FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown

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About Us

Oregon Soap Box Derby Association

From it’s beginning six decades ago, Oregon Soap Box Derby Association, formerly known as Salem Soap Box Derby Association, has been teaching kids basic skills of workmanship and craftsmanship, the satisfaction of perseverance, the thrill of competition, the pride of tradition and most importantly, the spirit of sportsmanship.

Blessed with a beautiful racetrack located in Bush Pasture Park, located in Salem Oregon, racers from all over the west come to compete.

Soap Box Derby provides a unique opportunity for close adult child involvement as the, team builds, fine tunes, and races their car. The ties developed from these relationships last a lifetime, as do the friendships formed as part of the derby experience.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Oregon Soap Box Derby Association (OSBDA) is to educate and inspire youth through fair and honest competition and mentorship. With a primary goal to advance core values of sportsmanship and family participation, the OSBDA provides an environment in which parents or other mentors work hands-on with youth to develop and apply life skills by emphasizing responsibility, the spirit of competition, workmanship, leadership, achievement and perseverance.

Serving Oregon and Pacific Northwest youth ages seven to twenty, the OSBDA embraces diversity, facilitates lifelong friendships, teaches the application of math and science concepts, and advocates the true spirit of teamwork and sportsmanship.

A Day at the Races

Race Day begins early in the morning as the pits open and racers arrive at the track. Before we get started everyone pitches in to set up the track. During this time there is a flurry of activity as the track is swept; cones and barricades are placed; timing equipment, scales, starting ramps, scoring tables and the PA system are set-up.

 16 Carsontrack

Drivers must register by filling out the race entry form and paying the entry fee at the registration table. Once all drivers are registered the race brackets, also called ladders, are organized. This determines the competitors in each beginning heat. Then it’s time for last minute tuning and car prep.

16 Weigh In

All cars are weighed on official scales with the driver on board. Each division has different weight limits and restrictions on how much weight can be placed in the rear of the car. The scale master will help make sure each car is weighed fairly. Once cars are weighed in no further adjustments are permitted, so make sure your car is ready to go.

The Race Director then calls all drivers and car handlers to the track for a Driver's Meeting, to go over rules and safety. Now we're ready to race.

Our races are double elimination meaning you have to be beaten in two heat races to be eliminated.

Each “heat” race consists of two “phases” or trips down the hill–once in each lane– against the same opponent. “Wheel swaps” and “Lane swaps” are made between phases of each heat. The two cars exchange all four wheels being careful that each wheel goes to the same position on the other car. The two cars then switch lanes from the first phase. This eliminates the wheels and lane from being factors in who wins and insures that the driver and the car are the determining factors—with the driver being the biggest. One of the primary goals of soapbox derby racing is to give each driver an equal opportunity to win.

Racing continues with the winner of each heat advancing in the winner’s bracket and the loser moving to the consolation bracket. But just because you lose your first heat does mean you’re done. Many times racers have advanced through the consolation bracket all the way to the finals.

In the finals heat the racer who has advanced through the consolation bracket with no second defeat races against the driver who has gone through the winner’s bracket with no defeats. Should the consolation racer win the first heat of the finals they go to a sudden death heat, because remember, it’s a double elimination race.

Racing continues until winners in each division have been determined. Then everyone pitches in to break down the track equipment and load everything back into the equipment trailer. Once the work is done winners are announced and trophies are awarded. Another day of racing has come to an end leaving a lifetime of memories for each participant.

For Salem Race Dates - click on the tab: RACING IN OREGON!

Remember, drivers gain skill with experience. More time on the track means drivers get better and learn how to tune their cars for maximum speed. Our rally races are an excellent way to get more racing experience and earn points in the Rally Racing division. 


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.