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Derby Spotlight - Nicole Stout

Nicole Stout spent 12 years participating in Soap Box Derby® races around the country. From 2003 to 2014 she raced against the top gravity racers in the world. Her years as a top Derby racer inspired her to study engineering and eventually land a job in the highly competitive field of motorsports.

Nicole is currently studying Motorsports Engineering at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and living in Indianapolis, Indiana. During her summers, she interns at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company headquarters in Akron, Ohio as a tire engineer. She will graduate with Honors in May of 2018, with a BS in Motorsports Engineering and a double minor in Math and Sports Management.

Stout’s Derby experiences provided her with important STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning opportunities that she now uses as a student at IUPUI and as a tire engineer at Goodyear. She credits her experiences in Derby with teaching her hard work, dedication, to never give up, and to pursue her dreams, no matter how big they are. This attitude helped her become the first female intern Pit Technician at IndyCar in 2014.

“Derby racing sure did influence my decisions in life,” said Stout. “It was first at a Soap Box Derby race where I learned about the motorsports engineering program at IUPUI, which got me more interested in working in the motorsports industry. As I progressed in Derby, I learned more about the engineering behind it, like the aerodynamics and weight placement. Once I enrolled in college, I was able to make the connection between engineering and Derby while sitting in my lectures, wishing I knew what I was learning now back in my Derby days. From there, I worked for IndyCar, which really showed me how important tires are for the racecar.”

Stout’s first Soap Box Derby race came in 2003 at the age of eight. She raced in the Akron Area Derby program, becoming a Local Champion and eventually racing in all three divisions - Stock, Super Stock, and Masters. All totaled she won more than 50 Rally Races and was a Rally Champion four times. In five appearances at the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship race her best finishes were second and third place.

“I have so many memories and friends from the Derby,” said Stout. “I do not think I would be the person I am today without it. Because of the Derby, I had the opportunity to spend quality time with my family growing up, learned how to conduct myself around adults, and was able to learn the desire to give back whenever I can.”

In addition to learning the on-track technical aspects related to Derby Stout also learned valuable life lessons along the way.

“Derby taught me other things as well,” Stout said. “Always use sunscreen. Be a good loser, as well as a good winner. Say thank you for everything. Work as a team. Be confident in yourself and your skills. And finally, do something you love.”

Stout stays in contact with her Derby friends and would love to see the sport grow. She hopes to inspire young women to join the Derby family and be inspired to pursue a STEM-driven career.

Note: This is the first in a series of spotlights on former Derby racers who have gone on to study/work in a STEM related field. If you know of someone who we could spotlight please let us know at soapbox@soapboxderby.org 

 

First Win

First Derby Win - 2007

Last Win

Last Derby Win - 2014

Nicole Stout

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