Competitors Prep for New Rochelle Firefighters 9th Annual Soap Box Derby During Official Weigh-In at Ward Acres House

Written By: Robert Cox

SoapBoxDerby1As entrants made last minute adjustments to their soapbox derby racers, organizers of the 9th Annual New Rochelle Soap Box Derby carefully weighed each vehicle to confirm they qualified to run in tomorrow’s races.

New Rochelle Derby Director Rich Bongiorno expects 35 to 40 cars to race on Sunday.

“Any kid from the ages of 8 to 17 can race”, said Bongiorno, “For $150 they will get five races — a trial run, 2 races in the winners bracket and, if a kid loses, at least two more races in the losers bracket where they can win their way back in”.

Racing can be expensive. The kit to make the car costs about $500. An adult and child, working together, can build a car in an afternoon. For those who cannot afford a car, there are club cars and the firefighters will try to find sponsors to make the event affordable and open to everyone who wants to give it a try.”

“If you like racing, if you like going fast and you want to the opportunity to race and possibly go to World Champions then get involved,” said Bongiorno. The organizers can be reached via email at or at the event tomorrow. Entrants get a t-shirt, meals and the chance for the winners to go to Akron, OH to compete against children from all over in the World Championships.

Kevin Heintz will be racing for the fourth year in a row. He came in 9th in his first year, second place the last two years.

Asked his goal for this year, Heintz said “I want to win”.

Heintz said he most looks forward to “going down the hill, going fast.”

His younger sister Danielle raced for the first time last year and came in fourth.

Asked what she likes best about racing she said “Having fun”.

The first race will kick-off at 9 am tomorrow. The race course runs from the top of Quaker Ridge Road near the Ward Elementary School and ends towards the bottom near the overpass at Pinebrook Boulevard. There will be hot dogs, hamburgers and cold drinks. The finals are expected to be run between 2 and 4 pm.

The event is organized each year by the members of the New Rochelle United Fire Firefights Association Local 2773.