The Pinewood Derby is a racing event for Cub Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America. Cub Scouts, with the help of parents, build their own cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine, plastic wheels and metal axles. With the popularity of the pinewood derby, other organizations have developed similar events and a small industry has developed to provide tracks, timers, scales and other products. The pinewood derby was selected as part of "America's 100 Best" in 2006 as "a celebrated rite of spring" by Reader's Digest.
Cubmaster Don Murphy organized the first pinewood derby, held on May 15, 1953 in Manhattan Beach, California by Pack 280c. Murphy's son was too young to participate in the popular Soap Box Derby races, so he came up with the idea of racing miniature wood cars. The cars had the same gravity-powered concept as the full-size Soap Box Derby cars, but were much smaller and easier to build. After Don Murphy's first race in 1953 the Los Angeles County Department of Recreation copied the pinewood derby with Murphy's permission.
The Scout is given a block of wood made of pine with two notches for wheels, four plastic wheels and four nails. The finished car must use all nine pieces, must not exceed a certain weight (usually five ounces), must not exceed a certain length and must fit on the track used by that particular scout pack.
Pack 161 General Pinewood Derby Rules and Regulations
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.
Only newly built cars are allowed (previously raced cars are excluded). They need to be the official scout kit.
The wheels, axles and body from the official Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Kit must be used in the construction of the car. Wheels may not be modified beyond light sanding. The wheels may not be narrowed, grooved, crowned or significantly altered. They must be the wheels and axles (nails) provided in the kit.
No steering, propulsion or guidance system is allowed. Gravity is the only propelling force allowed. No wheel bearings, bushings, washers, auxiliary suspension, springs or starting systems. No loose materials should be used. Any weights used must be fixed to the car and may not flow in any way.
Only dry lubricant is permitted.
Overall dimensions (including decorations and weights) are not to exceed a length of 7”,height of 3 ½”, and the width of 2-3/4”. The wheel base must exceed 1-5/8” to fit over the guide strips in the track and the clearance should be at least 1/4”. Weight shall not exceed 5 oz.
Detailing of the car is permitted as long as they do not exceed the dimensions limitations listed above. All items should be tightly secured to the vehicle. Any item which falls off after the car is submitted will remain off the vehicle, and any damage that occurs may not be repaired. No modifications will be allowed after the car is submitted to race officials and may only be handled by race officials until conclusion of the race for that car.The race officials will only place the car on the track and will not engage any switches,mechanisms or electronic devices.
During construction, ensure the vehicle design is sturdy enough to race multiple times (up to10 heats).
Please be sure that the front of the car is readily apparent. If numbering is used, then utilize your assigned car number.
There will be an open class in which all adults, scouts and siblings are allowed to participate.Only width, length, height, and weight rules apply.
Designated proxy racers are permitted if a scout is unable to attend on race day.
Let’s all have fun and enjoy the experience. Everyone wins just by participating!