pinewood derby big rig turquoise front

Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 18, Issue 10 – February 6, 2019

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article: Wedge Bodies – Where to Drill the Weight Holes
– Humor
– Product Showcase: 10% Off Entire Order
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Pinewood Derby Memory: The Pinewood Derby Prayer
– Q&A

Editor’s Notes

New Product: Underglow Lights
Make your pinewood derby car stand out from the crowd with Underglow Lights!

pinewood derby underglow lights

These LED lights stick to the bottom of the pinewood derby car and give your car some real flair. The Underglow Lights have four settings which are selected by repeatedly pressing the button on the control module: off, fast-flash, slow-flash, and on. You can find the Underglow Lights Here

Bulk Sticker Decal Special Offer
Do you need 25 or more decals to sell or distribute at your group or club? We can offer you a deep discount on bulk sticker decal orders. Contact us for more information.

Adult Pinewood Derby Race in Maryland
The BSA Mason-Dixon Council has announced an Adult Pinewood Derby Race:

Fleur-De-Lis 500
Hagerstown Valley Mall
March 3rd, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.

Click here for or more information.

Call for Photos
Help, we are out of photos for the Pinewood Derby Car Showcase. Please send us a photo of your car along with a description of any special features to: [email protected]

Please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.

Pinewood Derby NitroRail Car

Photos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640×480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the pinewood derby car, similar to the orientation of this car.

Make sure the photo is not blurry. If your photos are blurry, try holding 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. Printer paper works well as a background.

Send only one photo per car, unless an additional photo is needed to adequately show a feature. Don’t forget to include your name, the name of the car (if it has one), and a brief write up on any design features, inspiration for the design, and how the car performed at the race. Thanks.

Inventory Clearance Sale
We are clearing inventory on several pinewood derby items including:

  • Tungsten & Tundra Weights
  • Formula One, Vector, and Raptor car kits
  • Tools, including Digital Calipers, 5 ounce test weight, and more
  • Wheel Covers

We don’t have many remaining, so don’t delay. You can find these items Here.

MV Basic & Wedge Car Kits
MV Wedge Basic Pinewood Derby KitMV Basic Pinewood Derby KitIf you are planning a pinewood derby 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 Pinewood Derby 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 pinewood derby 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. We also offer bulk packs of MV kits in Pre-cut Shapes.

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

Feature Article
Wedge Bodies – Where to Drill the Weight Holes

If you look at the offering of internet pinewood derby vendors, you will usually find a Wedge body. These bodies will come with either:

  • No weight holes (drill your own or use underbody weights)
  • 2 weight holes drilled into the side of the body, and additional weight holes drilled in the bottom of the car
  • 3 weight holes drilled into the side of the body
  • 4 weight holes drilled into the side of the body

The only thing I’ll say about option 1 is that you pay a lot of money to save yourself one saw cut!

But let’s focus on the weight hole options and ask a few questions.

  1. Why do some vendors drill three holes and other vendors drill four holes in the side of the car?
  2. Why do some vendors drill only side holes, while other vendors (specifically Maximum Velocity) drill holes in the side and in the bottom of the car?

pinewood derby car wedgesFigure1 – Three, Four, and Two Hole Wedges
Photo Source:  Clockwise starting at top-left
WinDerby, Pinewood Pro, Maximum Velocity

Three Versus Four Holes
The number of holes in the car will determine the types of weight that can be used on the car. Specifically, let’s consider steel, lead, and tungsten.

Assuming the typical wedge body does not require more than three ounces of added weight, then the following amount of 3/8 inch OD material will be needed to weight the car:

Steel – Twelve, 1/2-inch-long cylinders – three per side hole, four side holes required

Lead – Three, 1-1/2-inch-long cylinders – one per side hole, three side holes required

Tungsten – Six, 7/16-inch-long cylinders – three per side hole (1), two side holes required

So, if a vendor wishes to support steel weight then they will need four side holes: three for supporting lead, and two for supporting tungsten only.

Note that steel weighting will not provide a very aggressive balance point, but it is much cheaper than tungsten, and non-toxic.

Side Holes Versus Bottom Holes
When cars have side holes, then usually a large portion of the weight is glued into the car and all but one of the side holes is filled with wood filler. After the car is completed, one of the side holes will remain visible so that the car’s weight can be fine-tuned. Some people find this to be an acceptable solution. (2)

But for those that do not want visible holes in the side of the car, then the only solution is to drill your own tuning hole in the bottom of the car or attach under-body weight for fine tuning. It seems to me that if you are purchasing a wedge body, you would want the woodworking to be complete, and a method of weight tuning should be available from the vendor.

