pinewood derby herbie car

Pinewood Derby Times, Volume 18, Issue 11 – February 20, 2019

In this Edition

– Editor’s Notes
– Feature Article: Pinewood Derby Car Design Award Judging
– Humor
– Product Showcase: 20% Off Pre-Cut Car Kits
– Pinewood Derby Car Showcase
– Pinewood Derby Memory: Perseverance
– Q&A

Editor’s Notes

Bulk Sticker Decal Special OfferJackal Decals Sampler Pack
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.

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

  • Tungsten & Tundra Weights
  • Awana Speed Wheels
  • Super Speed Axles
  • Formula One, Vector, and Raptor car kits
  • Blocks with Weight Holes
  • Tools, including Digital Calipers, 5-ounce test weight, and more.
  • DerbyDome

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

Krytox 100 Withdrawn by the Manufacturerpinewood derby lubricant krytox
The Krytox family of lubricants (including GPL-100, aka Krytox 100) was sold by Dupunt to the Chemours Chemical Company. After the sale was complete, Chemours announced that they will no longer be manufacturing the lightest-weight oils, which includes Krytox 100, 101, and 102. So Krytox 100 is no longer being manufactured and is no longer available from the US distributor Miller-Stephenson.

Over time, Krytox 100 will become increasingly scarce; if you are a Krytox 100 user, you may want to get a supply sooner than later. Maximum Velocity offers Krytox 100 Here.

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.

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
Pinewood Derby Car Design Award Judging
By Randy Davis

Have you ever had the experience of hearing the results of pinewood derby car design judging, and going, “What were they thinking? I certainly wouldn’t have picked those cars.”

I know I have felt this way. Each year, the design judges would pick a beautiful car, then a decent car, then a poorly built car. I asked them why they picked the poorly built car, and they said, “Well, we picked it because we think the child did it by themselves and we felt sorry for them.” I can appreciate their feelings, but this is probably not the right criteria for selecting a design award.

I recently ran across a blog post from Bryan Wendell describing how Christie Finch and Casey Crausauz (Pack 148 in Lebanon, Tennessee) also were dissatisfied with the design judging. Both Pack 148 and I decided to do something about it. Pack 148’s solution is described in This Blog Post and I have summarized it in the next section.

My solution is a little different, and it is described in the section “Our Method”. Lastly, I have included a brief discussion of a common question: “Should one car win both a speed and design award?”

I hope that you find this information useful. If you have a unique way of judging cars for design awards, please share your method with me.

Pack 148’s Method

Pack 148 decided to provide criteria to the judges with which to judge each individual car. The criteria are:  originality, craftsmanship, technique, and judge’s choice (allows judge to give points for unique features not covered by the other three criteria). But the fundamental rule was that each car is judged on its own merits; cars are not compared with each other. The judges tally up the points for each car, and the winners are then selected by highest score.

While the above method is used at their pack races, selection of the design awards at the district race is done in a different way. The design winners from each pack are displayed with a “ballot box” for each car. Each entrant in the race is given a token for voting; they simply drop the token in the ballot box of their favorite car. The number of tokens in each box are counted and the design award winners selected.

pinewood derby district ballot box

District Race Ballot Box
(Judges card from pack race shown as inset)
Photo Source:

Our Method

Our method is similar to Pack 148’s district method. 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 on the ballot is not important). Then after the ballots are turned in, the votes are tallied up and the design awards are given to the cars with the most votes.

After implementing this method, we found that the car owners and their families were much more engaged before the race, and the results of the voting seemed very reasonable. Instead of cars being selected that I would never have included, all the trophy winners have been in my choice of the top five cars.

pinewood derby race design ballot

Our Design Award Ballot


Speed and Design Awards to the Same Car

Now we come to question as to whether one car should win more than one trophy. Certainly, there are arguments on both sides, a few of which are included below.


  • If a car owner spent the time making a beautiful car that is also very fast, why should they not be awarded for both?
  • If speed award winners are precluded from winning a design award, people will tend to focus more on speed than on looks, leading to more bland cars.


  • We want as many cars as possible to win an award. They should not be won by a few select cars.

Personally, I favor letting the awards go to those that earn them. Excluding speed winners from winning design awards tends to make the design awards akin to consolation prizes, diminishing the value of those awards.

One way to have it both ways is to increase the number of design awards with awards for different categories such as: most creative, most car-like, most non-car-like, most colorful, etc. These can be certificates to limit the cost. Of course, it does take a little more effort to select winners, but more kids will get awards.

If you have a different opinion on this topic, please feel free to let me know your arguments for excluding speed award winners from also receiving a design award.


From scouring the internet for information on design awards, clearly there are a lot of different opinions. But I hope that this article has given you some information to help your organization decide how best to select design award winners.


Feeding the Baby

A first-time father was taking a turn at feeding the baby some strained peas. Naturally, there were traces of the food everywhere, especially on the infant.

His wife comes in, looks at the infant, then at her husband staring into space, then says, “What in the world are you doing?”

He replied, “I’m waiting for the first coat to dry, so I can put on another.”

First Words

My son crawled for the first time while I was away on exercises. I also missed Harry’s first steps and was afraid an upcoming course would cause me to miss his first words. Each day, I called home and asked if he had spoken yet. The answer was always “no”.

Until one day my wife said Harry had something to say to me. “Daddy, daddy,” I heard over the phone, and glowed with pride. My wife came back on the line and said, “You should come home as soon as possible.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Harry was speaking to the dog.”


