Moments after winning a 2018 Soap Box Derby world championship, Allison Pankoff got out of her car Saturday at Akron’s Derby Downs and asked, "Where’s my mom?"

Pankoff, 18, was overwhelmed with emotion as tears flowed down her face following a victory in the Rally Masters Division in the 81st FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby.

Pankoff’s mother, Judy, stood proudly nearby, and a few minutes later, it was celebration time for Allison with her mother, father, Buzz, and brother, J.P.

"I have been racing for 10 years, and this is my final race ever," said Allison Pankoff, who will turn 19 on Tuesday. "I had never made it past the first round in Akron, and I just won so this is pretty amazing. My mom hasn’t been up to the top of the hill all day. It’s been my dad, brother and me up there. I wanted to share this with my mom because I was able to share with my dad earlier when I made it to the top three.

"I was so emotional because we started racing because my grandfather [John Paul Pankoff III] wanted me to do it. He did this with my dad, but he passed away [in 2007] before I started racing, so we have done all of this for him. I finally did what we wanted to do, and I am the first accredited person to win from Colorado because the other one had been accused of cheating. This is a very big thing for me."

Pankoff was one of seven champions on Saturday just off of George Washington Blvd. The other six were Cayson Hayes (Rally Stock Division), Landen Watson (Rally Super Stock Division), Lane Schlafke (Local Stock), Ashton Grace (Local Super Stock), Bradeyn Ditzler (Local Masters) and Dylan Swanson (Super Kids).

Malena Shipley of Brookhaven, Ga., and Lukas Ramey of Hanson, Ky., finished second and third behind Pankoff, who made her sixth Akron appearance. Pankoff graduated from Legend High School in Parker, Colo., in 2017 and is set to be a sophomore at Colorado State University where she is a double major in Animal Science and Agricultural Business.

Repeat champion

Cayson Hayes, 10, finished first in the Rally Stock Division, one year after winning a title in the Local Stock Division. Emilee Brand of Omaha, Neb., and Riley Gresko of Las Vegas were second and third.

"My family supporting me and my family helping me got me across the finish line first," said Hayes, a native of Summerville, S.C. "I had a lot of family here, including my dad, Travis, my mom, Keri, and my brother, Thayne."

A freshman winner

Landen Watson, 14, of Madisonville, Ky., placed first in the Rally Super Stock Division ahead of Cuyahoga Falls resident Zoe Kubick and Canfield resident Laura Smutny.

"My expectations were that more than likely I was going to do well today," said Watson, a rising freshman at North Hopkins High School who traveled to Akron with his grandparents Penny and Raymond Pleasant. "This was my highest goal in my life so far."

First place Dylan

The Super Kids Classic finish was a close one between Dylan Swanson of Orchard Park, N.Y., and Haylee Elizabeth Rodgers of Athens, Tenn.

"This is my second year here, and I am very excited," said Swanson, a 9-year-old who attends Ellicott Elementary School and came to Akron with his parents, Jamie and Daryl Swanson, and his siblings, Ryan and Marissa.

Third time’s a charm

Lane Schlafke and Bradeyn Ditzler both finished off their third appearance at Akron’s Derby Downs with a world title.

Schlafke, 10, of Bowling Green, Ky., won the title in the Local Stock Division ahead of Aidyn Driggers of Tarrytown, Ga. and Nicholas Kaderabek of Alpine, Calif.

"It feels great to win this championship," said Schlafke, who will be in the fifth grade at Red Cross Elementary. "I raced my race and just had faith and courage."

Schlafke celebrated his triumph with his parents, Emily and Chris, and his brother, Chase.

Ditzler, 13, of Pottsville, Pa., edged out Akron’s Stephanie Hicks and New Hampshire resident Sydni Behan to win the Local Masters Division crown.

"The past two years I got knocked out in the first round," said Ditzler, a rising eighth-grader at Pottsville Middle School who celebrated with his father, Emeri, and grandparents. "It’s awesome placing first in Akron. Sometimes you’ll look over and see where you’re at [on the 989-foot hill], but not really. You just focus on the road and how straight you’re going and what lines to take."

Grace’s ‘miracle’

Ashton Grace, 11, of Hopkinsville, Ky., will start sixth grade at Millbrooke Elementary School as a champion after crossing the finish line first in the Local Super Stock Division ahead of Hannah Salley of Madisonville, Ky., and Aspen Tomasello of Washington, D.C.

"It felt unbelievable and like a miracle," Grace said. "It was so much fun to win with my dad [Daryl], my mom [Jennifer], my sister [Megan] and a lot of my friends here."

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com

Here are top finishers in each category:

Local Stock

1. Lane Schlafke, Bowling Green, Ky.

2. Aidyn Driggers, Tarrytown, Ga.

3. Nicholas Kaderabek, Alpine, Calif.

Local Super Stock

1. Ashton Grace, Hopkinsville, Ky.

2. Hannah Salley, Madisonville, Ky.

3. Aspen Tomasello, Washington, D.C.

Local Masters

1. Bradeyn Ditzler, Pottsville, Pa.

2. Stephanie Hicks, Akron

3. Sydni Behan, New Hampshire

Rally Stock

1. Cayson Hayes, Summerville, S.C.

2. Emilee Brand, Omaha, Neb.

3. Riley Gresko, Las Vegas, Nev.

Rally Super Stock

1. Landen Watson, Madisonville, Ky.

2. Zoe Kubick, Cuyahoga Falls

3. Laura Smutny, Canfield

Rally Masters

1. Allison Pankoff, Parker, Colo.

2. Malena Shipley, Brookhaven, Ga.

3. Lukas Ramey, Hanson, Ky.

Super Kids Classic

1. Dylan Swanson, Orchard Park, N.Y.

2. Haylee Elizabeth Rodgers, Athens, Tenn.