race determined by gravity, classes depend on the participants weight and
Racing soap box cars down Michigan Hill -- the steep eastern portion
of Foothill Boulevard -- is quite a thrill for the kids, said Ed Moulton
of the Kiwanis Club, the group organizing the race.
"The excitement is unbelievable," Moulton said. Some kids have been
clocked with a radar gun at 28 mph, he said. Last year, a deputy from the
Crescenta Valley Sheriff's station gave the racers verbal speeding
warnings after they passed the finish line.
The top five finishers get sizable trophies, and every participant
gets a certificate, Moulton said. The winners go to the national races in
The deadline for children ages 9 to 16 interested in entering the race
has recently been extended to Saturday.
For Chris Chafin, who's been in five races over the past year, the fun
of the race is going down the hill and building the car. Because the cars
are stable and the racers wear helmets, they're pretty safe, he said.
"Generally, if somebody crashes it's only if they're not paying
attention or if something breaks -- but that doesn't happen very often,"
Soap box derby racing is a family event in the Chafin house. Mom, Kim
Chafin helps with the art work and lettering on the cars. Michelle enjoys
dad, Ken, helping her build her car, she said.
The best part about a soap box derby is the thrill of the race, Kim
The races are like the Indianapolis 500, but "more personal than Indy
because it's my kids," Kim Chafin said. But it's kind of like that.
There's a glow about it."
For more information:
WHAT: Los Angeles Foothills Soap Box Derby.
WHEN: 9 a.m. Memorial Day.
WHERE: Michigan Hill, on the east end of Foothill Boulevard.
COST: $35 entry fee for participants. Free for spectators.
Participants also must buy a car kit at Sport Chalet.
Entry forms and derby race rules are available by calling 790-9901.
Or, visit the Sport Chalet in La Canada Flintridge, or go online to: