Long Beach has gained the deserved reputation as the place where skilled drivers go to race fast cars in the streets (we're looking at you, Toyota Grand Prix).
Meaning this: It shouldn't surprise anyone when another pedal-to-the-metal happening zooms into town, with bells on.
Well... "pedal-to-the-metal" isn't quite the case when it comes to soap box racing. Soap boxers depend on gravity for their go, and a lot of oomph, luck, and pluck, too. So when the All-American Soap Box Derby pulls up alongside the Queen Mary on Saturday, Aug. 23 and Sunday, Aug. 24, you can count on spectators aplenty showing up to admire "the granddaddy of all inertia motor sports."
The prize of the weekend? The Queen's Cup, which makes beautiful sense, given the location.
Bigger plans may be in the works for the derby. The Queen Mary's General Manager John Jenkins said "Our goal is to test the concept of hosting a major soap box race at the Queen Mary. The August race will tell us something about how to create a race event that might be scheduled to coincide with the annual Long Beach Grand Prix weekend."
Longtime soap box participants as well as novices are welcome to sign up for the race. "A track will be installed adjacent to the ship," lest you're trying to visualize just where the gravity-seekers'll roll.
As for those regular soap boxers looking to get to Akron, where the championships are held each and every year? Points will be awarded at The Queen Mary, so look for serious competitors to be out in derby-fierce force.
"Walk the pits of any major racing event and you're likely to meet a former Soap Box Derby racer," says Mr. Jenkins.
He's right. Which means that the Soap Box Derby may make a fine and nostalgic addition to the Grand Prix's car-loving calendar down the road.
How many Grand Prix drivers'll wish they were over at the Soap Box? Probably a few.