The 77th All-American Soapbox Derby is starting July 26th, an event which has been around since 1935 and attracts participants from across the globe.
More than 400 racers between the ages of 7 and 18 from across the United States, Canada, and around the world hurtle down the 989-feet of track at Derby Downs, with some reaching speeds of up to 35 mph.
The event is held annually in Akron, Ohio and is a huge part of the town’s atmosphere and tradition.
Festivities kick off on Sunday July 20 with the Derby Downs 5K Run/Walk. Monday sees the Parade of Champions and opening ceremonies, with the rest of the week featuring activities for racers, families and spectators.
For more information on this exciting family-fun event visit smnr.akamediainc.com/aasbd-2014/
Date: 26 July 2014
Venue: Derby Downs
Country: United States
Unlike most auto racing events where competitors do all they can to avoid one another on the track as they speed toward the checkered flag, in Banger Racing colliding with competitors is a winning strategy. The intention is to wreck competing cars, maybe preventing them from crossing the finish line at all or at the very least, to slow them down significantly. Banger Racing is particularly popular in Great Britain, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands, with fans turning out in droves to support events that feature old scrap cars competing on tarmac or dirt, oval or figure-eight racetracks.
To add some spice to an already fiercely competitive sport, some Banger Racing events feature cars towing trailers or caravans, significantly increasing the element of risk. Not only do drivers have to contend with the constant threat of being bumped off the track, but they have to deal with driving at high speed while towing a trailer/caravan which can already throw a car off balance. Add to this the risk of the trailer being bumped by competitors, and making it to the finish line safely becomes a real challenge.
Other events in the Banger Racing arena include Siamese Banger Racing, so named because two cars are chained together, while being independently driven; and Train Racing, where three cars in a row are joined with the front car having the engine and a driver, the middle car unmanned and the car at the back with a driver operating the brakes. There are also different rules of engagement depending on the skill and experience of drivers, with rookie drivers having minimum contact with competitors and more experienced drivers participating in all out war on the racetrack.
While some may compare Banger Racing to a Demolition Derby event, the objectives are quite different. In a Demolition Derby the objective of the four or five competitors is to render opponents’ vehicles useless, with the winner being the last car still able to move. With Banger Racing, there may be as many as fifty competitors gridded across the track. There is generally a rolling start for the race and there are always a predetermined number of laps to complete with rules applying to skill level. Some Banger Racing events may end off with a Demolition Derby, but by then the participating cars have served their purpose on the Banger Racing arena.
Situated in the City of Port Phillip in Victoria, Australia, Albert Park and Lake lie roughly 3 kilometres south of the Melbourne CBD. Set in 555 acres of stunning parkland, the Albert Park incorporates a number of sporting facilities, ovals, a golf course, a walking track and the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.
Besides hosting a number of premier racing events, the park and Gunn Island provide a great habitat for a number of bird species, bats, possums, reptiles and amphibians. You’ll also find the Bob Jane Football stadium and the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre at Albert Park while the lake is used to host regular regattas.
Every year the Australian Grand Prix is held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, a street-based circuit that snakes its way around the Albert Park Lake. It is this spectacular event for which the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is best known and the race usually takes place on the Labour Day weekend. Though the race takes place on a number of everyday sections of road, these sections were rebuilt prior to the inaugural race in 1996 so they are quite smooth when compared to other public road circuits. Add to this the picturesque setting of Albert Park, and the racetrack is an unbeatable location for Formula One racing. What’s more, the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit at Albert Park is one of the few places on the Formula 1 calendar which are situated near a body of water.
Drivers generally find that the track is fast and easy to drive and learn. However, it does not make overtaking easy and spectators generally have to have a grandstand seat in order to enjoy the race. As early as four weeks before the major event, the majority of the trackside fencing, pedestrian overpasses and grandstands are put up in preparation. All of this is generally removed again in the two weeks following the event. Though a small number of people find the limited access to the various park facilities during this time to be an inconvenience, the majority of the public enjoy the race and venture out to see it each year.
Located close to Shiroka, Japan and east of Osaka, the Suzuka Speedway offers an entertaining and challenging course. Originally called Motor Sportsland (but re-named shortly after it opened), the Suzuka Speedway is built near Suzuka City in Japan, on land previously used by rice farmers. Suzuka offers a balance of curves and speed where the driver must be able to keep their speed under control so as not to overshoot into the two critical curves on the track, most notably the “Spoon Curve”. Traffic can be tight at the beginning, bringing drivers into quite a few possible collision scenarios.
