Pinewood Derby Starts Saturday 10:00AM

Pinewood Derby Trophies
Pinewood Derby Trophies
It’s almost here. The Pack 24 Pinewood Derby starts this Saturday at 10:00AM in the Riverside Presbyterian Gym. If you have not received your car kit from your den leader, or need to know what number should be on your car, please get in contact with Chris Hajer ASAP.

Check in starts at 10:00AM and your car needs to be checked in before noon. Please be sure to have your car number on the back of the car, so we can identify whose car it is. It also helps to put your name on the bottom of the car in case the numbers fall off.

If you need help getting your car ready, we’ll have tools and helpers available on Saturday morning. If you need more than a little help, please email Chris Hajer and we’ll be sure to get you hooked up with someone to help finish your car before Saturday. Here are a couple basic tips:

  • Be sure to get the car as close to 5.0 ounces as possible without going over. The parts in the kit only weight about 3.5 ounces, so you’ll have to add weight, especially if you modified the shape of the wood. If you are much lighter than 5 ounces, your car won’t make it down the track. We’ll help you add weight on Saturday if you need it. The pack scale, in the gym on Saturday, is the official scale, so you may need to make adjustments to your weight, up or down, on Saturday morning. We’ll have all manner of weights to add and drills and dremels to remove weight as necessary.
  • Be sure to lube the wheels and axles. In our event, only dry lubricants are allowed, which is normally powdered graphite like Hob-E-Lube or something similar. We’ll have lube available on Saturday if you need it. Just adding lube to a car that couldn’t make it down the track sometimes is all that’s necessary to make it cross the finish line.

Really, those two tips will help get your car across the finish line. In addition to those basics, there are tons of tips online. Some of the more common ones are to remove the burrs from the axles (nails) and polishing the axles with fine sand paper or metal polishes.

You can find a copy of the official rules for Pack 24 here. If you have any questions, please ask.

Pinewood Derby Cars from 2010
Pack 24 Pinewood Derby Cars from 2010

You can check your car in at any time between 10:00 and 12:00 noon. Once your car is checked in, you won’t be able to get your hands on it until after racing is done for the day. So, be sure the car is the proper weight and has all the lube on it you want. After checking the car in, only leaders or select Boy Scouts will be able to handle the cars.

Here’s a recap of the awards we have for this event:

  • Three design awards
    • These awards will be based on Scout votes
    • Coolest Looking Car
    • Fastest Looking Car
    • Best Paint Job
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd Quickest by Rank
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Quickest in the Pack

When you check your car in, you will receive ballots to vote for design awards, your Pinewood Derby patch, and your participation ribbon. Design awards will be announced before racing begins, immediately after lunch (approximately 1:00PM.) Rank trophies will be awarded after each rank is run. Pack trophies will be awarded after the finals at the end of the day.

Schedule for the day:

  • 10:00 – 12:00 Check in
  • 10:00 – 12:00 Scouts can vote for their favorite cars in three categories
  • 12:00 – all cars must be checked in
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
    The Girl Scouts will be selling lunch items in the social hall.
  • 1:00 – hand out design awards
  • Soon after 1:00
    Begin racing in order of rank (Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos I, Webelos II)
  • After each rank races, award rank trophies
  • After all ranks have run, run finals
  • After finals, award pack trophies


checkered flagsEvery year we have hours-long discussions about the fairest way to run the races, who wins, who advances to the finals, etc. We rarely agree on everything but we always come to a conclusion and decide to run the races that way for the year. So, here’s what we’ve decided for this year:

  • We will run all the cars in one rank in the same heat. So, all the Tigers will run in the same heat, and they’ll each run four times in that heat, once on each lane. This is to eliminate any lane bias (although our track is pretty fair across all four lanes.) After all the cars in one rank have been run, we’ll determine the winners for that rank, and award trophies for that rank, before running the next rank.
  • The top three winners in the rank will be the three cars that had the lowest cumulative time for four runs. Those three cars will receive trophies, 1st, 2nd, 3rd by Rank.
  • The 1st place winner in each rank will advance to the finals (five cars, one car from each rank.)
  • The field for the finals will be sixteen cars. In addition to the top car from each rank, we’ll take the eleven cars with the lowest cumulative time that are not already in the finals.
  • In the finals, each car will race again four times.
  • The four top cars in the pack will be the four cars with the lowest cumulative time in the finals.

We hope these rules prove fair and fun for all. We’re always open to suggestions for improvement.

If you have any questions, please contact us. See you Saturday!

p.s. If you volunteered to help on Saturday, we’ll send a reminder of what you signed up for in a day or two. We’re always looking for help, so if you have not already volunteered, please feel free to pitch in with clean-up or anything else.

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