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Pinewood Derby

REady, set, race!

What is a pinewood derby?

From a block of wood, Cub Scouts work together with parents and guardians to carve out their own custom race cars while strengthening bonds and building confidence. Cars can reach 20 mph using only gravity (potential energy) to speed them along specialty derby tracks.

  • They begin with an official Pinewood Derby Race Car kit, then create a design, then carve it from the wood block provided in the kit.
  • They detail it with paint, decals and other accessories, and perfect strategies to compete in their pack’s own Pinewood Derby.
  • It’s a wonderful learning experience centered on teamwork, ingenuity and sportsmanship – all for the thrill of the race and a lifetime of great memories to share with fellow racers young and old.

Dates + Location

Pinewood Derby Events and registration is posted in the Montana Council Events Calendar

Derby pit stop

Everything for derby success can be found at the scout shop.

Rules summary

Each local Pinewood Derby committee determines the rules for building and racing cars. The committee will need to make sure their rules don’t conflict with those of the district or council to ensure their members can participate in events at those levels.

Sportsmanship overview

The spirit of the derby is that it is a son/parent project where we have FUN, explore the physics of car building and learn sportsmanship from each other.

Construction rules summary

  1. Width shall not exceed 2-3/4 inches.
  2. Length shall not exceed 7 inches.
  3. Weight shall not exceed 5 ounces.
  4. Axles, wheels, and body shall be from the materials provided in the kit. Additional wheels can be purchased separately.
  5. Wheel bearings, washers, and bushings are prohibited.
  6. No lubricating oil may be used. Axles may be lubricated with powdered graphite or silicone.
  7. The car shall not ride on any kind of spring.
  8. The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting devices.
  9. No loose materials of any kind are allowed in the car.

2022 MT International Scout Expo & PInewood Derby

 Cub Scout Class: 

Open to all registered Cub Scouts, Lion through Arrow of Light. The cars must comply with the Montana Council Pinewood Derby rules for Cub Scout Class. This class is for speed. Trophies will be awarded for 1st-3rd place for each category; Lions/Tigers, Wolves, Bears, Webelo’s/Arrow of Light. 

Open/Master Class: 

Open to all cars that comply with the Montana Council Pinewood Derby rules for Open/Master Class. This class is for speed. Open to all ages. Trophies will be awarded for 1st-3rd place. 

All cars must be labeled with the owner’s name and Unit number. Owner is responsible for postage and shipping costs of vehicles if not brought in person. 


The overall weight of the car shall not exceed 5.00 ounces. No loose or liquid material of any kind will be permitted in or on the car, i.e. mercury or other forms of liquid weight. Weights held by any form of tapes are not acceptable. Each entrant is encouraged to build their derby car as near the maximum weight as possible. The official weight is determined by the scale at the council race. The official scale for weigh in will be available at the scout office in Great Falls. 

No lubrication or modifications will be allowed on race day. If a car is found to not adhere to the Official Montana Council Pinewood Derby rules, the representative on the registration form will be contacted immediately and have the option of running the car in the open class (if the rules are met). 

The Pinewood Derby uses a timer system having each car run down the track in each lane once. Speeds are measured for each car each time it runs a heat and the computer system determines the results of the speeds. 


Cars must be received and registered either at the Scout Office no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 or in person by 12:00 p.m. on June 17, 2022 at the Montana International Scout Expo at the Montana State ExpoPark in Great Falls. Please make sure copies of entry forms are with the cars.

In the interest of avoiding delays on race day, NO late entries will be allowed to race!!!

Please pick up your cars following the race if in person. It is recommended that youth have a parent/guardian with them when they pick up their car. If you are unable to pick up your car after the race, they will be sent to the Scout Office in Great Falls for someone to pick up after the Scout Expo starting Monday, June 20th

Other Construction Rules

— The wood provided in the kit must be used. The block may be shaped in any way that is desired.

— The wheels supplied with the kit or the colored official BSA wheels must be used. The wheels may not be cut,
drilled, beveled or rounded. You may remove the seam from the wheels, but the molding bumps on the outside
edges must remain. No graphite coated wheels may be used.

— The axles supplied with the kit must be used. They may be polished and dry lubricated.

— Wheel bearings, washers or bushings are prohibited.

— The car must not ride on any type of springs.

— The axles must be positioned so that the axles of the front wheel pair are in the same horizontal and vertical plane, and that the rear wheel pair should also be in their same respective x and y plane. Moreover, axles should not be deliberately bent at an angle. All four wheels must make contact with a flat surface when the car is at rest.

— The car must be freewheeling, with no starting devices.

— No loose material of any kind, such as lead shot, may be used.

— Only dry lubricants such as graphite or powdered Teflon “white lube” will be allowed for lubricating the wheels.
Lubricants may not foul the track. Lubrication should be completed prior to checking cars in for inspection. No lubrication will be completed on race day.

— Details such as the steering wheel, driver, decals, painting, and interior detail are permissible as long as these details do not exceed the maximum length, width, and weight specifications.

On Race Day

— Each car will be assigned a number during check-in. This number will be referenced in the heats.

— Each car shall run one heat per lane on the track. The fastest car will be determined by the fastest average of all heats.

— Should a car jump the track during the heat, but not interfere with any other car, that heat shall stand as run.

— Should any car jump the track and interfere with another car during a heat, that heat shall be re-run. Should the same car interfere again, the heat will be run a third time with the offending car removed from the heat. The offending car will not receive a time for that heat.

— Should a car become damaged during the races, it will not be repaired and all remaining heats will run without the damaged car. The car will not receive a time for any missed heats.