Cape boy competes in All-American Soap Box Derby

Sunday, July 28, 2002

He didn't make it out of the first round at Saturday's 65th All-American Soap Box Derby, but Nick Austin of Cape Gir-ardeau was virtually unfazed.

"I just had a good time," he said. "I went there because I wanted to win, but if I didn't, that was OK, too."

Nick, 10, is the son of Roger and Kim Austin. He qualified for the national competition in May by beating 27 area youngsters who raced in the third annual Cape Girardeau Rotary Club Soap Box Derby, conducted on Sprigg Street.

He and his family arrived in Akron, Ohio, last week to compete against 139 other boys and girls ages 9 through 16 in the stock car division, which features race cars built from ready-to-assemble kits. There also were 131 contestants in the intermediate super stock division and 50 in the masters division, which is for builders with advanced construction skills.

Derby organizers packed the week with activities for the competitors, capping it off with an awards ceremony Saturday night, Roger Austin said. More than $50,000 in scholarships were given the winners.

Nick said he received several gifts at the derby, including a watch, a calculator, a shirt and a jacket, and he made a few friends. The family expect to arrive home today.

Pictures on the event Web site -- aasbd.org -- show the derby's magnitude. There's also a list of heat race competitors and winners.

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