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Air Force soap box soars into first place

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Carissa Morgan
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Jared Cornell spent more than 30 hours helping to get the 2007 Guam Soap Box Derby on its feet, about eight hours building his racer and only seconds to win the entire event Saturday at Guam Raceway Park in Yigo. 

Cornell finished with a 9-3 record over six rounds of stiff competition to earn the right to represent Guam in the World Soap Box Derby Championship in Akron, Ohio in July.
 
After making it to the second round of the soap box derby Jared was still unsure as to whether he wanted to win or not. 

Cornell realized that there was no point to not winning if he could. This changed his outlook of the trip to Akron, Ohio.
 
"I realized that there was nothing to holding me back," said Cornell. "At that point I decided to go with the flow. Now I'm excited about the long trip to Akron." 

In the semi-finals, Cornell was so excited that he is now infamous among Andersen supporters for saying, "I'm gonna fry me some chicken," when he raced against the Kentucky Fried Chicken car. 

Cornell worked hard to be able to win. Soap box derbies have a lot of regulations that have to be followed. One of these regulations requires thesoap box racer to take part in the building of his or her car. 

"The soap box racer comes in a kit," said Senior Master Sgt. Paul Cornell, first sergeant of the 36th Maintenance Group, and also Jared Cornell's father. "It is up to the driver and advisors to assemble it. There can be absolutely no modification to the racer, not even one drop of grease to oil the bearings or axles." 

Cornell talked about how long the soap box racer took to build. 

"In total it probably took nine hours to build my soap box, with all the paint and decals included. Izzy (Israel Soto), (Steve) Bair and I built my racer. It will probably take longer to fix up when we have to fix it up later." 

Another regulation requires th the opponents to swap tires and lanes after the first run. Each round has two runs and the winner is determined by the overall time taken after each run. Also, each soap box racer has to weigh between 228 and 230 pounds with the driver. 

Soap box derbies are competitive even if they do not seem that way, said Sergeant Cornell. 

"The kids may not have been saying anything but the competition was fierce," said Sgt. Cornell. "It was so much in fact, that at the finish line several losing competitors were in tears." 

Cornell spoke on how competitive he was throughout the duration of the soap box derby. 

"I was competitive in the nature that I didn't give away my secrets. I also paid attention to my strongest competitors and listened to my advisors Izzy and Bair." 

The soap box car racers do not get to practice a lot in their cars. They have just enough time in their soap boxes to get somewhat used to them. 

"We only practiced on the Saturday before the actual event," Cornell said.
Sergeant Cornell expounded on the Saturday run before the actual event. 

"The Saturday before the actual event there were timed trials where all the competitors were allowed to run alone down the track to get used to their cars." 

Yet another regulation of the soap box derby is that the racer has to use the same car for the world championships. Since this is the case Jared and his team of advisors are going to modify the car a bit. 

"We are going to jazz up the car a bit for worlds(the world championship)," said Jared.
Sgt. Cornell shed some light on other regulations that have to be taken into consideration for the worlds. 

"Its regulation now that we have qualified for worlds to have Guam on the car since we are now representing the entire island," said Sgt. Cornell. "We're going to paint it black, put the Guam seal on it, flying tiger teeth and the 'pilot', 'aircraft' and 'crew chief names' or advisors names on the soap box since they are not allowed to come along." 

Cornell went along with the ride but he also helped make the event happen. 

"Jared worked volunteer hours as well," said Sergeant Cornell. "He put in around 30 volunteer hours just helping to get the event on its feet. This is why it was so cool to see him win."

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