It’s not every day that North Texas residents can race down a path in a home-made car in front of thousands of screaming fans.
So for a few hours Saturday, several of them jumped at the chance.
Local students at Prince of Peace Christian School in Carrollton took second place in the Red Bull Soapbox Race, which took second place at Austin Ranch in The Colony. The team scored 26.86 points, trailing first-place Skeeter Done, from Palatka, Florida (27.82).
Points are awarded based on the time it takes to finish the course, creativity and showmanship.
Kyle vonBehren, Brent Hahn, Bryce Farnham, Quinn Farnham, Bella Loretto, Chloe Biggers and Josh Thatcher formed the team Bomb Pop Racer! and designed a car to resemble the popular ice cream treat Bomb Pop.
“We knew that this was going to be judged on one-third creativity, and we didn’t think anyone would have had a Bomb Pop car before,” vonBehren said. “Plus, it had a patriotic theme to it.”
While this was the team’s first time to compete in a soapbox race, engineering is nothing new to the students, who are part of a robotics team at Prince of Peace.
Hahn said the boys relied on a strong chassis and a lot of research.
“We researched ways to find the best wheels to put on it, and we made sure we distributed our weight correctly,” Hahn said. “The robotics competitions we’ve been in really helped us.”
While the race was not part of a school activity, the students said the school supported them in their efforts.
Hahn said he was surprised his team fared so well and said the spectators probably were, too.
“We probably shocked everyone since we were just a bunch of high school kids beating the adults,” Hahn said.
Farnham, who drive the car, said the team spent two months preparing for the race, which began by drawing up the car.
“It looked really professional the way it was made, Farnham said.
“My favorite part was at the end when we finally finished,” Farnham said. “All of the family and friends were there to support us and just knowing all the hard work we put in paid off.”
Team Formula Juan, also from Plano, placed fourth and brought home the People’s Choice Award for its racecar theme.
Team Skeeter Done received an experience with the Red Bull Air Force. Team Bomp Pop Racer! received an iFly tunnel flying experience for all team members. Third-place Team Dallas Mavs ManiAACs and Team Formula Juan both received a day at the K1 Speed karting track for all team members.
Teams had to qualify for the event, and 47 teams competed.
Officials said the race didn’t cause any traffic issues in The Colony or in Plano, which abutted a small section of the race site.
Officer David Tilley with the Plano Police Department said the city received no negative feedback.
“We knew what to expect,” Tilley said, referring to the 2012 race when Plano residents voiced concern over traffic congestion. “We learned from the first time.”
Tilley said officers delivered passes to the residents in the Pointe West subdivision, the only Plano neighborhood that was closed off, so they could get in and out during race day.
The DFW event is the second time the Red Bull Soapbox Race has taken place at Austin Ranch.