Time Warp, 1972: Scranton Soap Box Derby Competitors Race Down Luzerne Street
July 16, 1972: Luzerne Street in West Scranton looked more like a racetrack then a residential street on a Sunday afternoon. The street was the location for the All-American Soap Box Derby, which originally was scheduled to take place in June but was postponed by rain.
After a day filled with racing, it came down to two competitors — Tommy Koes Jr. of Kingsley and Jerry O’Brien of West Scranton — for the Scranton championship. Koes won the race by a full car length and went on to represent the area at the national Soap Box Derby in Akron, Ohio, on Aug. 26.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, Koes won his first and second races, but in his third race, he was defeated by Eric Raber of New Philadelphia, Ohio. After 267 races, Robert Lange Jr. of Boulder, Colorado, was crowned derby champion by defeating a racer from Detroit with a time of 27.33 seconds.
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