Pinewood Derby Rules
Aren't all Pinewood Derby pack rules the same? NO, NO, NO

The Official BSA Pinewood Derby Rules for the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby are the rules that are in the box of the Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kits handed out by the scout leader. It is important to understand that Cub Scout packs are not required to follow the exact Pine Wood Derby rules established by the BSA. Pinewood Derby rules may differ from one pack to another. What is legal in one pack may not be legal in another. So every derby car builder must get a copy of their particular pack’s rules and build accordingly.

Some aspects of the rules are for the most part universal for all Cub Scout packs... like car dimensions. Other aspects are not.

There are several rule areas that you want to pay close attention to when building your car. These are as follows:

Axle Slots or Holes: The official BSA Pinewood Derby block comes with axle slots that are cut into the wood with a saw. Some Cub Scout pack rules require you to use these original slots. Other pack rules allow you to forgo the axle slots and drill holes for the axles to slide into. Drilled axle holes help to keep all axles straight, square with the body and parallel to each other... thus making a faster car. If your rules allow you to use drilled axle holes then this is the better option. If the written rules are not clear about this then ask a race official for clarification.

Standard or Extended Wheelbase: The wheel base is the distance between the center of the rear wheels to the center of the front wheels... or between the rear axles and the front axles. The official BSA Pinewood Derby block comes with a wheelbase (distance between axle slots) of 4-3/8"... this is what we call the Standard BSA Pinewood Derby Wheelbase... or simply 'standard wheelbase'. Many Cub Scout pack rules require you the keep the standard wheelbase while building your car... Many other pack rules allow you to preposition the wheels so that you can have any wheelbase you want. For better car stability it is best that you extend the distance between wheels as much as possible (without exceeding the 7" overall car length rule). This gives the car what we call an 'extended wheelbase'. If your rules allow you to use an extended wheelbase then this is the better option. Again... if the written rules are not clear about this then ask a race official for clarification.


It is important to read all rules before planning and building your Pinewood Derby car.

The Pinewood Derby is open to all Cub Scouts. Cars should be built by the Cub Scouts with some adult guidance and supervision. Any technical assistance should be fully explained to the Cub Scout so that he can use that knowledge on future projects. Because it is difficult to establish how much help was given in building the car, some Packs have a separate Pinewood Derby Race for adults. This is usually called the Open Class.


* Width: – 2-3/4″ – Length – 7″ – Weight – Not over 5 Ounces
* Width between wheels – 1-3/4″
* Bottom clearance between can and track – 3/8″

I. Wheel bearings, washers, and bushings are prohibited.
II. The car shall not ride on springs.
III. Only official Cub Scout Grand Prix Pinewood Derby wheels and axles are permitted.
IV. Only dry lubricant is permitted.
V. Details, such as steering wheel and driver are permissible as long as these details do not exceed the maximum length, width and weight specifications.
VI. The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting devices.
VII. Each car must pass inspection by the official inspection committee before it may compete. If, at registration., a car does not pass inspection, the owner will be informed of the reason for failure, and will be given time within the official weigh-in time period to make the adjustment. After final approval, cars will not be re-inspected unless the car is damaged in handling or in a race.