Growing up with the last name “Krider” means you’ll probably spend a lot of time at the race track while your dad, uncle, grandpa, etc. are up to their usual Krider Racing shenanigans (running hard, crashing cars and winning races). While most kids are enjoying a weekend of sitting on the couch killing zombies on Call of Duty you’re stuck at the racetrack doing menial tasks like cleaning wheels, sweeping out the racecar trailer and writing down lap times. But eventually, if you’re patient, it will be your time behind the wheel. Last weekend it was finally Gus Krider’s time to race and for the rest of family to crew for him. It was an All-American Soap Box Derby race in Palo Alto, California, and the results of that race are sending Gus to Akron, Ohio, for the World Championships.
Gus picked up a beautiful cup trophy filled with jelly beans which he said, “taste like victory.” But his victory wasn’t an easy task, he had a lot of fast racers to overcome and last but not least (just like in any type of racing) luck was on his side.
Gravity is the only engine in Soap Box racing and friction is the enemy of any racer. The trick as a driver is to find the smooth quick line on the track which means missing the small man hole covers and using the natural crown of the roadway.
Since there was definitely a “fast” line on the track that meant that poor Gus was stuck hearing more than one long lecture from his “crew chief” dad.
Eventually his dad finally shut up and then it was just Gus and track. He raced smooth all day and moved his way up the standings. In the semi-final race he had an epic close race against Vern Harris with the difference between the two racers only three thousandths of second. That win put Gus into the finals. The winner of this race would go Akron, Ohio, to represent all of Central and Northern California in the World Championships.
His final opponent was Alison Parman in her beautiful beach themed car. Alison is a three time veteran of the World Championships and her car is probably the most fantastically built Masters car in the country. Gus won the first phase in lane two by three tenths of a second. During the second phase Alison came back with a vengeance and picked up a win in lane two by five tenths of a second giving her the win by two tenths overall. Gus had raced great all day but a trip to Akron wasn’t in the cards for him this year. But… any racer will tell you sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
During the awards ceremony Alison announced that she would not be making the cross country trip this year and she was deferring the local championship offer to attend the World Championship to the second place car, which happened to be Gus Krider. This revelation sent the crew into celebration. Krider Racing would be racing in the Indy 500 of the Soap Box Derby world July 23, 2011. Thank you Alison and the Parman family!
To get Gus’s car from California to the World Championships at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio, the title sponsor of the Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby event in Palo Alto, California, Air Systems Inc. is shipping the car to Ohio. Thank you Air Systems! That saves us a very long tow.
The biggest thanks needs to go to the Harris family and the entire crew at Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby for putting on an awesome event that so many kids had the opportunity to enjoy. Without people like this, who volunteer their time to make these events happen, nobody would have the opportunity to race.
Stickers on the Krider Racing cars were done by Figstone Graphics. Gus Krider wants to thank his biggest sponsor, C.J. Fix Co. Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation in Napa, CA, -yes that would be Grandma Cindy. His sister Addy Krider, in the hot pink racer, finished 5th overall in the Super Stock class taking home another trophy for Krider Racing. This gravity only racing is actually starting to take off for the team, first the Pinewood Derby at the 24 Hours of LeMons and now Soap Box Derby. Who knew you could have so much fun without an engine?