Stearns-Borom Method for Pinewood Derbies

Pack 15 of Saratoga Springs, NY, has been using the "Stearns-Borom Method" for several years now and it has been very successful. When we started using the "Stearns-Borom Method" we were only utilizing four lanes of our six lane track. This prompted us to write a program that generates racing schedules for any number of lanes with any number of scouts. This same program can be used for the Space Derby, Raingutter Regatta or any other derby your pack uses.

Some of the conditions that the program meets are: every car races the same number of times, every car races in each round and every car races in each lane. The program also maximizes the number of opponents that each car races against. In most cases, every car races against every other car. Any cars in the last race of a round will not be in the first race of the next round (to prevent delays).

The number of races in each round is dependent on the number of scouts in the pack and the number of lanes you are using. The number of rounds is not only dependent on the number of scouts and lanes but also on the amount of time you want the meeting to devote to the actual racing. In our first year of using the "Stearns-Borom Method" we were surprised to find that 96 races were run in one hour. We ran 12 rounds of 8 races each. If you are running a slower paced event you can eliminate the last several rounds. On a six lane track, every car races in each lane by the end of the 6th round. On a five lane track every car races in each lane by the end of the 5th round, etc.

Note: I've used this method with great success! Using a double elimination, 1/2 the boys are eliminated after the first two heats. Using the Stearns-Borom Method, each boy races in every heat. Boys who used to go home with a hang-dog expression are very pleased to "be in it" up to the end. And since few people are sure of who's in first at any given point, the mano-a-mano competition that often develops is diminished. Consequently, the boys enjoy the racing much more. One caution, though .... a few Dad's will go nuts not knowing who is "winning"! ...... Bill Dunn at

If you'd like a program that will automatically assign cars and lanes for the required number of heats, you can get one here (authored by Pat Peronto) at This program will run in a DOS window. After you enter the race parameters (number of lanes, number of participants, time limit) the program will appear to run very quickly. Don't despair! Also, don't use the Print option - it doesn't work. What you should do is use the File option by pressing F. This will save a text file to the same directory as the location of the pinewood.exe program. You can then print out the output using Notepad, Word, or any other application that can load a text file.

Better yet, simply download the spreadsheet for the number of lanes on your track from the Downloads Section and save yourself a lot of time and trouble.

Snail Mail: Bill Dunn, 4 Groton Drive, Terryville, NY 11776

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