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Where to Add Weight to a Pinewood Derby Car to Make it Go Faster

There are some questions that have plagued mankind since the beginning of recorded history:

  • Why are we here?
  • What’s the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything?
  • Where should I place my weights on my Pinewood Derby car?

While we can’t help you with the first two, here’s what we know about the third.


First, the basics: Your car should weigh as much as it’s allowed. In most races, a Pinewood Derby car’s weight is limited to 5 ounces. If your car weighs less than that, add coins or other weights.

As far as where you should attach those weights to your car … well, let’s just say opinions differ.


Science says the heaviest part of your car should be about 1 inch in front of the rear axle. The idea is that the farther back the weight is, the more potential energy you have because your center of mass is higher up on the track. (Don’t put it too far back, or your Pinewood Derby car will become unstable and pop a wheelie.)

Our expert says if you do this correctly, you will beat a Pinewood Derby car built exactly the same — except with the weight toward its front — by 4.6 car lengths.

That’s a lot of car lengths.

And you can’t argue with science, right?


Well, we’ve heard from multiple field testers who claim that they’ve finished near the top of multiple Pinewood Derby races by placing the majority of their weight near the front of the car.

The idea here is that putting the weight near the front of the car gives it the tiniest bit of “head start” over a car with its weight near the rear. Or, perhaps placing the weight on the front of the car — in these cases, at least — forces the car to ride smoother down the track.

So where should you place your weights on your Pinewood Derby car? The ultimate answer is: It depends on who you ask. Our advice: Put your weight wherever you want, and spend most of your time polishing your axles. That’s a great way to reduce drag and increase your speed.

Good luck!

7 Comments on Where to Add Weight to a Pinewood Derby Car to Make it Go Faster

  1. you can use lead, but it must be totally encased so as to prevent anyone touching it. wight holes can be sealed with hot glue or the like.

  2. use this article. it works.

  3. My Grandson just took first place its funny because we used flat piece of wood and covered it with a Hershey candy bar wrapper. Weight in front of rear axle

  4. I understand the toxicity issue with lead weights, but is it LEGAL to use lead weights on Pinewood Derby cars?

  5. Not my real name // January 24, 2019 at 12:23 pm // Reply

    This is very enlightening, especially the part about 42.

  6. When you put the weight in the back of the car it helps propel the car forward by gravity pulling on the weight, without causing it to pull a wheelie down the track.

  7. It works

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