Valve Cover Racing Rules And Racer Specifications


Don’t know what Valve Cover Racing is? Think “Pinewood Derby” for the Car Guy! Starting with a valve cover from an automotive engine, a “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 (see below), and can take on any personality or character that you see fit.


The rules for the construction of the valve cover racer are as follows:  

  • No engine, propulsion or moving weights. Gravity is your friend;  

  • The racer must be made from an automobile or pickup gasoline engine valve cover;  

  • The valve cover must retain its entire original gasket-sealing surface;  

  • The racer can have a chassis, but the chassis cannot be interchanged with any other valve cover body after it is registered for that days race;  

  • Nothing may extend beyond the gasket surface on the front of the racer;  

  • There must be a total of four wheels, either on the inside or outside of the valve cover;  

  • There must be a non-metallic wheel surface contacting the track;  

  • The racer must be clean (no sludge). If the racer drips oil or grease, it is disqualified;  



The racer dimensions are as follows:  

  • Maximum Length - 30 inches  

  • Maximum Width - 10 inches  

  • Maximum Height - 10 inches  

  • Maximum Weight  12 pounds  

  • Maximum Wheel Diameter - 6 inches  

  • Minimum  body height from ground – 1 inch  



The rules for the track and race are as follows:  

  • The judge's decision is final;  

  • The track will consist of two lanes with each lane 18 inches wide;  

  • Release pin is 1-3/4 inches from track to top of pin;  

  • The starter judge will release the racers. 

  • If a racer interferes with another car, it loses that round;  

  • If a racer is hampered by a track problem, they get another run;  

  • If there is a tech issue, the judge's the judges may allow another run , judge’s decisions are final;  

  • The racing will be double elimination for the top eliminator trophies 

  • If neither racer crosses the finish line, then the car traveling the farthest on the track will be the winner. 

  • Racers will be weighed and inspected and once they pass inspection they will be placed on table and not touched until they are called to the starting line.  

  • Any racer caught messing with their car after being inspected will be disqualified from the race. 

  • Please no arguing with the judges or other racers; remember this is a family-oriented event with children present and you maybe be asked to leave. 

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. 


On race day, racers will be randomly placed in a bracket playoff format, and then the race is on! The starting gate drops and gravity takes over, sending two racers sprinting down a specially built track to see who is the fastest to the finish line.