Winners of Billtown race to compete for championship in Ohio

MALLORIE McILWAIN/Sun-Gazette

After the 10th annual Soap Box Derby Race down Market Street Hill, the two champions — Lucas McCahan racing in stock and Sarah Stugart racing in super stock — make their way to Akron, Ohio, this weekend to compete in the “First Energy All-American Soap Box Derby Race Week.”

The families of the two champions and Jim Campbell, Williamsport Soap Box Derby race director, are increasingly involved in the sport and the dedication it needs to achieve in races.

This will be a second trip to Akron for the McCahan family, as Lucas’s older sister Meredith was last year’s super stock winner.

Lucas, who is sponsored by Overhead Door, previously won two second-place trophies, but this year was more determined than ever to earn the win that would send him to Akron.

“I’ve tried so hard for the last four years to get to this point, and now that I have, it feels great,” said Lucas McCahan.

“He really put his mind to winning this year. He was determined and he practiced and worked hard. He was focused and it really paid off,” said his mother, Shawn McCahan.

“It was nice to see that he had a goal and he achieved it,” said Jason McCahan, Lucas’s father. “He will be required to move up to the super stock division next year. We will start over in a new division with the goal of seeing if we can pull it off again.”

“It’s wonderful because he has really prepared himself for this race. He has showed the dedication to the soap box,” said Jack Schrader, with Overhead Door. “Every year he is determined. He was determined that he was going to win this year, and he did. I am so happy for the family.”

Stugart also took second place last year and was excited to take first this time around.

“It’s cool because you’re representing Williamsport. Last year I got second place, so it was really cool to get first place this year,” Sarah Stugart said of this year’s win and her participation in the national event next week.

“She worked hard. Think about being second all year, wishing you would win, and then this year she is first place. It’s a huge accomplishment,” said Jodi Stugart, Sarah’s mother.

Garrett Sanner, regional president of Jersey Shore State Bank, which sponsored Sarah Stugart’s car, said the bank looks forward each year to its involvement with the Soap Box Derby in particular, as it is a unique event.

“It’s exciting for Jersey Shore State Bank,” said Sanner, noting Sarah Stugart is the first winner to go to nationals among racers they’ve sponsored. “It’s exciting for the families for them to get the experience and to compete on a national level and represent Williamsport.”

Among the perks of winning at the local level is that racers get to decorate the car how they want, unlike the local race when all cars have the same white body color with a sponsor sticker on the side.

McCahan’s car, is cloaked in red, white and blue with a patriotic pattern and his name at the nose. The design was inspired by America and McCahan’s cousin who is serving in the military.

“Part of it is because my cousin is in the Army and just because you should be able to thank America and things like that,” said Lucas McCahan.

Sarah Stugart’s car is an electric blue with a full-of-life shark’s mouth biting at the nose.

“Blue is one of my favorite colors,” she said.

“The shark’s mouth is just something cool. We were looking for something to stand out,” said Jim Stugart.

The local youths will be competing and experiencing different activities at the week-long event that begins Sunday in Akron, Ohio, where they will have what for most is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“You’re not just racing other kids in Williamsport. Now you’re going against people from all over,” said Sarah Stugart.

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