August 6th - Desoto Super Speedway - Bradenton, FL

By Bryan Wagner

All Pictures must be viewed by the following link:
Crash-A-Rama photos!

Crash-A-Rama came to Desoto Speedway after a successful opening at the Orlando Speedworld a few weeks earlier. Crash-A-Rama is a 3-race mini-series set to be aired on SPIKE TV. The show features a set of traveling drivers plus any one else who gets a car entered in the event. The events change from show to show, and the only catch is that no one knows what the events will be/what the rules will be. 1 week prior to the show, the events are listed and the rule book is set out. Teams then have to find the right cars/boats/vans/limos/taxis/busses/ambulances/tow trucks/ect. to compete.

Crash-A-Rama I featured a School Bus Chain-Race, a Mini-Van Demo Derby, a camper-trailer race, a rollover competition, and an auto freestyle competition.

Crash-A-Rama II here at Desoto featured some different events. A $1000 to win School Bus Figure-8 race, $1000 to win V-8 Demo Derby, A Blindfold race in which all cars have to be Taxi-Cabs/Limos/Vans/Shuttle Busses, a Roller Derby event, and for the first time in history, a Motorhome/RV Demo Derby. Also "Tricky" Ricky Travelstead will perform two stunts, the car wall of steal & the redneck convertible.


The blindfold race featured about a dozen competitors, including two mini-vans and one limo. One of the mini-vans held a local reporter and camera crew from the news team in it to film the race! The rules were as follows. The driver must wear a paper bag over his/her head, and the passenger must direct the driver where to go, but may in no way touch the driver or the steering wheel. First driver across the line after 10 laps wins. Race started out rough with all the cars bunched together 4-5 wide from a standing start. 3 or 4 cars slide right off the track into the wet grass before turn 1 of lap 1. The early leader into turn 1 spun and ran up the banking guarding the lightpoles on the inside of the track. The new leader off of turn 2 hammered the backstretch wall HARD. The new leader was a lady driver in a yellow-black taxi cab. She held her car strait and started putting a hurt on the field. Cars were sliding all over the track, way down into the infield, and way up into the wall (which was the fate of the news crew van as it lodged itself into the turn 4 wall). One car took a wild ride way down into the infield and ended up smacking right into one of the front-end loaders in the infield, sending track crew members scrambling. With about 2 to go, the lead taxi had almost a 2-lap lead over the field, which made officials suspicious. As the white flag was thrown over the leader, the flagman looked down at the driver and noticed she had punched holes in the bag! As she came across the line for the win, she was black flagged! The race was back on and # 69 of Patrick Keene took the win in his taxi-cab.


Tricky came out in a huge car prepared to knock over 3-cars setup on their tail ends. The tough part of this stunt was the cars were setup on wet grass, which Tricky had to hit from assault going at about 50 MPH. Tricky held the car strait and true, blasting right through the first 2 cars easily, the third car he hit with a little less speed, which caused it not to flip completely over the car, in fact, the 3rd car landed on the hood/roof of Tricky's car, and he carried the car on his hood for a good 100 yards before slinging it off! An amazing stunt with a wild ending.


The buses were brought out in two groups for heat races. The first group of 8 buses came out for an 8-lap dash. It was a 3-bus race up front with # 7 Gene Helfrick in the "Tumble Bus" holding off # 98 Chad Miller and # 00 Brian Hayn. Miller did everything he could to hold off Hayn, who actually tours around the state of Florida running upwards to 15 School Bus Figure-8 races a year. Miller ran Hayn right into the outside wall on more than one occasion. In the final corner Miller got to the rear bumper of Helfrick, and in Turn 3, hooked his rear bumper and spun him clear around! Chad Miller came across the line to the win!
# 98 Chad Miller: "Miller Time" Bus
# 00 Brian Hayn: "Pork Fat Rules" Bus
# 31x Bill McLeod: "Mr. Ugly" Bus


Upwards to 16 cars with boats and trailers came out for what proved to be another wild race. This race was also 10-laps long, and the first driver to complete 10 laps with "at least part of his boat remaining" wins. As the green flag dropped this race proved to be even, nearly a half dozen drivers drove 3 and 4 wide racing for the lead. The field started to thin out as a stalled car in turn 4 caused havoc. Trailers starting to swing wide and smack the stalled car, sending boats flying into the racing groove. More cars pilled in, and more boats flew off their trailers. With only a few laps remaining a few drivers even decided to make things more difficult, a few drivers who already lost their boats, went into the infield and started pushing the boats that were out of the racing groove, back into the racing groove! Cut trailer tires and broken trailer axles caused showers of sparks all over the track, but when the flag flew, it was local multi-time track champion (and last seasons Junkyard Wars champion) Gus Coorssen who took the win in his white crown-vic taxi cab.


The second school bus heat race proved to be a bit tamer. A run away leader took hold of the field and never looked back. Excitement was had as there was many close calls in the intersection between eventual winner # 84 C.W. McLeod in the "Flying Italian" bus and the # 666 of Tony Sarpriaconne in the "Bone Crusher" bus who was running in the back of the field.
# 84 C.W. McLeod: "The Flying Italian" Bus
# 4Q Brian Conrad: "Rebel Pride" Bus
# 76 Jimmy Volk: "Deaf Pride" Bus


9-Demo cars were left standing after the blindfold & boat race, including the blindfold race winner # 69 Patrick Keene. The action started early as cars were ramming, smashin, and banging. All cars were required to make contact ever 45 seconds, which proved to work for some drivers, and not for others. # 13 was just skating the rules by making contact just at the 45-second mark, but he could not avoid the all out assault the # 79 Cadillac had in store. The Cadillac laid in a few heavy blows to the # 13 station wagon, and it looked like it was all over, but out of no where comes the # 69 of Keene back to life and he takes a shot at the # 79, the officials quickly ended the race since the # 69 was sitting idle for quite some time before coming back to life, giving the win to the # 79 Cadillac.


