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Love of racing takes girl to soap box derby

Local youth Dakota Thomas is seen in her Soap Box Derby car, The Green Frog, during the car show at the Ironton Hills Shopping Plaza Saturday. Dakota is the local stock champion of 2012.

She is as fast and fearless as she is tiny and cute.

“I like to race and I like to get down like this in my car,” said Dakota Thomas, of South Charleston, W.Va. as she demonstrated her technique Friday in her soap box derby car.

At the tender age of eight, Dakota took her love of fast cars (well, fast for an 8-year-old) and placed in the top 18 out of 112 drivers in her class in the International Soap Box Derby in Akron late last month. Friday, she gave everyone a peek at her car when she displayed it at the antique car show at the Ironton Hills Shopping Center. Named The Green Frog, Dakota sailed to success in the local derby in South Charleston, W.Va., June 9 and this earned her the opportunity to go to Akron.

Her dad, Duane Thomas, an Ironton native, said Dakota has liked racing since she was even tinier than she is now.

“She’s watched it six years and she’s been racing less than a year,” Duane Thomas said.

Like an adult racer, Dakota has her sponsors (Mary Kay, W.Q. Watters of South Charleston, W.Va., Going Postal one stop packaging and the Dyno Shop in Franklin Furnace. She has a website: www.driving4kids.com. She even has a pit boss, too: her five-year-old brother, Noah. And she has a winning formula for racing that got her to Akron and put her among the top in her age group.

“You have to get down low, keep it straight and you can’t look over to the (person next to you in the) next lane.”