Soap Box Derby racing a family affair

June 02, 2012|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI |
  • Grace Gregory, 9, of Big Cove Tannery, Pa., gets set for her first time driving a stock car in the All-American Soap Box Derby in Hancock Saturday.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

HANCOCK, Md. — Emily Fox was adamant.

She wanted nothing to do with Soap Box Derby racing.

Her parents were equally as determined to change her mind.

“My mom bribed me with doughnuts to get in a car, so I got in one,” Emily said.

Emily began to take to the sport despite herself. She started doing toe touches to improve her flexibility, so she could fit more aerodynamically in the car she was using.

The 14-year-old Hancock girl was further hooked when she learned she could get a super stock car of her own and paint it as she chose.

“I decided to paint it like a pickle,” she said.

Today, that pickle car is on display at the All-American Soap Box Derby headquarters in Akron, Ohio, and Emily reigns as the 2011 Super Stock World Champion.

Emily worked the ramps Saturday at the Soap Box Derby in Hancock. The third annual race was a qualifier for the All-American event in Akron in July. Around 25 kids ages 7 to 17 participated.

Rumbling like heavy suitcases on wheels, competitors hunkered down inside their gravity-propelled cars and maneuvered down a portion of High Street. Orange cones marked the lanes, and bales of hay created buffers to the curb. A crowd cheered from lawn chairs along the sidewalks.

Scott Fox, Emily’s father, was director of the local race. Fox said the local activities group, Hancock in Motion, initiated the sport in town as an activity for parents to do with their kids.

“It’s not like baseball or football where you drop them off at practice. You have to get out there with them, get involved,” Fox said. “The amount of years I have left while my kids want anything to do with me is short. When I’m dead and gone, they’ll still remember this.”

Fox’s son, Garrett, 12, the 2010 local stock champion, demonstrated how to operate a stock car.

“You scoot in, put your butt back in the back, legs forward, and bend over like a sandwich,” Garrett said. “You want your head up just enough so you can see, and as little open space as possible because air will get in there and slow you down.”

Competitors from Hancock have traveled to various states for races and rallies. Hancock recently hosted a rally that drew competitors from as far away as South Carolina and Florida.

Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said the town track, which ends just below the Town Hall and Community Center, is known as one that is especially steep, quick and fun.

“It’s a slopey hill with that neat little runoff to slow down at the end,” Murphy said. “The rally brings people saying, ‘Oh man! You wanna run the hill in Hancock.’ It’s a real bit of Americana.”

Chris Hixon, of Clear Spring became involved with the sport last year with his daughter, Colleen, 14, and son, Cole, 11. Colleen said she likes having something fun to do during summer vacation.

“I like competing and stuff,” she said. “And the fact that I get to race against my brother.”

Soap Box Derby winners

Here are the top eight winners in each division of the Soap Box Derby held Saturday in Hancock, including brothers Colton and Levi Souders, who won each division:

Super stock
  • Colton Souders
  • Garrett Fox
  • Cole Hixon
  • Colleen Hixon
  • Ashlyn Gregory
  • Blayze Iden
  • Brianne Wawro
  • Jaden Himes

  • Levi Souders
  • Grace Gregory
  • Seth Bowman
  • Shaelyn Wawro
  • Jacob Crespo
  • Xefan Younker
  • Korrick Fitzgerald
  • Kaleigh Vance
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