History

2014 Derby photos courtesy of SJ Collins Photography

2014 Derby photos courtesy of SJ Collins Photography

 

In 1996, city councilman, Ralph “Tuffy” Hicks, suggested bringing back the running of the Soap Box Derby in Fredericksburg. The race had been run on William Street from 1951 to 1972, ending after the loss of Chevrolet as national sponsor. City Council agreed that the derby would be an excellent community event to bring back to Fredericksburg. The running of the derby would be the responsibility of the Fredericksburg Parks & Recreation Department, but many local business owners stepped up and purchased cars and donated what was needed to get the race started in 1997.

Purvis Ford was the first title sponsor of the Fredericksburg Soap Box Derby in 1997 and 85 drivers ran in two divisions, stock and super stock. By 1998 the number of participants had increased to 125. The Free Lance Star became the title sponsor in 2000. By 2001, The Free Lance Star Classic in Fredericksburg was the largest race in the country. The masters division was added in 2004, sending three champs to race at the Nationals in Akron, OH.

The Soap Box Derby in Fredericksburg is a family event that benefits the whole community. The race continues to be run on William Street in downtown Fredericksburg each year in June and would not be possible without the help of our sponsors and volunteers.

Fun Facts:

  • 1972 – This was the first year girls were eligible to race in the All American Soap Box Derby. Belinda Woolfrey-Boggs placed second that year to Mark Lohr, who is the Uncle to the 2008 Stock champ, Michael Lohr.
  • 1997 – Jason and Christopher Edwards, who are twins, raced in the first super stock finals. Jason won, but in 1998 Christopher won the stock class.
  • 1999 – Cheryl Hart and Lindsey Staples were the first girls to win the Fredericksburg race.
  • 2004 – Sarah Staples was the first repeat champion, winning the Masters division in 2004 and the Super Stock division in 2003.
  • 2004 – Jennifer and Scott Reed were the first siblings to win in the same year. Scott went on to become a World Rally Champion in 2006.
  • 2008 – Candice Smith wins and competes in the Nationals for the third time. She is the first three time champion, winning in all divisions, from Fredericksburg.
  • Five champions won in their last year of eligibility due to their age.