Mark Richards The rich voice of Derby Downs track announcer Mark Richards, 63, called the heats for Soap Box Derby and SuperKids fans for nearly 30 years before he retired after the 2018 championships. An Akron native, he competed in the local Akron Soap Box Derby for three years beginning in 1971. Inspired by his late older brother Richard, who was born with spina bifida and confined to a wheelchair, Richards began volunteering in the late 1980s for the Akron SuperKids Classic, which serves boys and girls with special needs. He became National SuperKids Classic announcer in 1989, the same year he began assisting with announcing duties for the All-American world championships. Richards became the chief announcer in 2000. He always did his research to prepare for race day, to ensure proper pronunciation of racers’ names and hometowns and to develop other information to share with spectators. Richards has been a news reporter for radio stations in Indiana and Ohio and has been in his current news post at Akron’s WNIR since 2011.