Owensboro teen finding success on soap box derby scene

February 24, 2024 | 12:13 am

Updated February 23, 2024 | 11:28 pm

Zach Gordon | Photo provided

Owensboro’s Zachary Gordon is making quite the name on the soap box derby circuit. The 13-year-old College View Middle School student touts more than 20 career wins, including 5 over the last 2 weekends. 

He’s been competing in the Chicago Indoor WIN-ter series for kids aged 7-13 in the stock division and is currently leading in points with 4 races left on March 16 and 17. Gordon has collected over 600 points on the rally circuit and obtained an automatic bid to the World Championships in Akron in July. 

“For this year, I want to win the WIN-ter Series in Chicago,” Gordon said. “I also want to win the world championships, but I would be happy to place in the top 9 in the world.”

Gordon also hopes to qualify for the all-star race by placing in the top 3. The all-star race comprises the top 18 cars worldwide with the most wins on the rally circuit. 

This success directly results from preparation and hard work, leaning on his mother, Mandi McCann, along the way. 

“I prepare my soapbox derby car by waxing the shell,” he said. “We also adjust the car to make sure there is minimum crossbind. Then, we spindle the axles with a hoop gauge to make sure the axles are in alignment. On the way to the track, my mother and I play uplifting music.”

Gordon added that it’s about more than winning. He also enjoys camaraderie and meeting people from all over the world while also reuniting with old friends. 

“I enjoy racing and traveling around the U.S. to Rally Races,” he said. “A lot of times, we will play football, tag, and soccer or ride scooters and fly drones while we wait for our turn to go down the hill. I also enjoy hanging out with friends at a restaurant or pool after we finish racing for the day.”

For anyone interested in soapbox racing locally, practices begin on March 2 at 9 a.m. at Ben Hawes Park. Anyone is welcome to attend, and there are several cars beginners can borrow to experience the thrill of racing down the hill. 

Racing is open to anyone between the ages of 7 and 21. On May 11, Owensboro will host the Super Kids Classic for individuals with special needs. 

Click here to learn more about soap box racing in the area.

February 24, 2024 | 12:13 am

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