Photo courtesy of Life Enrichment Options
                                The annual Challenge Race returns to Issaquah for the 22nd year on July 27 at the Issaquah Community Center.

Photo courtesy of Life Enrichment Options The annual Challenge Race returns to Issaquah for the 22nd year on July 27 at the Issaquah Community Center.

Challenge Race returns to Issaquah

The annual event will take place at the Issaquah Community Center on July 27.

Life Enrichment Options (LEO) will be hosting its annual Challenge Series Race on July 27 at the Issaquah Community Center (301 Rainier Blvd. S.).

The gravity car race allows those with mental and physical disabilities the experience of a thrilling soapbox derby-type race while riding in a car piloted by a typically developing person who is 10 years or older. The co-driver must be no taller than 5 feet 2 inches and 130 pounds or less.

“We’d love to have the community come out and watch the race,” Challenge Race founder Leo Finnegan said. “There’s a lot of excitement… the more people, the more exciting and thrilling it is for the special needs kids.”

About 38 years ago Finnegan founded the race as a solution for his son Tim Finnegan who could not participate in a soapbox derby. Finnegan said his son — who is developmentally disabled — wanted to race, but he didn’t have the fine motor control to do so, and all he could do was watch his brother race.

Finnegan’s solution was to build an extra-wide derby car that could fit a driver and a passenger.

Now in its 22nd year, the Challenge Series Race is a free event designed for the whole family. Each racer will have the opportunity to race multiple times during the event. Two race sessions will be held, 9 to 10:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to noon. Lunch and awards ceremony to follow.

“It’s pretty exciting to watch those kids have fun and see their big smiles after every race,” Finnegan said. “It keeps me coming back and it keeps me wanting to do it year after year… Special needs kids are the star of this show. They are no different than the regular kids. ”

For more information and to register see or email name of co-driver and race session to

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