We attended Pinewood Derby the first of this month. My youngest isn't thrilled with Cub Scouts as a whole, but he does like this event. My husband had been out of the country, so I asked my 17 year old to help him make his car. It's the black one at the top of the closeup photo (gold flames) :) My kids' cars have never won one of these races. Some people really study how to make their car faster. This year's winner just had a really sleek design with weight placed in just the right place. My favorite design is the one that looks like a soy sauce botte.
People do all kinds of things to make their cars fast. In the past I have seen people remove the wheels, and buy the replacement wheels at the scout office. Those are a slightly different size, so go faster. Personally I think that is kind of cheating, but whatever lol. We do file down the nubs on the axle, and use ...brain freeze...the black powder stuff. We probably should buy the weights they sell at the scout office, but we always melted down fishing lures to pour in to a hole we drill on the bottom of the car. (I'll probably some day have alzheimers from smelling the fumes)
This year they did something really smart. They allowed the fathers to make their own and race them after the kids' race. I think many fathers put so much effort in to the cars, that the child doesn't get to do much with it. But this gave the fathers a chance to play with their own. Our church young women's group has started having their own pinewood derby and the girls have also enjoyed making their own cars. The one thing I have learned over the years is that it doesn't matter who wins, the boys enjoy the process and have fun whether they win or not.