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Omaha girl to represent Omaha but also her home country Ukraine in Soap Box Derby World Championship

Posted at 5:47 AM, Jul 14, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It all started at the Seymour Smith Park Box Derby Track, 3 years ago.

"It was a little bit scary but it was exciting and I really liked it," said Dasha Driscoll, 12-year-old Omaha Soap Box Derby Stock Division Champion.

Dasha and her brother Michael were adopted from Ukraine and came to Omaha in March of 2020. That year she gave the local soap box derby a try, as a way to learn English.

"When we got back into the US the pandemic was in full bloom, COVID-19 was in full bloom, no schools were open," said Jonathan Driscoll, Dasha's dad.

But they never thought it would go this far.

"I came here and I got into the car and I liked it," Dasha said.

"We started halfway up the hill and she liked it and went to the top of the hill and even got a little push from her brother so she was going a little faster than normal," Jonathan said.

In June, Dasha won the local championship, after a long day of races, going down the track at Seymour Smith Park about 24 times.

"I didn't know that I won, I thought I had to race more," Dasha said. "Everybody said Dasha won," Jonathan said.

And now Dasha will take what she has learned in Omaha to Akron, Ohio to compete for the World Championship.

"I thought when I started racing, I thought it was just for fun... I mean it is," Dasha said.

Representing Omaha, but her Ukrainian heritage as well.

"It's the colors of the Ukrainian flag and the symbol on it," Dasha said. "The trident symbol is the symbol of Ukraine," Jonathan added.

The name of her car is 'Wind of Ukraine'.

"When it says 'Wind of Ukraine', people don't know what it means, so a lot of people ask what it means," Dasha said.

"There is no real meaning for 'Wind of Ukraine', it was just something that Dasha put together, and it's in Ukrainian," Jonathan explained.

In 2022 Dasha's car needed some repairs. They started looking for sponsors, to raise some money. The goal was $500, but Dasha raised $2,000. Once the war in Ukraine started, Dasha decided to pledge that money to her parents non-profit, One Child Inc., that helps kids and families in Ukraine.

"In total to date, Dasha has raised $42,000 for Ukraine," Jonathan said.

Flying down the track, Dasha has become the first Ukrainian-born person to race in the All-American Soap Box Derby's 83 years of racing.

The World Championship is in Akron, Ohio on July 22.

Anyone interested in trying out Soap Box Derby locally can find more information on the Omaha Soapbox Derby Facebook page.

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