Preston Neely, 11, racing with his brother Kurtis, 13,
as his co-driver, placed second in the annual Kanawha Valley Soap Box
Derby special division race on June 6 at Little Creek Park, South
The 13 special division racers are paired up with an
experienced co-driver for the “Thrill of the Hill,” a 980-foot course
where cars exceed 35 miles per hour on gravity feed.
The top three finishers advance to the Super Kids
Classic at Derby Downs, Akron, Ohio, on Friday, July 23.
Preston was sponsored by Baker’s Mart and Neely’s Farm.
He has raced three special division races and placed second the past two
He has met racers from all over the U.S. and Canada.
According to his parents, Ronald and Christina Neely, he enjoys the
event and loves to ride down the hill and win trophies.
In Akron, Preston will attempt to place in the top six
finalists that will race in the All American Soap Box Derby Race on July
24, which will be televised on ESPN.
Kurtis was among 33 racers participating in the 73rd
Kanawha Valley Soap Box Derby All-American Race on June 12 at Little
There are three types of cars associated with the Soap
Box Derby: stock, super stock, and masters.
Kurtis raced in his 200 lb. stock car and was sponsored
by Neely’s Farm. He was undefeated in the 12-car division, advancing as
overall winner of the stock division.
By winning, he also qualified to race at Derby Downs for
the national title. He will go to Akron for a week during July to
prepare for the race.
It was his third All-American race. In 2008, he was 8th
and in 2009 he placed 7th.
Three other drivers qualified for Derby Downs from the
Kanawha Valley Soap Box Derby Association.
Kurtis has also met and raced against youths from
Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Virginia during the
past three years.
He enjoys racing, and hopes to begin the next season,
which starts in August, in his super stock car. He, too, hopes to appear
The boys’ parents are very proud of them and their
accomplishments, and have been hoping for two years that both could race
at Derby Downs.
“They both have worked really hard and countless hours
hoping for this day to come. Please say a prayer for them and thank you,
God, for allowing our family to be so blessed,” said Ronald and
Grandparents are Gail and Donna Neely of Upper Nicut and
Doug and Joan Stull of Grantsville. Great-grandmother is Delta Bailey of
If you would like to sponsor Kurt or Preston and help
with their expenses while in Akron, send donations to Kurtis and Preston
Neely, 1533 Upper Nicut Road, Chloe, WV 25235.