FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown



Is Soap Box Derby still around?

Yes, it has never went anywhere.  Soap Box Derby in New Hampshire has been racing strong since 1939.

How can I build a car? 

"Building" a car is more like assembling a kit.  In the former years of Soap Box Derby, there were plans and specifications to follow.  Since about the 1990's the cars have come as kits, with sanctioned (engraved) parts.  Major compoents like the floorbaord, axles, mounting plates are all engaved and have to be Derby issued. The kingpin is a parts that is heavlity regulated and must come from Akron.  Smaller items like lost nuts and bolts can come from local suppliers.   


What, where, and when are your races?

The NH Derby runs an annual local championship race in Dover, NH on Broadway at the Corner of Oak Street in June. The 73rd NH Soap Box Derby local championship race will be held on June 5, 2016. The NH Derby also runs Fall and Spring Rallies at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH. These are two day events with two races (one double elimination and one single elimination) each day. The 2016 Spring Rally is tentatively planned for the weekend of May 7 and 8. The 2016 Fall Rally is tentatively planned for the weekend of September 10 and 11. 


What are the costs?

Local Championship Registration Fee 
$125 / $100 additional family member

Rally Pre-Registration Fee 
$30 / contestant / race or $100 / contestant / weekend
$25 / $90 additional family member/ $200 immediate family maximum
Rally Race Day Registration Fee
$35 / contestant / race, $5 discount each additional family member


Are those the cars that the boys scouts do?

Well some boy scouts troops do build cars that carry a driver, pinewood derby (the small model cars) are typical of boy scouts.

In Soap Box Derby drivers compete side by side on a gentle sloping track or street blocked from automobile traffic.  In fairness, drivers race against each other twice per heat, switching lanes and performing a swap of their wheels.  The overall time difference between the two finishers crossing the finish line determines the winner.  Races are performed in a series of heats in a single or double elimination manner (depending on the type of event). Courses are 800 feet in length for the local championship and 700 feet in length for rallies.  Races are often won in fractions of a second.


Do you have to build the car from scratch?

Soap Box Derby cars of the past were build from scratch from wood and fiberglass.  Today cars come as a kit with officially sanctioned parts. New kits can be ordered at



Is there a less expensive option than the kit?

Yes, there are opportunities to use a corporate sponsored car.  There are a lot of hand-me-down cars from derby families as kids have moved up through the ranks.  Some racers even start with a few used parts from friends or eBay in combination with new parts from AASBD.


What is a double elimination race?

A double elimination race uses a bracket in which racers may loose a heat up to two times before being eliminated.  All racers start in the Winners bracket on the right moving towards to final racers.  When a heat is lost then the racers moves to the Challengers bracket on the left, moving towards the final racers.  Each heat against teh same opponent consists of a phase A and phase B race in which they each run in Lane 1 and in Lane 2, while using a partial or full set of the opponents wheels. 


What is a wheel swap:

A wheel swap is when opponents move wheels from their car to their oppoonents car in a heat.  This is done to keep the race fair.  All wheels decelerate at their own rate.  The wear of the wheel and condition of the bearings are just some of the factors that make each wheel different.  In an "2-4-2 progressive" racers swap 2 wheel before going down the hill for pahse A, swap all 4 before going for phase B (getting all four of their opponents wheels), then swapping 2 after the heat to carry ahead to the next heat.