Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – October 29, 2013

Police Cruiser – Jeff & Jack Jouett

Once again Maximum Velocity came through for Jack’s derby car, and we didn’t really hold to speed specs. Jack had never lost a head to head race in the past two years, collecting 1st Place in speed in his category at the pack meetings, and winning 1st Place in district. After last year’s race he told me that he wanted to go for style this year. This is what he came up with. He got 1st Place in style and will be entered in district in the style category. He also got 2nd Place in speed. He was very close to collecting top honors in speed and style, but he is mostly proud of his 1st Place style finish. I really like this car because he designed it and put it all together – I didn’t have to do much this year.

What, me win? – Chris & Greyson Skafidas

My son and I set out to make our 2006 cars stand out from the crowd. My son wanted to have a car that was barely there. We worked on the design on an ‘as it goes’ basis. Originally we were going to put the weight in the back upper portion of the car, but thanks to a Dremel incident we had to chop out the space. The car was only 3.5 ounces. It ran sharp, but did not win anything. Regarding my car, I love Mad Magazine, ever since a fateful day in 1977. Alfred was fast but not a winner.

Flintstones – Susan Hanna

When I sent you the info on my son’s great experiences at the pinewood derby using the fantastic info you have provided, I was so excited that he had taken first in every race, set a track record and was on to Districts that I forgot to include the 2 cars that I had built for the adult/sibling race.

The idea for these cars came from our local Halloween parade. Our pack had entered a float (the Flintstone mobile), as the theme this year was cartoon characters. We took Grand Prize with the float. I decided at that point I would make a Flintstone car and a Rubble mobile to enter in the race.

The cars were a big hit with all the men and the kids alike. Wilma and Betty didn’t win – heck Wilma barely made it to the finish line – but we laughed so hard and had such a good time. The Flintstone mobile used all scrap wood from the workshop, and the Rubble mobile was a limb I cut from my brother’s burn pile. The only thing ‘official’ on either car was the BSA wheels and axles.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 14

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Car Collection on the Move

By Todd Paxson

Hello, my name is Todd and I’m a pinehead. I’ve been collecting derby cars for over 10 years. My addiction began innocently enough with some boxes of my stuff that my parents had packed up when they moved. It was mostly junk. Then I found my three derby cars and a couple of trophies I had won. Thank goodness I hadn’t blown them up like most of my other toys!

I started reminiscing about the fun times I had in scouts, and how much fun we had during derby season. My mom and dad got a little crazy, and I had to wrestle the cars away from them from time to time. Anyway, after remembering the good times, the cars and trophies went up on the shelf for a couple of years. One day, my mom and I were at an auction and there was a nice old derby car there. I bought it and put it on the shelf next to the others. One day when I was looking at the cars it popped into my head that these things would be fun to collect!

I was hooked. After my first year of garage sales, I had about 35 cars. After the second year, I had 75. Then I got on the Internet and the hook went in a little deeper. Before I knew it, I was up to 175. My wife told me I had to slow down, so I had my mom buy some for me on the side. My wife wasn’t happy when she found that out – I think she knew I had a problem.

Lately, I have let more cars go than I have bought. I haven’t gone cold turkey, but I have gotten a little picky. I’m still a pinehead.

As if the collecting wasn’t bad enough, I started buying kits at the local dime store and building them just for the enjoyment of it. One fun car I built was an Elmo car for my daughter, Hanna. I even built cars out of scraps of wood that I found. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I needed power tools. I now have a scroll saw, band saw, belt sander, disk sander, drill press and a full set of carving tools. My wife put her foot down, so I didn’t get a wood lathe.

My son, Chris, and I built our first car together when he was four. He loved to work the drill press. He is twelve now and out of scouting, but he had fun while in scouts. I still keep up with my scout friends as I have made my collection portable by making folding cases to hold the cars (Figures 1 and 2). I take the collection to local pack and council events. Most of the cars I get now are from donations from packs where I show the cars. I have over 700 cars and derby memorabilia on display. I also have about 200 cars that were used in the movie “Down and Derby”. My cars have also been featured on a pinewood derby web site, but my friend and fellow pinehead has since passed on to ‘Derby Heaven’.

Figure 1 – Car Collection on Display

Figure 2 – Close-up of Left Display Cases

I don’t really have any one car that is my favorite car, but I do have some special cars. Two are cars made for a vintage race in California, signed by Don “The Creator” Murphy and Craig Breedlove (Figures 3 and 4). I also have a car that belonged to the brother of the Olson Twins (Figure 5).

