ANDERSON, Ind. — Gracey Carpenter and Tyler Etherington are packing their bags for Akron, Ohio after winning their respective classes at the 77th Anderson Soap Box Derby.
Tyler, 9, won the stock race — for children ages 7 to 11 — after a long day of racing down Townsend Hill. He beat out 11 other racers to take home the trophy. He will compete next month in Akron in the All-American World Championships.
Carpenter, 13, also beat out 11 racers to take home the top prize for super stock. The win was especially sweet for Carpenter, who has finished second the last three years. She lost the championship race in the stock twice and lost super stock last year.
"It feels very good," she said after winning.
The soap box cars don't have much room for the drivers. Racers can be as old as 18, but Anderson Soap Box Derby President Rick Isom said most racers outgrow the cars by that point.
The key is to get as low as possible to improve wind resistance and try to keep the car straight. While that may sound simple, Isom said he believes derby success rests about 85 percent with the drivers.
Carpenter said her thought process before a race is to try and clear her mind and then just act like Pac-Man; eating the white lane maker lines one at a time on the way down the hill.
Tyler said he tries to get as low as possible with his eyes just barely poking over the top of the car. He said he focuses on the finish line and just tries to keep the car straight.
With the win, Etherington continues a line of success in his family. His dad, Dan Etherington, won the very same race back in the late 90s and his uncle, Derek Etherington, won the national title in 2000.