FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown

2019 Local Race - June 8, 2018

600 Block of Stolp Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13207

Contact David Butchko, Derby Director at 315-382-7629 for additional information.

About Us

The Syracuse Soap Box Derby, Inc.

The history of gravity cars in Syracuse dates back to 1912, however, the first official Syracuse Soap Box Derby was held on E. Fayette Street in 1934.  Over the next 35 years the race was held in various areas of the city attracting thousands of spectators.  In 1970, when Chevrolet and the Jaycees dropped their sponsorship, the derby went into hibernation for another 35 years.  In 2005,the Syracuse Soap Box Derby, Inc., a not for provide 501(c)3 Public Charity was founded to re-establish soap box derby racing in Syracuse, NY.  With the help of a grant from the Gifford Foundation, the local race was held on S. Geddes Street in June 2005. 

This year's local race will be held on June 11, 2016.  It is an all day event with two racing divisions (Stock and Super Stock). The Stock division is designed to give the first-time builder a learning experience. Boys and girls, 8 through 13 compete in simplified cars built from kits purchased from the All-American. These kits assist the Derby novice by providing a step-by-step layout for construction of a basic lean forward style car. The Super Stock Car division, ages 10 through 18, gives the competitor an opportunity to expand their knowledge and build a more advanced model. Both of these beginner levels make use of kits and shells available from the All-American. These entry levels of racing are popular in race communities across the country, as youngsters are exposed to the Derby program for the first time.

The goals of the Soap Box Derby program have not changed since it began in 1934. They are to teach youngsters some of the basic skills of workmanship, the spirit of competition and the perseverance to continue a project once it has begun.  


THE All American Soap Box Derby

The Soap Box Derby is a youth racing program which has run nationally since 1934. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio.

The idea of the Soap Box Derby grew out of a photographic assignment of Dayton, Ohio, newsman Myron Scott . He covered a race of boy-built cars in his home community and was so impressed with this event that he acquired a copyright for the idea and began development of a similar program on a national scale.

The first All-American race was held in Dayton in 1934. The following year, the race was moved to Akron because of its central location and hilly terrain. In 1936, Akron civic leaders recognized the need for a permanent track site for the youth racing classic and, through the efforts of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Derby Downs became a reality.

Each year since, with the exception of during World War II, youngsters from throughout the United States and several foreign countries have come to Akron with the racers they have built and driven to victory in their home communities.

Interesting Fact:

Girls were first allowed into the boy’s only sport in 1971. Only four years later in 1975 the first girl ever took the World Title.



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.