FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Three Veteran Soap Box Derby Volunteers Will Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame During Race Week


Three long-time volunteers of the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby program will be inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame during an awards ceremony on the evening of Saturday, July 25.

“Induction into the Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame is a great honor because even to be considered, a candidate must have made a significant impact on the youth racing program, dedicated at least 20 years’ service on the local or national level or supported the program through a significant financial or sponsorship contribution,” said Joe Mazur, president and CEO of International Soap Box Derby, Inc.

This year’s inductees are:

BOB COOPER, Akron. Cooper operates a metal fabrication company in New Franklin, which supplies steering and brake assemblies for Soap Box Derby racing nationwide. Cooper began his Soap Box Derby involvement when he raced in the Akron local Soap Box Derby from 1956 through 1959.  He became a volunteer for the All-American race beginning in 1960, and became a member of the National Control Board (now called Racing Commission) in 1975.  He is vice chairman of the Racing Commission and has been the starting line crew chief since 1980. 

FRAN SEABECK, North Canton. Fran Seabeck joined the All-American Derby’s headquarters staff in 1995, retiring as office manager in 2007.  In her early years as an employee, she worked closely with the Rally Commission, helping the Rally program grow from a handful of race cities to more than 100.  Seabeck’s first involvement with the Soap Box Derby was when her daughters raced in the Akron local race in the late 1980s.  She joined the board of directors of the Akron Derby organization in 1987, and became a member of the All-American Derby’s National Control Board in 1990, where she served as secretary until 2007. 

GEORGE (BUD) SEABECK, North Canton. Seabeck’s impact on the program continues as he designed and built the prototype for the Super Stock division’s race car which was introduced in 1995, and continues in production today. Seabeck became active in the Akron local Derby organization when his daughters raced from 1987 through 1990.  He served on the local’s board of director and served as Akron local race director beginning in 1991. The following year, he became a member of the All-American Derby’s board and served as treasurer beginning in 1993.  Seabeck was the first Rally Commissioner in the early 1990s and was instrumental in the rally circuit’s early success. He is a contractor.    

The inductions will be part of the 78th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby race day awards program at Akron’s Civic Theater on Saturday, July 25, at 7 p.m.

Mazur said the 2015 Class will bring the number of inductees to 65 since the Hall of Fame was established in 1997.  He said the Seabecks will be the first husband and wife inductees.

About International Soap Box Derby, Inc.

International Soap Box Derby, Inc. is the recognized governing body of Soap Box Derby racing and includes the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby and the Gravity Racing Challenge. The Derby dates back to 1934, when the first All-American race was held in Dayton, Ohio. It has grown to more than 600 races in 120 racing districts throughout the world each year. Children between the ages of 7 and 20 build gravity-powered cars in hopes of qualifying for the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby at Derby Downs in Akron.

The Gravity Racing Challenge is the Derby's school-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative, providing educational opportunities for K-12 youth worldwide.  School teams from around the country race in the Gravity Racing Challenge at Derby Downs in May.