Local Soap Box Derby Champion

By: Stacy Berman
By: Stacy Berman

July 25, 2006

While driving your car over the speed limit might get you a ticket, going fast on the road isn't always a bad thing. There's is a place where speed can earn you some respect at a Soap Box Derby. Here is the story of one local Soap Box Derby champion.

Jonathan Wheaton, a fourteen year old from Fluvanna County, has been competing in Soap Box Derbies since age eleven. What makes this sport so interesting is that you have to build your own car to compete and that is no easy task.

"They come in a kit, but you have to custom fit a lot of the parts like the headrest, [which] came separate. We had to put that on with epoxy and the hatch came separate and it's a lot of work and the shell was in two pieces. It was a lot of work," explained Jonathan as he pointed out the work on his car.

Jonathan competes in the Masters Division, which is the more experienced group.

"This is the one where you're laying down in the car. And in the other divisions you are sitting forward."

He recently placed third at the All American Soap Box Derby where he met people from all over the U.S. and the World. While making friends is fun, it's the speed that Jonathan seeks.

"I like the thrill. I like the speed and everything. It's really fun," Jonathan said with a smile on his face.

This sport has been a bonding experience for the Wheaton family, from building the car, to helping with practice, to cheering for Jonathan at every race he's competing in.

"I think it's a lot of fun. The family is a big part of it. I have a very good support group and it's a lot of fun," Jonathan continued.

Participants can only compete through age seventeen, but Jonathan won't be giving up his need for speed anytime soon. His future profession depends on it.

"I'm really interested in flying airplanes. I think that will be a lot of fun," he concluded. In the meantime, Jonathan is already preparing his car for his next race, which will take place next month.

For more information on Soap Box Derbies, check out www.brsoapbox.com.

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