Figure 3 – Signature Cars

Figure 4 – Signature Cars, Bottom View

Figure 5 – Olson Twins’ Brother’s Car

That’s enough for now. If anyone has questions or would like to see pictures, I can be contacted at ‘toddpaxson (at) yahoo (dot) com’. Also, if you are close to southern Wisconsin and are interested in having me display my collection at your event, you can contact me at the above email address.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 14

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – October 22, 2013

Sponge Fun – Brian & Grant Masek

This was the car that I told you about that they wouldn’t check in
since it didn’t have all four wheels on the ground. We took the car
home that night, pulled the front end apart, and cut new axle slots
through the epoxy with a band saw. We wedged the axles back in with
paper shims and re-glued so that all four wheels touched the ground.
The car took 3rd in our pack and 4th in the district.

Formula One – Brian Masek

This Formula One was from your plans. I made it just for fun since it
looked like a cool design.

Purple People Eater – Ardie T.

Attached is my 2012 adult class derby car winner. As the name
applies, it just about ate up the competition. The tail wing was made
from a piece off of the main block. Just so happened, it fit
perfectly. I looked at it and said, “Yeah, this will be cool”. With
some help from your axles and wheels, and a bit of polishing of the
axles, it was a true winner.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 13, Issue 2

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

New Stainless Steel Pinewood Derby Axles

Give Your Car an Extra Boost of Speed!

Maximum Velocity is now offering Pro Stainless Steel Axles, which are CNC machined axles formed to resemble Cub Scout axles, but with a two-step shaft for a good fit with axle slots or holes (.088), and an excellent fit with the wheel (.093). The axles have a tapered head, no burrs and crimps marks, and are made from a high quality stainless steel for increased strength, and reduced friction. Both grooved and non-grooved versions are available. These axles are ready to enhance performance when used with Cub Scout/BSA, PineCar, Awana, MV, and other wheels.



You can find these axles
(Parts 4051 and 4052)

Questions? You can contact us at:

Pinewood Derby Memory – Bittersweet Day

 Our pack was involved in a combined three pack pinewood derby this year. Not only did the boys race against their own dens, they also raced against the winners of the other packs. Our pack had purchased a brand new aluminum track with digital sensors. It was cool! Not one car jumped the track this year. No more jarring bumps as the cars raced down the track. The cars seems to go faster than in years past as well. The track was carefully roped off so anxious cub scouts couldn’t bump it or step on it. The cubs placed their cars on the track and had to walk around the audience to the finish line to receive their cars from the cub master at the end.

The derby this year took almost two hours to run. As the winners from each den were announced, their cars were put aside for the final race of the day – the three pack champion race. By this time, some of the boys not advancing to the district were leaving with their families or playing with the cars on the gym floor. Nine cars competed in the tournament of champions. There were multiple races and scoring to determine the overall winner. My son’s car had won against his Weblos den. He was the three pack champion last year, so he was one of the nine again this year. Tension was high – would he take first place again?

There were 9 heats to determine the overall winner. For each heat, four cars raced and five sat out. The cars were rotated so they were constantly racing other cars. About halfway through these heats my son’s name was called to get his car. It should have been on the judges table with the others – it wasn’t. We started looking around – did someone steal his car? My poor excited son (and his anxious dad!) couldn’t find the car. Everyone started looking. It took just a few seconds to see that some little girls were imitating the other cub scouts by playing with HIS car on the gym floor – pushing it back and forth. My daughter raced over and picked up the car from the girls playing with it. Now the problem wasn’t finding the car – it was to get it back in the race. No time to look at it to clean off the wheels or check alignment.

My son didn’t win the tournament of champions. We weren’t even allowed to handle the car after the final race, as the district wanted the cars quarantined until the district race next month. We requested time to examine and repair the car since it was mishandled. No such luck. Everyone agreed that we should be able to examine it – but whoever has the cars in quarantine isn’t letting us know where they are being stored. So next month my son will race his car against the district, and we won’t know until after that race if any damage was done – it’s sad that we know already his chances to win are slim. This will be his last pinewood derby before he bridges to boys scouts. What a bittersweet day.

Michael Law
Live Oak, CA

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 13

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – October 11, 2013


Canyon Dragon – John & Jake Harig

This is the second year for Jake, and he won 1st place again. This year the ‘Canyon Dragon’ car was fastest overall. The name comes from the base coat of ‘Canyon Orange’ and, of course, dragon decals.

