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The Keys to a Fast Pinewood Derby Car

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Maximize speed on your Pinewood Derby Car by addressing these five key areas:

Wheels - Properly prepare the Pinewood Derby wheels by polishing their contact surfaces, which minimizes friction. If not prohibited, reducing both lateral and radial runout (wobble) and reducing the wheels’ overall size and weight will minimize friction, drag, and rotational inertia leading to a fast start for the car.

Pinewood Derby Wheel

Axles - Prepare the Pinewood Derby axles by polishing their contact surfaces, thus minimizing friction leading to a fast run for the car.

Pinewood Derby Axles

Weighting - Address both the amount AND location of the weight to maximize potential energy in the Pinewood Derby car. Proper weighting is key for a fast car.

Proper Pinewood Derby weight placement

Alignment - The location and position of the axles in the Pinewood Derby car body are key to minimizing friction and therefore maximizing speed.

Proper Pinewood Derby car alignment

Aerodynamics - Construct the Pinewood Derby car to minimize aerodynamic drag.

Pinewood Derby car aerodynamics

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