The first race of the Ninth Annual Greater Los Angeles Soap Box Derby didn’t begin until 10 a.m., but volunteers had been setting up long before then, the bulk of setup occurring since 7 that morning. Different local groups volunteered a hand to pull the derby together. The Flintridge Prep Key Club arrived early to sell morning pastries and coffee. Boy Scout Troop 502 kept lanes clear by towing cars in after they crossed the finish line. And the St. Francis High School football team loaded and unloaded cars onto a trailer that ferried cars up and down the hill.
Races were conducted in accordance to All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD) rules in a double-elimination tournament format involving a main bracket and consolation bracket. For the first heat, names were drawn and paired together at random and following matchups depended on bracket results. Each matchup heat consisted of two races down the hill, called phases. After the first phase, cars switch lanes and swap tires. The wheel swap is to ensure fairness since wheels and wheel bearings can significantly influence the outcome of a race. As the first car crosses the finish line, it trips an electronic timer, and the second car turns the timer off. At the conclusion of the heat, the timer differentials for the two phases are summed up and whoever has the largest time differential is the winner.