LIMA — With the wet weather this spring, there was a strong likelihood Saturday’s 69th running of the Lima Area Soap Box Derby at Henry J. Hawk Memorial Hill in Faurot Park would have to deal with rainy conditions.
Fortunately for the 29 racers involved in the day and their fans and the many volunteers, the raindrops and wind came at the end of the proceedings.
In the end, Katelynn Braun and Audrey Crites were the two that advanced to the First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championships to be held in Akron on July 20 at the Derby Downs Track.
“This is our 69th year of hosting the Soap Box Derby in Lima. The number of competitors tends to fluctuate from year to year,” Steve Skinner, race director for the last 16 years, said. “We had a couple more racers this year than last year. This year, we have two that will move on to Akron because we didn’t have enough in the Master’s division to move anyone on. Normally, we’d have three.
“The weather held off. We tried to hurry it up with the weather threatening earlier today, like taking a 15-minute lunch break instead of maybe 30 minutes or even 45 minutes, so we almost beat the weather.”
Braun was the winner in the Stock division.
The Stock division is for racers age 7-13 and the combined weight of the racer, wheels and the car cannot exceed 200 pounds. The car can accommodate a racer up to 5-3 and weighing 125 pounds
Behind Braun in the Stock division were runner-up Autumn Stechschulte – the 2018 runner-up in the same division - and third-place finisher Ariel Stechschulte.
In the stock division, drivers have three color choices of the car shell kits they can purchase: red, white and blue.
Crites, who won the Stock division last spring as a 10-year-old fifth-grader from Waynesfield-Goshen, was the winner in the Super Stock this time around.
The Super Stock category is made up of those ages 9-18 and the combined weight of the driver, wheels and car cannot exceed 240 pounds.
The car can comfortably seat a racer up to 6-feet tall and weighing 150 pounds.
Behind Crites in the Super Stock division were runner-up Kylee Myers and third-place finisher Douglas Noble.
The master’s division is for those ages 10-20 and the combined weight cannot exceed 255 pounds. It is for more experienced drivers than the other two divisions.
The master’s car can comfortably hold a racer up to 6-feet tall and weighing 160 pounds.
The difference between the divisions is that in the master’s category, the driver is basically laying back in the seat, whereas in the other two divisions, the driver is sitting in a more conventional straight-up position.
“Katelynn and Audrey will be racing competitors from Japan, Germany and all over the world,” Skinner said.
Other members of the Derby Board are Greg Skinner (13 years), assistant director; Phil Sellati (36 years), secretary Marta Truex (36 years), co-treasurer Clarence Neeper and co-treasurer Karen Neeper (both 40 years).
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.