Valve Cover Racing

Valve Cover Racing comes to Fiesta Days Car Show! Don't know what Valve Cover Racing is? Think "Pinewood Derby" for the Car Guy!

Valve Cover Racing is a competitive event similar to the Pinewood Derby that you might remember from your days in Cub Scouts. But the racers are made from a valve cover from an automotive engine, rather than of wood blocks.

Rules and regulations will change depending on the venue, but the basics remain the same: Competitors must construct a vehicle using a valve cover from a car's engine. Usually it must have four wheels. It can be decorated or modified within the rules set by the organizing body. The valve cover is powered by gravity. Please see the NILSRA rules list below.

In a valve cover race, two or more racing valve covers are placed at the top of a specially constructed incline, which can be straight or curved. They are released at the same time and the first to cross a finish line at the bottom of the incline wins the race. Win lights or timers may be used to more accurately determine the winner of a race.

Considering building one? Starting with a valve cover from an automotive engine, a "Valve Cover Racer" is created by adding a chassis, wheels and weights. Racers can be engineered in any way you want, so long as they follow the official rules (listed below) and can take on any personality or character that you see fit.

Building a valve cover racer can be as simple or complex as you wish to make it. We've seen everything from a basic bolt-together racer to one so detailed that it even had working headlights. The simplest design uses a valve cover, plywood base and rolling gears from a skateboard.

NILSRA Rules for Valve Cover Racing Events

  • Be made from one automotive engine valve cover;
  • Have four (4) wheels, none of which extend beyond the front or rear of the valve cover;
  • Have wheels no larger than six (6) inches in diameter;
  • Have wheels which rubber or plastic running on the race track surface (no metal);
  • Have a minimum of one half (1/2) inch of clearance;
  • Be propelled by gravity only;
  • Not contain any moving weights;
  • Be no longer than thirty (30) inches, measured end to end;
  • Be no taller that ten (10) inches in height;
  • Be no wider than ten (10) inches; and
  • Weigh no more than ten (10) pounds, ready to race.

For some direction on how to build your racer, visit and search on the phrase "Valve Cover Racing". You will find many different approaches from simple to complex. Don't be afraid to put your personality into the design and paint job. Take a look at the photos here and online to get some ideas of how to build and decorate a racer.

To download a copy of the 2017 Fiest Days Car Show Event Flyer, please click here: 2017 Fiesta Days Car Show Flyer.

To download a copy of the 2017 Valve Cover Racing Rules, please click here: 2017 Valve Cover Racing Rules.


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