Official Pinewood Derby Rules


The purpose of the Pinewood Derby is to provide a positive experience for the members of the Pack. It’s an opportunity for the Scouts to have fun while learning some basic woodworking skills, basic principles of physics, and participating in a fair competition, but a competition nonetheless.  This is an emotional night and only a few Scouts will win trophies. The emphasis of the Pinewood Derby should be on the experience of building the car and participating in the event, not just the final results. Have fun!!

Car construction

The best part of the Pinewood Derby is building the cars. Parents can guide the Scouts, but let them use their imagination and creativity. 

Any weights mounted on the underside of the car must be recessed into the car body to maintain at least the 3/8” mandatory clearance.  Weight kits, designed to resemble the undercarriage of a car, do not have the required clearance.  The 3/8” clearance is required, as the cars must pass over a raised timing sensor at the end of the track. 

It is important to use good glue that can hold heavy weights and decoration, and ensure that it is dry before turning the car in.

Note: one penny is 1/10 ounces.


Completed cars MUST be brought to the weigh-in.  All cars will be weighed (on the official Pack scales), inspected, measured to ensure proper clearance, and assigned a car number.  Once a car has passed inspection, no further modifications can be made. The Pinewood Committee will pack and store your car until race day.  If a car does not pass inspection, it will be returned to the Scout for adjustments. It’s recommended you bring the car in a box; too many cars have been dropped by scouts in the past.   

It is important to weigh the car after you are 100% complete.  Last minute glue and a clear coat can add to the weight.