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  • Soap Box Derby question

    Just read a cute article in SI about the annual "Gravity Grand Prix" in Akron, OH. Just wondered, has any kid who made the big show in Akron ever gone on to any semblance of a career of note after adding internal combustion and pneumatic tires to the mix? I know that an aspiring kid should be racing karts at that age, and the, uh, "insular" SBD fraternity might consider real racing blaspemous, but maybe way back when it was a much bigger deal.
    "Everyone in front of you is cheatin', and everyone behind you sux!"--nonpareil racer T. Kester

  • #2
    I've been told that Ongais had done so but have so far been unable to verify any further info. Anyone know?

    Others from Akron specifically (as opposed to other soap box derbies) supposedly include Yarborough, Tom Sneva, AJ Watson, Denny Zimmerman (1954 Hartford, CT champ), Nadeau, and Jim France.
    Last edited by theunions; 08-13-2003, 12:40 AM.

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    • #3
      There have been quite a few that have run in the soap box derby and into motorsports later on in life. I imagine this will get a lot of responses. We might be surprised on some of the names.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by theunions
        I've been told that Ongais had done so but have so far been unable to verify any further info. Anyone know?

        Others from Akron specifically (as opposed to other soap box derbies) supposedly include Yarborough, Tom Sneva, AJ Watson, Denny Zimmerman (1954 Hartford, CT champ), Nadeau, and Jim France.
        In searching for answers to this question, I remember seeing the name Yarborough but it was not attached to "Cale" IIRC.

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        • #5
          Cale Yarborough is from Timmonsville , S.C.
          The late Lee Roy Yarbrough was from Jacksonville , Fla.
          “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
          I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
          I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

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          • #6
            I know that Roger Rager did . That is the only one i am sure of.

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            • #7
              One of my heroes did.........
              Swede Savage!
              but it was held in his hometown of San Bernardino CA.


              -------------------------------------------
              Please visit the tributes to 2 of my childhood favorites.
              http://swedesavage42.tripod.com &
              http://artpollard.tripod.com
              -------------------------------------------
              GO Brad Pollard!
              http://pollardracing.tripod.com
              Please visit the tributes to my favorites:

              Swede Savage / Art Pollard / Mel Kenyon /
              Joe Leonard / Peter Revson



              Indy Kids

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              • #8
                Living and working in the shadow of the famous Derby Downs hill
                I do not recall any one who has won the Soap Box Derby Championship in Akron, and who has gone on to a professional racing career. In the early years (until the 1980's) there was only 1 National Champion. Now there are various division champions. Prior to the races there use to be what they call an "Oil Can Derby Race" where famous actors and other special guest would have a race down the hill. I know that Eddie Rickenbacker and other have raced in that race.
                Speak your truth quietly and clearly: and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have a story

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                • #9
                  Can't add any new information to the original question; however I remember going often to Wilbur Shaw Hill here in Indy to watch the Derby. Also I have pictures of Tom Sneva, Johnny Rutherford, Billy Kelley and others doing the Can Races.

                  The Champions page is under construction so you might check this link at a later date http://www.allamericansoapboxderby.com/
                  "Remember, your kids can get student loans, but there's no such thing as a retirement loan."

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                  • #10
                    It was at Akron during the race when Wilbur Shaw suffered a heart attack, sometime in the early '50s.

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