Pinewood Derby Times
Volume 14, Issue 10
February 11, 2015

In this Edition:

- Editor's Notes

- Feature Article - Pre-Race Events Add Excitement

- Humor

- Product Showcase - Skull Tungsten Canopy - $2.00 Off

- Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

- Q&A

Editor's Notes

Skull Tungsten Canopy
Check out the 2.9 ounce Skull Tungsten Canopy. It provides a quick way to add weight and decorate your car at the same time. You can find out more about the canopy Here. Get one at a discount in our Product Showcase.

Aero Fenders
New Lower Price
We now are offering Aero Fenders at a lower price so that more people can afford the cool look and performance gain of fenders. Our precision, laser-cut Aero Fenders improve air flow over the wheels, resulting in a (typical) gain of a few milliseconds at the finish line. Both front and rear fenders are available (in pine or balsa), and are typically used together. You can find the Aero Fenders Here

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:
MV Basic & Wedge Car Kits

If you are planning a race and are not required to use a specific kit type, our MV Basic or Wedge Car Kit are 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. Our MV wheels are top-quality wheels. You will not be disappointed with the quality of these wheels.

So, if your organization does not mandate a particular kit type, consider our MV Basic Car Kits or MV Wedge Car Kits

Feature Article

Pre-Race Events Add Excitement
By Randy Davis

If you have ever been to a contemporary concert, there seems to always be a "warm-up" act. Why is this done? To build audience excitement, and get the attendees in the mood for the main event.

Similarly a pre-race event serves as a warm-up act for your pinewood derby event. The presence of such an event will generate excitement and encourage people to arrive early. Larry Walser of Pack 436 in Rochester, Pennsylvania points out that if you have trouble getting people to assist in setting up the facilities for the pinewood derby race, holding a pre-race event can also draw additional set-up help.

There are of course innumerable ideas for pre-race events, and I am sure that you can come up with some great ideas. But to help stir the mental process, below are several events that have been held at our local race, and at the local races of our readers.

Special Races
Special races are great because they involve members of your group. Here are two popular ideas.

Hot Wheels Race
A Hot Wheels race is a great way to get the little tykes involved. We held this event with great success for two years. Our method was as follows. Each pre-school child was allowed to enter one Hot Wheels car (could be Matchbox or any other manufacturer). The check-in was held fifteen minutes before the Hot Wheels race, which allowed time to collect the cars and the names of the kids. The race was a simple double elimination with a prize for first. We gave a gift certificate to an ice cream parlor as the prize.

To accommodate the cars, we purchased some Hot Wheels track and laid two lanes between the center guide rails on the pinewood derby track. The cars would have run right on the pinewood derby track, but we didn't want to take the risk of marring the wood. Of course, the Hot Wheels track was much shorter than the pinewood derby track, and since it did not reach to the electronic finish line, we used two leaders as finish line judges.

Adult Race
Adult races are quite popular as a pre-race event. Several readers mentioned that adult races are held at their local race. John Hubler of Pack 165 in Round Rock, Texas says that they find an adult race is a great tool to prepare the track workers for the main event. Larry Walser of Pack 436 also mentioned that with an adult race, the parents had their own project, so the kids did more work on their own cars!

We hold an adult (Outlaw) race every year. The rules are fairly open - one year we even allowed (safe) power assistance. The winning car for our adult race was built by yours truly. It was propeller-driven and very fast.1

Original Propeler Car

Demonstrations relating to racing are also popular pre-race events. Two demonstrations we have used are listed below, but you might consider another event such as an R/C car race in the parking lot (check with the local hobby store for a local club that might stage the event).

Race Car
One year we invited a local stock car race team to bring a car to our event. They showed the car and started the engine (in retrospect, this was not the best idea as it was so loud that people inside the building had to cover their ears!). But the kids and parents thought the car was cool and they enjoyed talking to the team and getting photo-ops in the car.

Lester Bowes of Marietta, Ohio used local dirt track drivers as starters for their race. The drivers wore their race suits, and signed autographs during down time. Some even brought pictures of their cars to sign.

Rocket Car
Several years ago we demonstrated the "World's Fastest Pinewood Derby Car." The car used a pinewood derby block, but was equipped with a rocket motor and rubber tires. The rocket car raced on a guide string in the parking lot. We actually had two of the cars racing drag race style down two strings. It was a real crowd pleaser. More information can be found Here.

Rocket Car

Kid Design Voting
John Hubler told us that Pack 165 allows the older participants to vote for "Best of Show" before the race. When registered, each car is entered in one of four "Best of Show" categories:
Each entrant is then given three ballots with the four categories listed. The entrant can fill out all three ballots, or share them with relatives/friends. Awards are then presented after the ballots are tallied.

