Demolition derby is no accident at Washington County Ag Expo & Fair

July 29, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • One of the cars competing Friday in the V8 class of the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair's demolition derby runs the back end of his car into one of his competitors.
By Chris Tilley/Staff Photographer

In the evening humidity, Steven Taylor's head was covered in a layer of sweat, and he was breathing heavily.

But his broad grin told the story of his win in Friday's demolition derby at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

First, his Chevrolet Corsica — a battered rainbow of orange, blue, pink and green — survived a battle among six-cylinder cars.

Then, his Little Car That Could smoked the competition in a final "frenzy" among every car still running after the three preliminary heats.

After eight minutes of slamming, crashing and spewing dirt in the finals, the sedan Taylor got from Ernie's Salvage Yard was the last car moving.

The secret? He paused for a second.

"Destroying stuff without getting in trouble," he said with a laugh.

First prize was $800. For second place, Eric Renner of Williamsport won $225.

The winners in the heat received $50.

The four-cylinder cars collided first.

The biggest moment in that heat was when the car Nicki Harshman of Hagerstown was driving took a thump and flames shot out of the hood. She was fine, and even got her car to start again when the fire was extinguished, but it didn't last long.

In the eight-cylinder class, Rusty Stoner of Williamsport was getting in a few licks in his 1982 Crown Victoria station wagon.

Then, the rear of the car Rodney McCarty of Clear Spring was driving climbed onto on the roof of Stoner's car.

Something failed in the Crown Vic's hood — possibly a distributor shaft — and Stoner was done for the night.

Demolition derby is a little more than pound-the-gas-pedal-and-smash.

Drivers try to use the vehicle's back end — where the engine isn't — as a battering ram. They stop and dart away to avoid oncoming attacks.

Hits to a driver-side door are a no-no.

A smashed-in rear isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as the car still moves, as Taylor proved in his win.

Relatively speaking, Scott Shank's Buick LeSabre made it out of the six-cylinder group in decent shape, too.

Shank, of Hagerstown, said the car was donated by Sissy Zimmerman, the mother of one of his friends.

Shank's Buick hung until the end and even had a moment of revival, when it looked like Taylor and Renner had the only moving cars left, but it sputtered and died in third place.

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