By Dana Simas, Information Officer I
Alex Khachigian with his winning car
One of Correctional Officer Aaron Khachigian’s sons recently won a top race in the world of motorless cars.
Officer Khachigian, who works at the Sierra Conservation Center, and his two sons discovered the thrill of the soap box derby about a year ago at a Sonora street fair. Since then the trio has been addicted to the rush.
Khachigian’s 12-year old son, Alexander, last week beat out competitors from Germany, Japan, and New Zealand to win the world championship in the “stock” division at the 75th annual All-American Soap Box Derby race in Akron, Ohio.
This division includes soap box cars that weigh a maximum of 200 pounds. He completed the 954-foot race course in 29.53 seconds. Khachigian’s other son, Ashton, was a local champion but was eliminated early in the “super stock” division.
More than 500 racers competed in three divisions at the weeklong event. Alex was one of six overall world champions and received a $5,000 scholarship and a huge trophy.
Ashton Khachigian prepping his car
“This is the Super Bowl of soap box (racing),” said Khachigian.
Soap box cars have no motor and roll down a steep hill powered by gravity alone. Alex’s car reached a speed of 30 mph in his final race.
He qualified for the annual event by winning the stock division in the Northern California Championship Race.
The trio was able to travel to Akron for the race through donations from friends and family.
“Without their help, this would not have been possible,” Khachigian said.
The brothers are also competing in the National Derby Rallies in Bowling Green, Ky.

“This is a really big deal,” said Mike Quinn, one of the two coordinators for the Northern California All-American Soap Box Derby. “We’ll have some kind of celebration when he gets back.”