All American Soap Box Derby

DON: This is not your fathers soap box. These aerodynamic cars have come a long way from the early days of soap box racing. I never realized all the science and skill that went into a fast soap box. The cars are a study in perfect wheel alignment and the drivers in how to find the fastest line down the track. I had a great time documenting this great American event.

BEVERLY: I have heard of the soap box derby but had never participated. I’ve never even known a participant. Now I think I must have been living under a rock! Derby Downs was THE place to be this weekend. There were so many people there but still plenty of seating which was nice. Lots of the families camped on the grass with lawn chairs to watch their young ones race.

The thing that touched me most was seeing these families working together and cheering their kids on. Every adult there was smiling even when their kid lost because they had still made it to the finals! We saw some of the kids break down in tears at the finish line when they lost. I had to cry too. But it was good to see these kids want something and work for it. Today so many of our youth want to win without the work. But you could tell these kids were committed to doing their best and it was fantastic!

Now as shown in the highlights, I did meet Jeff Hammond and I was thrilled. To me he is as much a celebrity as Tony Stewart so when I saw him taking a little break, I took a deep breath and walked right over to him and introduced myself. He was friendly and as down to earth as anybody there. Then he got the word that the NASCAR drivers had arrived and he was off again. Which brings me to another exciting part of the day and that was being just a few feet from Joe Nemechek, Ricky Craven and Tony Stewart. I was waiting at the finish line when they ran their soapbox race. Joe and Ricky hung around and signed autographs all the way back to the tower. Hats off to all 3 of them for making that appearance. Everyone really enjoyed it!

Weekend highlights:

  • Bev introducing herself to Jeff Hammond.
  • Watching Nascar racers Tony Stewart, Joe Nemechek and Ricky Craven race soap boxes.

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