At Maximum Velocity, we decided to provide two side holes to accommodate most of the weight. As previously mentioned, the side holes would be filled with weight, sealed with wood filler, and then painted. The under-body holes are then available for fine tuning.

Our standard wheelbase wedge bodies have enough bottom holes to accommodate steel – if you are using lead or tungsten, many of the bottom holes will not be used. On our extended wheelbase wedge bodies, only three bottom holes exist, which are equal in volume to one side hole. Thus, either lead or tungsten can be used for weighting.

One concern I have heard many times is that people are afraid that the weight will fall out of bottom holes. Obviously if the wrong glue is used, this could happen. But with the correct glue, the weight will be very secure. I recommend gap filling glues such as epoxy or hot-glue. Avoid water-based glues (white or yellow glue) and avoid superglue.

Another concern I have heard is that the bottom hole may detract from the aerodynamics of the car. The aerodynamic effect of open bottom holes is not a measurable factor. However, if it is a concern, then the holes can be filled (use less weight), or a very thin piece of wood or plastic can be glued to the bottom of the car to cover the non-used holes. I know some people use tape to cover open bottom holes or pockets, but I would be concerned that the tape may curl up as the car slides on its belly in the braking section of the track.

Whether the wedge body has all side holes or side and bottom holes is a preference issue, not a performance issue. I believe that having bottom holes is more convenient and results in a nicer looking car. But the ultimate decision as to which type of body to use is really up to the car builder.

(1) If the car body is not narrowed, then you can get four cylinders per hole, but the sides of the cylinders will be visible.

(2) Some people figure out exactly how much weight they will need, taking into account the weight of the wood filler and the paint. They then fill all the side holes with wood filler before painting. This does eliminate exposed side holes, but it assumes that the official scale has the same calibration as the scale of the builder. If the official scale weighs the car heavy, then the car owner must drill into the car, greatly increasing the risk of damage.


The unusually rainy winter we have had in Phoenix this year reminded me of a joke some of our Seattle, Washington relatives related a few years ago. It seems a lady moved from Phoenix to Seattle and when she arrived it was raining. While she moved in, it rained. The next day it rained… and the next.

After several rainy days, while standing on her porch, she noticed a young boy on the porch of her neighbor’s house. Trying not to sound too depressed, in a cheerful voice she called over to the lad, “Hi son, I’m your new neighbor.”

“Hi,” the boy called back and waved.

“Say, son, does it ever stop raining here?” she asked.

With a look of consternation, the youngster replied, “Lady, how would I know? I’m only six years old!”

Product Showcase
Everything – 10% Off

Through February 20, 2019, you can get 10 percent off your entire order To take advantage of this limited time offer use coupon code FEB6NL during checkout.

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Today’s cars (actually Big Rigs) are from Stephen Henry.

“These two Big Rigs were entered in the Mid America Derby in 2018. Instead of trying to locate original BSA kits, we made our own and used Maximum Velocity Big Rig Axles with BSA wheels to meet the Mid America rules. The turquoise rig came in third in the B class (straight truck) while the yellow truck won the A class (separate tractor and trailer).

pinewood derby big rig turquoise front

pinewood derby big rig turquoise top view

pinewood derby big rig yellow front

pinewood derby big rig yellow detached

I had just received my first 3D printer a month before the race, so I used it to make the grilles, headlights, bumpers, mirrors, exhaust stacks, fuel tanks, and on the yellow truck, a scaled down fifth wheel hitch.

Even with the dual wheels, the yellow truck is still set up to rail ride. Only the yellow wheels on the tractor touch, the rest are raised.”

Editor’s Note:  Maximum Velocity also offer 18-Wheeler Wheel/Axles Sets.

Share Your Car Photo

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 description of any special features to: [email protected]

Please include your full name. If selected, we will include the photo and description in this newsletter.

Pinewood Derby NitroRail CarPhotos must be sent by e-mail in JPG format (minimum size of 640×480, maximum size of 1280 x 960). Please shoot photos from the front left of the car, similar to the orientation of car shown at:

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.

Pinewood Derby Memory
The Pinewood Derby Prayer

After I read your newsletter that was forwarded to me by a friend, I felt a need to share a special Pinewood Derby moment in my oldest son’s life.  When my son was a Webelos II in Pack 169 in Egham, England, our Cubmaster, Glenn Brace, wrote a Pinewood Derby poem that he read prior to our Derby race. I feel the poem says it all.

The Pinewood Derby Prayer

Hey God, we ask you to draw near
And bless the boys who gather here.
This is the day they’ve waited for
Their blocks of wood are blocks no more.
Plastic wheels and dime store nails
Become the stuff of sporting tales
Of finishes too close to see!
You’re here for every victory.

