Thurman has stock answer for Akron event

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Jackson youth competed in the All-American Soap Box Derby.

Nine-year-old Kayla Thurman needed just a few words to sum up her experience in the All-American Soap Box Derby on July 22.

"I went down the hill, and I raced," she said.

Thurman, a fourth-grade Jackson student, raced to a second-place finish in her three-person stock division heat, which wasn't quite enough for her to advance to the next round of the single-elimination event. Only the top finisher from each heat advances in the stock division, which drew about 130 racers as the biggest class.

The All-American Soap Box Derby, in its 69th running, is a yearly weeklong celebration in Akron, Ohio, for drivers from across the country. Participants are escorted by police into Akron for the welcoming ceremony on the first day, and the next couple days are spent fine-tuning the carts and taking a practice run. Competitors and their families are invited to Six Flags for a day, and one day is set aside for resting before the race at Derby Downs, a 954-foot race track.

Thurman and Cape Girar-deau resident Daniel Mora both went undefeated in the Cape Rotary Club Soap Box Derby in early May on their way to first-place finishes in their respective classes and berths in the national event.

Mora, a 13-year-old super stock driver, was unable to attend the national contest.

In only her second year of racing, Kayla Thurman was able to win the local event that had eluded her 11-year-old brother Justin, the previous driver of the car.

Kayla denied any hard feelings between the two, however.

"He was cheering me on and stuff," she said. "It was good."

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