Pinewood Derby Race Rules

Updated 3/2015

Quick Rules:

1) Car must weigh 5 ounces or less
2) Use official BSA Wood, Wheels, and Axle
3) All wheels must touch the ground when on flat surface
4) Tapering Wheels or modifying wheels to reduce surface area is prohibited (Removing imperfections is allowed)
5) Modifying axle is prohibited (polishing and de-burring is permitted)

Detailed Rules:

The car weight shall not exceed 5.0 ounces (141.75 grams). The official race scale shall be considered final. Keep the weight very close to 5 ounces and be prepared either to remove small amounts of weight or add small amounts of weight at the last minute. At weigh-in the night before the race, it is recommended to have dimes, pennies, BBs, and / or small bits of weight on hand (as well as Super Glue) to make last minute weight adjustments before tendering the car to the volunteers. Cars will remain at Heritage Elementary over night.

The overall length of the car shall not exceed 7” and the height no more than 3”.

The overall width of the car shall not exceed 3”.

The car must have minimum 3/8” clearance underneath the body; Low cars will drag on the track

The distance between the axles must NOT be changed; Cars must use existing axle groove distance.

Take care not to increase the height too far above the height of the block of wood. The cars must be able to clear (i.e. pass under) the finish line. Few cars are made to be this high, but a few creative Scouts in the past have had problems because of height.

The wood provided in the official BSA Scout Shop kit must be used. The block may be shaped any way that is desired, so long as the above limits are observed.

The wheels supplied with the kit must be used. If replacement wheels are required (because the originals were damaged by accident, for example), then only replacement wheels from BSA Scout Shop may be used. The wheels may not be cut, drilled, beveled or rounded. Wheels not touching the track at all are not allowed, i.e. three active wheels, one “dead” wheel. You may remove the seam from the wheels, and may smooth / polish the axle hole, but must not make any other physical changes to the wheels.

The axles supplied with the kit must be used. They may be polished and / or lubricated with graphite or powdered Teflon (only), but must not be obviously inserted at an angle, causing the wheels to touch the track only at their very edges. Wheels touching the track must do so as close to flat as possible.

Wheel bearings, washers or bushings are prohibited.

The car must not ride on any type of springs.

The car must be freewheeling, with no starting devices, no motors, etc.

No loose material of any kind, such as lead shot, may be used, and the car body must not have any moving parts.

If there is a malfunction of the timer or a car leaves the track, the race director can order the heat to be run anew.

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

If, during a race, a car leaves its lane and, in so doing, interferes with another racer, then the heat shall be run again. If the offending car again leaves the track (and there is no fault in the track) the offending car will be disqualified from the race.

Construction of ALL entries MUST have begun AFTER last year’s races.

Only one car may be registered by any one person in the Pinewood Derby.

The winners of each age group will advance to the grand prize round.

Only dry lubricants such as graphite or powdered Teflon “white lube” will be allowed for lubricating the wheels. Lubricants may not foul the track.

Lubrication is allowed before being entered into quarantine – preferably outside to avoid mess inside our school. Each car may be lubricated prior to quarantine after weigh in. No additional lubrication is allowed during the heat races.

One additional lubrication is allowed prior to the grand prize heats. Once the lubrication is complete, the cars shall be quarantined again and may not be lubricated again for the remainder of the race day.

Details such as the steering wheel, driver, decals, painting, and interior detail are permissible as long as these details do not exceed the maximum length, width, height, and weight specifications.


Each car will be weighed upon tender to the inspecting volunteers the evening before the race. Last minute weight adjustments will be allowed so be prepared to make such quick adjustments at the school as noted above.

Each car will also be measured using a standard measuring device that measures length, width, and track clearance all at once. If any discrepancies exist between these and the PWD Inspection and Registration Form, the Pack shall defer to the Inspection Form.

Exceedingly tall cars will be measured against the finish line apparatus to ensure clearance before race day. Cars that do not clear the finish line must be altered before being tendered. It is best to avoid adding tall appendages!


1) The heats will be randomized but will be such that each car will race on each lane and each car will compete with all other cars in the age group at least once.

2) There are 3 placings in each heat, determined by fastest time.

3) Overall placings for each age group are determined by adding up each heat time for each car.

4) The winners of each age group will advance to the grand prize round.


Please allow your Scout to do as much work on the car as is deemed age appropriate and safe. This is a Scout competition, not a competition for the Scouts’ parents! An open competition will follow the Scout competition if parents are interested in competing with their peers, and not with children!