PWD Rules


Pack 1720


Table of Contents:

I. GENERAL: (Applies to all Race Events)

Rules about entering your car.


Rules about building your car.


Rules that will be used during the races


Things you need to know about the track, timers, and scoring


Why should the kids have ALL the fun?"


Some notes on Sportsmanship and Leave No Trace!



I. GENERAL RULES: (Applies to all Race Events)

G-1. Qualification: All registered Packs Tiger, Wolfs, Bears, and Webelos Scouts

may design, build and enter cars that are eligible to participate in the "Cub Scout Race"

event. Parents/Guardians and siblings of Cub Scouts registered in Packs may

design, build and enter cars that are eligible to participate in the "Sibling" event.

G-2. Essential Materials: All cars entered shall be constructed from the "Official Grand

Prix Pinewood Derby Kit" (referred to below as the kit).

G-3. Competitor Categories: All Tiger Cubs, Wolfs, Bears, and Webelos Scouts that are registered within Packs, and Parents/Guardians and siblings of registered Scouts

may enter this Pinewood Derby. Cub Scouts will compete with others in the same Cub

Scout Dens. The top four winners in each Den will move on to the finals.

G-4. Attendance: The Cub Scout is not required to enter his own car. This means that the Cub Scout parent or akela can submit the car for "Inspection and Registration" into competition. The Scout need not be present to win.

G-5. Single Entry per Person: Only one car may be registered by any person in the

Pinewood Derby.

G-7. Inspection and Registration: Each car must pass a technical inspection before it

may compete. Technical inspection and registration of cars occurs. Cars will be kept in impound at this time until race day.

G-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 the modification table and brought back for final inspection and registration.

G-9. 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

race day.

G-10. Car Design Rules Interpretation: Interpretation of the rules described in G1

through G-10, and T-1 thru T-9 are at the sole discretion of the Inspection Committee

Judges present during the Registration and Inspection process.

G11. 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 Chairman are final. Decisions of Race Officials on

questions of fact (i.e. the result of a specific race) may not be appealed beyond the Track Master and/or Finish Line Judges. Note: Unsportsmanlike conduct by any participant or spectator will be grounds for expulsion from the competition and/or the race area.



T-1. Material: Race cars shall be constructed for this event from the parts contained in

the Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit (referred to below as the kit) as sold by the

Boy Scouts of America Scout Service Center. Materials from the kit may be supplemented but not replaced.


T-2. Weight: Race cars may weigh no more than five (5) ounces (total weight) as

determined on the official scales during the pre-race check-in. Note: The official scale

will be available at the building clinic & both registrations.


T-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



T-4. Size: Race cars may be no longer than 7 inches, nor wider than 2-3/4 (2.75) 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.

T-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, non-magnetic, nonelectric, non-sticky, etc.

T-6. Wheel Treatment: Wheel treatment (hub and tread smoothing and polishing)

may not result in substantial removal of mass or in reducing the wheel width from the original kit wheels. Removal of BSA logo on inside and outside of wheel not allowed. Some of the original "tread marks" on the wheel face must remain intact, i.e. apparent to the inspector. Wheels may not be machined to a beveled condition and the portion of the wheel surface that contacts the track must remain parallel to the axle.

T-7. Unacceptable Construction: The following may NOT be used in conjunction with

the wheels or axles: hubcaps, washers, inserts, sleeves, bearings.

T-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 catch on the starting pin.)

T-9. Lubricants: Only dry lubricants such as graphite or powdered Teflon "white lube"

will be allowed for lubricating the wheels. Lubricants may not foul the track. There will

not be a lubrication table set up at the race. In the interest of fairness, only one

lubrication is allowed before the cars are inspected and confiscated. There will be zero wet lubrication allowed, ie: Armour All, Pledge, or any type of silicone or liquid lubricant. If liquid lubricant is found the car will be disqualified and unable to race.


Photo comparison of Old and New Wheel



From the outside, the only obvious differences are the slight font change on the raised lettering, the change from the trademark insignia (TM) to the registered trademark insignia (R), and the addition of a recessed ring in the outer hub. This recessed ring is likely counterproductive to performance, as it will change the contact point with a beveled axle head, resulting in more braking torque.2


The changes on the inside of the wheel are more apparent. In addition to the font change for the raised lettering, the inner hub is reduced in diameter and coned, and the tread is slightly thinner. These latter changes result in a wheel with less weight (better performance).

Tread Surface

Yes, the mold mark on the tread surface is gone. This is welcome news as less work is needed to prepare a wheel, and the wheels tend to run truer out of the box.3

All measurements (except weight) are in inches, and are typical numbers.


Competition will consist of heat races mixed within the pack. Track officials are responsible for the proper conduct of the races.

C-1. Inspection Gages: The race-day "Pit Stop" area will have the official scale and

length box. That check-in equipment will be the official equipment for the race. (The

same 5 oz. Master Weight used for scale calibration in pre-race check-in will also be

available on race day.)

C-2. Race Day Lubrication: There will be none allowed.

C-3. Car Handling Responsibility: The track officials shall be responsible to present

the cars at the "Pit Stop" area at the starting line for staging. Cars will be staged on the

tracks by the "Starter Team."