We used your wheels and axles, and the block was yours with drilled holes, extended wheel base and raised wheel. COG was 0.9 inch forward of rear axle, much too aggressive for what I now realize is a rough wood track. I used a 1/2 inch diameter steel tube cut 2.5 inches long that protruded 1/2 inch out the back end to look like a jet engine nozzle. It also served as a weight chamber for your tungsten cylinders and beads. The part I liked best was using an ear plug to hold the weights in place – the approach worked sweet at the weigh-in.

Mach 5 – John & Billie White

My daughter Billie and I raced our Mach 5 in the Awana Grand Prix this past fall. She was placed in the adult/leader group. The competition was TOUGH, but she placed third for speed and third for design. We raced this year on a new aluminum track. Many of my old secrets didn’t seem to want to work, but it was still a fun race.

Arrow of Light – Millisa & Cody Kramer

This is my son Cody’s car for his last Pinewood Derby. As a Webelo II, he has been working on his Arrow of Light achievements for the last year; so this year’s car design was based on that. After cutting out so much of the block and inserting a dowel for the arrow shaft, the car barely weighed anything at all. So there are weights across the entire bottom of the car, in a hole drilled out of the back. The fin on the top is even a weight! It weighed exactly 5.0 ounces. The axle holes were not quite straight, slowing down the car a little. It came in a very close 3rd out of 5 cars in his den, but it won Best of Show for the Pack.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 13

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase – October 8, 2013

Church Cross Car – Jim White and Aaron Shain

My grandson and I built this RA pinewood derby car for my son-in-law
(grandson’s father). We call it the “Church Cross Car” for obvious

Batmobiles – Craig Look

Here are Evan and Jacob’s batmobiles. Evan’s batmobile is the open-
wheeled version, while Jacob’s is the one with the fenders.

Sea Destroyer – Keith, Victoria, and Gabriel D.

Last year (2012) my son Gabriel won his pack race. But when he went
to the district race, reality set in and he found out that he was not
even close to being competitive. Walking out of the race, my son and I
were discussing next year’s (2013) car and we decided to do everything
that we could do to make his car the fastest it could be. This year
(2013) my son won his pack race again and was able to compete in the
district race. Overall he had the 5th best time of the 37 cars in his
district. He was very happy with his finish. Thank you for helping
make my son’s last race a great and happy experience for him.

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 13, Issue 1

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Cover Up Those Wheels With Fenders

By Randy Davis

Looking at photos of pinewood derby cars in races across the country,
especially the highly competitive league races, virtually every car
has some kind of fenders. The intent of the fenders is to improve air
flow over the wheels, squeezing out a few milliseconds. Given the
slow speeds of pinewood derby cars, a few milliseconds is all you can
hope for, but of course a few milliseconds is all it takes to win or
lose a race.

But do fenders really help? Well, there is only one way to find out.
So let’s do an experiment.

In order to make sure that the presence or absence of fenders is
actually being measured, we must construct a car on which:

1. Fenders can be added and removed without affecting the wheels,
axles, lubrication, and alignment.

2. Ballast weight can be added and removed to compensate for the
weight of the fenders, again without affecting any other factor.

3. The ballast weight is added/removed at the center of gravity
of the fenders.(1)

My solution to meet these criteria was to use full fenders and mount a
1/4 inch dowel pin at the center of gravity of the fender. A hole
was then drilled through the car at the center of gravity of the
fenders. This hole would accept the fender pin or the ballast weight.

Figure 1 – Test Car With Fenders

Figure 2 – Test Car Without Fenders
(Ballast Weight Shown as Inset)

Figure 3 – Underside of Car

The fenders were shaped by tapering the leading edge, and by beveling
the portion that hangs below the car (this must be done to prevent
scraping on the track guide rail – see Figure 3). The COG of the
fender was located and a 1/4 inch hole was drilled at that location.
Short pieces of 1/4 inch dowel pin were then glued into the fender

The ballast weight was a bit of a challenge as I only had a 1-3/4 inch
long x 1/4 inch diameter hole in which to put the weight. I ended up
acquiring a 1/4 inch rod of solid tungsten and then cutting it to
length (not a practice I recommend). I then super-glued two tungsten
disks and two short pieces of dowel pin to the tungsten rod, resulting
in a solid unit that was 1-3/4 inches long and just slightly less than
the weight of the fenders. To adjust the weight, I sanded off a
portion of the dowel pin attached to the fenders, resulting in an
exact weight match.

