This unique non-motorized racing event challenges amateur racers to design and build gravity-powered soapbox cars to compete against the clock in a downhill race. Not to be confused with the National All-American Soapbox Derby, The Madison Ave. Soapbox Derby is a race for amateur drivers, which is fueled by creativity and family fun. The following Rules and Regulations are not intended to hinder any creativity but rather allow for a safe race for both the drivers and spectators.
Max three runs per car.


1) This Derby is for “home-built” racers only. “Kit or Pre-Fabricated Cars” may be permitted to race but are ineligible for any awards.  All Cars must be gravity powered, meaning no engines or external energy sources.

2) Mandatory Car Dimensions must be followed. See the ‘MANDATORY CAR’ Dimensions.

3) Cars must run on four wheels – two front and two rear. All four wheels must touch the ground at all times when racing.

4) Cars must be equipped with Steering and a Brake.  See the ‘STEERING and BRAKE Guide’, under the “HOW TO” link.

5) Cars must be equipped with Steering “Stop Blocks”. Stop Blocks prevent over-steering, the primary cause of accidents on the course. See the ‘STEERING and BRAKE guide’.

6) A properly fitting helmet must be worn. Bicycle, Motorcycle or football helmets are acceptable.

7)  All cars are subject to inspection before the race and if your car does not fit the criteria of our rules and regulations we reserve the right to disqualify your car.


Axle Length (front & rear) Maximum 5 Feet from ‘outside-to-outside’ of wheels

Protrusion of Axle Beyond Wheel Hub Maximum 1″ Length Overall build to lowest age group if car is to be run across groups

7-17 & 6 and Under Age Groups Maximum ‘Overall’ Length is 7 Feet

18 & Up Age Group Maximum ‘Overall” Length is 8 Feet

Wheelbase (front to back axle measurement) Minimum 40″ Ground Clearance (Bottom of Floorboard to ground) Minimum 3″, Maximum 7” Care must be taken to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.

Width Maximum of 6 Feet

Height Maximum of 5 Feet

Testing Your Car

Please try to perform testing of your car before the day of the race. Even more important is having your driver get comfortable behind the wheel. You can start testing well before the car is completed by running the car on flat or slightly inclined surfaces. When the car is completed, test it at higher speeds. Make brake tests where there is no danger if they fail or if the car starts to skid. Let the driver get used to the car and learn to control it so that it runs in a straight line before the big day.