This derby took place on July 11, 1958 in Stockton.
The pilot’s T-shirts in the images all read Karl Ross Post 16, American Legion. Safe to assume this is about a yearly event to see who qualifies for the All American Derby Down in Akron, Ohio Soap Box Derby. That’s where the real prize money is in form of scholarships.
The negative box has few markings related to the images of the cars photographed that day
#50 is sponsored by Canepa Auto Wash, Stockton
#89 is sponsored by California Music Merchant. Driver is Dick Graham and Joel writes “+family” next to this entry.
#98 is sponsored by House of Murphy
#84 is sponsored by Hughes Chemical, Lodi
I’ve tried to organize the 27 negatives a bit in sections. As usual, Joel made sure to have sufficient back up copies. I’m only showing the images I find representative.
The man-made slope is at Stockton Field according to an article in the Stockton Record in 1959. (The 1959 Derby moves to the El Dorado Bridge over Calaveras.)
And of course, Joel photographed a few of the arrivals. You wish you could be in two places at the same time ! Looking at the next image, one would believe this is the same race.
The two images above suggest again that Joel may have used an assistant at the finish line. Unless each race is run twice. The camera’s are not moving when the images are taken, the audience and background are sharp, the cars are somewhat blurry, all within expectation for cameras with sturdy support.
The rest of the images are images of the various participants of the Karl Ross Station 16 with their cars and trophies.
And Joel took quite a few group shots … showing few more:
And then there’s the loading up and driving home with the trofees.
Joel must have been following in a car to pull this succession of images off.
Let’s say that safety was a bit less strict than it would be in 2022. But these kids had fun.
I do have the 1959 newspaper clipping of that year’s Soap Box Derby, Dick Graham was mentioned as the winner for 1958 with few other interesting tidbits. I’ll write more about that in the near future.