NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Alexis Jimeniz and Melissa Costa claimed first place in the stock and super stock divisions, respectively in Sunday's 10th Annual New Rochelle All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD). The two champions will head to Akron, Ohio, for the World Championship Race on July 21, which will be preceded by an event-filled week.
“I am thrilled beyond belief,” said a jubilant Angela Jimeniz of her daughter and Costa’s performances. “They put a lot of work into it and I think they both deserved it. I think they did awesome. I couldn’t be more thrilled”
Jimeniz and Costa were two of 28 racers in the annual race, which is sponsored by the New Rochelle Uniformed Firefighters Association Local 273, and takes place on a stretch of Quaker Ridge Road. Stock racers range from 7 to 13 years old and super stock racers are between 10 and 17 years old.
Derby Director Rich Bongiorni, whose father was a mechanic, said the race “started off as an idea I pitched to the union.” He looks forward to the event and seeing the smiles on the kids faces every year, he said.
“I love it – I think it’s a great thing for the kids,” said Bongiorni. “It’s just amazing. I think it’s a great opportunity. This is everybody’s sport and anybody can win.”
The racers participated in double elimination contests and the winner was chosen based on the greater combined time difference.
Costa, 14, was excited about going to Akron because she had heard stories from her cousin, who also took part in the championship race.
“They’re probably going to have more activities than the other years; very happy about that,” said Costa, who has been racing for seven years.
Jimeniz, 11, said she was “happy about winning” and “a little bit nervous, but excited” when it comes to Akron. The three-year Soap Box Derby racer’s mother does not “know what to expect” and is thrilled about the week in Ohio.
Costa and Jimeniz will compete in three-person single elimination races with other children from across the world, including Guam, Japan and Germany, Bongiorni said.