Pinewood Derby

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One of the highlights of our Scouting year is the annual Pinewood Derby! Here’s a little background on the Pinewood Derby- Cubmaster Don Murphy of Pack 280C, Manhattan Beach, California, had a son who was unable to compete in a local gravity-powered car competition. Murphy came up with a way for his boy and his pack to make and race miniature gravity-powered cars on a small indoor track, and the pinewood derby was born. That first derby was held May 15, 1953. By 1955, the pinewood derby was part of the official Cub Scouting program and has been ever since.

At the last Pack meeting before Christmas break each scout will receive a Pinewood Derby kit.  It consists of a block of pine wood, four nails, 4 wheels, and some stickers. Here is what the kit looks like.

Pinewood Car Kit

 The slots are for the nails which are the axles for the wheels.  It is up to you and the scout to come up with an appropriate design, carve, saw, drill, paint, or add stickers to make it your own.  There are many theories on how to make yours the fastest car.  There are plenty of web sites that can help you, we have included links to these on the Pinewood Derby Links page. Most scouts are satisfied to complete a cool looking car and see how it does in the races. Remember the goal of the Pinewood Derby is to help your Scout build and race a car he can be proud of, no matter what the final outcome is!

All phases of the car building can be done at home but we will have 2 to 3 sessions at our main hall in which you can get help with layout, initial cutting, and advice from other scouts and leaders. These dates will be on the calender for which den meeting days they will be.

A good starting point is finding a template and tracing out the car you want to build on the block. During one of the workshops we will have someone with a scroll saw available to help you cut out your car. Once the car is rough cut, it can be sanded and painted using basic, inexpensive tools. Lowe’s, Hobby Lobby and Michaels all have parts and accessories for Pinewood Derby cars as well, please note that if you buy anything for your car make sure the parts have the official Boy Scouts of America seal on it. Even if you have never built anything, don’t worry, we will have plenty help available to make sure your scout has a great Pinewood experience!

After the cars are completed then it’s time to race! On the day of the Pack Derby cars are turned in for inspection to make sure they were built following the Pinewood Derby rules (Please click here to see the rules).  All cars are grouped in heats, with the top three speeds for each rank becoming eligible to race in the District pinewood derby. Again, while it is fun for the boys to compete and work to build the fastest car, the goal of the pinewood derby is to teach the scout how to build something on his own with the help of an adult and be proud of that while doing his best. Here is a quick video of one of last years heat races-

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Awards will be given for the following categories the Pack 400 Pinewood Derby - 

1st, 2nd & 3rd place finishers

Best Car Design - Voted by the pack

Spirit Award - Voted by Adult Leaders


2017 Pack 400 Pinewood Derby

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© 2017 Hanford Pack 400