Kids rev up for Flushing Meadows Soap Box Derby

By Gabrielle Prusak

The yearly Flushing Meadows Soap Box Derby will be held in East Elmhurst Saturday and boys and girls from 7 to 17 from the metropolitan area will be participating in this competition.

Young people registered online to be a part of the race and are required to bring a copy of their birth certificate to prove their age.

The cars, which can reach speeds up to 30 mph, are assembled by the children and their parents in the weeks leading up to the race. Most competitors use the fiberglass car bodies and components owned by the soap box derby group, although a few buy and build kits of their own.

Henry Foster, the director of the association, said, “I salute the parents, the guardians and mentors on the completion of constructing their cars for our annual competition.”

Depending on the number of entries, each race will have two heats in which two cars race for the best time. Both cars switch lanes and whichever car has the best time moves to a higher bracket.

But the losing car does move on to another bracket and continues to compete. Foster said the derby usually draws at least 24 cars and has had a maximum of 40 racers. The Flushing Meadows Soap Box Derby executive board will be judging the races throughout the day.

The winners of the race at 23rd Avenue and 94th Street will represent New York City in the National All-American Race in Akron, Ohio in July.

“FMSBD is a project-based program that implements a learning tool that assists with cognitive development and confidence in children ages 7 through 17,” Foster said.

He also pointed out that “the program incorporates math, science, and mechanical information to a project that relies on their personal ingenuity.”

Foster’s philosophy for this event is to stress that “we [the adults] are obligated and accountable to motivate future generations to succeed.”

The Flushing Meadow Soap Box Derby has been going on since 1988 and continues to teach young people some of the basic skills of workmanship, the spirit of competition and the perseverance to continue a project through completion.

“We contribute to the welfare, education development, moral guidance and creative expression of our participants,” said Foster. “FMSBD is committed to providing a community-based program that develops character and self-confidence in our young people.”

The race will start at 10 a.m. and concludes at 5 p.m.

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