The FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby
World Championships

Challenge Races Rules and Procedures

Welcome to the Rally Challenge and the Local Challenge races!  We salute all of the racers participating for their commitment and hard work which in turn has earned them participation in the Challenge races. The Rally Commission, Racing Commission, Regional Directors, and staff at the International Soap Box Derby have worked many hours to implement a fun and successful event.  The Challenge races are a direct result of the Derby community’s request for more racing during championship week. With your continued input, support, and ideas we will continue to improve the Derby racing experience. 

About the Races

The Challenge Races are a single elimination, three lane, and wheel swap race.  Each heat has three phases (unless there are only two cars in the heat) and competitors will race in each of the three lanes on the track within a heat.  All four wheels will be swapped after each phase.  An electronic timer measures the time lapse for each racer in each phase of the heat.  The racer with the fastest overall time for all three phases is declared the winner of the heat and will move on in the race bracket.  Each driver will have at least three trips down the track. Racers will have inspections prior to the race and there is a specific time scheduled after the Challenge race for competitors to re-align and weigh in preparation for Saturday’s championship race.

Race Info

1. The Challenge races are a three-lane, wheel swap, lane swap race.

2. All races will consist of two or three phases per heat and single elimination format. 

3. Every effort is made for racers to have a three phase race in the first round.  Based on the number of racers, some two phase races may be necessary to complete the heat sheet brackets.

4. All American Race rules apply.

5. No separate entry fee is required for the Challenge Races.

6. All AASBD Rally and Local Champions are qualified to participate in the Challenge Races.

7. Challenge racers need to confirm their registration online when registering for the AASBD Championship race week.

Race Format

1. Challenge racers will follow the AASBD race week schedule for inspections and weighing cars.  Once inspections and weight are complete, the Challenge cars will be stored in a building at Topside.

2. On Challenge race day, racers and one handler will be asked to roll their car out of the building and into the Challenge Pit area.

3. A wheel bank will be used for the Challenge races.  When instructed, racers will remove their own wheels from their car, put their wheels in a crate or box and place their wheels in their pit area of the barn. 

4. When called for a heat, racers will check-in at the Topside administration table where racers will receive a ticket for lane assignments

5. Racers will obtain a set of wheels from the wheel bank.  After wheel bank wheels are on the car, racers proceed to the track when all heat participants are ready. 

6. Racers need to stay in their assigned lane as they proceed down the track to the starting line.

7. Regional Directors will place the nose of the car on the starting gate paddle. Handlers can set the back end of the car. Wheels on the left side of the car must be on the painted ramp line.

8. Once the first phase of the race is completed, racers will be directed to a staging area for the return trailers.  Heat participants must stay together.  There is no wheel swapping done in the staging area at the bottom of the track or on the return trailer.

9. Phases two and three will be transported to the starting line pavilion where they will swap wheels in a special wheel swap area.

10. Once the wheel swap is complete for phases two and three, drivers and their cars can proceed back to the starting line as long as all heat participants are together.

11. When all heat phases are completed, drivers and cars will be transported back to Topside.


1. All Challenge racers will be issued wheels from a wheel bank.

2. After each phase, a 4-4 wheel swap will take place.  DO NOT swap wheels on the trailer or in run out.

3. Topside officials will observe the wheel swap and check wheel positions before racers can move to the next phase.

4. The wheel swap is non-progressive.  All wheels need to be returned to the wheel bank after each heat is completed.  New wheels will be issued for each heat.

5. All wheel stickers and markings face the outside.  Wheel stickers indicate the placement of wheels on the car spindles, RF=right front, LR=left rear, etc.  Race officials will be available to assist racers with proper placement of the wheels on the car.

6. Up to two washers are allowed on each spindle.  It is the racer/handler’s responsibility to insure washers are in place and to have a supply of additional washers if needed.

7. Wheel pins can be pushed into the first or second click.

8. No races will be rerun due to incorrect wheel swap.

9. Spinning, lubing or juicing wheels is prohibited at any point of the Challenge race or in the pits.  No cleaner or lubricant can be applied to the wheels.

10. No wiping the wheels on the ramps, no rags on the ramps, no spotting or setting wheels.

Race Track

1. If any wheel crosses a lane line into another lane, the driver will lose the phase.

2. Cars need to be removed from run out as soon as possible after completion of a phase or race.  Follow instructions from the Runout Director.

3. No hot runs will be provided during the Challenge race.

4. All racers must remain with their heat opponents during all three phases of the heat.  Heat opponents must ride together on the same return trailer.


1. Drivers must remain in race position during the race.  Any driver scooting, ducking, rocking, bobbing or changing race position during the course of the race will be disqualified.

2. Each driver needs to wear their AASBD issued Champ shirt during the Challenge race.

3. Drivers are responsible for wearing appropriate race gear including shoes, helmet and optional gloves.

4. Each racer is responsible for having a car handler at the starting gate.

5. No loose articles are allowed in the car, except for a back cushion for the masters division.

6. No electronic devices are allowed inside race cars.

7. Drivers need to stay with their cars.  Any driver that is called for a heat and does not respond within five minutes will forfeit the heat.


1. Each racer will weigh-in before the Challenge race during the inspection process.  Once across the scales, weight will be recorded.  No weight change will be allowed at any time.  Officials can check weight at any point before or after a heat is completed.

2. The top three finishers for each division will be required to weigh-in before the final race.

3. Tail and nose weight max are per AASBD rules.


1. If a competitor is eliminated and does not move on within the bracket, the driver and car will be transported back to Topside and they will be directed to place their car back in the building.

2. The racer’s own wheels will go back on their car once they have completed the Challenge race and have returned the wheel bank wheels.

3. Time has been allotted in the race week schedule after the Challenge races for participants to align and weigh in preparation for Saturday’s Championship race.


1. All cars must remain in the pit area between heats.

2. No tools or working on cars is allowed at any point during the Challenge race.

3. Assistance loading cars on the return trailers will be provided.  Racers can load their own cars or have a race handler assist loading their car at the bottom of the track.

4. All questions and concerns should be addressed to the Race Director.

5. Please do not approach people working the charts at the starting line or on the bridge as well as timing officials.  Charts will be available for viewing at Topside and the starting line for racers and handlers to track race progress.

6. Awards for the Challenge races will take place on Saturday evening.

7. All decisions on rule interpretation and race procedure are by the Race Director.

8. No food, drinks or gum are allowed in the pit area or starting line.

9. Food will not be supplied to racers during the Challenge races.  It is recommended that racers bring their own food/drinks or purchase from vendors located at the race track.