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About the Pinewood Derby Race

Build your car and see how it stacks up at your Pack, District, and Council races

What is a Pinewood Derby Car and Race and when are they generally held?

From a block of wood, four plastic wheels, and four nails, a Scout produces a vehicle that can reach 20 mph! Cars are raced on tracks with two to six lanes where using only gravity to speed them along.

Racing starts at the Pack Derby Race, generally held in January through March (but can vary), where the cars are run in different heats and lanes. Top finishers in a Pack move on to the District Pinewood Derby Race, generally held in March through May. The top winner from each District move on to Northern Star Council's Derby Race, generally held on a Saturday in early June; see the registration link or flier on this page for the exact date of this year's race.

Who can participate in the Council Pinewood Derby Race?

The top finishers at the District Pinewood Derby race are invited to participate at the Council Pinewood Derby Race. Please view the qualifications for participation in each year's flier, as they may be tweaked from year to year.

What are the rules for the Council Pinewood Derby Race?

Read the full set of rules posted on this page to make sure your car won't get disqualified!

General Tips for Making a Fast Car

There are many websites that will give you tops and tricks on how to maximize the speed of your car. Always keep in mind, the Northern Star Council's derby rules will be the ones that you need to follow.

Here are a few tips that will help:

  • Maximize your allowable weight
  • Weight should be in the rear of car in front of rear axle with the balance point 1-1.25 inches in front of rear axle.
  • Use the slot closest to the end of block for rear axle.
  • Low profile, smaller surface in front and larger in back.
  • Wings, sails, flags, etc. catch air and will slow down the car.
  • Make sure axle slots/ holes are perfectly parallel to make the car track as straight as possible.
  • Lubricate wheels and axles with graphite and work in thoroughly. Graphite works best after a break-in period, so don't use between races.
  • Polish nails/axles.
  • Remove flashing around nail head.

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About the Pinewood Derby Race

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