Steamboat Springs For local Soap Box Derby racer Frank Chillemi, it is all about getting to Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio.
Chillemi, a 13-year-old Steamboat Springs student, will take part in the first annual Steamboat Rotary Soap Box Derby Saturday, with opening ceremonies scheduled for 9 a.m. at the top of Rockies Way.
Chillemi is one of 20 entrants who is vying for a trip to the World Championship finals at Akron in August. Several foreign countries send drivers to the finals. Only the winner in this weekend's race will make the trip from Steamboat. Those competing are ages 9-16.
Although Chillemi is a Soap Box Derby rookie, he has done his homework on the youth racing program.
"We watch a bunch of movies on it," Chillemi said. "I've seen specials on A&E (channel) and a couple of movies at school. And I've done some research on the Internet."
Chillemi said the competition gets a lot stiffer at the World Finals because many of the racers have mechanics on their team.
"The people I'd go against if I won the Steamboat race, they have mechanics on call at the races," Chillemi said.
Chillemi's car, which is painted in the same design that is on a can of Red Bull, is sponsored by B&K Distributing.
He and the other drivers will compete in a lane swap/wheel swap format, said Michelle Petix, derby director.
Only two drivers will race at one time, and they will be in separate lanes. The drivers will race down their respective lanes against one another for about 470 feet. Then, the same two drivers will switch tires with one another and race a second time from opposite lanes. If the drivers each win a race, the one who wins by the most time during the competition is the victor.
The other scenario is that one driver wins both races and is the victor. The winning driver advances further into the bracket, while the loser must avoid being defeated again.
It is a double-elimination competition.
Petix said the final heat is expected to take place by 2 p.m.
It has been interesting, she said, to see how much time has been spent by the drivers and their parents building the cars.
"The time that kids have been putting into it, that is what I've been getting a thrill out of," Petix said.
"They have to definitely set goals, meet the goals, and overcome when they have problems.
"The race itself is a chance to celebrate what's already been accomplished in my opinion," she said.
Sponsors for the race include the City of Steamboat Springs, Alpine Bank, El Pomar Youth in Community Service, Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Routt County United Way and the industrial arts class at Steamboat Springs Middle School.