The All-American Soap Box Derby is getting another boost by signing a joint marketing agreement with Indycar through 2014. The Derby benefits by getting exposure in IndyCar race venues while IndyCar will also have a presence at Soap Box Derby races.
The fit is an historic one since several former Soap Box Derby participants went on to racing careers on the IndyCar circuit.
News Release from The International Soap Box Derby
AKRON, Ohio (August 28, 2013) --The International Soap Box Derby and IndyCar have entered into a marketing agreement through 2014.
The agreement will create cross-promotion and marketing opportunities for both organizatons. The Derby will become part of IndyCar’s grassroots initiative and the Derby will benefit through IndyCar’s media awareness and fan base.
The Akron-based Derby is the recognized governing body of Soap Box Derby racing and includes the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby and the Gravity Racing Challenge. The Derby dates back to 1934, when the first All-American race was held in Dayton, Ohio. It has grown to more than 600 races in 130 racing districts throughout the world each year. Children between the ages of 7 and 17 build gravity-powered cars in hopes of qualifying for the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby at Derby Downs in Akron. The Indianapolis-based IndyCar is the open wheel racing organization best known for the Indianapolis 500.
“The FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby is a 76-year-old youth racing organization and this relationship will bring together two of the country’s great racing organizations,” said Derby President & CEO Joe Mazur. “We host more than 600 races around the world annually and look forward to growing our brand through our relationship with IndyCar.”
As part of the multi-year partnership IndyCar drivers will be featured prominently in Derby promotions and marketing initiatives, which includes branding on all Soap Box Derby cars.
“This is an opportunity for IndyCar to connect with thousands of youth across the country as they follow their racing passion,” said Jason Penix, director of grassroots initiatives, IndyCar. “As IndyCar looks to grow its fan base we see this as a chance for young people to see our sport and learn about all the careers that are available in racing.”
Soap Box Derby racing is no stranger to the IndyCar world as past Derby racers who went on to become IndyCar drivers include Denny Zimmerman, Cale Yarborough, Tom Sneva, George Snuder and Eldon Rasmussen.
In fact Yarborough’s first taste of wheeled competition was the Soap Box Derby for which he and his father, who owned a general store and cotton gin, built a car. Yarborough lost his first race which turned out to be a sobering experience that would remain with him throughout his racing career.
Zimmerman, the 1971 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, donated his 1954 Soap Box Derby car to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.