FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown

Candidates may be considered for induction into the Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame on the basis of significant contributions to the program by dedicating years of service to the organization, or as an ambassador, promoting the betterment of the sport and its participating young persons, or by supporting the youth racing program through financial or sponsorship contribution, enabling the continued growth of the youth racing program.

2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

Chuck Jones 2016 Re Size

Chuck Jones
Akron, Ohio 

Chuck Jones, 60, has served as president and CEO of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. since January 2015. It was in 2012, while he was senior vice president, that Chuck championed sponsorship support of the Soap Box Derby among the leadership of FirstEnergy. The company became title sponsor beginning in March of that year. The partnership with FirstEnergy has provided the solid financial support that has enabled the Soap Box Derby to expand into new communities and to develop new educational initiatives. An engineer, Jones has spent his entire career with FirstEnergy and its predecessor utility companies.   

John Esque 2016

    John Esque 
    Akron, Ohio 

John Esque, 77, who raced in the Akron local Soap Box Derby in 1953 and 1954, became an inspector at the Akron local in the mid-1970s. He later was chief inspector and served on the local board of directors until 1981, when he became a member of the All-American Soap Box Derby’s National Control Board. He continues to serve on that board (now called Racing Commission). Over the years, he has served as an All-American racecar inspector and has worked on a variety of improvement projects around the track. In 1999, he designed and built the prototype of the Masters Division race car which continues in production today. Esque is a retired Akron fireman. His late wife Millie Esque, who was a member of the All-American headquarters staff, was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame in 2012. 

Bill Speeg 2016

       Bill Speeg
   Oceanside, Calif.

Bill Speeg was 46, when he died in 2014. His involvement with the Soap Box Derby began in 1999, when his daughter Ashley began to race. Speeg quickly became involved in local Oceanside and the statewide Soap Box Derby activities, serving as a board member and in other official capacities.  The Speeg family traveled to races throughout the country where he offered technical support, financial assistance and mentoring to many young racers. He had served as a Regional Director for nearly 10 years at the time of his death. He was vice president of his family’s metal fabricating business.    

Previous Inductees

1997 - Myron E. Scott, Bain E. "Shorty" Fulton, Jim Schlemmer, Jimmy Stewart, Wilbur Shaw

1998 - John S. Knight, Mason Bell, George W. Brittain, Jim Ott, Howard Flood

1999 - Marie Wright, Ralph Barnes, Ralph Iula, Loris C. Troyer, Frank A. 'Whitey" Wahl

2000 - Bruce Buchholzer, Bob Gravett, Ron Baker

2001 - Don Lenox, Don Meech, Tom Kilroy, Ray Schieb

2002 - Bill Ford, Jack Morran, Bob Turner

2003 - Jim Underwood, Bob Troyer, Bill Kuntz

2004 - Don Adams, David J. Holly, Ira C. Sapozink, Ronald Reagan

2005 - Shirley Foster, Tony DeLuca, Paul Arnsmeyer, Roy Hartz

2006 - Bob Campbell, Herman "Tex" Finsterwald, Bruce Hunsicker, Jeff Iula

2007 - Jack Gormley, Bob McLaughlin, Jimmy Collier

2008 - Brooks Townsend, Don Huminsky, Ron Reed, Russ Kinsey

2009 - George Rodenbaugh, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic

2010 - Norm Perry

2011 - Jerry Van Waart, Pat Taylor

2012 - Dale Russell, Millie Esque, Jack Engelke

2013 - Bill Harris, Ken Morrow, Marty Sullivan

2014 - Rick Acker, Alan Howe, Mark Scuderi

2015 - Bob Cooper, Fran Seabeck, Bud Seabeck