FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown

About Us

Jamestown is located in the southwestern corner of New York State. It is 70 miles southwest of Buffalo, 40 miles northeast of Erie, Pennsylvania, 140 miles north of Pittsburgh, and is approximately halfway between New York City and Chicago. It is at the base of picturesque Chautauqua Lake and serves as the regional hub for a diverse range of industrial and commercial businesses, along with a myriad of social and recreational opportunities. The city covers an area of 10 square miles. Its highest point is 1,620 feet above sea level. With a population of 31,730 it is the largest community in Chautauqua County and lies within an urban area of 85,000 residents.

The Jamestown Area Soap Box Derby was initiated under the direction of Derby Director Tony Purpura in 1985.  2019 marks the 35th consecutive year that the local race has been run.  While the first thirteen (13) races were held on Baker Street adjacent to Bergman Park, races since 1998 have been held at the John A. Sinatra Memorial Track located on the grounds adjacent to the Russell E. Diethrick, Jr Park on Falconer Street. Scott Vincent has been named as the new Derby Director in 2019.

 Hundreds of racers have participated over the past 36 years, with racers in recent years being the second generation to participate in this event.  Jamestown has been fortunate to produce two World Champions in Akron. Kristina Damond and Karen Thomas were crowned World Champions in the Stock Division in 1994 and 1995, respectively. Race Directors across the country look to Jamestown as a model race in which they can emulate.  In July 2018, the Jamestown Area Soap Box Derby was identified as an Outstanding Race City and in 2019 was recognized as an Outstanding Race Organization by the All American Soap Box Derby Organization.


Mission Statement

The Soap Box Derby® is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to build knowledge and character, and to create meaningful experiences through collaboration and fair and honest competition.

Core Vaules and Drivers

• Youth Education and Leadership Development
• Family Engagement and Enrichment
• Honesty, Integrity and Perseverance
• Innovation and Entrepreneurship
• Teamwork and Collaboration
• Mentoring
• Volunteerism
• Commitment to Community

The Derby is the official sanctioning body of Soap Box Derby racing and has exclusive licensing partnerships with more than 100 racing districts throughout world. These racing districts conduct sanctioned Soap Box Derby races throughout the year and qualify champs for the annual FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby® World Championship race at the world famous Derby Downs Track in Akron, Ohio. 

The Derby's Education Program is a fast-growing component of the organization and includes a STEM-Based Curriculum, the Gravity Racing Challenge® STEM Team Competition and a Mini Soap Box Derby program. 

The Derby also operates the world famous Derby Downs Track in Akron, Ohio where events are held throughout the racing season.

The Board of Directors oversees the operation of the Derby, and the day-to-day activities are handled by the Headquarters staff in Akron.