Pinewood Derby Speed Tests

Track test results...proven speed

Pinewood Pro Products - Track Tested for Speed

We track-tested all of our axles, wheels and lubes to measure the average speed increase you can expect from each product. We also tested speed hints such as raising one wheel, weight placement positions, wheel spacing and the rail rider technique.

We ran hundreds of races using controlled experiments to get statistically valid results.

Experiments were controlled by replacing a single item on the same car and then running that car down the same lane 10 to 12 times on the same day to minimize variability. We used a spacer gauge to gap the wheels to eliminate wheel spacing variations. We did NOT use graphite because uneven application of graphite would add variation.

The resulting data was cleansed, averaged and charted so you can see the exact speed increase you can expect over stock components.

While our experiments were highly controlled, please read our notes about Things Beyond Your Control to see why Pinewood Derby will always have variability, and unpredictability, which is the very thing that has made this event fun for over 50 years!

Tests were performed on a 6-lane aluminum Best Track with a Fast Track electronic timer.

We hope you find this data helpful in selecting products for your race.


Track Tests on our Pinewood derby Axles


BSA Cub Scout pinewood derby polished axles
BSA Polished Axle
Polished BSA Axles Speed Test

Increase speed by .304 seconds.

Only $9.95

(set of 4)

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pinewood derby Speed Axles
Pinewood derby Speed Axles Speed Test

Speed Axles
Increase speed by .409 seconds.

Only $6.95

(set of 4)

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pinewood derby Super Speed Axles
Pinewood Derby Pro Super Speed Axles Speed Test

PRO Super Speed axles
Increase speed by .408 seconds.

Only $10.95

(set of 4)

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pinewood derby BSA graphite Axles
BSA Graphite Coated Axles Speed Test

BSA graphite-Coated axles
Increase speed by .439 seconds.

Only $11.95

(set of 4)

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pinewood derby PRO Super Speed Axles
Pinewood Derby BSA grooved Graphited axles speed test

BSA grooved and graphite-Coated axles
Increase speed by .479 seconds.

Only $14.95

(set of 4)

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pinewood derby graphite coated Super Speed Axles
PRO Super speed graphite-coated speed test

PRO super Speed Graphite-Coated Axles
Increase speed by .516 seconds.

What is faster? Graphite-coated or NyOil coated axles?

Track tests proved our graphite-coated axles are .168 sec faster than NyOil coated axles.

Only $16.95

(set of 4)

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Track Tests on our Pinewood Derby Wheels

pinewood derby bsa speed wheels
BSA lightly lathed wheels speed test

BSA Lightly Lathed Speed wheel

Will increase your speed by an average of .406 seconds vs stock BSA wheels.

Only $15.95

(set of 4)

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Pinewood Derby graphite-coated BSA speed wheels
BSA graphite-coated speed wheels speed test

PRO BSA Graphite-Coated, Lightly Lathed Speed wheels
Increase your speed by an average of .497 seconds vs stock BSA wheels.

Our exclusive graphite-coating on the treads and hub increase speed by an avg of .091 seconds.

Only $19.95

(set of 4)

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Pinewood Derby Ultra-Lite BSA speed wheels
BSA ultra lite wheels speed test

Ultra Lite wheels

Will increase your speed by an average of .747 seconds vs stock BSA wheels.

Only $24.95

(set of 4)

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Pinewood Derby graphite-coated BSA ultra-lite speed wheels
BSA ultra lite graphite coated wheels speed test

BSA ultra Lite Graphite Coated Wheels
Will increase your speed by an average of .827 seconds vs stock BSA wheels.

Our exclusive graphite-coating on the treads and hub increased speed by an avg of .080 seconds.

Only $29.95

(set of 4)

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pinewood derby outlaw wheels
Pinewood derby outlaw wheels speed test

Outlaw wheels
will increase your speed by an average of 1.52 seconds.

