I present these Dirty Tricks here because those who are FOREWARNED are FOREARMED. I always want to put forward pertinent information that the families of Soap Box Derby can use. No one likes to hear negative things about the activities in which we are involved. However it is better to shine some light on the negative, because it cannot live in the light where we are all aware and vigilant.

These Dirty Tricks do not happen very often and some of the things listed here I am not personally aware they happened. The best competitors know what they can and cannot do. They try to keep informed of the possible Dirty Tricks, but they do not practice them. They are aware of them and protect their families from them.


Below is a list of things that have been done with the wheels to gain an unfair advantage.


A car running balanced weight, and with bad wheels on the back axle, beats tail heavy car at Tail Heavy Tracks. To do this, run your race car balanced weight and place slow wheels on the rear axle of your car.

This is not illegal. Knowing the benefits of tail weight at some cities, my experts I contacted still do not believe a balanced car with bad back wheels would automatically have an advantage over the tail heavy car, as both cars would race on the slow rear wheels.

One person told me it only works when used with the ability to move weight. To accomplish this, the driver, in the even weight car, is positioned aft as far as possible at the start of the race (which means now he or she is now running tail weight.) The driver moves forward in the car as the car reaches the flatter part of the Tail Heavy Track (Now they are running even weight.) Running even weight with bad wheels on the back is not illegal. However, the driver moving in the car to move weight is illegal. The problem is there is no way to prove someone is moving in the car. There has been some who have tried to stop it, but it is difficult to catch and prove. The last thing you want to do is accuse someone that is not moving. This cannot be policed.

Moving while trying to drive straight is difficult. When the driver moves his steering suffers in most cases.

(2) THREE WHEELING. – To do this, the kingpins are run tight. Shim your rear axle (or rear and front axle) to raising one wheel so there is reduced weight on the raised wheel. A very slow wheel is placed on the spindle that is raised. The car set up like this will not be fast, but when the opponent has to use the slow wheel; they will be a lot slower.

To defend against this you can do two things. (A) Have a progressive wheel swap, where you swap two before the first phase, all 4 before the second phase, and swap back two after the second phase, making sure you have a new set of wheels to pass forward after each race. You do not race on the same wheel set all day.

(B) Another way to defend against this and catch the cheater, is have a Local rule that allows a weight challenge after a race if someone suspects something. Both cars are weighed on a 4 scales system and if a car has over 15# Cross-Bind difference between the wheels on either axle they lose the race and are disqualified from further racing.


(3) REVERSE WHEEL DIRECTION -- The direction of the wheels is reversed when you put them on your opponent’s car before the second phase.

It is thought that wheels run better in one direction then the other. This is Illegal, however it is most likely done by accident. Each driver and car handler should be aware of the directions of their wheels when exchanging wheels. Reversing the wheel direction does not always reduce its speed. I’d say you have a 50% chance it will slow the wheel. The race should be rerun when this is detected.

(4) HIGH WEIGHT POSITIONING Mark your wheels so you know where they are the heaviest. On the starting ramp place your wheels so the heaviest part of the wheel is just forward of the top of the wheel. Some devious individuals have gone so far as to calculate the distance for one revolution of the wheel. This way they can position there wheels before they get on the starting ramp.

This is Illegal. This is one of the reasons why race rules often do not let you touch your wheels after the car is on the starting ramp.


(5) SABATOGE WHEEL -- Place foreign substances in your opponent’s bearing before the wheels are swapped for the second phase. The substance will slow down the wheel bearing it is put in. Super glue is the substance I heard was used.

This is Illegal. This is why all drivers, handlers and their cars should always stay with their opponent and their car. Observe what your opponent is doing at all times during a race. Report any suspicious action to the race director.



(6) BEARING RECESSED -- Obtain one or more wheels that have the wheel bearings recessed further into the wheel. (These wheels are not new wheels, but wheels made several years ago. Not many of them around now.) This will make your wheel stick out more around the bearing and come into contact with your opponent’s fairings slowing the car down. This is deceitful action, however, these wheels were made this way originally. I have known people that have used these old wheels intentionally; most of the time they do it with just one wheel. Here again you have to be observant when exchanging wheels and make sure they do not come into contact with your fairings. If they do contact your fairings, you can prevent it by adding a washer next to the square stock of the axle.
(7) BEARING FULL OF GREASE -- Place heavy grease in the bearings of one or more of your wheels.

People have reported seeing heavy grease in their opponents bearings. This is an attempt to slow those wheels down without having to damage the bearings. The grease my have been placed in the bearings for preservation, or to purposely slow the wheel down to gain an unfair advantage by THREE WHEELING.

If anyone knows what typ of wheel trick this is, please let me know and I will put it on this page so all will know.

In the mean time, I would recommend the Director be told if you see a wheel full of heavy grease. I would hope the Director would then take the wheel or wheels out of the race.