Demolition Derby is a smash hit
NEW CASTLE – Close to 1,000 fans turned out Saturday afternoon for the first Demolition Derby to be held in New Castle in over 15 years, according to Sammy Huffman who helped organize the popular event.
“By 9 a.m. that morning trucks were lined up from the Fairground’s gate all the way to Rt. 311,” Huffman said. “The Sheriff’s office had to notify the Fairgrounds Committee to go down and open the gates before traffic backed up onto the main road.”
Early on fans begin backing up their pick-up trucks to the stone wall around the ring and the rest filled the bleachers or brought their own chairs. “No matter how many bleachers you have though most people just love to back their trucks up to the track and sit on the tailgate and watch the race,” Huffman said emphasizing the word “love”.
In all there were 19 entries of all makes and models of old cars which had been precisely prepared for the big event. Prepared in this case means stripped down and gutted. The interior is stripped; the gas tank removed and replaced behind the driver’s seat and the battery is installed in the passenger seat floorboard.
Next the hood and trunk are welded down, all glass removed and the doors are welded shut. “And most of the drivers put headers on the hood,” Huffman added.
The derby consisted of three heats running six cars in two of them and seven cars in the other one. There was also a consolation run. Unlike some derbies the winner of this one was determined by which ever car made the last contact with another car.
First place went to Donnie Fisher who was driving car No. 21, a red Chevy Impala bearing the Locust Mountain Grill name. The same car driven by Vanessa Rudder won the Powder Puff Derby.
Coming in second was Derrick Dudding driving an LTD Ford station wagon; 3rd place went to Daniel Givens driving a Chrysler Newport, 4th place to Richard Dudding driving a Ford LTD, and 5th place was Nick Fisher driving a Plymouth. “BJ” Oliver won the Mad Dog award for the most aggressive driver.
According to Don Charlton, a member of the Fairgrounds Committee, there were children and adults of all ages and everyone had a good time. Charlton said they were pleased with the outcome of the event and are planning to have another derby in the spring.