How Pinewood Derbies Work

By: Eric Baxter

The Future of the Pinewood Derby


Pinewood Derby, and all its variations, will continue to remain in the memories of kids and parents for years to come. Jim McCarthy, Program Director for the Los Angeles Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, the council area that once hosted Don Murphy, said he believed it was basic human nature to be creative, to have fun and to bond with others who have the same interests. This was, and is, the essence of the Pinewood Derby and scouting. "From our side of things, it was maybe a good thing the derby became universal, there was a desire for it," he said. "It's gone everywhere. It has a life of its own and we can share that."


Others feel the same way. Gary McAulay mentioned the tears in Don Murphy's eyes when he brought the elder statesman of the sport to one of his derbies a few years before Murphy passed away. "I could swear there were tears in his eyes when he saw what was happening," McAulay said.

Steve and Jennifer Jacobs and Stuart Ferguson see the passion that drives people to race tiny cars down a tiny track every day. "This is racing, and racers push the limit," Steve Jacobs said. "It's about being the best and fastest. When one guy comes up with something new, the next month everyone else has it. It's just human nature."

And Bill Launius knows that human nature all too well. "Kids love racing and we're all kids at heart," he said. "It's just something we're drawn to and we'll keep racing. Period."

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


  • Ferguson, Stuart. Owner of Micro Wizard. Personal interview. Jan. 31, 2009.
  • Jacobs, Steve and Jennifer. Owners of Woodcar Independent Racing League. Personal interview. Feb. 1, 2009.
  • Launius, William, Jr. Owner of Derby Worx, Inc. Personal interview. Feb. 3, 2009.
  • McAulay, Gary. Historian. Personal interview. Feb. 1, 2009.
  • McCarthy, James. Program Director, Los Angeles area Council BSA. Personal interview. Feb. 2, 2009.