2006 Team Demolition Derby Tournament of Destruction
May 28, 2006
ROAD RAGE RIPS OPEN THE SEASON
After never advancing past the second round all of last year, Road Rage rolled into 2006 with some new faces and some new found attitude which propelled them into victory lane for the first time since August of 2003! Road Rage was not the only team with some new members, several drivers jumped from one team to another in the off season and we also had the addition of an entirely new team, The Wrekin' Krew, replacing The Black Plague.
Here are some pre-race pit shots of the teams making final preparations to their vehicles and the cars soaking up the sun for one last time before being smashed to pieces.
SPEED crews returned to the Team Demos to film the action for a future episode of Lucas Oil: On The Edge to be broadcast in 2006.
Bob Shea with the always great looking Nemesis3 monster truck was the intermission thrill act for this month. Shea was a last minute and perfect timed fill-in for Fred Sibley's Lil' Red Beer Hauler jet truck which experienced mechanical difficulties during a testing session. Shea was up at Rockford Speedway the night prior to this and I received a call while at the track that Sibley would not be able to make it and a replacement was needed. I talked to Bob about it and he was ready to play in some mud!
Even with it being a holiday weekend, the stands were packed with rabid fans ready to cheer their team onto victory and the opponents into annihilation.
Damage, Inc.'s section was loud...
But there is nothing like the Stranglehold faithful!
The first event of the night is always the "Beauty Contest" which is more of a fan-favorite vote than anything. The teams roll out their best looking car and a bunch of team members to try and rally support for their side. The Junk Yard Dogs snatched the trophy this time around.
With all the little business out of the way, it was time to start smashing cars! If you're new to the Team Demo craze, here's how it works: Eight teams square off against each other two at a time with each team having four cars on the track. The object is to get one of your team's vehicles to complete 5 laps around the track to be declared the winner of the race. But, there are pretty much no rules stopping the teams from unleashing 40mph head-on crashes or doing whatever else it takes to knock their opponents out of commission. The one big rule only states that driver-side door shots are illegal.
The winners of each race, 4 of them in Round 1, then face off in the Semi-Finals and those 2 winners do battle in the Finals to crown our Champions of the night.
Racing Round 1
Road Rage vs. Orange Crush
Could not ask for a stronger first-round match up of former World Champs in 2003, Road Rage, taking on the team that dominated nearly all of 2005, Orange Crush. Road Rage quickly showed they were not the team that was beat around all of '04 and '05 as they took an early lead on Orange Crush and started dealing out the punches. Crush could not establish any momentum for a lead car and their hope of a win went completely away with the biggest hit of the race from the #10 Road Rage car completely decimating the #66, which allowed the mud-covered #19 wagon for Rage to cruise to the win.
Damage, Inc. vs. Wrekin' Krew
Damage, Inc. really needed to get back on the winning way and with some new drivers and some new iron they had their best shot in over a year. But no one knew what to expect out of the new all-black Wrekin' Krew and Damage, Inc. was quickly introduced. Da Krew pounded away at Damage in the early minutes of the race but was doing serious damage to their cars in the process. A sick hit on the front stretch left a Krew car and the #62 of Joe Tryrakowksi wadded up in a mangled mess which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Another nasty hit right by me on the wall resulted in a true fiery finish to this race. As the Damage, Inc. driver tried to re-fire the car, oh, it fired alright! Smoke began to pour out from under the hood and the driver quickly high-tailed it out. Flames blasted through the car and within seconds it was engulfed in flames! The race was immediately called as the Damage, Inc car was melting to the ground with flames raging out of control. The Route 66 Raceway safety team had the blaze under control within minutes and the only casualty of the night would be the car. Wrekin' Krew had the lead when the race was called and captured their first win in their first try!
Havoc vs. Stranglehold
Last year's champs came out firing to defend their 2005 National Championship and put a hurting on Havoc from the beginning. Havoc did not seem to get much offense rolling and instead took the brunt of several 2-on-1 hits. Stranglehold drove nearly all their cars right off the track after this race.
Team Xtreme vs. Junk Yard Dogs
After a rough rookie season, the Van Allen brothers of Team Xtreme have really put together a great looking team and with some aggression behind the wheel, may be a team to watch for in 2006. Meanwhile, the JYDs are always on the prowl and with a combination of solid veteran talent and new rookie blood, they are still one of the top Dogs in the fight. A back and forth battle ensued for the opening minutes of the match and Team Xtreme was definitely holding its own. They got in some great shots but none better than the crack on the #33 JYD car and sent rookie Ryan Bleuer over on his roof!! Bleuer had missed a high-speed hit over in Turn 1and was sliding sideways towards the wall when he got a hit in the rear fender. The force of the hit, the speed of his slide and some deep ruts sent the cars tumbling! First time ever at Route 66 a demo car had flipped over. We've seen them burn up, blast through the barricades and nearly take out television cameras but this was a first.