Only $24.95

(set of 4)

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Ultra lite Awana speed wheels
Awana ultra lite speed wheels speed test

Ultra Lite Awana Speed Wheels

Will increase your speed by an average of .297 seconds over stock wheels.

Tests were performed with our Nickle Plated Speed Axles. We did not use graphite for our tests because we did not want to introduce variability where too much, or too little, graphite was added to an axle.

Awana Ultra Lite Speed wheels are precision lathed on the outside tread, inside tread, rim, hub and inside of the wheel to lighten it, giving you a fast start and perfect concentricity as it flys down the track.

NOTE: These wheels are not for Cub Scouts BSA races.

Only $29.95

(set of 4)

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PRO Graphite - dry powdered with moly additive

pinewood derby graphite

Pinewood derby graphite effects on speed

Dry Powdered PRO Graphite with Moly additive

Speed Test notes:

This test was performed using our PRO Super Speed axles. We ran the same car 10 times with no graphite. Then we removed the axles, added our PRO Graphite, then re-inserted the same axle and wheel into the same position on the same car and ran it down the same lane another 10 times.



How this helps you:

Pinewood Pro Graphite on PRO Super Speed axles will take an average of .544 seconds off your time...adding graphite is the single most important thing you can do reduce friction! You MUSTadd graphite to your axles!

Only $24.95

(set of 4)

Order Now

Things beyond your control

We did an interesting experiment...we ran the same car down the same lane over and over with NO CHANGES. The speed varied by as much as .105 seconds using a rail rider car (26 runs) and .271 seconds for a non-rail rider car (19 runs).
Why so much variation???

Basically, there are always variations...consider the following:

  • How the car was placed at starting gate. This will change with each run. If the car was skewed, it will slow down when the wheels hit the rails (yes, even for rail rider cars!)
  • Lane condition, also known as a "slow lane" due to lane construction or small amounts debris
  • Tracks have joints where sections meet. Joints don't match perfectly, making the car jump at the joints.
  • Something in the lane (bugs, dust, broken car pieces, wood chips, etc.)
  • Starting pin drops, then pops back up on metal tracks, hitting bottom of car and popping it up (loses ~.04 sec)
  • "Sticky" starting pin - some are covered with plastic
  • Car dropped or man-handled, between races causing wheels to misalign
  • Car jumps a lane. This causes wheels to misalign and can scratch and damage wheels
  • Cars crashing at finish line (I've seen this many times) can cause wheels to misalign and/or scratch wheels
  • Car jumps off track entirely - causes wheels to misalign and/or scratches wheels. Can also cause dents and ruts in the wheels
  • Powdered graphite blows off with each run. Statistical sampling showed an average speed loss of .019 seconds per run.
  • Wheels loosen and gap widens, or the "car handler " holds car by the wheels, pushes wheels in and they bind together
  • Car wheels misaligned (impossible to get car going straight AND staying straight), causing car to bang off the rails or drag on the rails
  • Decorative part or small weight pieces fall off car, changing the weight and balance of the car

Bottom Line is...pinewood derby racing is unpredictable, and that is why it has been so much fun for over 50 years!

So, Pick your best products, Do Your Best, and enjoy the ride!

Our products and track testing will help you do your best...we leave the fun part to you.


Pinewood Pro Winner's Circle

PINEWOOD PRO

Winning Tips and Hints

Pinewood Derby
Tips & Hints

Before cutting your car, use a straight edge to draw lines down the center lengthwise and widthwise across your car. Then draw your car design template over these straight lines. The template and straight lines help guide your cutting on both sides of the car so everything is square.

Pinewood Derby
Wheels Tip

A lathed wheel means the wheel was turned at a high speed and "sanded" with a cutting tool. Lathed Wheels are perfectly tuned around the axis of rotation giving you the highest performance.

Pinewood Derby
Winning Hint

Winning Pinewood Derby Secrets contains all the tips you need to win your race. Updated annually with the latest tips and speed products, our book has proven results with 1000's of winners... but don't take our word for it! Read over 90 Customer Reviews and check out our Winners Gallery!