Mike Kirby Park:
2199 S. Oregon Avenue Sanford, FL 32771
Soap Box Derby is a youth gravity racing program for boys and girls ages 7 to 20. It is a unique program that encourages close adult-youth activities while building and racing the car.
The dream begins when the idea of building and racing a Soap Box Derby car becomes a reality. The construction of the gravity race car reinforces the importance of setting and completing goals while developing traits such as self-confidence, perseverance and craftsmanship.
All-American Soap Box Derby racing has been a part of the American landscape since 1934. The Soap Box Derby is a youth racing program which has run nationally since 1934. It’s been called “The Greatest Amateur Racing Event in the World.” 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 it’s 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 the years 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.
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.
- For more information on upcoming races and events contact the Sanford Parks and Recreation Department at 407.688.5120. Information is also available at the Sanford/Central Florida Soap Box Derby website.
- Decide the division you are interested in. The Sanford Soap Box Derby has loaner cars available or you may purchase your kit through the All American Soap Box Derby Headquarters.
- The Sanford/Central Florida Soap Box Derby has numerous opportunities throughout the year to compete and other resources to help you learn and be successful at soap box derby building and racing.