Soap Box Derby cars will

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2000

take checkered flag this Saturday


Features Editor

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There’s a first time for everything and one of those first times will happen Saturday in Troy when the city hosts its first Soap Box Derby on the Elm Street track.

The winners of the two divisions, stock and super stock, will advance to the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio July 22, so the competition will be fierce and fan excitement will build to a fevered pitch before the gates go down.

The drivers will be boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 16 and they are primed and ready.

Racing in the Stock Division are Haynes Ambulance Service, Hendricks Homecenter, K W Plastics, Sanders Lead Company, Sorrell Lumber, Troy Bank and Trust, Troy Children’s Center and Whaley Construction Company.

Competing in the Super Stock Division will be Battery Specialists, Inc., Exchange Club/Hudson Companies, Dr. Darrell Potter, SARHA, Jennifer Smith, Social Cafe, Troy Bank and Trust and WSFA.

Entries are also coming from Sylacauga and Louisiana.

Local cars have been clocked in trial runs up to speeds of 32 mph so a good, close race is expected, said Lisa Hartman, administrative assistant with the Troy Parks and Recreation Department.

Hartman said the Soap Box Derby is a double elimination race with two cars racing at a time.

"The two cars will race twice," she said. "If one car wins both, it will be declared the winner of that race. If each car wins once, there will be a third race to determine the winner. The winner will move advance to the winner’s bracket and the loser will drop into the loser’s bracket. When a driver loses two races they are out of competition."

Hartman said because the trial-run speeds were so close, the Troy Parks and Recreation Department will have a camera at the finish line in the event there is a photo finish.

"Norm Perry, a retired NASA guy, will be here Friday to inspect the cars and he will also bring a metering device that will clock the exact speed of the cars," Hartman said. "The Troy Police Department will also have a speed gun so the spectators can see how fast the cars are running.

Hartman said a big crowd is expected to line the 1,000 foot track that begins on Sorority Hill and ends near Charles Henderson Middle School.

To promote the race, several of the soap box cars

were on display at the Wal-Mart Super Center Saturday and caused quite a stir as interested shoppers stopped to admire the souped up soap boxes and question their sponsors and drivers.

The drivers were less willing to share their secrets than the sponsors.

Dr. Darrell Potter said the speed of the car depends on how straight and steady the driver can hold it on the track, but he failed to reveal how a driver holds the car straight and steady on the track. Each driver has his or her own technique – from gritting their teeth to bracing their elbows.

Each driver there admitted they will have a case of the race driver jitters just before they "start their engines" and the crowd begins to roar.

The time of the race is set for 10 a.m. with drivers reporting no later than 9 a.m. in the pit area.

The Troy Police Department advises all citizens to be reminded that Elm Street will be blocked to thru-traffic at Academy Street and at the entrance to Charles Henderson Middle School.

Parking will be available at the middle school for all who want to attend, and Boy Scout Troop 41 will sell refreshments for the spectators.

Make a day of it, Saturday, June 17. Come, bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the day at the Troy Soap Box Derby.

"Don’t miss out on a chance to be a part of the excitement of a real All-American Soap Box Derby," Hartman said.