We used to have an adult team decide on the design awards. But about five years ago we started allowing the entrants to vote for their favorite three cars in each age group. Each entrant is given one ballot (see below). We don't give a ballot to each attendee as that might lead to ballot box stuffing in the case of large clans. The voters then pick their favorite three cars in each group (ordering of the cars was not important). Then after the ballots were turned in, my wife tallies up the votes and the design awards are given to the cars with the most votes.

Design Ballot

Special Guests
A final category for pre-race events is special guest speakers. Possibilities include a local policeman, fireman, civic leader, etc. Maybe you can even find a celebrity or a sports star. Encourage the speaker to talk at the kid's level, and discuss a topic of interest to them. A talk on cars, racing, or another transportation-related topic would be even better.

Pre-race events are fun and a great way to generate interest. Hopefully one or more of these ideas will work in your local race. If not, put on your thinking cap and come up with another!

1We currently offer a modern propeller car - much faster than the original. More information about the car can be found Here.


Great Truths That Little Children Have Learned
  1. No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.

  2. When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.

  3. If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.

  4. Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.

  5. You can't trust dogs to watch your food.

  6. Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.

  7. Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.

  8. You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.

  9. Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.

  10. The best place to be when you're sad is Grandpa's lap.

Product Showcase

Incra   Skull Tungsten Canopy   
$2.00 Off

Give your car a very distinctive look with our 2.9 ounce Skull Tungsten Canopy. The Skull Tungsten Canopy can be easily used for pinewood derby car weighting if the weight of the car body, wheels, and axles is less than 2.1 ounces. Drill a 3/8 inch diameter hole into the top of the car body (generally the hole is drilled all the way through the car). Apply epoxy in the hole, and spread just a little epoxy on the top of the car as well. Mount the canopy and allow it to dry.

Through February 24, 2015, you can get a Skull Tungsten Canopy for $2.00 off. To take advantage of this limited time offer, add part 5036 to your shopping cart Here, and apply coupon code FEB11NL before pressing the "Proceed to Checkout" button.

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Iwo Jima - Scott Lewallen

We just took 1st place in design in the BSA pinewood derby. The car was inspired by Scott Morill's car, which was shown in a previous newsletter.

Scott Morill's car (Volume 8, Issue 10)

Pikachu - Darren Gorman

My 10 year old and I built Pikachu together. It took 1st place, and was the Scouts' Choice winner!

Home Depot - Mitchell Swoboda

Our Home Depot car came in 2nd place. We got the decals from Southern Motorsport Hobbies (

Share Your Car With Our Readers

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. 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:

For better focus, keep the camera four or five feet away from the car, and then use the camera's zoom to fill the frame with the car. Also, use a solid (preferably white) background for the photo.

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!


Do your 4035 Polished Rail-Rider BSA Speed Axles meet the 2015 Pinewood Derby Rules?

You would need to check your local rules to see if they are legal. The only "official" rules are those that come in the BSA kit. By the kit rules, bent axles are legal.

However, most packs have they own rules, which are usually more strict. So you would want to check your local rules to see if bent axles are allowed.

We ran our car three times down the track in a trial run yesterday. It ran great and was lubricated with graphite already. Should we lubricate it again before the real race or should we leave it alone?

It depends. If you thoroughly lubed the wheels (5 minutes per wheel of adding graphite, spinning, adding graphite, spinning, etc), then you will be fine. But if you just did a casual lube job, then I would work some more graphite into the wheels/axles.

On your Propeller Car Kit, how many seconds does the fan run on a charge?

On a full charge, the fan runs at peak RPM instantly and then slowly decreases in RPM. The charge is exhausted in just less than 15 seconds. Of course, the car is past the finish line in just under 1.5 seconds (on a 32 foot track).

Do You Have Questions that Need Answers?
Do you have a pinewood derby-related question? If so, send your question to: info.maximum-velocity@com. 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! All of the issues for Volume 5 through Volume 14 are posted on our web site and can be found using our Newsletter Index.

Issues from Volumes 1 to 4 are available in four formatted documents, 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 biweekly from October through March.

Please Forward This Issue to a Friend

If you haven't already done so, feel free to forward this issue to your pinewood derby friends. But please don't subscribe your friends. Let them decide for themselves. Thanks.

Sign Up

If this newsletter was forwarded to you, why not subscribe to receive this newsletter. It is absolutely FREE and your e-mail address is safe, as we never sell or share our distribution list.

To subscribe, enter your e-mail address below and press 'Subscribe'. You will be sent a confirmation e-mail. Reply to the e-mail to complete the subscription.
Type Your E-mail Address

Randy Davis, Editor, Pinewood Derby Times

Copyright ©2015, 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.

Maximum Velocity 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, Inc.

®Pinewood Derby, Regatta, and Space Derby are registered trademarks of Boys Scouts of America.

®Awana is a trademark of Awana Clubs International.

All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

Mailing list services are provided by:

Pinewood Derby Banner