With six total curves, and a length of almost 6 kilometers, the Suzuka Speedway is well-regarded as one of the best racetracks in the world, with several unique features. It is a figure-eight design with a multitude of fast and slow corners, including the aptly named Spoon Curve, the now much slower 130R corner, and Degner corner.
The Suzuka Speedway is the host of the Formula One Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix and one of the oldest and most-famous motorsport race tracks in Japan.
Designed as a test track in 1962 by John Hugenholtz, Suzuka Speedway is a unique circuit. Naturally, the track doesn’t actually intersect with itself on its figure-8 layout; instead, the back straight passes over the front section by means of an overpass. Due to its unique layout, Suzuka is a massive test of driver skill and is easily one of the most difficult racing circuits in the world. Nevertheless, the track is loved by drivers and spectators alike for its challenging design and many opportunities for overtaking.
Safety has been a concern at the circuit’s 130R, a 130-meter radius turn starting past the Crossover, following two tragic accidents in 2002 and 2003. Track officials revised the 130R, which has been compared to Spa’s Eau Rouge, redesigning it as a double-apex section, one with an 85 meter radius, and then a second featuring a 340-meter radius, leading to a much closer Casio Triangle (chicane).
During the Suzuka Speedway’s first major event since the revisions during the 2003 MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan, MotoGP rider Daijiro Kato was killed when he crashed in the new section headed to the braking zone for the Casio Triangle. (MotoGP has not returned to Suzuka since the incident).
Other than the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, the Suzuka Speedway also hosts the Suzuka 1000km endurance race. NASCAR organized a pair of exhibition 100-lap races on the East Circuit, a 1.4 mile layout which utilizes the pit straight and esses, before rejoining the main circuit near the Casio Triangle. The cars were Winston Cup and Winston West Series cars and the field was by invitation for the two races, run after the 1996 and 1997 seasons.
Today, the Suzuka Speedway stands as one of the most unique racetracks in the world. There is an adjoining amusement park, shopping mall, museum, several hotels, a motocross track and even a bowling alley within the circuit or next to it. Moriwaki and a slew of other Japanese hot-rod firms are located across the street from the main parking lot.
The sport of NASCAR racing is one of the most popular in the United States. Fans flock to the racetracks in their thousands to cheer on their favourite driver, team or car number. Though one of the appeals of NASCAR racing is its relatively easy accessibility, often the best way for aspiring drivers to drive truly remarkable vehicles is to join an existing team. Teams that are well established usually have access to the best cars and parts with which to enhance their vehicles and ensure top-performance rides. These teams also enjoy good sponsorship which then again helps to draw in enough money to keep vehicles in tip-top shape.
There are currently a fair number of different NASCAR racing teams which are recognised for having successful cars and drivers. Fans may recognise names such as Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing, Evernham Racing and Phoenix Racing. Often NASCAR teams are started by drivers who eventually use a portion of their winnings to purchase their own vehicles and start their own teams. On other occasions these teams may be started by wealthy supporters of the sport who wish to get more involved even though they may not be much good behind the wheel.
Teams such as Joe Gibbs Racing and Robert Yates Racing have helped a number of drivers to reach the pinnacle of success. Other teams have become largely family affairs, such as Dale Earnheart Racing and Petty Enterprises. Ownership of these teams may be passed down from one generation to the next – or it may be a prime position in the driver’s seat which the next generation may inherit. Whichever way you look at it, racing teams are needed for the sport of NASCAR racing to function properly. It makes organisation of NASCAR events that much more regulated and standardised and it makes it easier for new and aspiring drivers to climb their way up in the ranks and show their true worth. Team cars usually sport, not only the car’s number, but also the sponsorship which has enabled the team to continue racing at the top of it’s game. Fans soon learn which team they like the most – and which drivers they’d like to see in the winner’s circle. Have a look at our brief description of NASCAR racing teams to learn a little more about each one.
- Bill Davis Racing
- Chip Ganassi Racing
- Competitive Edge Motorsports
- Dale Earnhardt Racing
- Evernham Motorsports
- Haas CNC Racing
- Hendrick Motorsport
- Joe Gibbs Racing
- Morgan McClure Motorsports
- Penske Racing
- Petty Enterprises
- Phoenix Racing
- Richard Childress Racing
- Robert Yates Racing
- Roush Racing
- Robby Gordon Racing