By Frank Lewis
Tuesday was Soap Box Derby day at the Ohio statehouse. Local champions from all over Ohio converged on the statehouse to be honored by their Representative, their Senator and the Governor. Portsmouth’s 2013 Superstock champion Josh Russell of Wheelersburg along with his parents Wayne and Amy spent the day visiting the statehouse and receiving commendations from elected leaders.
“It is great to visit the statehouse and learn about all the historic events that took place there,” Josh said. “It is also nice to be recognized for winning the Portsmouth local.”
Also present was 2013 Portsmouth stock champion Jaclyn Burchett of Northwest with her parents Jon and Julie. “Soap Box racing has been so much fun,” Jaclyn said. “I really enjoyed all the time I get to spend with my parents, especially my dad. I think he enjoys racing as much as I do.”
Todd Book, of Civic Forum, sponsors of the local Soap Box Derby, said this years Portsmouth Soap Box Derby will be June 7, and again will be held on Kendall Avenue. Book said locally, the Derby will run Stock and Superstock classes. Stock is for kids 7-13 and Superstock is for children 10-17.
“If any children are interested in it, they can call me at 740-353-3113 or Dan Cassidy at 740-353-3121, and we can give them information,” Book said. “Or they can just go online to the All American Soap Box Derby website. Online they have the kits which you can purchase. When I first raced way back when you kind of built everything from scratch. You would just buy the axles and wheels from Akron. And pretty much everything else was up to you to put together. Now it’s a lot simpler. You buy the kit and all the hardware comes with it, and you build the car by following the instructions on the kit.”
Book said the local winners have had success at the national in Akron, and he said it is the sixth year of Civic Forum’s bringing the event back and it is getting bigger every year.
“Portsmouth is on the map as far as Soap Box Derby racing,” Book said. “And we’d like to keep it up.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.