Pinewood Derby



It's Pinewood Derby Time!  

Pack 438's Pinewood Derby Race Officials will be waving the checkered flags on Saturday, January 19th 2013 from 11am-2pm.  Now's the time to get started on this great project with your Scout.  Pinewood is by far one of the most popular events in the Cub Scout program, Reader's Digest magazine even included the Pinewood Derby® in its 2006 Best of America list as "a celebrated rite of spring."

"For 1.5 million Cub Scouts each year, the Pinewood Derby is a celebrated rite of spring, and has been for over five decades. With some elbow grease, imagination and parental assist (from moms or dads), a boy can turn a seven-inch block of wood into a mighty race car. On race day, as cars compete in heats, judges select the fastest model and most creative design. "It's not about winning, but about spending time together," says Susan Agin of Manahawkin, New Jersey. Her seven-year-old, Thomas, had his car voted a peer favorite this year."

Getting Started

Pack 438's event is January, which leaves you and your Scout with a few short weekends (or weeknights) to plan and build your car.  We've provided a number of links below which point to a number of great references regarding the history of the event and design ideas.

History of the Pinewood Derby - Learn about the humble beginnings of the Pinewood Derby

Official Pinewood Derby Website - Official BSA site with examples and videos

Official Pinewood Derby Kit - Link to the Scout Shop

Design Ideas - One of many sites dedicated to the art and design of Pinewood Derby cars

Hobby Lobby Pine Cars - "Pine Car" kits sold at Michaels and Hobby Lobby.  Alternative to the BSA kits. 

Highlights + Tips & Tricks:

  • READ THE RULES! There's really not that many rules and restrictions, but it's important that you follow the guidelines provided in the rules so that the cars make it all the way down the track. Any major variances (modifications to the wheelbase, height, width) can affect the car's ability to roll down the track and quickly eliminate your Scout's chances of making it to the Championships.
  • RANK & OPEN CLASSES - Scouts will race by Rank (Tigers, Wolves, Bears, Webelos) We will also have an "Open Class" for all adults and siblings (no awards, bragging rights only). This will give you the opportunity to build your own cars and have the family be involved. Remember, this is about the boys being involved and having fun, so make sure your Scout does as much of the work as possible, from design to sanding to painting!

  • COMPETITIONS! - Pinewood Derby is not just about the racing, but the creative and talented work of your Scout.  In addition to the racing action, we will also be judging and handing out awards in a number of different categories, including:
    • Houston "Art Car" Award - Artistic and Creative
    • Spark Plug Award - Most unique, interesting design
    • "Do Your Best" Award - Best "Scout" themed car
  • REGISTRATION - Cars must be registered online and turned in at the January 16th, 2013 Pack Meeting along with the Entry Fee ($3 per car Open Class Siblings and Adults.  Scout entries are FREE).  The fees go towards the purchase of patches, medals and trophies to be awarded at the Derby.  Because of the number of Scouts and Families involved, no late registrations will be accepted!  All cars will be inspected and impounded at the January Pack Meeting, no cars will be allowed to registered the day of the event.  Reminders will be sent out with the registration link (to be sent in December).
  • BSA KITS VS. "PINE CAR/PRE-CUT KITS" - We strongly encourage everyone to start with the Official BSA Pinewood Derby Kit available at the Scout Shop.  This will ensure that everyone is using the correct stock (pine) and accessories.  Official specifications and dimensions are available in the box (as well as online).  As an alternative (if you are unable to make it to the Scout shop or order online), we are allowing the use of "PineCar" BASIC KIT (Part Number P370) and Revell BSA Licensed kits available at Michaels, US Toys and Hobby Lobby.   You may add accessories, weights and other decorative items to a BSA and PineCar kit as long as they do not exceed the specifications provided in the official rules.  If you are not sure about an item, please ask!
Gene Manuel,
Jan 5, 2013, 10:54 AM