The Interceptor

The Interceptor

Pinewood Derby Times
Volume 7, Issue 8
January 8, 2008

In this Edition:

- Editor's Notes

- Feature Article - Pinewood Derby for Boy Scouts

- Humor

- Product Showcase

- Car Showcase

- Q&A

Editor's Notes
Down and Derby Patch is Back!

In the latest shipment of DVDs we received quite a few which include a free patch. If you don't have one of these patches, you can Order a DVD with a Patch at a discounted price!

Do You Have a Pinewood Derby Memory to Share?

We are out of memories to share with our readers, but I am sure there many of you have a story to share. So, please type up your humorous, unusual, sad, or heart-warming pinewood derby tale and send it to:

If your memory is used, you will receive a $10 coupon in May of 2008. Don't worry about literary polish. We will edit as needed. Also, please read our Submission Policy

Maximum Velocity Car Kits

If you are planning a race and are not required to use a specific kit type, our MV Basic Car Kit is just what you need. These attractively priced kits are equipped with:

  • Quality Block - Unlike the blocks provided by some organizations, our blocks are soft, northwestern pine blocks, cut precisely to 7 inches long, 1-3/4 inches wide, and 1-1/4 inches tall. These dimensions, as well as the axle slots accurately duplicate the dimensions of standard pinewood derby blocks from BSA and PineCar.

  • Simple Axle Preparation - Don't worry about filing off flaws, or losing hub caps. Our Speed Axles have no burrs or crimp marks, and install without hub caps. With or without polishing, they are ready to go. We supply five, so you have a spare.

  • Quality Wheels - Forget cheap, out of round wheels. We supply top-quality, PineCar-brand wheels to give great performance.
So, if your organization does not mandate a particular kit type, consider our Maximum Velocity Car Kits
Inventory Clearance Sale

We have a few items on Inventory Clearance. Supplies are limited so make sure to get these discounted products before they are gone!

  • Racer Car Kit

  • Tapered Tungsten Cylinders

  • Pinewood Wizard Body
Can We Help?
If we can help you in any way with your pinewood derby project, or if you have any feedback regarding this newsletter, please contact us at:

Feature Article

Pinewood Derby for Boy Scouts

Every year, hundreds of thousands of kids engage in building a pinewood derby car for the annual race. The majority of these children are Cub Scouts, ranging in school age from first to fifth grade.

Actually, instead of stating "thousands of kids", I should have said "thousands of parents, and their children"; for in reality the parents do the majority of work in most cases, especially for the younger kids. Since pinewood derby building requires cutting tools, strength, and dexterity, younger children really cannot be expected to build the cars without significant help.

Why then does BSA (Boy Scouts of America) target the pinewood derby solely at Cub Scouts, their younger organization? I believe the reason is strictly historical. Originally, Don Murphy designed the pinewood derby event as a younger kid's alternative to the soap box derby, which was the Boy Scout event. Since then, the pinewood derby has stayed with the Cub Scouts.

In my opinion it is time to reconsider. So, I am writing an open letter to BSA, asking them to consider opening up the pinewood derby to Boy Scouts. If you are in BSA leadership, and you are in agreement with the intent of this letter, please inlclude your name at the bottom of the letter and send it to your council leadership. With enough grass roots input, a change can happen.

Note: Those of you that are cynically inclined will assume that I am writing this letter in the hopes of increasing sales for Maximum Velocity. I admit that this has crossed my mind. However, if the event is organized as a boy-only event (no parental involvement), which is my intent, then the revenue increase for pinewood derby vendors due to sanctioned Boy Scout races would be very minimal.

Dear Sirs:

For over fifty years, Cub Scouts have been building and racing pinewood derby cars under the sanction of Boy Scouts of America. Overall, it has been a wildly successful event. Not only is the event enthusiastically anticipated by Cub Scouts nationwide (and to some extent world-wide), but it has also served to bring in considerable revenue to your organization.

I would like to offer a suggestion for continuing the growth and success of the pinewood derby event. That is, extending the sanction of pinewood derby racing to Boy Scouts.

When a Tiger Cub has their first pinewood derby, clearly a parent must be heavily involved, as the young child does not have the dexterity or strength to build a car on their own. As the child progress through Cub Scouts, the level of parental involvement should diminish as the capability of the child increases. But just as the boy reaches a point where he can build a car entirely on his own, the boy advances into Boy Scouts, and the event is over. What a shame!

Originally, Boy Scouts were involved in Soap Box Derby Racing, so the boys had something to advance into. But today, Boy Scouts are not typically involved in Soap Box Derby Racing, so Boy Scouts no longer have the opportunity to build and race cars.

So, the question must be asked, why not sanction pinewood derby racing for Boy Scouts? Let me provide you several reasons for strongly considering this action.

  1. Enjoyment - Boys enjoy building pinewood derby cars. Sanctioning a Boy Scout event would allow this enjoyment to continue, especially since the boys would be able to build their own car.

  2. Skill Growth - A Boy Scout pinewood derby race would allow the boys to hone their skills further, without parental involvement. A merit badge could be provided for the boy that builds and races a car entirely on his own.

  3. Revenue Generation - Certainly, extending the pinewood derby event to Boy Scouts would increase sales of pinewood derby kits and accessories, providing revenue for your organization.

Note that continuing the event beyond Cub Scouting age is not unusual. For example, here are the age ranges for other organizations that hold similar events.

  • Awana: Aimed at grades 3 to 8, but can extend down to kindergarten.

  • Royal Rangers: Kindergarten to 12th grade.

  • Royal Ambassadors: 1st to 6th grade.

  • Christian Service Brigade: Primarily grades 3 to 6, but is optionally offered up to 12th grade.

In summary, I ask that you consider this suggestion as it will be of general benefit to your organization.