C-4. Lane Assignment: To equalize differences among track lanes, each heat will

consist of a number of races equal to the number of cars running in that heat. For den

heats, this will be the number of boys in each den.

a.) In each heat, each car will race in each track lane used for that heat. For example,

a Den heat with five cars would consist of five races with each car rotating through

lanes 1, 2, 3, 4. The heat for a den with eight boys would have eight races,

with two cars "sitting out" each race on a six lane track.

b.) From each heat, the first thru fourth place finisher, from each den, will advance

to race at the overall race, based on the average time from each race. The top three cars from each den will receive a trophy. The top three finalists will receive another trophy.

c.) Definitions: A race is each time a group of cars run down the track. A heat is all

of the races required to have each car run in a different lane one time. The Finals

consist of all of the cars that placed first thru third in their heats. They will then race

enough times so as to ensure that each car has run, one time, in each track.

C-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 it's 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.

C-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.

C-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 Crewmember.

Anything beyond one repair, one time, during the entire race, will be at the discretion of

the Track master. Any car that has either a wheel or a weight “fall off” during a race will be judged to have placed last and will be awarded a score of 0 for that race.

Any car that is allowed to be repaired MUST be ready to race within two (2) minutes of

the end of the race the incident occurred in.

C-8 Car Repair (With Fault): If a car is damaged due to track fault, or damage caused

by another car or person, then the Track master, at his sole discretion, may allow

additional repair assistance to the Cub.

C-9. No Finishers: If, during a race heat, no car reaches the finish line on the track, the

car which went the farthest in its lane shall be declared as the heat winner.

C-10. Call to Race: Competitions will be called by each heat.

When a race is called, a Track Official will retrieve the car from "the stage" and

present the car, to the "Pit" area for staging into the proper race. If no competitor is

present, the track chairman may, at his sole discretion, defer the race heat in a manner

that does not interfere with progress of the racing.

C-11. Track Champions: The First thru fourth place finishers, from each Den, shall be

accompanied, with their cars, from the track to the stage by their parent or other

designee. The car will be impounded on the stage until the start of the Final Heats.

Inspections and repairs will not be permitted prior to the start of the Final Heats.

C-12. Track Fault: If a car leaves its lane, at his sole discretion, the Track master may

inspect the track and, if a track fault is found which probably caused the initial

violation, the Track master may order the race heat to be rerun after the track is


C-13. The Race Area: Only race officials may enter the track area. This rule will be

strictly enforced.

C-14. Rewards and Recognition: The most important values in Pinewood Derby

competition are parent/son 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


a.)  Trophies will be awarded for First thru Third in each den level.

b.)  Trophies will be awarded for the First thru Third place finishers overall.

c.)  Participation awards will be given for the Sibling Race.

 d.)  Five Trophies will be given for craftsmanship in the Cub Scout Class only.



R-1. Track Length and Drop: The track shall have a racing surface (starting line to

finish line distance) of approximately 48 feet with a drop of approximately 4 feet.

R-2. Track Slope: The track slope shall decrease from approximately 30 degrees at the

starting line to approximately 0 degrees at the finish line.

R-3. Lanes: Each lane will consist of a straight, smooth 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 race car shall straddle such a strip during its


R-4. Starting Mechanism: The "starting line" shall consist of vertical pins of

approximately 1/4 inch diameter, extending approximately 1 inch above the track

surface and approximately centered in the each lane.

R-5. Finish Line Sensor Location: The track has electronics called "finish line sensors" that shall be in alignment with the corresponding starting line pin and be

approximately centered in its lane.

R-6. Finish Line Judging: Three impartial Finish Line Judges shall be at station to

observe each heat, on each track. Heat finish judging is determined by the finish line

sensor, but may be challenged by a majority rule of the Finish Line Judges. If the track's

electronic finish line sensor's result is challenged by the Finish Line Judges, the race will

be re-staged and re-run.

R-7. Finish Line Judge Backup: Finish Line Judges will temporarily excuse themselves if they know that one of the heat contestants is a son or relative. Backup Finish Line Judges shall be available in case a judge needs to be excused for any reason.

R-8. The "Big Board": A spreadsheet shall be projected onto the wall which will show

the status of all the cars as the races progress.

 R-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.

R-10. Finish Line Clearance: Track Finish Line Electronics and other track accessories, if used, must be no closer than 3 inches above the track.



(... or "Why should the kids have ALL the fun?")

The purpose of the Open Race event is to have a little fun, to test our Pinewood Derby

tracks, and to help finance this year's Pinewood Derby. It will also help us to 'bleed' off

some of our nervous competitive anxiety allowing us to be calm and collected during

the Scouts race! (Right?)

All adults and/or siblings are encouraged to build their own cars. The Open race will

be held before the Scouts' race. Any parent/guardian or sibling of a Cub

Scout who is registered may enter this race.

P-1. Entry Fee: An entry fee of $3.00 will be paid prior to participating in the race.

P-2. Number of Entries: You may race as many cars as you wish.

P-3. The Car: You may NOT use your son's current car for this race, or previous car.

P-4. Weigh-In: Cars will be inspected, weighed, and registered at registration with the Scouts cars. The open class cars will confiscated at the time of weigh in. Rules for open cars are the same as the Cub rules.



In all of the events, we require that the cars be built this year.


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 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. Be aware that all of the Pinewood Derby Team running this race are human and can make mistakes. The Fourth thing to remember is “Leave No Trace”. We are using a public space and are representing Pack 1720. It is very important for the parents and Scouts to leave the area just as it was when you arrive.