Ten Steps to a Successful Pinewood Derby

STEP 9: Helpers

There a many ways to run a Pinewood Derby, and the size of the Pack and the location of the Derby will determine the number of helpers. The helpers do not have to be Cub Scout leaders. Get as many parents involved as possible. Some of the helpers you will need are:

Set Up Crew (minimum 4-6 adults or older boys)
Sets up track, tables, chairs, and microphone. At least one person on the set up crew should have experience setting up and testing the track. Run several test races, moving the cars to all lanes, to ensure that there aren't any "bumps."
  • Registration Table (2 to 3 adults) Adult(s) print Cub's name, Den number, and Rank on name cards with a black marker. The cards can identify the cars on the holding table, and/or can be used on a Race Board.
  • Weigh in car (maximum weight 5 ounces or 141.75 grams).
  • Check car length (7"), width (2 3/4"), underside clearance (3/8") and inspect each car to ensure that they comply with BSA, Council, and/or Pack rules to be qualified for the race.
  • Have extra wheels and axles for replacement of any that do not meet specifications.
  • Pit Stop Table (1 adult) Graphite cars using dry or powdered graphite. Cover table with newspaper, taped down at the corners. A pie plate can be used to catch excess graphite.
  • Car repair facilities can include an electric drill and bit, hot glue gun, extension cords and three-prong adapters (if required), small hammers and screw drivers, a fine-tooth rasp, emery cloth or fine sandpaper, a knife, hand cleaner and paper towels, and a trash bag or can.
Holding Table (1 adult)
Place cars by Den on carpet pieces.
  • Track Crew (6-8 adults) Race Announcer: Announces Scout names and lane assignments, says "Ready, Set, Go!" about 900 times, and makes other announcements as required. Needs microphone and speaker with extension cords.
  • Race Chart Controller: Determines lane assignments for each heat. Can either use a clipboard or a large "Race Board" which holds the Scout's name cards.
  • Race Starter: Makes sure that cars are properly aligned on the lane strips. (The Cub Scouts should place their own car on the track.) Releases the cars to start the race.
  • "Get Ready" Person: Assembles the next group of boys to race, collects name cards and forms, all just a little away from the track.
  • Finish Line Judges: (2-3 adults) Make final decisions on race finishes, and communicate winners to the Race Chart Controller. If an electronic scoring system is not available, they will have to "eyeball" the finish (and agree on the winner). Judges are also responsible for control of the Scouts at the finish line.
Clean Up Crew (minimum 4-6 adults or older boys)
Disassemble and store track. Put away tables, chairs, and microphone. At least one person on the clean up crew should have experience setting up taking down the track. Sweep up afterwards, paying particular attention to the Pit Stop Table area.

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