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Pinewood Derby Race Day

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Once race day arrives, ensure you are prepared, anything can and will happen!

The Race Team should discuss what to do with their car on arrival before the race. Other teams will likely be running their cars down the track or across the floor. A spontaneous game of smash-up derby might break out among the kid members of different Race Teams. Even slight damage to a car can affect its speed, so it’s recommended to keep the car in a safe place until check-in. Afterward, keep an eye on your car to prevent any accidental damage by race officials or other Race Teams.

Inspection/Weigh in

As mentioned previously, you’ll want to have your car as close as possible to the allowed weight without going over. The official race scale may read differently than the scale used while constructing the car, be prepared to remove (or add) weight if necessary. Using tungsten putty to fine-tune the car’s weight, along with foil tape to hold the weights, makes it easy to adjust the weight if needed.

Make sure you are very familiar with your race rules. Be prepared to advocate for your car if any questions arise during check-in. It is quite possible that the person checking in the cars may not be that familiar with the rules and will be going with what they think is “right” rather than what the rules state. The best strategy to avoid issues on race day is to clarify any questions regarding the rules with race officials in advance. However, if there are any areas you think could be open to interpretation and could be used to disqualify your car, be prepared to make changes. Bring extra sets of race-ready, unmodified wheels, axles, etc.

Be prepared to make repairs to the car as well. Here is a list of items you should consider bringing to the race:

  • Set of race-ready wheels

  • Set of race-ready axles

  • Extra weight (tungsten putty)

  • CA glue (i.e. Super Glue™)

  • CA accelerator

  • Clear packing tape

  • Race-approved lubricant (graphite, oil etc.)

  • Craft knife

  • Drill

  • Double-sided tape

  • Pliers

Typically race rules allow a set amount of time to repair a damaged car once the race begins, usually around 5 minutes. Therefore be prepared to move quickly if the need arises! Good luck on Pinewood Derby® Race Day!

Checkered race start flag


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