Pure Destruction! It’s Demolition Derby Season In America!

Pure Destruction! It’s Demolition Derby Season In America!

Well, folks, it’s the end of summer here in the USA. That means kids are going back to school, the weather gets cooler, and crops are harvested. And with the yearly harvest comes many county fairs across the country. Last Saturday night, I found myself taking part of a yearly tradition that I’m sure many of you Bangshift readers can relate to: loading up on truly unhealthy county fair treats and watching a bunch of cars smash into each other for fun and profit! Every year since I can remember, I have attended the Marshfield Fair, which takes place in Marshfield, MA in late August. Once I discovered that people smash cars into each other on purpose at the fair, that event became the biggest reason to go! This fair actually has two different types of demolition derby events: the standard demolition derby, and the compact car double figure eight racing series. While I love the regular derby, I’ve grown very fond of the insane action of the double figure eight racing championship that happens on the last Saturday of the event. It’s just nuts!


While the traditional demo derby uses full-sized sedans as it’s tools of the trade, the double figure eight is limited to smaller, four cylinder cars. They have to be two wheel drive, but they can be front or rear wheel driven. That means no all wheel drive rally car replicas in this one! Also, the car has to be stock. No wacky engine swaps or power adders are permitted.


While you see flashes of driving brilliance out there, like this drift action seen here, it’s usually short lived. Once these things start smashing into each other, you’re going to need luck and some serious intestinal fortitude to win! And you have to be a little crazy too. There’s very little in safety equipment other than the stock seat belts, your helmet of choice, and maybe a makeshift door bar.


The hot ticket setup for the front wheel drive cars is to run regular tires up front and skinny spare tires out back. This makes the rear tail happy in the dirt and easier to control around the big tractor tires. This first generation Dodge Neon was whipping around the tires all night! I can’t remember ever seeing a rear wheel drive car out there, other than your occasional 2.3L Fox Body Mustang maybe once every few years.


Every year, I always watch for the newest member of the cars that are thought lowly enough to participate in this event. The 2015 entry to this exclusive club is the mid-2000’s Mitsubishi Lancer. That red and white one out there may have had dreams of becoming an Evo VII while rolling down the assembly line, so having it fly through the dirt in the classic red and white Mitsubishi Ralliart WRC livery seems appropriate before its trip to the crusher. What a way to go!


Some drivers like to attach random objects to the top of their roof, which is always fun. I’ve seen a rocking horse welded to the roof, a Homer Simpson doll in a car seat, and now a flower pot attached to the roof on Car 36. There’s no way those are making it to the end of the event…


…And boy was I wrong. They made it all the way to the end, and the guy even on the heat! Wow.


Ahh… the Chevrolet Cavalier. Not the greatest at being a regular every day car and certainly not the greatest as a performance platform, but they absolutely excel in the double figure eight racing circuit! There are more J-Body GM cars in this event every year than any other car. Whether it’s a wagon, coupe, or sedan, there’s usually one in the winner’s circle.


As I mentioned earlier, they do these races on various nights during the fair. The last night of racing also contains two championship races, and the two winners of those races face off one on one. This one was down to a Camry and a Cavalier. Not surprisingly, the guy who won piloted the Cavalier to victory!


BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE! After the racing is done, any car that’s still running gets sent out to the ring for a full-on compact car demolition derby! These are the icing on the cake, and are always full of big hits and pure car-on-car violence.


During these finale events, I’ve seen cars flip over, catch fire, and I’ve even seen a guy have a mild heart attack, get out of the car, shake it off, and get back in! Talk about crazy!


There’s just something about cars driving around that no longer have trunks and the engine hanging out beyond the front bumper smacking into each other that makes me laugh.


PURE. AUTOMOTIVE. BEDLAM. You know you love it.


And then there was one. I believe the twisted wreck that won was the first generation Dodge Neon I mentioned earlier, but the car was so messed up that it was nearly impossible to tell!

Since it’s now County Fair season, make sure you get out there and perform your gearhead duty and watch an event like this for yourself. While I’m sure many of you have already seen one of these insane events, and maybe even participated in a few, they never get old. It’s definitely the “Fair Food” equivalent of the racing world: somewhat questionable, deliciously entertaining, and you might feel a little weird afterwards. But you know you have to experience it at least once a year!

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