2022 Pinewood Derby

The Pinewood Derby is back on Saturday, January 29th! Things will look a little different this year in light of COVID and the need to limit the size and duration of gatherings.

The same as always:

  • The derby will take place in the gym at Riverside Presbyterian Church.
  • Rules for building and competing (see below) are identical to past years.
  • Awards will be given for car design (Coolest, Most Creative, Most Scout-like, Fastest-looking, and Funniest), and for top 3 scout cars in each den and the top 5 in the pack.
  • Building and racing the cars will be a whole lot of fun for scouts and parents!
  • We will need volunteers! Sign up here.

Different this year:

  • Scouts and their parents/families will come to the church when it is time for their races and leave when the races conclude and awards are given.
  • There will be the opportunity to be physically spread out in the gym for check-in and watching the races. Masks will be worn at all times.
  • Check-in will take place immediately before each den’s races. There will be time to make small adjustments to weight, etc., but probably not to make major modifications.
  • There will be an optional advance check-in on Friday evening for scouts that can’t be present on Saturday and would still like to race. It will also be possible for any other scouts to make test runs of their cars on the track during that time.
  • Overall Pack awards will be determined by the fastest recorded single time for each car. Trophies will awarded at the February pack meeting. There will be no final races.
  • There will not be parent/open race this year.
  • Food will not be for sale and there will not be a movie room or other activities this year.

2022 Pinewood Derby Schedule:

Friday, January 28

4:00-7:00 pm, Set-up

7:00 pm-8:00 pm, Optional Advance Check-In & Car Testing

Saturday, January 29, Derby Day

Please arrive at the time shown for check-in, races, and awards.

10:00 AM, Lion Den

11:00 AM, Tiger Den

12:00 PM, Wolf Den

2:00 PM, Bear Den

3:00 PM, Webelo 1 Den

4:00 PM, Webelo 2 Den

5:00-until, Clean-up

Get your Pinewood Derby Kit! Cub Scouts can pick up their official pinewood derby kit from their den leaders.

Need help cutting? The La Grange Scout Shop, 811 W Hillgrove Ave, La Grange, IL has you covered:

Volunteering/Helping make it happen:

Things are a little weird this year with COVID. The need for adult volunteers is spread out over the day more than in the past and there are no other activities going on that can occupy children at the same time. If you can be there all morning, all afternoon, or both to make this derby go smoothly, we can put you to good work. We are also trying to not have lots of extra people in the building. We really only want the scouts who are racing during that session, their families, and active, necessary volunteers present on Saturday. To see volunteer needs and express interest in volunteering, go here: https://forms.gle/9fE9QdLevkSHbWfp7

Get start building! The complete rules are below. There is lots of information available on the internet about designing a car. The important parts are to 1) Have fun, 2) Use the parts that are in the kits, be within the dimensions and weight requirements (you will be able to fine-tune weight at the derby)


The Pinewood Derby is open to all Cub Scouts. Cars should be built by the Cub Scouts with some adult guidance. Any technical assistance should be fully explained to the Cub Scout so that they can use that knowledge on future projects.

CAR SPECIFICATIONS – every racer must meet these dimensions:

Maximum width: 2.75 inches

Maximum length: 7.00 inches

Maximum height: 6.00 inches

Minimum width between wheels: 1.75 inches

Bottom clearance between car and track: 0.38 inch

Maximum weight: 5.0 ounces


1. The OFFICIAL GRAND PRIX PINEWOOD DERBY KIT (KIT NO. 17006) must be used. Each Scout will be issued one of these kits by the Pack.

2. CAR BODY: The wood provided in the official kit must be used. The block may be shaped and decorated in any way that is not prohibited by the rules or specifications. Details such as steering wheel and driver are permissible as long as these details do not exceed the maximum length, width, height, and weight specifications.

3. NOSE DESIGN: The starting pin is a round metal pin that extends perpendicular to the track from the center of the lane to hold the cars at the start of the race. Cars should be made so that they have a flat surface on the front to rest against the pin. Cars made without a flat surface on the nose (those which are pointed, rounded, tapered, etc.) may be entered, but only at the Scout’s risk, because they may not work well with the starting pins. No part of the car may extend forward of the rear of the starting pin when the car is placed against the pin for the start.

4. WHEELS: The official Cub Scout Grand Prix Pinewood Derby wheels supplied with the kit must be used, or official Pinewood Derby replacement parts. The only modification allowed to wheels is the removal of burrs and molding flash (excess plastic). No sanding, shaping, or other modifications of the wheel are allowed. The wheels may not be cut, drilled, beveled or rounded.

