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Derby returns to streets

By Staff
READY TO ROLL Racers zoom down a Meridian Street during the All-American Soap Box Derby last year. The Queen City Soap Box Derby Race Club brings the event back for a second consecutive year Saturday morning. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Ryan Satcher / staff writer
June 13, 2003
Area race fans won't have far to go to find good racing action this weekend as the All-American Soap Box Derby returns to Meridian for a second consecutive year.
The Queen City Soap Box Derby Race Club will be running the race down 23rd Avenue on Saturday morning with opening ceremonies set to start at 8:30.
After a 30-year absence, the race enjoyed a successful return last year and will look to grow even more this year.
The field will be larger this year as 15 boys and five girls will strap on helmets and race down the hill, compared to the 16 participants that raced in 2002.
The winner of the race will be able to go to Akron, Ohio, to race against drivers from around the United States in the Nationals.
Last year, Seth Tibbetts came away with the exciting win. He held off Justin Scarbrough by .313 seconds to take the victory.
Scarbrough had battled back from the losers' bracket and beat Tibbetts by .032 seconds in the first of two races between the pair.
Tibbetts had won every race until the finals and had moved through the winners' bracket with no problem. The loss to Scarbrough, however, forced one final race to decide the champion.
Tibbetts came through with the win in the final race to take the 2002 race title.
This year's race promises to be just as exciting. A lot of new sponsors have been added and prizes will be given away in drawings towards the end of the day.
Most of the drivers will also be new to the experience. Of the 20 drivers racing, only three participated in last year's racing.
The day of racing will start with opening ceremonies and the announcement of the drivers. The kids will be brought down the hill in the trolley and the National Anthem will be sung to get the racing action started.
The racing is set to begin around 9 a.m. and will run down 23rd Avenue with the starting line at 12th Street and the finish line at Ninth Street.
The actual race will be set up as a double elimination tournament. Drivers will compete in two heats against each other. They will run the first heat, switch lanes, and then race again.
The winner of each match up will be determined by time. The time of the two heats for each racer will be added together and the driver with the fastest total time will advance.
A ramp is set up at the top of the hill to set the cars on. After the drivers are secured and ready, the gate drops and the racers will race down the street in their lanes at 25-30 miles per hour.
It should be a great day of racing and fans are encouraged to bring some lawn chairs to sit next to the race course.
Snacks and drinks will be sold in the concession stand.

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