Extra cars from Wisconsin event make Quincy Derby officials confident of record number of entries this year

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Race director Ray Wilson estimates the starting field for this year's Quincy Derby will have about 240 competitors. This year's event is scheduled for June 14-15 on the 18th Street Hill near Bob Mays Park. | MRN file photo by Teresa Huner

QUINCY — Quincy Derby officials are now confident there will be a record field for the 20th edition of the Grand Prix of Gravity.

Ray Wilson, director of the Quincy Derby, formerly known as the Soap Box Derby, told Muddy River News all possible openings in the Super Stock, Stock, Masters Elite and Super Kids divisions should soon be filled. 

Wilson estimates the starting field will have about 240 competitors.

“I’d be surprised if the lineup was not completely filled by the of April,” said Wilson, who has worked with the Quincy Optimist Club-sponsored derby since its inception in 2005 and has been director since 2012.

This year’s event is scheduled for June 14-15 on the 18th Street Hill near Bob Mays Park.

The derby record for total entries was established in 2019 with 226. The 2023 derby attracted 199 entries, mostly from West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.

Wilson said this year’s projected record total of entries is the result of additional cars the Optimist Club purchased in the offseason from a former derby operation in Racine, Wis.

The Super Kids division will likely put the derby over the top in terms of a record number of competitors. Wilson anticipates about 120 Super Kids racers from across the region, which would surpass the 109 in 2019. The Super Kids division is designed for those participants with physical and/or mental challenges.

In addition to local Super Kids entries, Wilson said the division will be boosted by representatives from Springfield, Jacksonville, St. Louis and Columbia, Mo.

The Quincy Derby is now the largest double-elimination event of its kind in the nation. Only the single-elimination All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio is larger. Wilson said he hopes to see the day when the Quincy Derby eventually surpasses the Akron event in raw numbers. The Akron derby drew 323 kids for its 85th running last July.

“I don’t think anyone originally foresaw how popular this would all become when it started 20 years ago,” Wilson said. “Families started registering this year in early February.”

Wilson said two of the three 2023 champions in the Super Stock, Stock and Master Elite divisions will return.

Super Stock champ Kalli Mullen of Bluffs will be back, trying to become the first driver in that division to win back-to-back titles. Audrey Robison of Quincy will return to try for a second straight Stock Division championship.

Repeat champions have been rather commonplace in the Stock bracket, most notably Jadyn Vogel (2016-21) of Quincy, Kaelyn Hess (2012-13) of Quincy and Logan Steinkoenig (2010-11) of Quincy.

Corin Robinson of Carthage, who won Masters Elite titles in 2022-23, will not compete this year. Wilson said she will be out of state on derby weekend.

Any questions about the derby should be directed to Wilson at (217) 491-3204.

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