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Soap Box Derby's Annual STEM Team Event Draws Record Number Of Entries, Race Presented By Time Warner Cable

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The International Soap Box Derby® is getting ready to host its biggest Gravity Racing Challenge® event ever. On May 15-16, 2015, more than 130 teams will compete in the traditional Stock and Super Stock divisions, as well as a new open build high school division. The race is presented by Time Warner Cable through its Connect A Million Minds Program™.

Teams from New York, Georgia and all over Ohio will be competing at the world famous Derby Downs Track. The teams of up to 10 students and educators have been building and fine-tuning their Soap Box Derby cars the past several months. In addition they have also been working on optional contests that include photography, writing a press release, mini Soap Box Derby car race and design, and creating an infomercial.

"We've had so much response to our education race that we had to move it to a two-day event," said Derby President and CEO Joe Mazur. "We'll have more than 1,500 students and educators take part in this year's competition over two days at the track."

In addition to the traditional Stock and Super Stock divisions five area high school teams will be competing in a new Open Class Division. Teams were given kits that included the floorboard, axles, wheels, steering and braking systems. They were also given a list of materials that can be used in the design and construction of the body.

"We're especially excited for this year's race because of the Open Class Division," said Mazur. "We're hearing that a lot of engineer and design work is being used to build these open class cars. Some are building their car to be the fastest and some want their car to look the best, in a non-traditional Derby sort of way."

GRC races were also held in Marysville, Port Clinton and Columbus, Ohio and Rochester, N.Y. and Culpeper, Va. this year. The new race locations continue to help fuel the growth of the annual Akron race.

Local and national companies continue to support the Derby's education initiative. Time Warner Cable once again will be the presenting sponsor of the race. Akron General and Key Bank have joined Meggitt Aircraft Braking System, Accenture, GPD Group and AAA Akron as sponsors of the program.

"We are proud to support one of this area's most unique, exciting and popular events.  The Gravity Racing Challenge is perfectly aligned with TWC's commitment to show young people that STEM can be fun and also lead to rewarding careers," TWC Area Vice President of Operations John Higgins said.

In addition to the race expansion and new division, a free STEM Fair that is open to the public will take place on Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the NORKA Beverage tent trackside at the world famous Derby Downs Track. More than 20 STEM businesses and educators will be offering free challenge and build stations, simulators, engineering, biomedical, robotics and interactive stations.

Time Warner Cable will be hosting a mini Soap Box Derby car race where students will be given a 1/13th scale mini Soap Box Derby cars to put together and decorate. They will then have the opportunity to race their car on a mini car track in hopes of building the fastest mini Soap Box Derby car.

Akron-based NORKA Food and Beverage will be offering free samples of their sparkling beverages throughout the day.

All events are free and open to the public. Parking is located in the grass lots off Derby Downs Drive.

Below please find a schedule of events:

Friday, May 15
3:30 p.m. - High School Super Stock and Open Class Divisions race

Saturday, May 16
9 a.m. - Stock Race
10 a.m. - 3:00 STEM Fair open
10:30 a.m. - Super Stock Race

*Awards will be presented at the conclusion of each race.

About the International Soap Box Derby

The International Soap Box Derby is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to build knowledge and character, and to create meaningful experiences through collaboration and fair and honest competition. The Derby's Core Values and Drivers include: Youth Education and Leadership Development; Family Engagement and Enrichment; Honesty, Integrity and Perseverance; Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Teamwork and Collaboration; Mentoring; Volunteerism; and Commitment to Community.

The Derby's two youth initiatives are the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby racing program and the STEM-based Education Program, which provides educational opportunities for K-12 youth worldwide through Soap Box Derby racing. The Derby dates back to 1934, when the first All-American race was held in Dayton, Ohio.