Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Memorial Weekend, 2010

All American Soap Box Derby
May 29, 2010

We only found out about the derby in mid-April when the owner of John's Foods in Soap Lake approached Randy about building a car for them to sponsor in the race. This is the first time the derby has been done in this area so everything was brand new to most everyone involved in the planning. Randy agreed, so Grace and Grampa set to work thinking about their car design and what they wanted to do for their derby entry. Grace decided almost right away that her car would be called the XL-37. Who knows where that came from, but we all loved it, of course.

As the day of the race crept closer, the XL-37 sat in the shop, an empty shell. We still hadn't received the kit for the steering and brakes and race day was closing in. Finally, 2 days before the race Randy gets the parts. Keep in mind, the kit is made for a kit car that has everything predrilled and ready to just fit part A to hole A and part B to hole B. The XL-37 was built from scratch so there was no such thing as predrilled this or line up that. And it all had to be done in such a way that Grace would be able to reach the brake and maneuver the steering (which, by the way, is not a round wheel as one might expect—well, me anyway).

In the meantime, I’m working on the decals for the car. Using the sponsor's ad from the newspaper, I copied the fonts and logo and, using my mad scrapbooking skills and QuicKutz Silhouette, designed the decals and car numbers and cut them out in navy and white vinyl. They turned out awesome if I do say so myself.

The day before the race, Grace and the fam finally make the 2 1/2 hour drive--in about 6 hours, thanks to holiday traffic and road construction. Then we find out {yes, the night before the race we find this out} that we need to be at the staging area at 7 a.m. for weigh-in and car inspection, which Randy and Pat finally finished putting together about 1 a.m. the day of the race, which in turn meant that Grace hadn't had a single practice run to get the feel of the car, so obviously Mary, our driver for the Junior Division, also had no chance for a practice run. By the time we went to bed at 10 p.m. leaving the guys to finish the XL-37, Cyndi and I figured if Grace got to race at all, that would be enough and then we could go home and call it good.

So 6 a.m. on race day we're all up and guzzling coffee. The guys load the XL-37 into Randy's truck and head out for Soap Lake; we girls follow shortly thereafter.

When we get there they are still working on the ramps and have just finished inspecting the car. No one was more surprised than Randy that it passed inspection. LOL The car weighs exactly 100 lbs. without a driver.

As it got closer to race time, Grace started to get a little nervous about the ramps and climbed a tree to gather her thoughts. At 9 years old, she was the youngest driver out there and the first one to go down the ramp, which Mary, 17, described as terrifying!!!

Gracie's Pit Crew: Pat (dad), Randy (grampa) and the coolest guy ever, Ty. He was so good with Grace when she freaked about going down the ramp the first time and talked her down after the crash. We had never met him before race day and it wasn't like he was "assigned" to our team or anything. He and Grace just seemed to click and made an awesome team. Just a really neat guy!

Mary (right in the photo below) was so apprehensive about the ramps...ok, let's face it, she was scared to death of them!! Grace made her feel better about it though after she went before Mary did and managed to come back unscathed and ready to do it again. :)

Go Speed Racer!

And Gracie wins another heat!

Back up the hill to do it again.

As nervous as she was, Mary did great. Go, Mary, go! She came in third place in her division. :)

Heh. This is a piece of cake!

Taking a 'pig in a blanket' break between races.

Awards Ceremony
By the time Grace finished her last race, we had been there about 10 hours and were pretty beat, so Cyndi, Grace and I went home to wait for the boys to finish up. Little did we know that there would be at least another two hours of racing yet to go. Needless to say, we were more than a little surprised when Pat called to tell us the awards ceremony was beginning and that Grace had to be there. We grabbed our cameras and flew out the door and back to Soap Lake. Cyndi didn't tell Grace why we had to leave so suddenly. Jim stalled the festivities to give us time to get there. :)

Gracie's trophy is not only the biggest, but also the most prestigious award given by the AASBD (All American Soap Box Derby). The Sportsmanship Trophy. This award is voted on by the judges, directors and staff. She was presented her trophy by the Soap Lake Chief of Police, Jim Dorris. She was completely stunned!

All racers received a medallion for their participation.

Award Winners

Grace and Hannah, Ty's daughter. Is this the cutest thing? :) They had never met before race day.Grace and Pat, proud dad

Grace and her builder, Grampa Randy

Each trophy winner posed with their car for newspaper photos. I can't wait to see the article and put it in Grace's scrapbook!

Cool (G)race Stats

* this was Gracie's first race ever
* she had no time for even one practice run before race day
* she was the youngest driver there
* she was the first to run the course and use the ramp
* she was the first to qualify
* she was the first to crash (very minor and not the fault of the car or driver – when the crew put weights in, they placed them in the way of the cables so she wasn't able to steer)
* she traveled the farthest of all the racers to participate in the derby
* she beat every other car out there--experienced cars and drivers who've done this many times before, mind you! (and boy, was grampa pleased about that!!!)
* she loved that she, a girl scout, beat every other car in a boy scout sponsored event
* at one point during the day, due to an error in the line up, she raced an experienced driver from an older division and beat them too! When she found out the girl she beat was 15, she was super stoked!

More sights from race day

The Marks Fam, minus Jeffery
Cyndi, Grace, Pat


A few of our fine firefighters at the finish line.

Ran out of funds before they could put in a staircase?? Most perplexing image of the day.

Unknown cowboy kickin' it to CW McCall's Convoy coming through the sound system. Get a load of the socks and sandals. Yeehaw.


  1. Congrats Grace!! WOW! I got goosebumps reading this!! How great that she won!!! Sounds like a great time..loved the pics!!! Shar I bet you were so proud!! These are great pics for scrappin!!!

  2. What a great story. But, with Grace, the story is always interesting. As for Grampa, well, he is one neat grandfather.

    Tell Grace that I love her short hair. Such a pretty thing, she is!


Come join the FB Scrapendipity Studio Crafters group and share your work with us! ♥ ~Shar


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