The car body was made with a 1/4 inch hole drilled from side to side
at the location of the fender COG. Weight pockets were added, and the
car was brought up to five ounces (when the fenders are attached or
the ballast weight is inserted). Packing tape was applied over the
underbody pockets so that they did not affect air flow. The car was
equipped with a raised front left wheel.

Other static car factors include:

– Pro-Stock Speed Wheels
– BSA Speed Axles (polished)
– Krytox 100 lubricant
– Down-canted front right wheel for rail-rider alignment

The car was assembled with the fenders; two adhesive dots were applied
on the inside of each fender to keep it in the proper position. The
alignment was set to drift left five inches over eight feet, which
works well on my track. After a few trial runs, the testing

First, four runs were made with the fenders in place. Then the fenders
were removed, the ballast weight added, and the alignment verified (no
change needed). Eight runs were then made without fenders. Finally,
the ballast weight was removed, the fenders re-installed, and the
alignment re-checked (again, no change needed). An additional four
runs were then made.

The high and low results were then removed for the fender heat times
and the non-fender heat times. The remaining data was averaged and the
standard deviation calculated.

To my surprise the results were clear(2):

Fender Heat Average – 2.531
Standard Deviation – .00146

No-Fender Heat Average – 2.536
Standard Deviation – .00163

So on average, fenders improved the speed of the car by .005 seconds,
and slightly reduced the variance in the heats.

One thing that needs to be pointed out is that fenders add weight to
the car, and not at the desired location (the fenders in this test
weighed 0.66 ounces). So, the question must be asked: Would the same
improvement be seen if the weight was put at the back of the car and
the fenders eliminated? Unfortunately, I did not set up the car to
specifically test this, but I did tape the ballast weight on top of
the car just in front of the rear axles. The heat times did improve
to 2.533. But this test is not conclusive as the weight was not
necessarily optimally placed and it was not inside the car.

But the point is that for best results the effect of the fender weight
must be minimized. There are several ways to do this:

1. Use half fenders instead of full fenders.

2. Use balsa fenders instead of basswood or pine fenders.(3)

3. Minimize the weight of the main car body as much as possible.

In a tight race, if implemented properly, fenders can give your car a
slight edge. So, on your next project, consider covering up those

(1) For the purist, the ballast weight should really be spread all
along the side of the car, but that would be extremely difficult to

(2) Actually to my relief. I was concerned that the data would be
inconclusive and I would need to try again with half fenders. Half
fenders would be more of a challenge to get the correct weight when
the fenders were removed.

(3) I am not a big fan of balsa as it is more difficult to use,
but it is very popular for fenders. Both pine and balsa half fenders
are available from Maximum Velocity

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 13, Issue 1

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies

Pinewood Derby Memory – Second Place in Speed Goes to …

My son Connor is now a Bear Cub. When he was a Tiger Cub he won for most unique. I also thought he had a fast car. Since then he has been bitten by this bug and has gone for unique designs instead of speed. Last year he made a ‘Tank’ which was pretty cool. It didn’t win anything, but he still enjoyed building and racing the car. This year I decided that no matter which car he built, it would also be fast!

He again came up with a unique design: a tombstone. He carved it and painted it to look really nice with a stone paint finish. I had some leftover tungsten weights from building a car for the adult race, so we used them in Connor’s car.

I think these tungsten weights made a difference because of their density and small size. I was able to create a small hole to put them in (over the rear wheels). Then I was able to carve out some wood underneath to make the 5.0 ounce limit.

During the time trials the night before the derby we got excited. His car beat most that he went against. His time was also competitive with the adult cars. We had done something right! On the day of the big race he was very excited. We had a fast car and a unique car. Most of the other scouts liked Connor’s design. Everyone wanted to touch it and feel the stone finish.

When the race started everyone, except me, was surprised that this ‘rock’ was so fast ! It was not aerodynamic at all. It did not look fast,
but it was. In his heats he had two first place finishes and two second place finishes. Connor was so thrilled just to win two heats that he would have been happy just with that.

When they called the third place winner in speed, it was not Connor. I felt like he would at least get third. “What went wrong,” I thought.

Next … “Second place in speed goes to … CONNOR.” Yes, he won second place in speed! WE ARE GOING ON TO THE DISTRICTS RACE IN MARCH!

I think the speed of the car has a lot to do with the tungsten weights we got from you and where we placed them. I recommended these weights highly!

Kyle & Connor Wilson

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 12

Subscribe to this Free Pinewood Derby E-newsletter

(C)2013, Maximum Velocity, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maximum Velocity Pinewood Derby Car Plans and Supplies