FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown




AKRON, Ohio – (July 7, 2023) – Officials of International Soap Box Derby (ISBD) are introducing a new wheel which will be used on competitors’ race cars during the

85th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby world championships at Derby Downs later this month.New Wheel 2023

The new UniGrip wheel replaces the Z-Glas wheels that have been used in local and national Soap Box Derby competition since the 1980s. 

Production of the new wheel uses a molding process which results in a single-piece product of the hubs and the tread molded together.  The Z-Glas wheel required assembly of the two hubs, then addition of the tread.

“Molding of the one-piece hub-and-tread wheel eliminates the possibilities of variations by manual assembly during the production process, thereby increasing the consistency and stability of the end product,” said Bret Treier, board chairman of the Soap Box Derby.  “The new UniGrip wheel is the result of more than two years of development, materials sourcing and production preparation.” 

The hubs of the new wheel are made of fiber-reinforced Nylon resin, similar to the wheel it replaces. The tread is made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), resulting in a thicker, stronger and more durable tread, Treier explained. The consistent quality of the wheels is analyzed and confirmed by machine run-out and deceleration testing.

The UniGrip wheels will be introduced at Soap Box Derby activities during the week of July 16 through 22.  The new wheels will be available for purchase by local Soap Box Derby race organizations and participants during race week.  Wheels used during the race will be sold for $199 per set. If purchased during race week, sets of the new wheels that are not used will be sold for a special introductory price of $215.  New UniGrip wheel sets purchased after race week will be $225.