Mainstay retires from Dillon Soap Box Derby
DILLON – The name Kim Bouchard has become almost synonymous with the Dillon Soap Box Derby. The 17-year-old local racer made her ninth and final appearance at Saturday’s 11th annual event, where she took second place in the super stock division behind winner Elizabeth Murphy.Bouchard, who was runner-up for the third consecutive year, will be too old to compete in next year’s derby.The Summit High School senior remained positive despite never being able to win in Dillon.”I was just glad I could still fit in my car,” said Bouchard, who was the oldest racer on Saturday (her 15-year-old sister, Bobby, was the next oldest). “And I didn’t want to do any worse than second.”Murphy’s racing career in Dillon also came to a close on Saturday, but not because of any age limit.
Now that she’s won both the stock (weight of car and driver is up to 200 pounds) and super stock (up to 230 pounds) divisions, the local 12-year-old has become ineligible for future competition. That didn’t seem to bother the young star on Saturday.”I’m just excited that I get to go back to Akron,” Murphy said, after finishing ahead of Kim Bouchard and third-place finisher Lexie Cahill.Murphy’s victory qualified her for her second consecutive trip to the All-American Soap Box Derby Championship in Akron, Ohio, July 22. The event will be comprised of more than 500 qualifiers from 40 U.S. states and five foreign countries – Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Guam and the Philippines.Michelle Palmer won Saturday’s stock division, which qualified her to compete in Akron as well. She was followed by Shane Evans in second place and Jacob Cahill in third. Palmer took up soap box racing for the first time this spring.
“I was surprised,” the 11-year old Frisco resident said. “I beat some people that have been doing this for a long time.”Palmer hopes to compete in Akron, although she still needed to discuss logistics with her parents following Saturday’s derby.”My dad’s not here,” Palmer said. “But my mom is, and she’s proud of me.”Conor Evans, who won last year’s super stock division, knows from experience that Murphy and Palmer have some stiff competition ahead of them.”I only got to race once at last year’s championship,” Evans said. “If you lose, you’re out. You don’t get to switch lanes and wheels like you do here.”Each one of Saturday’s head-to-head races featured two heats. In between heats, competitors exchanged wheels and lane position.
Twenty-eight racers made up the Dillon Soap Box Derby field this year. Fourteen were boys, 14 were girls and 18 hailed from Summit County. Nine competitors were from the Front Range and one was from Montana, according to co-race director Steve Corneillier.”We come here because it’s a choice track,” said Montana’s Joshua Tomaschko, a retired soap box racer who was cheering for his sister, Liz, on Saturday. The 14-year old Tomaschko, who hasn’t raced since 2002 in Roseville, Minn., was forced into early retirement by a pre-teenage growth spurt.”The course in Roseville had a lot of cracks,” the 6-foot-4 Tomaschko said. “It makes this Dillon track look like glass.” Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
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