Indianapolis teen becomes the 1st Black World Champion in the race’s 73-year history.
For over 70 years, The American Soap-Box Derby has crowned a youth champion from a group of competitors from all over the world. Throughout the existence of the historic race, there has never been an African-American champion; That changed this weekend when Marlon Wells was crowned the international champion in the Derby’s “Masters Division”.
A local media outlet in Akron, Ohio — where the championship was held — reported that Wells exuded an aura of confidence and calmness as he exited his vehicle upon winning the final race. After three years of racing at the highest level of the competition, he spoke on having a sense of “relief” in being able to finally have his talent validated by the World Championship.
Over 400 youth and young adults from across the globe competed in the Championship, held at the world-famous Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. These young racers spent months hand-crafting their race cars and participating in local tournaments in order to receive an invite to the final event. In these competitions they would face off at speeds of over 30 miles per hour through tracks of almost 1000 feet in length.