With over 110,000 spectators in attendance, the Red Bull Soap Box Derby in Los Angeles, CA was truly an amazing event. People from all over crowded in to the city streets to see the spectacle… people even scaled up the side of nearby buildings just to have a better view of everything going on.
The day started with pit road being open to the public to allow spectators meet the teams and see their wild and crazy creations. The craftsmanship into the soap box race cars was truly amazing, everything from cardboard to fiberglass to welded metal and custom paint was utilized in the various race car builds. Each racer was truly a piece of art and most teams had fun themes to go along with their car. After everything was set, the Red Bull sponsored Nascar race vehicle drove up and down the track with high revs and squealing tires to get everyone excited for what was to come next. Then everyone was suddenly looking up into the sky as a Red Bull themed parachuter came soaring down through the clouds with a smoke stream shooting from his feet.
With that… it was time for the racing to begin. The course itself had slight turns through out with one major peaked turn by the celebrity judging stand in the middle of the track. There were also other elements such as jumps in the middle of the downhill track that made it quite the spectacle.
The official press release from RedBull is below:
MORE THAN 110,000 ANGELENOS CROWDED DOWNTOWN’S STREETS AT RED BULL SOAPBOX RACE L.A.?NEW RECORD SET – THREE TEAMS REACH SPEEDS OVER 45 MPH
LOS ANGELES – September 26, 2009 – Red Bull Soapbox Race Los Angeles brought out the Wild Things, the Tin Man and a team of firemen…oh yeah, and did we mention the crowd of 111,000?!? Despite the rising temperatures, Angelenos came out in droves to watch 40 homemade soapboxes from across the US race through Downtown L.A.’s streets. The urban course caused crash after crash with jumps, a 90-degree turn and tight chicanes, but some teams managed to master the elements and tore through the finish line at lightning speed – with three teams reaching over 45mph!
San Francisco’s Team Ironheade claimed the top podium spot and a V.I.P. NASCAR experience with their soapbox modeled after the soon-to-be-released video game Brütal Legend. Their blistering speed and heavy metal rock theme tore the course to shreds, and with it, the competition. And they now go into the Red Bull Soapbox Race record books for achieving the fasted speed ever – 46.1mph. The team driver, Sean Feeley, “just tried to keep two wheels on the ground, but by the end I didn’t have any brakes!” Local team Ludicrous Speed!!! took second place with their Winnebago and memorable skit based on the movie Spaceballs. The third place team also won the People’s Choice Award (decided by spectator text messaging), and they aren’t even from L.A.! Denver’s Team Speed Racer won the hearts of Southern California and a day of high-speed go-kart racing with their seamless replica of the famous Mach 5.
Additional crafts that braved the unforgiving course included a lifeguard tower, a grand piano, an oversized bottle of Tapatío hot sauce, a giant brain, a banana hammock, the Hollywood sign and college rivals USC and UCLA mascots.
STARS, SPEED AND SWEAT
Teams were judged on three criteria – speed, creativity and showmanship – by a panel of celebrity judges including acting legend Erik Estrada, “American Idol” contestant Kimberly Caldwell, motocross star and World Record holder Ronnie Renner, ESPN SportsCenter Host Stan Verrett and X Games host Sal Masekela. Estrada said the event, “was a lot of fun – Red Bull really made a nice contribution to the community,” whereas Renner couldn’t get over the day’s crashes which gained instant respect from the world class athlete: “Let’s face it, you can get hurt here just as bad as you can at the X Games – and these guys aren’t professional athletes, so it’s pretty cool.” ??Angelenos were also met with a few familiar voices over the loudspeaker including Jillian Barberie Reynolds and Paul Rodriguez, who both hosted the day’s festivities.