Published April 1, 2019

Pinewood Derby® racing action returns to Indiana State Museum

By Renee Bruck

Get ready, get set and GO see if your car will cross the finish line first when the second-greatest spectacle in racing returns to the Indiana State Museum.

Children and adults alike can test their need for speed on our two-story, 125-foot-long track during the annual Pinewood Derby®. The derby returns April 2-7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with fun runs April 2-5 and April 7, and the official Pinewood Derby® Race Day on April 6.

This annual event began in 2008 as part of the “Speed” experience at the museum, which celebrated cars, world records and more. The Indiana State Museum purchased a standard aluminum, four-lane Pinewood Derby track and the timing software needed to calculate the race time trials.

Then, the museum hosted two days of strictly competitive racing in January during the last weekend of the academic winter break. Awards were given for the top four fastest speeds.

The first year went well. So well, in fact, that a few changes were made – including the move from winter to spring and the addition of a “car lift” transport system, which eliminated the need for cars to be carried up the staircase to Level 2.

The second year also included fun runs, or practice days, and one day of competitive racing.

Since then, the competition continued to evolve with the number of participants growing each year, the separation into youth and adult divisions and the “Best in Show” competition, which highlights cars with the best visual design.

This year promises more of the fast-paced racing action, so don’t miss out. Anyone – not just scouts – can participate in the fun runs and official race day.

Just remember: Fun runs are not subjected to the rules and no winners will be declared. Use these days to test out your car and be ready for the official race on April 6.

Be ready to race on the official race day, though. No fun runs or testing will be held on April 6, and your car (one per museum admission) needs to be through the inspection process and registered by noon. Cars must be registered by 2 p.m. for the Best in Show competition on April 6.

Bring the entire family for a day of racing fun as double elimination races stagger throughout the official race day until the top four cars vie to reach the checkered flag first.

This event is included with purchase of general admission, with reduced admission for scouts and their family members. Scouts and their family members pay $5/person for admission during the event.

This program is held in conjunction with the Crossroads of America Council, BSA. Race day and “Best in Show” competition rules can be found online at