FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


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Not only did we have a Masters Division in 2018 but we have an International champion.


Akron Winners

Second from the left is Allison Pankoff, rally winner of the master’s division.


By Michael Beaven

Beacon Journal/

Moments after winning a 2018 Soap Box Derby world championship, Allison Pankoff got out of her car Saturday at Akron’s Derby Downs and asked, “Where’s my mom?”

Pankoff, 18, was overwhelmed with emotion as tears flowed down her face following a victory in the Rally Masters Division in the 81st FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby.

Pankoff’s mother, Judy, stood proudly nearby, and a few minutes later, it was celebration time for Allison with her mother, father, Buzz, and brother, J.P. 

“I have been racing for 10 years, and this is my final race ever,” said Allison Pankoff, who will turn 19 on Tuesday. “I had never made it past the first round in Akron, and I just won so this is pretty amazing. My mom hasn’t been up to the top of the hill all day. It’s been my dad, brother and me up there. I wanted to share this with my mom because I was able to share with my dad earlier when I made it to the top three.

“I was so emotional because we started racing because my grandfather [John Paul Pankoff III] wanted me to do it. He did this with my dad, but he passed away [in 2007] before I started racing, so we have done all of this for him. I finally did what we wanted to do, and I am the first accredited person to win from Colorado because the other one had been accused of cheating. This is a very big thing for me.”

Pankoff was one of seven champions on Saturday just off of George Washington Boulevard. The other six were Cayson Hayes (Rally Stock Division), Landen Watson (Rally Super Stock Division), Lane Schlafke (Local Stock), Ashton Grace (Local Super Stock), Bradeyn Ditzler (Local Masters) and Dylan Swanson (Super Kids).

Malena Shipley of Brookhaven, Ga., and Lukas Ramey of Hanson, Ky., finished second and third behind Pankoff, who made her sixth Akron appearance. Pankoff graduated from Legend High School in Parker, Colo., in 2017 and is set to be a sophomore at Colorado State University where she is a double major in animal science and agricultural business. 



Soap Box Derby rally races enable previous local champions to continue racing in their winning cars for points in hopes of returning to Akron, Ohio and the International Soap Box Derby to race in the championship rally race for that car division.  Having previously won the local championship in the Master’s car division, Allison and family traveled around the country this past year scoring points for winning and/or attending rally races.  She accrued enough points to send her back to Akron as a rally champion for Region 4. Then, she raced for the win against fellow masters racers from around the world in the 81st running of the International Soap Box Derby championship.

Allison is a part of the Sertoma Mile High Soap Box Derby (SMHSBD) program which is one of the program locations within Region 4 (Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming) that enables a small number of the highest point gathers to vie for the International Championship in Akron. Her dad is the director of the SMHSBD program and Allison has not only represented herself in the program but has been a valuable inspiration and assistant to her younger racers in the Mile High City.


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Thanks Allison and congratulations.


 Also representing the Mile High Sertoma Soap Box Derby and providing a great representation are

Dylan Comstock, the local SMHSBD champion for the Stock division, and

Cayden Comstock, a Region 4 rally champion for the Stock Division.


and Super Kid, Max Mueller.




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