2006 Team Demolition Derby Tournament of Destruction
July 22, 2006
Who Can Stop The Path Of RAGE?
All eight teams still had a crack at the points championship after Round 2, but Round 3 proved to be pivotal in the race for the title. Road Rage faltered slightly back in June, which allowed Orange Crush to regain momentum towards the championship that alluded them a year ago. Road Rage only had a slight 4 point lead over Stranglehold and Orange Crush entering Round 3. Rage needed to stay one step ahead of their competitors and hoped to survive the night still in the lead.
In addition to surviving the rounds of racing, this month the teams had another challenger: Mother Nature. The weather was near perfect for May and June but we would not escape July without incident. Storms pounded Route 66 Raceway right in the middle of several races and left the track a horrid, slop-filled mud pit. The conditions left some teams spinning their wheels while others splashed on towards victory.
An open invitation field of truck racing was the added attraction of the night.
I guess my flames just aren't good enough to draw a crowd. The freakishly tall Ford nor my midget-sized appearing Dodge would be racing in the truck competition.
Jan Gabriel returned to Route 66 after a lengthy time away to open the show. The crowd gave him the "Route 66 Stomp" which definitely put a smile on his face.
The bright sunshine through the early part of the day was quickly disappearing and gave way to very dark, ominous looking clouds. Tornados were reported to the north and the tail end of the storm was going to hit Joliet at anytime. The show was put in hurry-up mode as the teams scrambled to the track for the beauty contest. I do not remember who won the beauty contest but do remember the wind was really picking up and the teams swiftly cleared the track as the first race was already lining up.
Racing Round 1
Havoc vs. Damage, Inc.
Both teams got off to a slow start back in May and with only one second round appearance each, they needed to make up ground in the standings and fast. The #41 Havoc wagon jumped out to an early lead for the men in blue but was shut down hard by the #86 for Damage, Inc. Havoc regained the lead and battled back and forth before losing the lead near the end. Damage, Inc.'s wagon looked to be clear to take the checkered flag but received a stiff hit in reverse from #49. The #48 Havoc wagon only trailed the lead Damage car by a few lengths and took advantage of the wreck and scored the win by three car lengths in reverse.
Road Rage vs. Stranglehold
The battles these two teams have been through are legendary and a new page was about to be written in their storied history. This was a flat out, vicious, WAR!! #56 Pete Millette, Jr was blasted in Turn 1 on the first lap but that was only the beginning of the big hits. #11 for Road Rage ran away from the blockers of Stranglehold while Steve Scarbro went to work annihilating anything that moved. Millette remained a threat even though his car had sustained a ridiculous amount of damage. He went for a knock-out shot on the leading #11 Rage car but only got a piece of the back half. Millette hit the wall and then was hit by Scarbro which ripped the car body away from the frame. Unbelievably, Millette's car was still running and he sought out more carnage. But, Millette had a shadow in the form of Scarbro who countered him hit-for-hit. #16 for Rage tore through the relics scattered around the track and captured the lead, but still had Stranglehold cars on his tail. The #50 tried to spin out #16 right before the finish line but missed the chance. Stranglehold had one last shot as Millette came screaming across the track towards the #16 but mistimed the hit and flew straight into the wall! Rage picked up the win while Millette's car would need picked up by a wrecker. A demo race for the ages!
Junk Yard Dogs vs. Wrekin' Krew
Neither team found success last month as they both received first round knock outs compliments of Orange Crush and Havoc. A race win and beyond were almost mandatory for either team to stay in the championship hunt. Wrekin' Krew kept the JYD chained to the fence for the opening minutes and established a two-lap lead. The JYD waited for the opportunities to pounce and did not miss. All four blue cars made powerful and perfect hits on the Wrekin' Krew and knocked them out of the lead and pretty much out completely. The #70 Wrekin' Krew car remained near the leader but that would not last. Mark Ziesmer, driving the #3 JYD car, attacked the #70 from behind and plowed his car all the way up into the roof! A horrendous hit that left the already damaged Wrekin' Krew car looking like a metal pancake. Ziesmer's #30 teammate ended the final Krew cars' night and Ziesmer collected three untouched laps for the win.
Team Xtreme vs. Orange Crush
Time was up. Our run of nice weather came to an end in a very sudden and nasty way as the sky ripped open and unleashed a furious thunderstorm. Rain poured down in buckets by the second and sent some fans running while others tried to protect themselves from the rain and driving winds. Others just sat in the blinding rain and wanted more demo action. Well, what the fans want, the fans get! No slow down in the action, the demos kept going! The cars could barely be seen in the rain-out conditions and I can't even imagine what it had to be like for the drivers with the rain whipping them right in the face.
Team Xtreme jumped out to an early lead and was able to maintain some momentum despite the very slippery conditions. The big lugs on the rear tires for both teams chomped through the mud and powered them around the track. Neither team was able to hit at full strength as any speed ability was nearly eliminated. Once a car did make contact, it was very hard to get going again. Maybe Team Xtreme should wish for rain every night because they took Orange Crush out of their game and with a few hits and tricky driving, they beat the Crush and claimed the biggest win of their short careers!
