Demolition Derby Crash Racing: Tips and Tricks for Beginners
Demolition derby usually presented at county fairs and national events. While rules vary from event to event, the typical demolition derby event consists of five or more drivers competing by deliberately ramming their vehicles into one another. The last driver whose vehicle is still operational is awarded the victory. Demolition derbies originated in the United States and quickly spread to other Western nations. For example, Australia's first demolition derby took place in January 1963. In the UK and parts of Europe, demolition derbies (sometimes called "destruction derbies") are often held at the end of a full day of banger racing.
In demolition derbies, serious injuries such as whiplash are rare but they do happen. Drivers are typically required to sign a waiver to release the promoter of an event from liability. At almost all derbies, attempts are made to make the event safer, all glass is removed from the vehicles, and deliberately ramming a driver's-side door area is forbidden. The driver's door is often required to be painted white with black numbers or blaze orange, or with contrasting colors, for visibility. Most demolition derbies are held on dirt tracks, or in open fields, that are usually soaked with water. This causes the competition area to become muddy, which helps to slow the vehicles.The part of the vehicle used to ram opponents varies; some drivers use both the front and rear of the vehicle to ram the other competitors, while others tend to use only the rear end of the vehicle to protect the engine compartment from damage.
Demolition derbies were first held at various fairs, race tracks, and speedways by independent promoters in the 1950s. There are unconfirmed reports of events occurring as far back as the 1930s utilizing the abundant supply of worn-out Ford Model Ts. The originator of the concept for auto demolition derbies is disputed. One source says that Don Basile is often credited with inventing the demolition derby at Carrell Speedway in 1947. Another source states stock car racer Larry Mendelsohn created the concept for demolition derbies at New York State's Islip Speedway in 1958 after realizing many people favored wrecks to racing.
The sport's popularity grew throughout the 1960s, becoming a standard at county fairs and becoming a subculture nationwide. The popularity of demolition derbies also spread overseas. In 1963 a reported crowd of 20,000 packed into the Rowley Park Speedway in Adelaide to see Australia's first demolition derby. Due to the size of the crowd (about twice the venue capacity), the police closed the speedway's gates. The derby itself had over 75 entries and lasted for over 100 minutes. Demolition derbies in Australia generally take place at speedways (usually on the opening or closing night of the season), with most cars being older model Australian-made sedans and wagons.
ABC's Wide World of Sports televised the World Championship Demolition Derby from the mid-1960s until 1992. In 1972, the Los Angeles Coliseum hosted a demolition derby with mint-condition late model cars driven by Mario Andretti, A. J. Foyt, and Bobby Unser. The popular ABC sitcom Happy Days included the character Pinky Tuscadero, a female professional demolition derby driver and occasional love interest to the show's most popular character, Arthur Fonzarelli. Folk-pop singer Jim Croce wrote and sung about the sport in one of his popular songs, "Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy)" on his 1972 album, You Don't Mess Around with Jim.
In 1997, The Nashville Network (later part of CBS) returned demolition derby to national television in its TNN's Motor Madness series of various motor-sport events. Motor Madness derbies were primarily for broadcast and needed to fit into a time frame. Live demolition derbies could last indefinitely. Motor Madness changed the rules from last car running to largest number of offensive hits in a time frame. However, as part of MTV Networks' takeover of CBS Cable operations in 2000, demolition derbies, as well as the rest of the CBS motor-sports operations, were removed from programming as part of MTV's move to shut down the CBS Charlotte operation based at Lowe's Motor Speedway and generalize the network into a more broadly viewed channel. Pay per view was demolition derby's only national television outlet in the 2000s (decade). Two $50,000-to-win derbies were held in Widewater, Canada, from 2000-2001.
Later in the 2000s (decade), a proliferation of cable television shows about vehicle customizing occasionally showcased junked vehicles in bizarre competitions. Spike TV's Carpocalypse was a reality documentary series on variations of demolition derby filmed in Orlando, FLA. The Speed Channel also has aired team demolition derbies in 2005. Cable TV's exposure has led to renewed interest in the demolition derby.
