Winning Tips for making a Fast Pinewood Derby Car

Winning tips for making a Fast Pinewood Derby Car

There is a Video on YouTube that gives you a step by step reasons why you need to do certain things to get a winning pinewood derby car.  Here is my take on things.
Our Pinewood Derby bodies and kits utilize the steps.  We have been for years!

Center of Mass (Center of gravity) Location

This step is supposed to give you a 36% increase in speed.
These canopy style bodies are super light and allow us to maximize weight placement where we want it.
Our setup is for a 0.930″ COM in front of the rear axle. Then we place weight pockets on the remaining wood sections, so that you can tweak what works for you.
Designed for minimum wood weight designed for maximum weight placement.
Get your COG tricked out for ultimate performance.  This body style will only work with HEAVY canopy weights. You will need a minimum of 3.5 oz. of canopy weight. 3.8-3.9 oz. is probably the desired overall added weight to the body.

Lightweight wheels

If your rules allow, we highly suggest getting a set.  Video’s claim a 16% increase in speed, but I tend to think the increase is more like 36% and COG is 16%.  I know, if I can use a set of 1 gram wheels and tune a car, I will smoke nearly everything.  I will beat any car that has factory wheels no matter if I am racing a block of wood.  Seriously.

Pinewood Derby Speed Wheels – Black Ops
Pinewood Derby Speed Wheels – Black Ops


11% increase in speed.  Majority of our bodies are streamlined.   With low weight placement.  We also remove wood around the wheel’s outer edge to ensure that that part never touches the body.

Polished Nails

If you need speed axles, we have those.  2Κ-100Κ optical polished.   10% increase in speed  LOL we got that covered.  CNC polished nails.  Only one in industry that can state their axles are polished my a computer controlled machine.

Lift one wheel

9% increase in speed.  All bodies made by Derby Dust have the option of 3 wheel racing.  We believe it is the only way to race.

Graphite / lube

Do we ever know this!  Derby Dust dry lube is a pure graphite with proper flake size and moisture content that will give you a smooth friction-less surface when you follow our break-in process.


How to Apply Pinewood Derby Graphite Break In Derby Dust® Dry Lube Application – Derby Dust

Other  (long wheel Base, car shape, wheel gap, etc)

11% increase.  I think this is a BS category.  I can get a standard wheelbase to run just as fast or faster than a short wheel base.  Car shape is important.  Wheel gap is important based on the type of wheel hub.  It will differ.

Derby Dust’s conclusion which was barely addressed

The fastest car is a tuned car.  Regardless of any other option.   Focus mainly on tuning or adjusting your axles.  You want your car to go down the track as straight as it can without going side to side.  Easiest way to do this is 3 wheels touching and make it ride along the center strip.   Takes time.  Not technical. Not complicated, just time.  The correct tool to do this with is a set of axle pliers.

My go to solution for all builds:

Low profile body with .930ish COG, 3Κ bent axles (3× 2.5, 1× 1.5) for center rail riding, lightest possible wheels that you can use, Wheel Polish kit to clean up the bores of the wheels, Derby Dust graphite.


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