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Field filling up for McKeesport's Soap Box Derby day

| Monday, May 6, 2013, 11:03 a.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | Daily News
Anthony Merced Kelly, 12, takes the checkered flag over Palmer Masciola,12, in the Super Stock Division race at the Greater Pittsburgh Soap Box Derby last year.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | Daily News
The No. 96 Aerotech car sits at the starting gate ready to race during last year's Greater Pittsburgh Soap Box Derby.

McKeesport's Father's Day tradition again will draw a full share of racers.

“We currently have 38 racers registered this year,” said Laurie Cox, treasurer for the Greater Pittsburgh Soap Box Derby. “It is not too late for new racers to come in. Anybody who is interested should be registered by mid May so they have time to find a car that is already built or time to buy a new car kit that they will need to build.”

There will be three divisions for the June 16 competition that takes advantage of Eden Park Boulevard's slope outside McKeesport Area High School:

• Stock Division for kids ages 7-13. This is the beginner's division and involves young drivers of sit-up style cars. So far at least 18 have submitted entries.

• Super Stock Division for kids 9-17. This is the intermediate division and, like the Stock Division, involves a sit-up style car. So far at least 14 have entered.

• Master's Division for kids 10-17. This is for experienced racers who can drive a lay-down style car. So far at least eight have entered.

Cox said Union Orthotics and Prosthetics has been the main sponsor of the derby for years, while Aerotech joined on as a second major sponsor and helped the derby expand from two to three divisions.

“Our races are double elimination,” Cox said. “Each division will have a winner that will represent us in the nationals in Akron, Ohio, where there are racers from all over the world.”

Other sponsors are welcome.

“Sponsors need to be in by mid May also so that stickers for their sponsored car can be made and names/ads can be put in the program book,” the local derby treasurer said. “Each car also has its own sponsor.”

The local derby has featured celebrity racers, and this year it's grown to be quite a number.

As of late April the list included Brittny McGraw of Trib Total Media news exchange partner WPXI-11, McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko and city administrator Matt Gergely, state Rep. Bill Kortz of Dravosburg, Allegheny County Councilman Bob Macey of West Mifflin, Daily News General Manager Robert Hammond, Aerotech Inc. vice president Dave Kincel, West Newton Mayor Mary Popovich, Pittsburgh city Councilman Corey O'Connor and the Rev. Terrence O'Connor, Corey's brother and the pastor of St. Therese Church in Munhall.

Those interested in the Soap Box Derby can contact for more details.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967

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