In 2006, the partners of Mike Weatherford Promotions (Mike Weatherford and Dustin Swayne) started DerbyMadness.com while promoting the NAPA Auto Parts Crash for Cash Series. The first annual final show paid out $5,000.00 to the winner of the series. Before competing in the final show, derby drivers across several states had to qualify at any one of the participating NAPA Crash for Cash qualifying derbies. There were over 100 cars in the final show. The series was a success and continues to grow every year. The 2007 series money was doubled, so competition was expected to increase for the 2008 series.
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With the dwindling availability of these older vehicles, smaller full-sized vehicles of the late 1980s and 1990s are more frequently encountered today. A separate class of demolition derby for compact cars is increasing in popularity. Compact car events have the advantage of an abundant supply of usable vehicles, which also tend to be more mobile and thus, more entertaining to fans. Being largely front-wheel drive vehicles, their back ends can sustain considerable amounts of damage before the vehicle is immobilized. However, this increased speed, coupled with the fact that compact cars tend to be less crashworthy, makes injuries more frequent.
Other versions of the sport using combine harvesters and riding lawn mowers have been practiced in various parts of the world. Larger vehicles, such as pickup trucks and SUVs, were rarely used in demolition derby (though school bus demolitions have long been a popular exception) but have recently become popular in demolition events. Recently a new class for minivans has been added to some derbies because of the abundance of older vehicles. Motorhome demolition derbies are another variation.
In 2001, the Los Angeles Times estimated that between 150,000 and 225,000 drivers participated in at least one of the 2,000 demolition derbies held in the United States that year. Event purses rose from a pittance of a few hundred dollars to over $50,000 after the popularity of TNN's Motor Madness series.
The last running car that makes contact with another driver wins the event. In addition to a winner, most derbies also award a "Best in Show" or "Mad Dog" award to the participant who puts on the most exciting or spectacular performance without winning the derby; this is usually decided by voice vote of the audience. (This is especially true in multiple-heat contests, where the addition of best-in-show provides more contestants for the feature event.)
Also included at some demolition derbies in the US and UK are rollover competitions, where the object is to drive a car so that only the wheels on one side hit a ramp, causing the vehicle to roll over repeatedly. Drivers take multiple runs at the ramp until their vehicle dies. The driver who completes the most rollovers before their vehicle ceases to function is declared the winner. Compact cars, especially hatchbacks, are used in rollover competitions. Their lighter weight enables them to roll more easily than larger vehicles. However, with modern high-horsepower unibody sedans and coupes now appearing on salvage lots, some of this conventional wisdom is being questioned and some major competitions have been won by drivers of small size, mid-size and full-size sedans.
Demolition derby is a popular theme portrayed in video games. While some games aim to be a realistic simulation of real-life derbies, others such as vehicular combat games include gameplay features that would be impossible in real life. Notable demolition derby video games include:
Tickets are available through the Stampede website & ticket office. Guests will submit a derby pit pass ticket to a Stampede representative on the day of the derby to then complete a waiver and be issued a designated wristband for access. The derby pit pass check-in is located north of the Island Grove arena horse stalls. The derby pit will open at 8am and close 1 hour following the conclusion of the derby.
"There's nothing better," says John Green, a demolition derby driver at a recent fair in Franklin County, Kan. "A lot of people say they would do it, but until you get in there and do it you never know the real feeling."
Parmer, an old hand at demo derby, says there's an arms race of sorts underway. Drivers are fortifying their cars with mounds of steel, even up to $20,000 worth of high-end parts. So, money is becoming a barrier. Time is another one. Building a state-of-the-art derby car can take months and often requires help from skilled, resourceful friends like Shelby Miller.
This is an EXCITING family event that all ages are guaranteed to enjoy! Twisted Metal Mayhem is the official demolition derby of the Central Texas State Fair. This event is sure to not disappoint - showcasing three different events in FULL SIZE, COMPACT classes and CHAIN GANG. This year see the kids in ACTION with the POWER WHEEL races!
Blocky Demolition Derby is a fast-paced and fun demolition derby simulation game with blocky objects. Destroy other vehicles and show your dominance in the arena!Release Date May 2016 (Android)
July 2016 (iOS)
March 2020 (WebGL)
DeveloperBlocky Demolition Derby was made by Kiqqi Games. Check out their other car demolition derby game in Car Crash Simulator Royale.