Yours in scouting, Randy Davis


A poet and a scientist were traveling together on a plane. The scientist was bored and said to the poet, "Hey, you, do you want to play a game? I'll ask you a question, and if you get it wrong, you give me $5. Then, you ask me a question, and if I can't answer it, I'll give you $5."

The poet thought about this for a moment, but he decided against it, seeing that the scientist was obviously a very bright man. He politely turned down the scientist's offer.

The scientist, who was really bored, tried again. "Look, I'll ask you a question, and if you can't answer it, you give me $5. Then you ask me a question, and if I can't answer it, I'll give you $50."

The poet agreed. "Okay," the scientist said, "What is the exact distance between the Earth and the Moon?"

The poet, obviously not knowing the answer, didn't stop to think about the scientist's question. He took a $5 bill out of his pocket and handed it to the scientist.

The scientist happily accepted the bill and promptly said, "Okay, now it's your turn."

The poet thought about this for a few minutes, then asked, "All right, what goes up a mountain on three legs, but comes down on four?"

The bright glow quickly vanished from the scientist's face. He thought about this for a long time, taking out his notepad and making numerous calculations. He finally gave up on his notepad and took out his laptop, using his Multimedia Encyclopedia.

As the plane was landing the scientist gave up. He reluctantly handed the poet a $50 bill. The poet accepted it graciously, getting ready to stand up.

"Wait!" the scientist shouted, "You can't do this to me! What's the answer?"

The poet looked at the scientist and calmly put a $5 bill into his hand.

Car Showcase

Help! We are out of cars for the showcase!

Do you have a car you would like to 'show off' to our readers? If so, send us a photo of your car along with a brief description of any special features. Also, please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.Please e-mail photos to:

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640x480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the car, similar to the orientation of this car:

Send only one photo per car, unless an additional photo is needed to adequately show a feature. Also, only one car per subscriber per year please. Thanks!


In looking over the rules for my son's derby, I don't understand a few terms. What does "Indented" or "High-sloped" Car Noses mean?

I believe the rules are prohibiting high nose (aka 'Barge Nose') cars. Here is an example of one:

Indented nose cars are also prohibited, such as this one:

The intent of these nose styles is to provide a faster start.

What holds back the cars at the starting line?

There are innumerable versions of tracks and starting lines, but generally metal, wooden, or plastic pins are used to hold the cars at the starting line. Here are some pictures of the starting line of different tracks:

Wooden Track

Aluminum Track From BestTrack

Plastic Track from SuperTimer

What is the recommended order for preparing the wheels?

Here is the wheel preparation order that I recommend:

  1. Square the hubs with the Pro-Hub tool,

  2. Mount the wheel on a Pro-Wheel Mandrel
  3. and sand/smooth the tread,

  4. Cone the wheel hubs with the Pro-Hub tool,

  5. Polish the wheel bore with Bore Polish.

Do You Have Questions that Need Answers?
Do you have a pinewood derby-related question? If so, send your question to: We answer all questions by e-mail, but not every question will appear in the Q&A section of the newsletter.

Back Issues

Are you a new subscriber, or have you missed some of the previous newsletters? Don't miss out!

We have just added an index of all newsletter articles since the first edition in October of 2001. We hope this helps you find information more quickly. To view the index Click Here

All of the issues for Volumes 5 through 7 are posted on our web site:

Volume 7

  1. Volume 7, Issue 1

  2. Volume 7, Issue 2

  3. Volume 7, Issue 3

  4. Volume 7, Issue 4

  5. Volume 7, Issue 5

  6. Volume 7, Issue 6

  7. Volume 7, Issue 7

  8. Volume 7, Issue 8
Volume 6

  1. Volume 6, Issue 1

  2. Volume 6, Issue 2

  3. Volume 6, Issue 3

  4. Volume 6, Issue 4

  5. Volume 6, Issue 5

  6. Volume 6, Issue 6

  7. Volume 6, Issue 7

  8. Volume 6, Issue 8

  9. Volume 6, Issue 9

  10. Volume 6, Issue 10

  11. Volume 6, Issue 11

  12. Volume 6, Issue 12

  13. Volume 6, Issue 13

  14. Volume 6, Issue 14

  15. Volume 6, Issue 15
Volume 5

  1. Volume 5, Issue 1

  2. Volume 5, Issue 2

  3. Volume 5, Issue 3

  4. Volume 5, Issue 4

  5. Volume 5, Issue 5

  6. Volume 5, Issue 6

  7. Volume 5, Issue 7

  8. Volume 5, Issue 8

  9. Volume 5, Issue 9

  10. Volume 5, Issue 10

  11. Volume 5, Issue 11

  12. Volume 5, Issue 12

  13. Volume 5, Issue 13

  14. Volume 5, Issue 14

  15. Volume 5, Issue 15
Issues from the four previous seasons are available in four formatted volumes, ready for immediate download. To find out more, Click Here.

Newsletter Contributions

We welcome your contributions! If you would like to contribute an article, a web site review, or a speed tip, please send it to:

Please read our submission policy.

Subscription Information

The Pinewood Derby Times is a free e-newsletter focused on the Pinewood Derby. It is published bi-weekly from October through April.

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Randy Davis, Editor, Pinewood Derby Times

Copyright ©2008, Randy Davis. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint or place this newsletter on your web site without explicit permission. However, if you like this newsletter we grant permission, and encourage you to e-mail it to a friend.

The author disclaims any personal loss or liability caused by utilization of any information presented in this newsletter.

The Pinewood Derby Times is not specific to, and is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts, YMCA, Awana, or any other organization.

®Maximum Velocity! is a registered trademark of Maximum Velocity! Pinewood Derby Products.
Pinewood Derby, and Space Derby are registered trademarks of Boys Scouts of America. All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

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