Pinewood derby cars are used for racing across America. Each contestant builds their vehicle from a specific kit and shoots them down a track to discover the fastest of them all. If you are building your own car, consider following these simple tips to make yours an award winner.

A Guide to Building Pinewood Derby Cars

1. Consider the Weight

pinewood derby carsThe weight of your car is crucial. Too heavy and it will be slowed down. But if it is too light it won’t be able to gain momentum. Aim for a mere 5 oz. total. The heaviest portion should be approximately an inch in front of the rear axle. With your weight toward the back, you will have a greater amount of energy than those with the weight stored in the center. This is because your center of mass is higher up on the track, which will effectively push your car down at incredible speeds.

2. Polish Your Axles

Using a polish on your car axles will create much less friction and allow your vehicle to reach top speeds. Likewise, use a bending tool to slightly curve your axle. This will cause the wheels to rub against the nailhead instead of the car body. 

3. Choose an Aerodynamic Style

The shaping of the car itself plays a big role in how fast it goes. When styling and carving, opt for cuts that are wedge-shaped. Big, bulky blocks will catch a large amount of wind resistance and slow pinewood derby cars down considerably. On the other hand, if the design is sleek, it will allow the air to climb over it easily.


These are a few proven tips to increase the speed of your racing car. If looking to build one yourself, head over to Rail & Spruce Hobbies. For over 20 years, they have been a top hobby shop in Jacksonville, AR. Providing a wide array of model trains, slot cars, and even model scenery, they are sure to have just what you're looking for. For more information about pinewood derby cars, visit their website or call (501) 982-6836 today.