Demo derby drivers crash for cash

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copyright the Chronicle August 23, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail


BARTON — “Protect your front end and a lot of luck,” said Heidi Taylor of West Glover when asked about the strategy that carried her to a third-place finish in the four-cylinder division of the Demolition Derby on Sunday night.

After finishing in the top three in the afternoon qualifying heat, Ms. Taylor and her battered Dodge Neon faced a field of 24 in the final four-cylinder feature.

Nimbly dodging a constant barrage of rear-facing attackers, the Lake Region Union High School graduate’s pink and silver helmet with its full face mask lent an air of almost zen-like calm as she methodically shifted gears and churned through the mud, seeming to weigh the prospective damage to her own car before hurtling backwards into another.

Unlike many of the flashier drivers, who inflicted as much damage on themselves as they did on others, she survived until nearly the end of each of her races.

And at the final horn, blonde hair flying, she jumped off the hood of her car and headed for the stage to claim her trophy.

For those who think of cars as mysterious and delicate things, the annual Demolition Derby is a humbling reminder that, in the right hands, a car can take an unbelievable amount of abuse and simply refuse to die.

Demolition Derby cars just keep going with radiators steaming, wheels turning at improbable angles, and trunks compacted into the space where the back seat was.

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