Power Tool Racing

James River Arts invites you to this family friendly competitive event. Simple rules, tons of fun! Take a corded hand-held power tool, turn it a custom racing machine, and compete with your friends and neighbors. Don’t forget to decorate your racer and give it a bold name. Compete for prizes and bragging rights!

Through the use of long power cords, power triggers wired open by duct tape, zip ties or baling wire, and 12-inch wide, 75-foot wooden runs, everyday tools like belt sanders, drills and circular saws are converted into racing machines that speed down guided tracks and are caught by hay bales.


Eligible machines are single engine power tools with limited motor and gearing modifications. Power sources must be stock 110V provided for the tool. See rules at the end of this post for additional information.

The Track

The drag strip is 75′ of reasonably flat plywood track. There will be another 20′ or so to slow down with  hay bales to help with the deceleration of entries. Racers will run on parallel wood tracks 1′ wide with 2″ X 4″ rails on either side. We will make every effort to maintain the straightness and accuracy of this track, but expect some variation and bumps at the joints.

Entry Fee & Prizes

Registration to compete in Power Tool Racing is $10 per entry. Race day handlers must be 18 years of age or older, but youth may work with adults to build their racer. Registration deadline is March 18, 2024.

Gift card prizes and certificates will be awarded by James River Arts for speed, creativity, and artistic design.

Build Day

There will be a free build day for participants on Friday, March 1rd from 5-8pm at Vector Space. Participants need to bring their own power tool racer and materials, but will have access to the tools and expertise available at Vector Space. Whether you’re stuck or not sure where to start, we can help! Plus, come scope out the competition 😉

Race Day

Power Tool Racing is a part of Maker Faire Lynchburg.

When: March 24, 2024
Where: Randolph College, 2500 Rivermont Avenue
Race Times: First heat starts at 1:00pm
Registration deadline is March 18, 2024


Machines are to be based on handheld power tools. A handheld power tool is a machine intended for handheld operation by one individual. A machine primarily used on a stationary mount, or rolled on wheels, or used by a group of people is not a hand tool for the purposes of this event. This event is limited to hand tools powered by standard 20 amp 120 AC electric power cords. Examples of hand tools are machines like belt sanders, angle grinders, circular saws, drills, chainsaws, weed wackers, etc. Examples of things that are NOT hand tools are things like lawnmowers, floor sanders, generators, bench grinders, etc. No vehicles built from RC cars allowed.

AC electrical cords will be 100′ long per lane, originating at the starting line. They will have standard Edison 3-prong connectors. You will be responsible for “coiling” the cord on the ground or laying it alongside the track for your run. No spools or cord guides allowed, but duct tape will be provided so you can tape the connector together. Tangles or poor cord feed are your responsibility.

Eligible machines are single engine power tools with no motor modifications or non-standard power sources (i.e. engine and power source needs to be box stock). Propulsion can be direct drive to track via the original blades, belts, etc, or via a custom gear/chain/tire configurations. Frames, wheels, guide rails, etc can be added as desired. Any motor or power type is allowed. But all “motors” must have originated in a hand power tool and be in their original form, with original power source driving it. Thought should be given to the aesthetic of the racer, using creativity to turn a power tool into a unique racing vehicle.

Due to the nature of the event these machines can be very fast and very dangerous. ALL entries for any class MUST REGISTER their machine and be inspected prior to racing to make sure they will stay on the track and out of the audience. We also reserve the right to say “no, unsafe” at any time for whatever reason(s) we find relevant.

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