Why Pinewood Derby Cars Are Speeding Alongside Life-size Racers at This BMW Dealership

Scouts watch as their Pinewood Derby cars race down the track at the Laurel BMW auto dealership in Westmont, IL. (Photo credit: Steve Johnston/ Pioneer Press)

Do you think engineless, brakeless, wooden cars stand a chance in a race alongside high performance vehicles like BMWs? In the case for Cub Scouts of the Pathway to Adventure Council, their Pinewood Derby race cars took the gold for speed, creativity and fun during their annual Pinewood Derby race hosted at the Laurel BMW auto dealership in Westmont, IL.

Though the derby cars were diminutive in size next to the German luxury vehicles, the engineering, design, and enthusiasm behind these Pinewood Derby racers were larger than life for 37 Cub Scouts from Hinsdale, Burr Ridge, Willowbrook and Downers Grove.

Prior to race day, Scouts started with official Pinewood Derby car kits from the Boy Scouts of America, complete with a block of wood, tires, and axles. Next, the Cub Scouts and their parents began engineering their race cars at a local clinic where they received pointers and access to tools. From there, the boys painted the cars and began practicing for the big day.

“Most of our families take advantage of that,” shared James Lobraco, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 10. “We try to level the playing field, so that no matter what level of skill the fathers have, the boys can compete.”

This is the third year Laurel BMW has hosted the derby and invited the boys to race on a custom-built, 42-foot long, six-lane aluminum track. The track was donated by the dealership thanks to general manager Pat Womack’s appreciation for the beloved Scouting activity. Womack is not only a Pinewood Derby racer himself, but he’s also a former Cub Scout.

Once the races concluded, the dealership showcased a new BMW engine block in the shop for the boys to marvel. Lobraco says the boys were able to learn about how an engine works and the different components involved in its engineering.

To read the complete story on this unique Pinewood Derby experience, visit the Chicago Tribune.


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Hayley Cordaro is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She loves sharing inspiring success stories and uncovering new ways volunteers and employees can make the most of their Scouting experience. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at