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The Race

The first step is to understand the race itself.  The tracks are generally 4 lanes and have a starting post that the cars lean against for an even start. The tracks may have a flat incline or a curve shape.  Usually, a starter will place each car in its proper lane although on occasion they will allow the scouts themselves to place the cars.  Each lane has a center rail which the car straddles to keep the car in the lane and from interfering with other cars.  This center rail is a primary contact point and we will show you how to avoid contact with the center rail as much as possible.  Each car will be run on each lane at least once to assure fairness of times as certain lanes will be faster than others.  They will likely have two sets of heats where the cars that ran towards the beginning of the first heat will run towards the end of the second heat and vice versa.  This is also necessary to assure fairness of times as each lane will actually get faster over the period of the heats as graphite will accumulate on the track over a period of time, reducing friction, and creating faster times.  Also, each car will go faster with each race due to the accumulation of graphite and continued polishing of the axle and wheel with each revolution.  (One of the best speed tips actually requires pre-running of the car in at least 100 races prior to your first derby race; stay tuned for how we accomplish this terrific tip).  Some races, especially those with a large number of cars will stop after the second heat and average times over the races in the first 2 heats and select the winners at that time.  Other derbies use these as qualifying heats and the cars with the best times will go head to head in elimination style format until a champion is chosen for each den, each pack and the grand champion.  Trophies are often passed out for winners in each den and the Grand Champion for the Pack.  2nd place trophies are often given for each den and pack as well as trophies for best looking, most colorful, most decals, fastest looking, or any other category the administrators care to nominate.  In some cities, winners for the pack meet can advance to a regional competition. 

Most races have electronic timers and a computer program to organize the race entries, lane selections and times.  The winners are posted after each race with their appropriate times.


 Pinewood Derby Race

Pinewood Derby Track

Pinewood Derby Race Track





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