FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame Will Induct Two New Members During Race Week In July


Two new members will be inducted into the Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame during the post-race awards ceremony for the 80th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby on the evening of Saturday, July 22.

“The Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame was established in 1997, to honor individuals who have made significant contributions for the good of the Soap Box Derby,” said Bobby Dinkins, vice president of the Soap Box Derby organization. “The two 2017 inductees have been active and dedicated volunteers in the Soap Box Derby for decades and their contributions have made a major impact on the lives of thousands of boys and girls.”

The 2017 inductees are:

Mark Packard 2017Mark Packard
Ken Cline 2017Ken Cline 

KEN CLINE, LLANO, TEXAS.  Ken Cline, 63, first raced in Midland, Texas, in 1965.  After his family moved to Lincoln, Neb., he won the race there in 1967, and went on to win the 30th All-American Soap Box Derby that year. His unique narrow body, needle-nose racecar also earned the best design honor. Cline later was director of the Lincoln race and, after moving to Chicago, helped organize the Greater Chicago Soap Box Derby in 1986, and later served as its director. He became a regional director for Midwest states in 1990.

Cline was part of the team which developed and designed the Stock Car introduced in 1992, that is still in use today to provide a ready-to-assemble car kit. He is a railroad consultant following his retirement as Chicago terminal manager of Burlington Northern Railroad. 

MARK PACKARD, ROCKFORD, ILL.  Mark Packard, 57, won the local Soap Box Derby in Bay City, Mich., in 1971. His experience in Akron at the All-American Soap Box Derby that year turned into a lifetime passion for the Derby program. He served as a volunteer with the nearby Saginaw race, where he helped design and build the ramp and timing system at the permanent track. He later helped organize the Greater Chicago Soap Box Derby in 1986, and was its race director for five years. After moving to Rockford, he started the local Derby racing program there and was its first director. Packard also was part of the team that developed the Stock Car in 1992. He is national sales manager for a Michigan-based tool company. 

Dinkins said the 2017 class will bring the number of inductees to 70 since the Hall of Fame was established in 1997.