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This is Your Soap Box Derby on Red Bull

For the 36 teams that participated in Saturday’s Red Bull Soapbox Race down 10th Street along Piedmont Park, Red Bull did in fact give them wings. At least for a split second, while their cars were airborne off the ramps built into the course. And until the front wheel came off, or the back fender dropped, or they lost momentum and had to pull their cars to the finish line. But for that moment, at least, they flew. Each team had a few moments in the spotlight to perform a skit and then run the course. They were judged on both style and time, under a totally subjective set of criteria. The enthusiastic announcer (probably on a couple of cans of Red Bull himself) made it more exciting than one would have imagined a motorless car race could be. While the subject matter seemed family friendly, the numerous COLD BEER tents and racy car themes made it less so, though Piedmont Park’s lawn beneath the big screen was peopled with all sorts—parents and their children, lovey tattooed couples drinking unidentified liquid from Nalgene bottles, and unsuspecting runners out for their daily jaunt who simply stopped to watch. The “lucky ones” who got spots along the haybale demarcated course were hemmed in for hours and had to miss out on the meager food truck offerings (which many skipped anyway in favor of Woody’s Cheesesteaks across the street). Though they did get the excitement of being randomly selected to win a Publix gift card. And, you know, being privy to crashing vehicles. - Laura Lindeman