FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Derby Spotlight - Rachael Samm


RachaelRachael Samm today at age 25

Derby Spotlight – Rachael (Dyer) Samm

Soap Box Derby racing was always a part of Rachael Samm’s life growing up. Not only was she passionate about racing, but she had a talent for it as well. Rachael, her parents, and her two sisters found a common interest in the sport, forming a bond through the family time spent together – one of Rachael’s fondest memories about racing. Being involved in the Soap Box Derby has in many ways, shaped Rachael into the person she is today.  Not only did it build valuable personal relationships, but helped educate and lead her to a career in engineering. 

Rachael graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering.  One of the many problem solving skills required in Soap Box Derby racing is learning about the relationship between cause and effect.  According to Rachael, “Even just studying the hill and going through the options of how to balance out the loose weights in the car to the best effect sparks interest in science and the physics of potential energy.”  The hands-on opportunity of working with her father to build cars was an experience that heavily influenced her interest in science and math.  It also sparked a desire in building, learning how things work together, and even provided her with a special awareness that lends itself to thinking and building in 3D. 

Rachael began her racing career in 2000 when she was just eight years old.  She started in the Stock division where she stayed for several years before moving up to Super Stock, and eventually racing Masters cars until the end of high school.  Her last race took place when she was 20 years old, when she found it difficult to find a balance between college and racing.  During her time competing, she raced in the Cleveland Area Soap Box Derby and qualified twice for the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship race at the world famous Derby Downs Track in Akron, Ohio. Rachael’s interest in the sport led her entire family to get very involved in Derby racing.  Both of her sisters started competing after she began, and her parents would take part in running many of the races held in Cleveland.  Racing left a lasting impact and many great memories on the entire family.  Some of Rachael’s favorites were swimming in the hotel pools as a young kid while traveling for various competitions, as well as participating in the Halloween and Thanksgiving Day races.  

Today Rachael lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and works for the design contracting company Kaleidoscope, an innovation and product design firm with more than 100 employees. She has been working there for four years and is extremely satisfied with her career choice.  She also manages to stay in contact with many race families from her childhood days of competing.  It is safe to say that the lives of Rachael and those close to her were heavily impacted in a positive way by Soap Box Derby racing.


Rachael With Car

Rachael getting ready to compete at the 2008 Cleveland Area Soap Box Derby.


Rachael At First Cleveland Local

Rachael getting ready to take off down the bridge at her first Cleveland Area local.


Rachael With Sister

Rachael and her sister, Morgan,
at Cleveland Area’s newly
completed track.

Note: This is the fourteenth in a series of spotlights on former Derby racers who have gone on to study/work in a STEM related field. If you know of someone who we could spotlight please let us know at 

Past Spotlight Features

Nicole Stout - Spotlight (January 2016)

Michael Gallo - Spotlight (February 2016) 

Todd Hinton - Spotlight (March 2016)

Alan Uhler - Spotlight (April 2016)

Kristi Murphy - Spotlight (May 2016)

James Fell - Spotlight (June 2016)

Michael J. Corson, Jr. - Spotlight (July 2016)

David Reid - Spotlight (August 2016)

John Horner - Spotlight (September 2016)

John Hamels - Spotlight (October 2016)

Kenneth Holmboe - Spotlight (November 2016)

John Menches - Spotlight (December 2016)

Steve Cox - Spotlight (January 2017)