AKRON, Ohio (AP) - The All-American Soap Box Derby races on Friday and Saturday will have the largest field ever, with 597 racers participating in the 70th annual event.
The field has nearly 80 more racers than the 520 who raced last year - a previous record.
The jump comes primarily from the inclusion of the Super Kids Classic, which will bring 61 participants with mental and physical disabilities from around the country.
Until two years ago, the Super Kids Classic was held locally in different cities. It then became a national competition but was not held at the same time as the Soap Box Derby.
"We thought it would be a great experience for the kids and the adults as well to have the Super Kids Classic in the main event," said Tony DeLuca, the derby's executive director. "And the kids definitely deserve the right to get some of the mainstream recognition."
Derby festivities begin Monday, when racers and their families are welcomed to Akron from 43 states and three foreign countries. The Super Kids race is Friday and the Derby race is Saturday