Without question, I thought the sentimental favorite was Lucy Newcombe, a little girl no more than 9 years old. I watched her hands as she clutched her helmet. Her grip was not excessively tight and seemed to mesh with gentle eyes that showed more determination than fright. With a concerted effort, she wiggled into a defined and narrow cockpit; then, with two eyes barely peering over a plastic frame, she took one deep breath, steadied her gaze, and tightened her grip around a feeble steering wheel. "Go Lucy Girl," I shouted, hoping that it would make a difference.
The starter released the lever and sent Lucy and her opponent barreling down Michigan Hill at 30 miles per hour in their soap box racing car contraptions at the 8th Annual Soap Box Derby Races in La Cañada. I am told that the drivers' ability to keep their cars running on a perfectly straight tangent is the secret to success and that concentration is the key.