Area Soap Box Derby coming up in May

Monday, April 8, 2002

Race day is quickly approaching, according to Denise Stewart, a member of the Cape Girardeau Rotary Club's Soap Box Derby Committee.

The club is sponsor of the event, a coasting race of homemade, motorless cars down an inclined brick or concrete street. It will be held on May 18 in front of Blanchard School. The event is open to boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 16.

All drivers, Stewart said, must attend one of two Soap Box Derby clinics. Cars will be assembled at the clinics, which will be held on the lower level of the parking garage at St. Francis Medical Center.

Clinic dates are Saturday and May 4. Both begin at 8 a.m.

Stewart said drivers must bring an adult, or a team of adults, to assist with car construction. Some basic tools and sack lunches will also come in handy, she added.

Rotarians will be on hand for advice and car inspection, but the driver must assemble the car with some adult assistance from his or her team.

Cars that were raced previously must be taken apart and reassembled in order to participate in the 2002 race.

"This year's event is a one-driver, one-car race," Stewart said. "Last year, we had more drivers than cars, so we let more than one driver participate in a car. This year, we're going strictly by the rules."

No modifications are allowed for cars in the Cape Girardeau race. All will be entered in the stock class, which is designed as an introduction to derby racing. Weight of the car and driver cannot exceed 200 pounds.

Twenty-five youngsters have applied for the 2002 race so far, she added. But there is still time to get a car and register, Stewart added. More information is available by calling 334-7741.

Winner of the 2001 race was Evan Henry of Jackson, Mo. As winner, Henry spent a week in August at the national finals in Akron. This year's winner will also advance to the finals. According to derby rules, Henry cannot enter this year's race, Stewart noted.

The 69th running of the National Soap Box Derby will take place July 27 in Akron, Ohio.

The first derby was held Aug. 19, 1933, with 326 kids racing cars built of orange crates, wagon and baby-buggy wheels and a soap box or two.

335-6611, extension 133

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