Archive for Friday, August 1, 2008

Sparks fly as drivers gear up for today’s Demolition Derby

Ernest Hatch welds a dash bar onto a Volvo demolition derby car as his son, James Hatch, 20, oversees the work on Wednesday evening at 19th Street Auto Recyclers, 2005 E. 19th St. The father and son plan to collide with dozens of other drivers in tonight's Demolition Derby, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at the rodeo arena at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Ernest Hatch welds a dash bar onto a Volvo demolition derby car as his son, James Hatch, 20, oversees the work on Wednesday evening at 19th Street Auto Recyclers, 2005 E. 19th St. The father and son plan to collide with dozens of other drivers in tonight's Demolition Derby, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at the rodeo arena at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.

August 1, 2008

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Sparks fly as drivers gear up for today's Demolition Derby

The Demolition Derby returns to the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Friday and one local auto shop is ready to crash the party. Enlarge video

Douglas County Fair 2008

Livestock, a world of entries, a carnival and a demolition derby - see the sights and hear the sounds of the 2008 Douglas County Fair.

It's the grown-up version of bumper cars.

The Demolition Derby crashes onto the scene of the Douglas County Fair tonight, and some local car enthusiasts are getting their vehicles ready.

They have been working almost eight hours a day after work for the past three weeks.

"It's a lot of hard work - tearing the cars apart, building them, getting them ready to go," said Troy Gentry, the owner of 19th Street Auto Recyclers, 2005 E. 19th St., where the derby cars take over the garage after business hours.

This is the fifth year Gentry has entered cars in the derby. This year, he and a group of friends are preparing four cars for the crash course.

It's a lot of work with a lot of rules to follow.

"There's certain things that they'll let you do and they won't let you do," Gentry said.

For example, cars can't have any extra metal or any other material that makes them stronger. All the derby cars should enter the area just as they came off the factory line.

But some finagling is required.

"Weld doors shut, (add a) cage, battery box, have to move the fuel tank, all-tread the hood, take out the windows," said Trent Stanley, who used to work for Gentry and now comes to help with the derby cars for fun. "Normal stuff," he added with a laugh.

Drivers even get into the act, working on their vehicles in advance of the derby, which begins at 7:30 p.m. today at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. The driver of the last car running will take home the top prize of $1,200.

David L'Ecuyer drove in the derby for the first time last year, and he's looking to get a trophy the second time around. This year he's getting behind the wheel of a Volvo. But, he says, there's no way to plan for the arena.

"You can't go out with a strategy," he said. "There's too many cars out there, and everything happens so fast."

Gentry has yet to build a winning car. But he says it doesn't really matter.

"We just do it more for fun than anything," he said.

Comments

OldEnuf2BYurDad 6 years, 11 months ago

Some of the best people-watching in Lawrence is at the annual demolishion derby. Some real characters in the crowd.They really need to upgrade the seating at the rodeo arena. They over-sell it every year.

LooPerkinsucks 6 years, 11 months ago

Jeez...I wonder if the usual cheaters will win again this year...Stone.... What a joke, I swear that the winning drivers are in bed with the officials. It's amazing what some of these "veterans" of the sport can get away with.

LooPerkinsucks 6 years, 11 months ago

Who won???Believe it or not...a cheater... I wonder if they inspected his car...

Staci Dark Simpson 6 years, 11 months ago

we always have mullet watch. whoever counts the most mullets wins a funnel cake. gotta love good clean redneck fun.

trinity 6 years, 11 months ago

hah! spacy that's hilarious; because for years now, we've had "derby ho" watch! and mannnnn does the count ever get high! ;)

Easy 6 years, 11 months ago

Gotta love the "Derby Ho's". Its a shame I won't make it tonight. They really do need some more grandstands there it is unbearably packed usually.

trinity 6 years, 11 months ago

stone(s) have won for years because they put together awesome cars, and they drive like nobody's business. sour grapes loo? the "veterans" of the sport win because of just that-they're veterans, know the ropes, and use it to their advantage. i've seen some up&coming young'uns give 'em a run for their money!!! so i don't think your assertion is valid. at all.oh for the old days of the millers, stones, etc in the arena! now THAT was FUN! :)

LooPerkinsucks 6 years, 11 months ago

YES, they cheat. If ya ain't cheatin', ya ain't tryin'. And the up&coming young'uns...they have grown up around it, they're bound to be better cheaters. It's all valid. If one of these veterans win, I sure would like to see them get a very close inspection after the derby. Rags stuffed in the shocks, beefed up frames, a lil' extra steel here and there...etc............ Oh well, it's one BIG W.T. fest! Let's get pickeled and smash some sh*t!GOT METH?

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