Official 2018 Pinewood Derby Rules

2018 Brian Murnen Pinewood  Derby

Official Rules

The 2018 Pack 200 Brian Murnen Pinewood Derby will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at the First United Methodist Church in Cary, NC.  The Pinewood Derby is an activity that can teach the scout many things, including:

The Derby is a great opportunity for the Scout to spend quality time with an adult to plan, construct, and decorate a car.  This activity is for the Scouts and they should do as much of the work as possible.

2018 Pinewood Derby Key Dates

Saturday, January 20, 2018 (2:00-4:00 PM)

First United Methodist Church, Room 118 (Tiger Den room)

Practice Runs - Run your car on the track and get a weight/conformance check

Saturday, February 3, 2018 (8:30 AM Start – See Details on next page)

First United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall

Set-up for the Pinewood Derby - help needed!

2018 Pack 200 Pinewood Derby

March 3, 2018 (TBD – Specific info will be sent to scouts who qualify)

Cary Towne Center Mall (near the food court)

Crosswinds District 2018 Pinewood Derby

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place Speed from Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Bears, and Webelos

1st Place for Craftsmanship and Unique Winners from Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Bears, and Webelos

25 total cars from Pack 200 will compete at the District event

The competition will be divided into four groups: Lion, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Scouts.  Awards will be given for each Rank in three categories, three places for each of:

Judging for the Unique and Craftsmanship categories will be held before the Speed competition.  Derby Officials may issue additional awards.  Medals will be presented on Race Day.

Race Day Schedule

Official weigh-in begins at 8:00 AM.

Staggered registration by rank groups as follows.

Scout Level

Registration Start

Registration Stop

Race Start


08:00 AM

08:45 AM

09:00 AM


09:30 AM

10:15 AM

10:30 AM


11:00 AM

11:45 AM

12:00 PM


12:30 PM

01:15 PM

01:30 PM

Webelos I & II

02:00 PM

02:45 PM

03:00 PM

The race times are “best estimate”.  We have a large number of Scouts and we will try to start each race as listed, but please remain flexible.  Registration will be announced and will close 15-minutes prior to each group’s race to allow for judging time.

NO late check-ins or late arrivals will be permitted to race after the start of each Rank’s event.  If you are in the registration line by the listed or announced stop time, you will be allowed to register.  Please try to be on time.  No exceptions will be made for late arrivals.  Scouts must be present to register and race.

If you are unsure of your car’s ability to pass inspection, we encourage you to show up early and have it checked out.  Inspections will also be held at the practice day.

Judging ideas for the Unique and Craftsmanship categories:

        Craftsmanship (District calls this Design)

        Unique/Original (District calls this Original)


These rules are taken from the Crosswinds District and will be used for Pack 200.

Please read ALL the rules carefully and thoroughly.  It is the parent’s and racer’s responsibility to design and build a car conforming to these rules.  Cars not meeting these rules will be disqualified.  We encourage you to ask if you are not sure, and attend the trial run to check out your car before Derby Day.

Only registered Scouts in Class-A uniforms are allowed to register or compete.  A scout may enter only one car.  The Scout or their proxy must be present at registration and during the competition to be eligible.  Proxies will be allowed for scouts that are sick.  Any other reason must be approved by a derby official (Cub Master, Asst. Cub Master, Pack Committee Chairman, or Race Coordinator).

All cars, regardless of division or category, must comply with the following racing specifications which are excerpted from the Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit Instructions:

  1. Length, Width, and Clearance
  1. Overall width including wheels, axles, and attachments shall not exceed 2-¾".
  2. The width between wheels must be 1-¾” so the car will clear the center guide strip on the track.
  3. Overall height including any attachments shall not exceed 4-¾".
  4. Bottom clearance between the car and the track must be at least ⅜” so the car will clear the center guide strip on the track.
  5. Overall length including any attachments shall not exceed 7.0".
  6. The wheelbase (distance between the front and rear axles) must remain at a distance of 4-¼ inches (some kits may be off between ⅛-inch to ¼-inch).

  1. Car Body, Weight, and Appearance
  1. The maximum weight shall not exceed 5.00 ounces.  The reading of the official scale will be final.
  2. No liquids or loose materials of any kind are permitted in or on the car.
  3. No taping weight down to car.
  4. The car may be hollowed out and built up to a maximum weight by the addition of solid materials only, provided any additional materials are securely built into the body or firmly affixed to it.
  5. Details such as steering wheel, driver, decals, painting, or interior detail are permissible as long as these details do not exceed the maximum length, width, and height specifications and/or modify the mechanical functions of the body, wheels, and axles.
  6. The car shall not have any parts that are live animals, reptiles, etc.
  7. Car shall not extend past the starting gate.

