Soap Box Derby hits record entry total, could top 100 in 2015

Noah Krause, 13, sits in his Soap Box Derby car after getting pushed back into the inspection area Saturday at the Bump Shop in Quincy. Standing next to the car is Noah’s father, Dr. Steven Krause. (H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)
Posted: Jun. 7, 2014 8:02 pm Updated: Jun. 28, 2014 11:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

It's official.

There will be a record of number of entries for the 10th anniversary edition of the Quincy Soap Box Derby.

Race director Ray Wilson said the June 14 race will have 80 participants -- two more than a year ago.

That number would have been higher, but no more cars were available, a "problem" that should be rectified in time for the 2015 derby.

"We have more kids who want to race, but no cars for them," Wilson said.

Wilson said the Quincy Breakfast Optimist Club, the sponsor of the event since its inception, is in the process of completing a deal with another Illinois city to "buy out" its Soap Box Derby. The unidentified city has not held a race for several years and was looking to sell off its equipment.

"If there are no problems, the negotiations should soon be completed and Quincy should have more than 100 cars available for its 2015 race," Wilson said.

The large majority of the entrants are from West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri -- but not all.

This year's entries will come from as far south as St. Louis, as far north as Sioux Falls, Iowa, and as far east as Taylorville. Wilson said there are already three entries confirmed for 2015 from Washington, D.C.

A pair of former champions -- Kaelyn Hess and Cainan Roff -- lead the list of entrants for this year's race, which will feature 47 Super Stock and 33 Stock cars. The Super Stocks are slightly bigger and have a larger wheel base.

Hess won the 2012 and 2013 Stock titles and is moving to the Super Stocks this time around. Roff won the 2012 Super Stock championship and will return to that class.

Roff is the all-time derby victory leader with a 21-6 race record and one of only two competitors in event history to reach 20 victories. The other is Kayla Reichert (20-5), who was the derby's first hall of fame inductee a year ago.

Hess, who is a cousin of Reichert, may become the third member of the 20-win club. She enters this year's competition with a 17-2 career record.

The Breakfast Optimist Club's first-year partnership with Quincy Raceways will see the track having some of its drivers on hand for the derby and providing a Monster Truck for exhibition. Monster Trucks are competing at Quincy Raceways the same weekend as the derby.

Quincy Raceways is also raising money for the derby through a number of efforts. That helps generate funds for the Optimists' childhood cancer fund that assists families who have children with cancer.

Electronic bracket boards will be used for the first time in the pit areas. Ken Ng, the technical director for the derby, will oversee this addition to the event.

The Quincy High School football program will be supplying 45 players and 12 coaches to provide assistance to the 50 Breakfast Optimist Club volunteers on race day.

Inspection for derby cars runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Bump Ship, 2116 Quintron Way.

Pete Keene will again serve as race announcer and participant Alexandria Meyers will sing the national anthem.