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Just a sub thread to this year's Carlisle thread. How many have valve covers ready to race? who is building?

I've decided to make a racer; Cory says he's thinking on it to. Anybody else?

For those unfamiliar, valve cover races are basically a pinewood derby. Two toy cars on a hill track that runs straight for about 40 feet. You win by having the straightest tracking car with the least rolling resistance. Here's a video @PrickleyPete posted a while back on the Carlisle thread showing the track under construction.

This one is sponsored by Acme. They're going to do a tournament and Carlisle and an actual series over the summer. All VW valve covers. They're calling it The Acme Cup.

Here's their website.

Times not yet announced:

The inaugural Acme Cup race will be held at the: Import and Performance Nationals May 13th. & 14th.

Located at the Carlisle Fairgrounds, Carlisle Pa.

This race is open to anyone who wants to compete.  Track location in the show, and race starting times will be announced at a later date.

Test and Tune will be Friday evening May 13th. (Starting time TBA)

The Acme Cup Race will be Saturday May 14th.

Registration/tech times TBA

Race starting time TBA

Rules are here.

Basically it's a 5 lb limit. I checked with Andy Burger (he's the point man on this; dune buggy guy Alan Merklin's known for 3 decades), and he says hard drive discs can be used as wheels under these rules. That's apparently a good option, as described by this video (check in at 2:00):

But you can also make them out of skateboards, roller skates; anything you want.

I've got some ideas for my build. I'd love to hear from those of you who have built and raced these in the past.

Last edited by edsnova
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VCR2022Swap meet? Ebay? Used steel are cheap.

Brand new steel, $10 each:

Empi sells a nice new pair of aluminum covers for less than $30.

There is this thing called a search engine....use it.

So, hard drive discs OK but CD or DVD not OK? The reason I ask is that the rules Andy posted clearly state that the wheel must be at least 1/4" thick and non-metallic.

@edsnova @PrickleyPete

I'm thinking about it, Ed.


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Last edited by DannyP

This is really going to be awesome.   The KEY(s) to having a competitive car, regardless of what kind of wheels and bearings you use.   

1.  Get it to the 5 pound limit, don't go 3.5 pounds.  Use the 5 pound limit to your advantage regardless of how much lead tape or tire weights you adhere to the inside of the cover.  Get it to 5 pounds so it passes tech inspection. 

2.  Make sure it runs straight.  If you hit the sides you will slow down.  If you use rubber wheels, make sure you put a cap nut as a "hubcap" so if it does hit the sides, it slides off - rubber wheels on the side will slow it down.    At the starting line, all racers get to position their cars then the gate goes down.  Unlike a pinewood derby track, there is no raised middle section to keep the cars in the middle.   This is like a wide "hot wheels track". 

As long as you have a clean run down the track you'll be VERY competitive.  Skateboard wheels, inline skate wheels, etc.   Just have it go straight and you'll likely be a winner or at least competitive.   This is a winning car, the green one, simple design.


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This was mine last year - VERY Fast, but if you notice the rubber wheels are out too wide.  If I would have had a round cap nut as a hubcap, I could have done better when I did hit the sides (after too many beers trying to line it up straight) .   I may run this exact same car - BUT shave the skateboard wheel off to curve it inward - lower the surface contact but eliminate the side areas to skip off the boards with a cap nut.   Skateboard and inline wheels and bearings are very good - its a matter of mounting them straight.

BY THE WAY - there will be a "Best of Show" winner as well with trophy.  Not a winner per se' but the best design overall.  I'd love to see a speedster body over top of a valve cover


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Last edited by PrickleyPete

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