FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown

About Us

The North Central Ohio Soap Box Derby is a program for boys and girls (ages 7-18) and their families living in the counties of Richland, Ashland, Morrow, Knox, Marion, Crawford and Huron counties of Ohio. We offer 2 divisions ~ Stock Division for racers age 7-13 years old and the Super Stock Division for racers age 9-18 years old.

Soap Box Derby racing began in Mansfield in 1937. Throughout the years it has been held in various locations throughout the city. For several years in the late 60’s the race was held in Shelby. It returned to Mansfield in 1970 and has been held in Mansfield every year (except 1992) since 1970. From 1970-1991 the race was held on Trimble Road in Mansfield. Because of construction work on Trimble Road in 1992, the race was held on Industrial Park Road in Lexington. In 1993 we began racing on our current track in downtown Mansfield – North Main Street between 4th Street and 6th Street. For many years since 1937 the race has been sponsored by the News Journal.

The very first winner of the Mansfield Soap Box Derby in 1937 was Les Griebling. Years after winning the local Soap Box Derby, Les founded the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Also racing in that race in 1937 was A.J. Watson. A.J. became a famous Indy Car builder and his cars won many Indianapolis 500 races.

In 1993, Dean Lutton represented the NCO SBD in Akron and became the Masters World Champion.

We have received several awards from the All American. In 1993, we received the Phoenix Award for the most improved race. In 1996, we were awarded an Outstanding Race City and Community Program award. In 2008, our Vice President, Russ Kinsey, was honored for his many years (55+) as a local official and he was inducted into the AASBD Hall of Fame. In 2013, we received the Outstanding Race City award.

The North Central Ohio Soap Box Derby Association has been organizing and running the race since 1970. We are a 501(c)3 tax exempted program. The NCO SBD consists of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and a Board of Trustees. We meet on a monthly schedule (more often as we get closer to race day) beginning in January of each year to plan the race. At the end of our racing season, we meet to discuss and review all of our activities for the previous year. Anyone is welcome to attend our meeting. All activities sponsored by the NCO SBD are run by volunteer help. The organization has no paid positions. As volunteers, we try to make ourselves available to our racers and prospective racers as much as possible. We have volunteer, knowledgeable derby personnel at all of our activities to able to answer any questions and provide help if needed. We send out at least 3 mailings throughout the racing season to racers and prospective racers. We feel very strongly that all monies raised be used to directly benefit our racers.

Our race is a double elimination, timer swap race so each racer is guaranteed a minimum of 4 trips down our hill. In addition to race day, we provide several other pre/post race activities for our racers and their families. We encourage our racers to participate in all of our activities with their family. Throughout the years we have heard from many participants and their parents (especially fathers) about the wonderful memories of working with their children to build and race a car.

In May, we host a Builder’s Day where new racers can actually build their car and racers from previous years can update their cars with help from knowledgeable derby officials. In early June, we provide a trial run day for our racers to practice on a hill that is not quite as steep or as fast as the North Main Street hill in downtown Mansfield. This provides all of our racers with an opportunity to have some valuable practice driving time. Official inspection and impoundment of cars is held in the evening during the week prior to our race. The cars are thoroughly inspected for safety purposes and to be sure they comply with all race rules. Derby officials are available at inspection to help correct any problems that may be found so that all racers will be able to participate on race day. Racers receive an official T-shirt when their car has passed inspection. About 2 weeks after race day, there is an Award Banquet for all racers and their families. At this pizza party, every racer receives a trophy and prize. Other special trophies are also awarded (best construction, dazzler, sportsmanship, etc.) at the awards banquet.


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.