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.
Phil Condron flags down young drivers at the Scranton Soap Box Derby on July 16, 1972. Times-Tribune Archives
The Scranton Soap Box Derby was held on July 16, 1972 following its postponement from its orginal June date because of rain. The race took place on Luzerne Street in West Scranton. Times-Tribune Archives
Robin Manziano of Watkins Street pilots the Pocono 500 entry in the Scranton Soap Box Derby on July 16, 1972. Times-Tribune Archives
Tommy Koes Jr. of Kingsley embraces follow debry competator, Jerry O’Brien of West Scranton at the Scranton Soap Box Derby on July 16, 1972. Koes defeated O’Brien to claim the derby championship. Times-Tribune Archives
Although he had to wait a month to prove a point, Tom Koes Jr, right, did just that on Sunday, July 16, when he proved to be the best in Scranton’s Soap Box Derby, winning the event and gaining a crack at the big race at Arkon, Ohio on August 26. He is pictured after winnig the race down Luzerne Street Hill with last year’s winner, Walley Snider. Times-Tribune Archives
Spectators lined Luzerne Street in West Scranton to watch the Scranton Soap Box Derby on July 16, 1972. Times-Tribune Archives
The car roof provides these young ladies a great view of the action of the Scranton Soap Box Derby on July 16, 1972. Times-Tribune Archives
Tommy Koes Jr. of Kingsley, right, finishes more than car length ahead of Jerry O’Brien of West Scranton in the Scranton Soap Box Derby on July 16, 1972. Times-Tribune Archives
Oscar Kovaleski poses with race winner Tommy Koes Jr of Kingsley, right, following the Scranton Soap Box Derby on July 16, 1972. Times-Tribune Archives
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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