NewsSOAP BOX DERBY RACING RETURNS TO PRE-COVID ACTIVITIES; FIRSTENERGY ALL-AMERICAN SOAP BOX DERBY RACE WEEK JULY 17-2303.17.2022Following two years of limitations due to COVID-19, Soap Box Derby racing is under way in local communities across the United States leading up to the 84th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby world championships at Derby Downs on Saturday, July 23. Racing season was canceled completely in 2020, and only about 65 percent of local Soap Box Derby organizations staged race programs last year due to timing and COVID restrictions. “We are looking forward to returning to pre-pandemic levels of participation and activities in our race cities and during race week in Akron,” said Mark Gerberich, president and chief executive officer of International Soap Box Derby, Inc. (ISBD). Gerberich expects 80 communities to stage local race programs, sending more than 300 boys and girls to Akron for the world championships. During championship week in Akron last year, activities for visiting local champions and their families were limited to the Derby Downs complex due to COVID-19 concerns. “We are excited that the traditional parade of champions in downtown Akron and the welcome ceremonies at Lock 3 will return on Monday, July 18, for the first time since 2019, so the Akron community again can join visiting Soap Box Derby officials and families in honoring the boys and girls in Akron to race for a world championship title,” Gerberich said. Participants will be at Derby Downs working on their race cars beginning Sunday, July 17, and will have the opportunity during the week for trial runs on the famous Derby Downs track and to compete in preliminary Challenge races. On Saturday, July 23, boys and girls will compete in their gravity-powered cars for a share of $36,000 in Bill Speeg Memorial Scholarships. Opening ceremonies begin at 8 a.m. and championship heats will run at approximately 3 p.m. Advance tickets are $5 and are available for purchase at www.soapboxderby.org. Gerberich said that in addition to racing, there will be food vendors, games and other special activities for spectators. “The Soap Box Derby organization is extremely grateful for our title sponsor FirstEnergy, as well as other corporations, foundations and individuals whose support makes it possible for the annual running of the youth racing program,” he said.