FirstEnergy Becomes National Soap Box Derby Sponsor

Soap Box Derby inspectors look over a car at last year's race

AKRON OH – FirstEnergy Corp. – the owner of Metropolitan Edison, the utility that supplies electrical services to a portion of Lower Pottsgrove Township – has agreed to become the new title sponsor of the All-American Soap Box Derby.

The 75th running of the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby will feature boys and girls ages 7 to 17 who put their math and science skills to the test to design and assemble wood and fiberglass gravity-powered cars from kits. More than 500 finalists from 230 races, including competitions in Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Germany and around the United States, are expected to compete in the championship finals to be held July 21 (2012; Thursday) in Akron OH.

FirstEnergy’s three-year sponsorship agreement will help expand the competition to more communities and families, Derby officials said.

The All-American Soap Box Derby started in 1934 in Dayton OH.  Akron’s central location and hilly terrain triggered a relocation of the event in 1935.  In 1936, Akron’s community leadership and the federal Works Progress Administration made Derby Downs the permanent site for the national event.  With the exception of years missed during World War II, racers from around the globe have annually competed in local and regional qualifying events for the opportunity to come to Akron to challenge Derby Downs in championship finals.

The derby continues to work to attract more participants by introducing racer design and construction skills in math and science elementary school curriculums. In addition, rule changes have been enacted over the years to simplify participation.

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