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All American Soap Box Derby
Akron, OH - 7/26/03

DON: This is not your fathers soap box. These aerodynamic cars have come a long way from the early days of soap box racing. I never realized all the science and skill that went into a fast soap box. The cars are a study in perfect wheel alignment and the drivers in how to find the fastest line down the track. I had a great time documenting this great American event.

BEVERLY: I have heard of the soap box derby but had never participated. I've never even known a participant. Now I think I must have been living under a rock! Derby Downs was THE place to be this weekend. There were so many people there but still plenty of seating which was nice. Lots of the families camped on the grass with lawn chairs to watch their young ones race.

The thing that touched me most was seeing these families working together and cheering their kids on. Every adult there was smiling even when their kid lost because they had still made it to the finals! We saw some of the kids break down in tears at the finish line when they lost. I had to cry too. But it was good to see these kids want something and work for it. Today so many of our youth want to win without the work. But you could tell these kids were committed to doing their best and it was fantastic!

Now as shown in the highlights, I did meet Jeff Hammond and I was thrilled. To me he is as much a celebrity as Tony Stewart so when I saw him taking a little break, I took a deep breath and walked right over to him and introduced myself. He was friendly and as down to earth as anybody there. Then he got the word that the NASCAR drivers had arrived and he was off again. Which brings me to another exciting part of the day and that was being just a few feet from Joe Nemechek, Ricky Craven and Tony Stewart. I was waiting at the finish line when they ran their soapbox race. Joe and Ricky hung around and signed autographs all the way back to the tower. Hats off to all 3 of them for making that appearance. Everyone really enjoyed it!

Weekend highlights:

  • Bev introducing herself to Jeff Hammond.
  • Watching Nascar racers Tony Stewart, Joe Nemechek and Ricky Craven race soap boxes.

More at: www.allamericansoapboxderby.com

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Nervous Dads wait to be called
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Cleared to line up for race
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Staging area
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Jeff Hammond interviews racer
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What an event!
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Chuckie and Tommy go for a ride
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A great paint job
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Nice car
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Blinders? Kids are easily distracted I guess
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What a ham! Posed when I walked by
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The cute pirate?
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Cross your fingers and hope to win
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Pray
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OK, Someone forgot to pray for this kid
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You killed Kenny !!! You bastards!!!
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Sticker on inside of car
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NOS?
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Last minute advice
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Dad and official help driver get ready
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Form fitting helmet
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Check out the x-ray paint job
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Typical race, hurry up and wait
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Pick your line
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Drivers you have three seconds, two, one
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GO!
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Out of the gate
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Stick your head up just enough to see
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Inside lane has early lead
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Mid track
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Another close finish
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"Champ Support" helps drivers
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These three won first round
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Winning cars taken back up the hill
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Stand still while they check the weight
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"Ducky Downs"
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Tony Stewart scopes out the starting line
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Ricky Craven
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Joe Nemechek and son
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Tony was the center of attention
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Joe and son are ready
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Ricky getting some advice
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Nascar drivers are ready
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Some bumping took place after the finish
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A 2003 Champ!
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Another Champion!
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They even had the Goodyear Blimp
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Bev with her press pass on her hat
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Don acting like a real photographer


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