While trying to explain to our six-year-old daughter how much technology had changed, my husband pointed to our brand-new desktop computer and told her that when he was in college, a computer with the same amount of power would have been the size of a house.

Wide-eyed, our daughter asked, “How big was the mouse?”

Product Showcase
All Pre-Cut Car Kits – 20% Offpinewood derby nitrorail car

Maximum Velocity offers a large assortment of pre-shaped car kits. From simple wedges to more complex shapes, you can find one that strikes your fancy. Check out all the car kits.

Through March 5, 2019, you can get 20% all pre-cut car kits. To take advantage of this limited time offer use coupon code Mar05NL during checkout.

Pinewood Derby Car Showcase

Today’s cars are from Chris Monroe.

Herbie the Love Bug

pinewood derby herbie car

This is a car I helped make with my neighbor in our den. It was really challenging with all the compound curves, but we worked through it and it turned out really nice. It didn’t set any speed records, but it did win our pack’s Best Design award for his rank.


pinewood derby rainbow car

My daughter requested a rainbow for the sibling race, so I tried to come up with a way to make it three dimensional. She loved painting it with me.

Red Rocket

pinewood derby red rocket car

This is my entry into our pack’s outlaw class. It is my first attempt at home-made razor wheels, and I used my CNC to cut out the body. I actually made a twin to this car to test some different steering angles, but this one was barely faster, so I entered it.

Rocket Launcher

pinewood derby rocket launcher car

This is my son’s entry into the outlaw class. We started out trying to get it into the 5-ounce limit for scout races but ended up unable to do that, so we piled on more bullets, angled the axles, and entered it into the outlaw class. Despite the weight, it wasn’t any faster than his scout-legal car, but it was a fun design!

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

My son Alex worked very hard on his car. I tried to help as best as I could but being a single mom and not that talented with power tools, I prayed a lot. His design was a nice race car shape we found on your site. It seemed simple enough until the band saw had a mind of its own. In one fell swoop the nice race car shape became a wedge. I was a little worried, but after reading the hints on your site it seemed like it might have all happened for a reason.

I then drilled the weight holes on the bottom and broke the first cardinal rule; I went right through the body. Again, I was a little worried but it looked like a logical place for the racer’s head! I handed over the car and Alex set to work sanding, priming, sanding again. We made a windshield from a plastic soda bottle and he painted the final coat.

Now it was time to weigh the car; it came in at 1.5 ounces! I guess I cut off more of the block than I realized. Panic set in. I scrounged up some flat metal and asked my brother to take them to work to be cut in the machine shop. The original idea of fishing weights nearly caused us to fall over with laughter – with a car at 1.5 ounces it was going to take more weights than car.

Then after the final finish coat of clear acrylic the car fell and split in front. A little glue, some clamps and a few prayers got us back on track. We got the car up to weight, 4.97 ounces, and Alex had to repaint. Thinking that I had totally ruined my son’s first Pinewood Derby, we set off to the pack race.

He was so excited when his car finished a full two car lengths ahead of the other Tigers. In all he took 1st Place in his Den, and he then raced the bigger boys and took 4th overall in the Pack. We celebrated with plastic stemware and ginger ale (champagne substitute)! Alex then raced at the Districts, and finished 21 out of 88 racers.

We had a good time building together and I learned it does not matter that I am a single mom. We can still do “guy” things together and have good results. Alex learned that it does not matter if he won or lost but that he did his best and that we can count on each other to get things done.

Susan Hanna
Proud mom of Tiger cub Alex Hanna
Cub pack 41, Johnsonsville, Pennsylvania

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.


Please advise me on installing BSA Speed Axles and Pro Ultralite BSA Speed Wheels on a BSA car kit with slots. I want to make sure I do it right.

First, you want to pre-install a spare axle into an axle slot, then remove the axle with a pair of pliers (twist and pull). This is best done on the raw block, but if the car is already cut out, clamp the car body to a spare block (bottom of car to the block) and then insert the axle. Repeat for the other three axle positions. This will establish the path for the real axles.

After lubricating the wheels and axles, install by pressing the axle into the slot/hole. The gap between the inner wheel hub and the car body should be about the thickness of a credit cart. Once installed DO NOT PULL on the wheel for any reason. If the wheel/axle must be removed, pull on the axle head.

In prior years there was a local group that helped build pinewood derby cars. Unfortunately, they no longer have a store front, so I am building the cars on my own this year.

The group would always put a small washer on one of the front wheels. Do you carry these washers or if you don’t carry them would you happen to know the size and where I could find them?

Sorry, we do not offer washers. I would go to a hardware store like ACE or True Value. They will have a large assortment of small washers.

However, be aware that most of the organizations that sponsor pinewood derby races do not allow the use of washers. I am only aware of one group that allows them. So, before using washers I would certainly check the rules for the race to make sure they are allowed.

I recently purchased some supplies from you that included a couple of pine blocks. I didn’t realize the blocks were drilled for three wheels on the ground until I cut the block; I was thinking the block was 4 wheels on the ground. To run four wheels with these blocks, do I need to bend an axle? I was hoping to avoid this.

First I would check your rules. If the rules do not require all four wheels on the ground, I would leave the front left wheel raised. This configuration generally runs faster and is easier to align.

If the rules do require all four wheels on the ground, then to use the blocks you have you would need to bend down the front left axle or re-drill the front-left axle hole.

By the way, we do offer blocks with all four wheels on the ground. You would order the same block, and then add option “9000-Four wheels on the ground“.

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]

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