Bleuer walked away from the crash without serious injury which is amazing considering the shape the roof was in. It should be noted that the roofs are about the only thing not heavily re-enforced on these cars, which must pass grueling tech inspections prior to each event before being allowed on the track. Safety first keeps these drivers safe every time out.
The race was restarted and even with being down 1 car, the JYDs had wrecked enough of Team Xtreme allowing the #3 car to cruise to the victory.
With the first round completed, the teams needed time to prepare their vehicles for Round 2. Bob Shea brought out Nemesis3 from some intermission action. Unfortunately there wasn't much, wait, there wasn't anything for him to work with for jumps and since there are too many rocks and chunks of who-knows-what in the dirt that could injury fans, donuts were not allowed either. Shea did his best to please the crowd and made several high speed runs through the mud and slung the truck around in 3/4 spins all over the track. Even though not much to the run, the crowd really seemed to like it and gave Shea a nice applause afterwards. He would come back after Round 2 for some more playin' in the mud.
Racing Round 2
Road Rage vs. Damage, Inc.
Even though Damage, Inc. lost their first round match up with Wrekin' Krew, they were allowed to advance due to Krew not having enough running cars to make the call. Unfortunately for Damage, Inc., they too would not have many cars after this race. Damage, Inc. looked for the big red bulls eyes of Road Rage and in the early goings, they did not miss! Huge head-on impacts left cars twisted all over the track. But, the damage piled up quickly for Damage, Inc. while Road Rage's big wagons were surviving the impacts and outlasting the other team. Road Rage's endurance proved to be the deciding factor as they crossed the line with the win and moved to the Finals.
Junk Yard Dogs vs. Stranglehold
The two heavy crowd favorites would need all the support they could get as they duke it out for a spot in the Finals. The Dogs panned out and attacked Stranglehold from all angles and had the lead early on. Stranglehold lost one car as Pete Millette, Jr. went for a shot near Turn 1 and completely missed sending his car flying off the track. The Dogs took advantage and pounded away at Stranglehold all while collecting the important laps. Stranglehold went for a final big effort in Turn 4 and ganged up on two JYD cars but it still was not enough. The JYDs pulled out the win and went to the Finals for the first time in over a year.
With all the wrecked cars cleared out of the way, it was time for Bob Shea & Nemesis3 to come back out and destroy more cars! Well, ok, 1 car, but, on such short notice, that is all the speedway could track down for an obstacle. I did not know how well of a freestyle Shea could pull off with only one car and no donuts but we were all soon surprised.
Shea ripped into the car from every angle possible and was getting some pretty decent air and length out of the jumps considering what he was hitting. The car was mashed down very quickly but became more of ramp buried in the mud and Shea still grabbed some nice air off it. The crowd was pumped for the entire run and gave Shea a big round of applause as he saluted them at the end. Job well done by Shea & Nemesis3!
Racing Final Round
Junk Yard Dogs vs. Road Rage
In 2003, these two teams reigned supreme above all others: JYDs the National Champions. Road Rage the World Champions. After being so successful that year, both teams have come up short for 8 straight events bringing us to this showdown in May of 2006. One thing was for sure, one team was getting back on the right track while another team would lick wounds yet again.
Road Rage mounted a huge offensive attack in the opening minutes and sprung into the lap lead quickly. Rage teamed up for several 2-on-1 hits that were leaving the JYDs crippled in the mud. The #3 JYD car would not quit though and was on the receiving end of many stiff shots but also delivered many as well to keep the Dogs in the fight. Road Rage never gave up the early lead and even despite a big surge at the end by the #3, Road Rage's #17 car proved dominate and captured the first win of 2006!
The celebration was on and the SPEED crews were there for interviews with the Road Rage team.
2006 Tournament of Destruction Round 1 Winners: ROAD RAGE!
Congratulations to Road Rage for taking the first race on the new year and for finding the winner's circle after such a long absence. But, the Tournament is not just one event, it is 4 grueling and grinding competitions of chaotic proportions! One win is not enough to take the National Championship.
Would Road Rage stake their claim as the best team in Team Demos or will another team step up and taste victory of their own? Find out RIGHT NOW as the Tournament of Destruction continued in June!
All photos Copyright Team Demolition Association/Creative One, Inc. 2006.
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