first and racers second. This idea is often called having respect for others. The second thing to remember is to follow the rules. Without rules, there would be no pinewood derby. You will never know if you are really good at doing something unless you follow the rules. This is often called being honest. The third thing to remember about good sportsmanship is that there are winners and losers in every competition. You accept this when you choose to compete. There may be times when you win and feel happy, and times when you lose and feel unhappy. Being a winner is easy, and losing is sometimes hard. If you win, you must not brag or gloat. If you lose, you must not feel jealous or bitter. To be a good sportsman, you must be able to say "I did my best" and be satisfied with the results. You must also be able to appreciate and feel happy for someone else when they run a good race or build a neat car.

  • This is a parent and son activity.
  • Official scale available at the pinewood derby coordinator’s house. 

Good Luck … and may the best pinewood derby car win!

VII. Non-legal store bought prepared car kits

As noted in the rules, store purchased, prepared, already cut car kits are not legal. This applies to any retail storefront or internet purchased pre-cut car kit. This rule applies to all pre-cut, pre-prepared car kits. The Scout's entry must be made from the official BSA Pinewood Derby Car Kit. You are not allowed to use the bodies and then attach the official Boy Scout wheels. The entire car must be made from the official BSA Pinewood Derby Car Kit. NOTE: You may, however, purchase weights, decals and other materials to assist with making, painting or decorating your car for the race. Common stores that carry the non-legal cars are Hobby Lobby or other hobby stores.


Notice!  Please be advised that promotional videotaping/photography may be in progress at any time at an event. Your entrance constitutes your agreement that the district has the right to reproduce your likeness in videography/photography for promotion (e.g., publications, internet, newspaper).

Scouting Safely

Safety is Your Responsibility posterThe BSA's Commitment to Safety is ongoing and we want you to know that the safety of our youth, volunteers, staff, and employees cannot be compromised. BSA Guide to Safe Scouting policies must be followed and all participants must follow youth protection guidelines at all Scouting events. Highlights include:

  • Two-deep leadership on all outings required.  
  • No one-on-one contact between adults and youth members. 
  • The buddy system should be used at all times. 
  • Discipline must be constructive.

Youth Protection Guidelines     Guide to Safe Scouting     Enterprise Risk Management


For questions, contact Jeff Hammonds at or district activities chair.