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Pinewood Derby Track Pricing

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  • Pinewood Derby Track Pricing

    Hi, I am trying to help a new Pack plan their budget and be able to have fundraising goals accordingly. One thing they would like to buy this year is their own pinewood derby track.

    Our pack has a nice extremely long aluminum track with a timer at the end and software that does the perfect N scoring etc. This track was purchased a few years ago and those that did the purchasing are no longer in the pack so I have no idea what it actually costed (don't ask about our packs financial records lol).

    They would like a 3 lane aluminum track that has the software that will automatically do their races. I am at a huge loss of where to get started pricing this sort of setup for them.

    I look at various track timers and the price difference is huge in some of them, like $200-$600. The various software packages seem to all be around $60 or so?

    can anyone who has recently looked into this give me some advice as to which track sellers are reputable and make a good solid track. Tracks that are easily stored is also a bonus. I know our track just goes home to someones house in large pieces, no way to neatly pack it into a managable box.

    I would really like to give them some firm numbers and options to help with their fundraising goals in the fall.

    Thanks for any help.

  • #2
    I cannot offer advise directly on purchasing a track. I have looked at the costs involved at my old pack and they were quite high for a device only used for a couple of hours once a year. My old pack found it much more economical to rent one from others. Another larger pack was able to get Lowes to build them a wooden track as a donation only needing to add the electronics.


    • #3
      Costs are readily found with a google search. I can't comment about any recent track purchases, but I have worked the races the last couple of years.

      Our pack uses a plastic derbymagic track. I like it better than the aluminum ones.... and better than the wooden tracks I've seen, but given the random mechanical abilities of those assembling and disassembling over the several years the pack has owned it, a few of the attachment screws have pulled through the plastic. It could be designed a bit better in my opinion....

      For software, we use We had misplaced the disk and were unable to get it from the computer used last year. With a simple call to the company, we upgraded for a very reasonable cost to the latest version. It was time to upgrade anyway..... their customer service was great.

      Again, just an opinion, but if money is a concern at all I think that a small start-up pack would do well to make a wooden track and skip the electronics and use an observant line judge. It's just a kids race after all. Seems like a good project to get a few dads together and involved....

      I built a 16ft single lane test track this year using PVC trim boards from lowes. Two 1x4 boards butted end to end, with two lattice strips as a guide glued and screwed to the top. Took me no more than 10 minutes. The smooth surface of the PVC made for a nice track. Add a little more time for a basic stand, and a simple starting gate....

      The software is nice to help work out the race ladder and lane assignments, but not a show stopper if you don't have it.
      Not sure, but I'll bet some of these programs would work even if you don't use the electronic sensors for the first year or two, and just manually enter the 1st 2nd and 3rd place cars..... maybe call the software companies to see if that would work?

      So in summary, my suggestions:
      - go old school for the first year or three
      - when more money comes available, buy some software
      - then when more money & time comes available, add the electronic switches and eye sensors to capture the winners......
      - Then way down the road when more money comes around and when the wooden one starts to need repairs.... buy a store bought track

      OR, if money is no object.... well, then you wouldn't be asking.......


      • #4
        One of the dads stood over the finish line with a phone in video camera mode this past race. We all laughed at him, and only had one or two races that close...

        That said, when they were closish, the boys LOVED seeing the video of their cars crossing the finish line!


        • #5
          Okay. Don't laugh at me or chastise. We had been paying $300 each year for a guy to come in and run our race. Well, we instead bought a track and spent $2000 on it. 40 foot. Four lane. Nice timer. Software. Piece parts. We've used it at least three times a year between multiple packs and other events. Great investment. Pain to store, but great investment.

          Just create an Excel file listing each piece part you will purchase. Don't forget tax. Then add 10% or similar for unknowns. That's your budget.


          • King Ding Dong
            King Ding Dong commented
            Editing a comment
            If you have a way of transporting, it can be a decent fundraiser. I sure would rather take a Saturday afternoon and run a pinewood derby for some pack than follow my son around with a wagon hawking crummy popcorn. He would have a lot more fun as well.

            No laughing, smaller packs just don't have the resources to purchase, maintain and store a track. $300 is a bargain for them.

        • #6
          What about getting a Girl Scout to build it for you as their Gold Project?


          • #7
            Like I said, I am trying to help a Pack budget plan and fundraise plan they want to have a goal for their fundraiser and it can be done if they are gung ho enough

            I was just trying to get an idea and of course any recommendations. Like the timers, the price is different on some of them by a few hundred dollars.
            I have no doubt that they could build a wooden one, but in the area of the country I live in, 200% humidity, I am not sure how good an investment they will think that is for the future.


            • #8
              I'm in Florida. Doesn't get more humid than that!.... well maybe in Viet Nam or the Amazon......

              Our district race is run on a wood track.
              A coworker's Awana club's race is on a wooden track (with no timers)
              A friend's pack runs on a wooden track
              I'm sure there are many more..... And they have been running on wood tracks since the beginning.....


              • #9
                We purchased a timer from Derby Magic this past year to use on our wooden track that we have had for years. Their prices were the best, and I was very happy with their customer service. Not sure what their tracks are like, but the price seems very competitive for tracks too. I would definitely purchase the track and timer at the same time from the same company, just to make sure it all works together seamlessly. We had to do some adjustments to get the timer to work on our wooden track. We run our derby without software. If you are looking to save money or phase the purchases over a couple of years, then I would buy the software at a later date.


                • jc2008
                  jc2008 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks, the tracks Derby Magic offers are made out of pvc? They are noticeably cheaper than the alumunium as well. Will have to have the pack I am helping look into that option. It seems to be a cheaper, but still sturdy and lasting option.