  1. Wheels & Axles
  1. ONLY BSA approved wheels and axles, as provided in the Official Pinewood Derby Kit (or the Official BSA approved colored wheels purchased from the Scout Shop) shall be used (Black – SKU 17553, Blue – SKU 17556, Orange – SKU 17557, Red – SKU 17554, Yellow – SKU 17555).
  2. The wheels may not be tapered or rounded.  The wheels may be slightly sanded to remove any molding marks or surface imperfections but may not be modified in any other way.  Lathing wheels is not permitted.  The treads must be left flat. Beveling, tapering, narrowing, thinning, thin sanding or wafering of the wheels is prohibited.  See below for examples.
  3. Washers and bushings are prohibited.
  4. The car must have four operational wheels.
  5. The distance between front and rear axles cannot be altered.
  6. Axles must be all in the same plane and parallel to the track surface (all four wheels touching the track) with the entire tire surface in contact with the track).  A standard (20lb) piece of printer paper will be used to determine if the wheels are touching.  If passing the paper between the table surface and the wheel causes the wheel to turn freely, then the wheel is considered to be touching the surface in a legal manner.
  7. Axles must be fully visible for inspection.  If the axle channel is covered, the covering must be removable at time of registration for inspection of the axles.  Please do not permanently attach any device that covers the axle channel on the bottom of the car.
  8. The car shall not ride on any type of springs.
  9. The car must be freewheeling, with no starting devices or other types of propulsion.
  10. Axles can be smoothed to remove surface imperfections, but not altered in any way except polishing.  The head of the axle (nail) shall not be altered.
  11. Judges will use a special-purpose gauge to ensure that wheels do not have a diameter less than 1.180”.  Raw wheels (slightly sanded- not lathed) will have 1.182” to 1.185” a diameter of or greater).  Judges will also check to ensure that the wheels do not have a width smaller less than .360”.  Finally, a visual inspection and, if need be, comparison against known illegal wheels on web sites such as will be used to ensure no other illegal modifications have been made to the wheels.  If the judges determine that a car has illegal wheels, then the competitor may either swap the wheels with legal ones (supplied by the judges) or the car will be allowed to race, but will not be eligible for any prizes.

These are examples of unacceptable wheels.

  1. Lubrication
  1. Only graphite or powdered Teflon “white lube” will be allowed for lubricating the wheels.  You MAY NOT use any other lubricant, especially oil and silicone sprays.  (Liquids and sprays mix with the paint of the car or the plastic wheels and make them tacky which will slow your car considerably.)
  2. There will be NO lubrication after your car has completed Final Inspection and Registration.
  3. Lubrication must be applied outside of the Cary Towne Center [or FUMC].  If a car is seen being lubricated inside the building by one of the vehicle inspectors, that car will be disqualified.

  1. Inspection and Registration
  1. Each car must pass inspection by the Official Inspection Committee before it may compete. The Inspectors have the right to disqualify those cars which do not meet these specifications.  The Pit Boss has final say on if a car passes or is disqualified.
  2. Once the car has been inspected, weighed, and registered, it will go to a holding area and can only be handled by the Cub Scout owner for racing, by the Pit Crew for repairing, or by the judges for evaluation of design.
  3. Once registered, there will be NO additional lubricant applied to the wheels.  All lubricant should be applied outside of the building and PRIOR TO weigh-in (excessive graphite application has made a terrible mess of both the track and the mall in the past years).
  4. No test runs before the event.

  1. Ground Rules and Competition


  1. The car cannot be altered in any way after the race starts, with the exception of repairs.  NO GRAPHITE may be applied to the car during the race or while in the building.
  2. The speed race will be run on a six-lane track [four-lane at FUMC] with timer.  Each Cub Scout will run six races, once on each lane [four races at Pack 200].  The winner will be the car that has the lowest total elapsed time in the races.
  3. Only Pinewood Derby officials and Scouts participating in the current race may enter the track area.
  4. Each heat will be announced.  Drivers will retrieve their cars from the “garage,” report to the starting line and place their cars on the designated track.  The starter will start the race.
  5. The car whose nose is over the finish line first is the winner for that race as detected by the electronic finish device.
  6. The judge at the finish line will determine the winner if the electronic finish device fails.
  7. The drivers will then report to the finish line to retrieve their cars for the next race, and return their cars to the “garage” after the last race of the heat.  The drivers return to their places outside the track area after the heat.
  8. If a car jumps the track or interferes with another car, the heat will not be counted and will be rerun.  If a car jumps the track twice in the same heat, that car will be disqualified from the race.
  9. In the event of a breakdown on the track (a wheel falls off), a repair time of two (2) minutes will be allowed.  Only the Cub Scout owner and the Pit Crew will make repairs. One time only is allowed for repairs to a car.
  10. The Pinewood Derby Committee will handle any questions of the rules or problems that may arise during the event.
  11. The decisions of the Inspection Crew, the Derby Officials, and the Judges are final.  These rules will be strictly enforced.


Best Design

  1. Cars will be judged by independent judges that have been chosen by the Pinewood Derby Committee. These judges have been instructed by the Committee and are believed to be nonbiased in their judging.
  2. Best design will be based on the following:
  1. Votes will be cast on ballot sheets and tallied by members of the Pinewood Derby Committee.

Most Original

  1. Cars will be judged for Originality by independent judges that have been chosen by the Pinewood Derby Committee.  These judges have been instructed by the Committee and are believed to be non-biased in their judging.
  2. Originality will be based on the following:
  1. Votes will be cast on ballot sheets and tallied by members of the Pinewood Derby Committee.
  1. Awards and Recognition
  1. The most important values in Pinewood Derby competition are parent/scout 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.
  2. First, Second and Third place trophies will be awarded in each category of Speed, Craftsmanship, and Originality.  Trophy winners must be present to win.

Coaching Hints for Parents