You bless the winners in their joy
But there’s another kind of boy
Whose handiwork is blessed by you
Because his hands tried something new.
You smile upon the crooked wheel,
The paint job done with boyish zeal,
The splintered car, the sloppy glue.
You love the work that Your sons do.

But there is one here in this place
Who shows the greatness of Your grace.
He is the boy who hasn’t won
But when he hears the starting gun
He’s there to cheer his fellow scouts
His are the loudest victory shouts.
And when his brothers haven’t won,
He’s just the one to say “well done,
You’ve tried your best and you’ve had fun,
There are more races to be run.”

And so, dear God, we hear you say
Upon this happy Derby Day,
“Remember, whether best or worst,
Remember, you are brothers first.”

Glenn Brace
Cubmaster, Pack 169

Submitted by:

Pam Pender
Tiger Den Leader, Pack 52
Troop Committee Member, Troop 52
Morgantown, West Virginia

Do you Remember?

If you have a pinewood derby story that is funny, unusual, sad, heart-warming, etc., please send it to me in an e-mail. Don’t worry about literary polish. We will edit as needed before publishing.

If your story is used, you will receive a $10 coupon in May of 2019.


I have a few questions about the 3D printed Pinewood Derby Accel Fenders. (1) Are they legal in scout derbies? (2) Does the car body have to be a certain thickness for these to fit or work? (3) Are the fenders sold as a complete set?

(1) Generally, fenders are legal in all races. They are considered an accessory (like a toy driver, exhaust pipes, engines, etc.). As long as accessories are permanently attached, do not cause the car to exceed a dimension or weight limit, and do not impart momentum, they are legal. However, certainly check the rules for your race for any exceptions. (2) The car can be quite thin. I have seen fenders put on ¼ inch thick cars. I have personally used them on a 5/16-inch-thick car. (3) The fenders are sold in pairs: Part 5501 – Front fenders, Part 5502 – Rear fenders. Some people put a set of front fenders in front of the front wheels, a set of rear fenders behind the front wheels, and a set of front (or rear) fenders in front of the rear wheels.

pinewood derby accel fenders

You can find the Accel Fenders Here.

Does the P370 – PineCar® Basic Car Kit have the option of one-piece axles and nail axles? I thought we ordered these previously and there was an option of either nail axles or one-piece axles but on the description, I’m just seeing nail axles.

PineCar Wheels & Rod Axles

Over the summer of 2018, PineCar changed the content of P370 to just have the nail axles. The only way to get the long rod axles is to order their wheel/axle replacement sets. I don’t know why they made the change, but I’m sure it will disappoint many people.

There are still some kits floating around with the rod axles; it will probably take a year for them to all get sold. I still occasionally get a case in that have the rod axles.

If you are interested in a kit with nicer wheels and at a lower price, you might check out our MV Basic Car kit.

I’m trying to figure out which wheels I can buy without being disqualified. Our rules read:

“No alteration, narrowing, lathe cutting, or re-shaping of the wheels (inside or outside) is allowed. Light sanding to wheel treads to remove irregularities is permissible. However, the serrated edges of the wheel treads must remain visible. Minimum wheel diameter is 1.180 inches (most wheels measure between 1.195 to 1.200 inches).”

Unfortunately, your organizers are out of date. Currently the average raw BSA wheel is 1.182 to 1.186 (not 1.195). So, if they are truly measuring the wheel diameter, anyone that does more than an extremely light sanding will have an out of spec wheel.

So, none of our BSA speed wheels will meet this spec (they meet a 1.170 spec). All we offer that would meet your spec are our Premium Matched Wheels, which are raw wheels from one of the better molds, so they will be truer than the average wheel.

You might mention to your race organizers that their rules need to be updated. The 1.195 diameter was for wheels made prior to 2009. Since then, they range from 1.182 to 1.186.

Want Answers?
Do you have a pinewood derby-related question? If so, e-mail us your question.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 18 are posted on our web site.

Newsletter Contributions
We welcome your contributions. If you would like to contribute an article, a web site review, a speed tip, or a pinewood derby memory, please e-mail us.

Subscription Information
The Pinewood Derby Times is a free e-newsletter focused on pinewood derby racing. It is published biweekly from October through March.

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

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Randy Davis, Editor, Pinewood Derby Times
E-Mail: [email protected]

(C)2019, Maximum Velocity, Inc. 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 of America, YMCA, Awana, or any other organization.

(R)Maximum Velocity is a registered trademark of Maximum Velocity, Inc.
(R)Pinewood Derby is a registered trademarks of the Boys Scouts of America.
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All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.

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