FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown

About Us


The Soap Box Derby is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to build knowledge and character, and to create meaningful experiences though collaboration and fair and honest competition.  In supporting this mission the Soap Box Derby focuses on and promotes the following core values:

-Youth Education and Leadership Development

-Family Engagement and Enrichment

-Honesty, Integrity and Perseverance

-Innovation and Entrepreneurship

-Teamwork and Collaboration



-Commitment to Community



The Soap Box Derby is a youth racing program which has run nationally since 1934. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio.

The idea of the Soap Box Derby grew out of a photographic assignment of Dayton, Ohio, newsman Myron Scott . He covered a race of boy-built cars in his home community and was so impressed with this event that he acquired a copyright for the idea and began development of a similar program on a national scale.

The first All-American race was held in Dayton in 1934. The following year, the race was moved to Akron because of its central location and hilly terrain. In 1936, Akron civic leaders recognized the need for a permanent track site for the youth racing classic and, through the efforts of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Derby Downs became a reality.

Each year since, with the exception of during World War II, youngsters from throughout the United States and several foreign countries have come to Akron with the racers they have built and driven to victory in their home communities.


Mission Statement

The 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.

Core Vaules and Drivers

• Youth Education and Leadership Development
• Family Engagement and Enrichment
• Honesty, Integrity and Perseverance
• Innovation and Entrepreneurship
• Teamwork and Collaboration
• Mentoring
• Volunteerism
• Commitment to Community

The Derby is the official sanctioning body of Soap Box Derby racing and has exclusive licensing partnerships with more than 100 racing districts throughout world. These racing districts conduct sanctioned Soap Box Derby races throughout the year and qualify champs for the annual FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby® World Championship race at the world famous Derby Downs Track in Akron, Ohio. 

The Derby's Education Program is a fast-growing component of the organization and includes a STEM-Based Curriculum, the Gravity Racing Challenge® STEM Team Competition and a Mini Soap Box Derby program. 

The Derby also operates the world famous Derby Downs Track in Akron, Ohio where events are held throughout the racing season.

The Board of Directors oversees the operation of the Derby, and the day-to-day activities are handled by the Headquarters staff in Akron.