Racing Round 2
Road Rage vs. Havoc
The massive downpour from the previous race had started to let up slightly as Round 2 began. The event was not going to stop as there had to be two complete rounds for the event to be officially counted towards the points. Otherwise, it would've been a great big waste of time and cars. Both teams had the same idea at the start of the race and charged hard into Turn 1 looking to score a big hit. But what they all got was one giant pile up. Multiple Havoc and Road Rage cars smacked into each other and the wall and were left lodged into the corner for the rest of the race! The #15 Rage car broke free from everyone and started collecting laps with not much competition. A Havoc car went for a T-bone shot on the leader but came up empty and ripped apart the concrete boundary wall instead! Havoc could not recover from the bad start and watched Road Rage splash through the flooded track and into their third straight Finals appearance.
Team Xtreme vs. Junk Yard Dogs
The rain had finally subdued to a drizzle as this race rolled to the starting line. The eerie clouds left the area in a calm and cold darkness, a stark contrast from the high 80 degrees earlier in the day. Also in terms of contrast, the way Team Xtreme has performed tonight already tops nearly all of their previous team demo attempts. Only minutes into this race it was very difficult to see which cars were on which team as the mud covered every car top to bottom. The glare off the slick mud was horrible as well. Both sides dealt out their share of big hits as the race leader seemed to change with every turn. There was a log-jam of cars in Turn 4 on the final lap and it was anybody's race. First, the lead Xtreme car got nailed and the JYD moved in to take advantage but were cut off by the Van Allens. All the cars pushed and shoved through the mess and inched towards the finish. A smoking car broke through the pack and crossed the line to take the checkered flag but with so much mud and damage I had no clue which team just won! After the smoke cleared and the cars were tallied up, it was obvious that Team Xtreme had survived the war of attrition and captured another extreme upset and moved to their first ever Final round!
The truck races were suppose to be spread over the course of two heats but because of the rain they were held off until now. The big field would also allow Road Rage and Team Xtreme some extra time to prepare for the Finals.
Mark Ziesmer in his 80s Chevy was an obvious favorite as he easily handled every opponent put before him.
The red, white, and blue Ford Bronco was also very dominant due to some big mud racing tires and a high horsepower, super-charged engine.
The little Geo Tracker was not the biggest or the fastest but some good driving and timely maneuvers put the wannabe Suzuki in 3rd place for the night.
The Final round everyone saw coming was a fast and furious battle. Ziesmer had the lead through Turn 3 until the driver of the Bronco knew he was beat and decided to cut the corner. The Bronco crossed the line first but the obvious poor attempt at cheating was not going to fly. Ziesmer finished the race and took the win.
Racing Final Round
Road Rage vs. Team Xtreme
Could this be the night? Could Team Xtreme break through and cement their name as a threat amongst the Team Demo ranks? I said at the beginning of the season they were the team to watch and it has been a constant progression from that point for the Van Allens. They have knocked out two of the Team Demo super powers in Orange Crush and The Junk Yard Dogs, would Road Rage be next?
The hopes of a victory were hurt even before the race began for Team Xtreme as they could only get 3 of the 4 needed cars running. Rage had all 4 of theirs and would immediately take advantage. Team Xtreme tried to escape early and put some distance between themselves and Rage but the plan fell apart. #17 for Rage nailed one of the three big Xtreme wagons in the passenger side door and shoved the car up against the wall. At the same time, another Xtreme wagon was charging the other direction and ended up colliding with his own teammate and the two were now mashed together at the hoods! The 4-on-3 advantage was now a 4-on-1 colossal handicap. Scarbro went to work easily collecting laps as his teammates made sure Josh Van Allen did not get in the way. But, Van Allen was not going away quietly. He found open room and built up speed towards a big red bulls eye and WHAM! A disgusting head-on hit on the front stretch, possibly the biggest night of the night and it came with a price.
The bone-jarring hit ended Xtreme's night and handed the win to Road Rage but it also left Josh in need of medical attention. He saluted the crowd as he left the track on the back of a fire and rescue 4-wheeler but was favoring at least his left arm.
2006 Tournament of Destruction Round 3 Winners:
2006 Championship Point Standings after 3 events:
Junk Yard Dogs--18
A crucial night in the race for the Championship ended with Road Rage solidifying their contention for their first title since the Mean Green Machine days. With a 10-point lead, they in-effect clinched the 2006 title and will make it for sure at Round 4 by simply competing in one round of action.
But, the points battle is not over by any means as spots 2-8 are still a complete guess with a three-way tie for second place! Round 3 was a night to remember for big hits, wild weather and another round of fantastic team demo action. Hats off to the fans who never left the stands during the driving rain and showed just how hardcore of fans they really are!
The Finale of the 2006 Tournament of Destruction is only a click away! Could anyone stop the path of Rage? Would an underdog rise up and snatch away 2nd place? Will the hits get even bigger? All the answers lie on the next page!
All photos Copyright Team Demolition Association/Creative One, Inc. 2006.
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