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Neely Boys Qualify
For Derby Downs

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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 Charleston.

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 years.

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 Creek Park.

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 on ESPN.

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 Christina.

Grandparents are Gail and Donna Neely of Upper Nicut and Doug and Joan Stull of Grantsville. Great-grandmother is Delta Bailey of Upper Nicut.

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.

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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