June 1, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
The fifth annual Portsmouth Soap Box derby, organized by the Portsmouth Civic Forum, is set to take place on Kendall Avenue on Saturday, June 15.
“Signups are still ongoing for racers, but we are estimating about 15 racers for each division,” said Todd Book, event spokesman.
Book said they currently race in two divisions Stock and Super Stock.
“There is potential for three divisions but we only race two of them. We have racers in the stock, super stock and masters. We don’t do the masters yet, it’s something we’re thinking about adding in the future. The masters is where they lay down in the car and look over the car towards the finish,” Book said.
According to, www.aasbd.org, “the Stock division is designed to give the first-time builder a learning experience. Boys and girls, 7 through 13. The Super Stock Car division, ages 9 through 17 and the Masters division offers boys and girls, 10 through 17.
The winners from the race in Portsmouth will advanced to the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron to compete. That race is slated for late July.
In 2012, Isabell Cassidy’s first place finish in the Stock division (Ages 7 to 13) makes her eligible for the world championship in Akron, as does Cassidy Book’s first place finish in the Super Stock division (Ages 10 to 17).
According to, www.aasbd.org, “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. 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.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.