This event proved to be the race of the night. There were 4 teams, Blue/Green/Orange/Pink. Each team had 3 cars, one non-running car was a small compact car that was going to be the "score car". The other two cars were full size functional cars, and their job was to have one push the score car, and one car block their score car/take out the other teams. Either of the two bigger cars could push the score car, but no big car could hit a score car, only other big cars. First team to get their score car across the line 10 times wins. The race was intense. Cars were flying everywhere as one team would grab the lead, only to be taken out by another car, and have a 3rd team come blasting by both teams to take the lead! The lead changed hands constantly! The final lap saw the green team out front, but going into turn 2, the Orange team was lying in wait, NAILING the green team car in turn 2, the green team score car was left without a push, it was coasting along. Meanwhile the Blue team, with a score car being pushed, was running down the coasting green team car. Out of turn 4, the gap closed up, the blue team catches the green teams score car, AT THE LINE! GREEN TEAM COASTS ACROSS FIRST BY INCHES! The Orange team hit the green car a fraction of a second too late, as the car had enough momentum to coast to the win.


The heat races took their toll on the buses, as a only 11 remain to start the feature. Out of the event already was buses such as # 70 "Slammin" Sammy Reed and the # 31x of "Mr. Ugly" Bill McLeod, who won the last bus race at Desoto Speedway. The front row consisted of the two heat winners C.W. McLeod and Chad Miller. McLeod jumped out to an early lead in the Flying Italian bus. Miller stayed close, followed by a hard charging # 00 of Brian Hayn in the Pork Fat bus and the # 08 with an Unlisted driver. Buses starting falling early as # 76 Jimmy Volk in the Deaf Pride bus (yes Jimmy is actually deaf) cut a right front tire down while running in the top-5 early in the 20-lap feature event. Volk continued on, but the # 49 of Michael Bates in the "Poor Boy Racing" bus pulled off the track with problems, and then the # 666 of Tony Sarpriaconne stalled the "Bone Crusher" bus right at the intersection! With the racing nearing half way, McLeod began to lose his lead, and Miller pulled in close, and took the lead just past half way. McLeod rolled to a stop a few laps later. It came down to # 98 Chad Miller and # 00 Brian Hayn with a # 08 the only other bus running on the lead lap. With 5 laps to go the leaders ran up on # 8 of boat-trailer race winner Gus Coorssen as a lapped bus. Miller slams into Coorssen in turn two, Coorssen slams Miller back in one, coming into the intersection, neither driver lets off the other, the fast approach the stalled # 666 bus, and WHAM, Coorssen drives Miller right into the back of the # 666 bus, which shot Miller right into the side of the # 00 bus of Hayn! Both drivers have heavy damage and are out of the race! Coorssen slides to a stop as well with a busted front end! At the exact same time the third place bus and the only bus left on the lead lap # 08 dies in the middle of turn one and two! Officials scramble as only 4 busses are left running! The # 7 "Tumble Bus" of Gene Helfrick ends up with a narrow lead over # 4Q of Brian Conrad in the "Rebel Pride" bus! The two battle in the closing laps but Helfrick holds on for his first ever bus race win!
# 7 Gene Helfrick: "Tumble Bus"
# 4Q Brian Conrad: "Rebel Pride" Bus
# 37 Ed Reed: "Ed's Fire" Bus
# 76 Jimmy Volk: "Deaf Pride" Bus (many laps down, stalled on final lap)


Tricky Travelstead brought out an old Lincoln and a semi-truck trailer to attempt for the first time, the redneck convertible stunt. Tricky was going to drive this car right into the side of the trailer, duck and go under the trailer, chopping off the roof of the car and turning it into a convertible. Tricky lined up the trailer, made a pass around, and SLAM! With a big blast of pyro Tricky came out the other side, with his head on his shoulders, and a brand new Lincoln convertible!


8-motorhomes were brought out for the first ever Motorhome demo derby! A wide range of RVs were on hand, including one mini-Toyota, a Dodge with a huge American Flag on top, and red-white-blue RV, and an RV that already had an entire side of it ripped off before it came on the track! The wrecking started early, and surprisingly the little Toyota put down some pretty decent hits before falling by the way side. Fiberglass, wood panels, sinks, refrigerators, couches, you name it, it fell out of these RVs! In fact most of the RVs began to literally crumble apart, losing the roofs and entire sides of the motorhomes! The # 2 RV ended up surviving the longest and with the most in-tact to pick up the historic win.

Crash-A-Rama II is in the books, look for it to air on SPIKE TV in late October or early November. Talks are already in place to pick up the series for 2005 with possibly 14 races to be held! Crash-A-Rama III will go back to Orlando Speedworld, and who knows what wild events that race will have in store!

All Pictures must be viewed by the following link:
Crash-A-Rama photos!