5. AXLES: The official Cub Scout Grand Prix Pinewood Derby axles supplied with the kit must be used. They may be polished and/or lubricated. Wheel bearings, washers, and bushings are prohibited. The car shall not ride on springs. Only dry lubricant is permitted. No wet lubricants, e.g., WD40 are permitted. The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting devices. No loose material of any kind, such as lead shot, or moving parts may be used.

6. INSPECTION: Each car must pass inspection by the Pack 24 Pinewood Derby officials before it may compete. Inspection will consist of checks of overall width, overall height, proper wheels, proper axles, and weight, followed by a trial run down the track.  Any car which does not travel from the starting line to the timing sensors without assistance will not be permitted to compete in the Derby.

7. If a car does not pass inspection, the Scout will be informed immediately of the reason for failure, and will be given time within the official inspection time period to make the adjustment. Scouts are free to bring tools and materials to adjust their cars to pass inspection. After final approval, cars will be impounded by the officials until racing is completed. Cars will not be re-inspected unless the car is damaged in handling or in a race.

8. Your car must have ONLY YOUR assigned number clearly visible on the car. Your Pinewood Derby car kit has a sticker on it with your name and Car Number. Using the numbered stickers from the kit, be sure your Car Number is visible on the rear of the car. Also, write your name on the bottom of your car.

9. All decisions of the Pack 24 Pinewood Derby officials are final.


Can my dad build my car? Your dad (mom, grandpa, or cousin Fred) can help you, especially with cutting pieces, etc. but this is supposed to be done by the Scout, with adult supervision/assistance.

How do I make the car go fast? The most important piece of advice is to bring the car as close as possible to the 5.0 ounce weight limit. The materials in the box weigh about 5 ounces, and will be much less if you decide to cut the car block for your design. You can add weights (found at the Scout Store, or at hobby shops in the area) to bring your car to the correct weight, or use coins, bolts, etc. as long as they do not move during the race. The scales owned by the Pack are the official scales – you will be able to check your weight starting at 10:00 am on race day.

The second most important piece of advice is to reduce friction as much as possible within the rules. That means polishing/smoothing the axles, using adequate lube on the wheels and axles and making sure the car runs as straight down the track as possible. Also, the Internet has a lot of good (and bad) advice available.

Can I buy PineCar wheels or axles, “speed” wheels or 1 piece axles for my car? NO! The intent is to use the equipment in the box, to keep things as even as possible. If you damage the pieces in the box, you can purchase replacement pieces at the scout store. You may use the decorative/weighting pieces they offer.

Do I have to use the slots cut in the wood block for my axles? No, you can widen or shorten the wheelbase as you like. Be sure to keep the bottom clearance above 0.38 (3/8”) inch.

Do I have to make my car fancy? No – I’ve been told that Scouts have won their pack’s Pinewood Derby using the wood block without cutting it at all, simply putting the wheels on it and painting it. Aerodynamics are not super important to success. However, to win the “Fastest Looking”, “Coolest Car” or other design award, a little effort will be necessary.

Does my car have to look like a car, or can I make it look like (put in your own suggestion here)? The car can look like anything you want (within the boundaries of good taste), as long as it can make it down the track, and meets the other specifications. You might even win an award for the way it looks!



Set-up volunteers:

Ready to move some tables, make signs, set up chairs? Set-up will take place between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM on Friday. Availability for an hour or more is fine.

Inspection Volunteers:

We need several people who can be at the church Friday evening the better part of 6:00-8:00 and a significant part of the day on Saturday (morning, afternoon, or both) to take responsibility for inspecting cars, weighing, measuring, etc. This will be a key task to making everything run on time.

Computer Timing System Operators

We need several people who can be at the church Friday evening and a significant part of the day on Saturday (morning, afternoon, or both) to take responsibility for the computerized timing system.

General Volunteers:

We need general purpose volunteers who can direct people arriving, assist den leaders with balloting for design awards, pick up lunch for full0day volunteers, step in to help with check-in, and more.

Clean up Volunteers:

We need people to help put away supplies, tables, chairs, and the track when the racing is over at around 5:00 PM.

If your family/child supervision situation allows it we will also have smaller tasks related to check-in that you can help with while you are there for your own scouts’ race.

Fill out the form here and I will contact you about getting plugged in.


Luke Wetzel

2022 Pinewood Derby Coordinator

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