Kingsport’s First Soap Box Derby-1946

Soap Box Derby

The first Soap Box Derby in Kingsport was held on August 7, 1946. Sponsored by Latimer-Looney Cheverolet Company and The Kingsport Times-News, the derby was open to all boys ages 11-15.

The first Soap Box Derby was a huge success with 64 entrants and a spectator crowd of over 3,000.

Rules of the derby stated that the cars could not cost more than $10.00 and had to meet specific weight restrictions and dimensions. Each car also had to be built by the entrant himself. Adults were only allowed to participate in an advisory capacity.

The winner of Kingsport’s first Soap Box Derby was Gary McGinnis. Gary raced to victory in 25 seconds flat down the course held on Oak Street. Gary’s derby car was sponsored by Freel’s Drug Store.

As the winner, Gary qualified to travel to Akron, Ohio to compete in the National Soap Box Derby Finals. The All-American Soap Box Derby has been held since 1934. From 1943-1945 races were not held due to World War II but by 1946, races were held once again.

All of the photos in this blog post were taken by Carl Swann, who also happened to sponsor driver, Jack Duncan.

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2 thoughts on “Kingsport’s First Soap Box Derby-1946

  1. I remember going to a soap box derby that was held on Center Street. The start line was near the junior high school….. now the Renaissance Center. I don’t know the year but suspect it was about 1947 or 1948,

  2. THE RACE ON E CENTER WAS IN 1949, BOBBY LIGHT TIED BRAD POWERS FOR THE FINAL HEAT, IN A RERUN BOBBY LIGHT WON A CLOSE RACE. I THINK DICKIE WARREN WON IN 1948 ON OAK ST, GEO MARCUM, MYSELF WON THE SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD. AL WARREN HAD THE SHARPEST CAR BUT NOT COULD KEEP IT GOING STRAIGHT

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