2005 Team Demolition Derby
Tournament of Destruction
Presented by series sponsor A-Reliable Auto Parts in Blue Island, IL
May 28th: Round 1
Orange Crush mauls competition; takes first event win!
Three years after making their Team Demolition Derby debut, the Orange Crush are finally in victory lane. Coming into Round 1, Crush was not looked at as a favorite and took back seat to more pressing storylines including all new rookie drivers for the equally winless Team Xtreme or the new ownership for the team formerly known as the Locomotives now flying under the name Black Plague. Team Xtreme and the Plague failed to make any impression in Round 1 and opened the door for Orange Crush to bust through with a win. But in the end, they would create their own storyline with the repercussions already dashing Championship dreams.
Stranglehold took home the first win on the night in the "beauty contest" between all the teams. More of a fan favorite vote than anything.
Orange Crush came out looking more like executioners as they cut down the all-rookie Team Xtreme quickly and brutally. Three Crush cars were left running and drove off the track under their own power at the end of the race while Team Xtreme went away licking their wounds on the end of a tow hook.
The war between these two teams came to ahead at the end of last season as Road Rage finally conquered the mighty Locomotives in Round 1 and then saw members of the Locomotives end up in a wild on track brawl with the Junkyard Dogs. Road Rage would add another page to this storied and historic team demo rivaly with a surprisingly easy Round 1 victory over Black Plague. This was not a very hard-hitting race and neither team looked to be at full strength.
Always powerful and always a crowd favorite, Stranglehold choked out Damage, Inc. after what was a close and looking to be equal race. But around Lap 3, Stranglehold took over and sent Damage, Inc. back to the garage in pieces.
Last September, these two teams faced off in Round 1 in a race which saw a JYD car burst into flames and then tempers flare up as well. Havoc defeated the Junkyard Dogs in very controversial fashion on their way to the event victory, but now it was the dogs turn to fight back. It was a grueling back and forth, give and take battle between the two powerhouses. One hit was not enough to stop any of the cars as they continued to come back to life for more mayhem. An illegal door shot on a Havoc driver sent him quickly to the hospital at the end of the night after they scratched and clawed but just not enough and lost to JYD for the second straight time.
After Round 1, there is usually a Consolation Race where all the teams that lost in Round 1 can bring up to 3 cars onto the track in a winner take all battle for 1 Championship point and $1000! But for what is usually a hotly contested race, only 1, ONE team had the courage and the guts to risk their equipment in the race. Therefore, one lowly Havoc car took ONE lap around the track and took home $1000 and the point in the standings! High-5s for the Havoc team and boos all around for the rest who were not up to the challenge nor hardcore demo freaks they claim to be. 7000+ people were there to see carnage and wanted to see the teams do what they're paid to do and instead they all took their cars and went home. Sad display really. This has resulted in TDA owner Jan Gabriel removing the Consolation Race from the remaining events in 2005. Instead, we get stuck with an intermission. Very disappointing to see happen.
Road Rage vs. Orange Crush
Neither of these teams were tested in Round 1 and waltzed into Round 2 with decisive victories. Round 2 would be greatly different. Crush and Rage came out slamming with dynamite like hits on every side of the track. The most devastating was right in front of me on the backstretch. Two of the metal monsters were on track for a sickening head on collision and the result was horrific! The Rage car was folded in like paper while the Crush car's left front end was obliterated as the wheel flew off and headed right at me! Thankfully the tire clipped the cement barrier and fell back onto the track. I was lucky and so were the drivers that they were not injured in this insane crash. The Crush car was stuck into the side of the Rage car, or what was left of it. The steering column was on the drivers lap! Even with only 3 wheels, the Crush driver continued to try and re-fire his car and get into the race but to no avail. Meanwhile, the war raged on...back and forth, hit for hit, no one would quit! At the end of Lap 4 and after nearly 5 minutes of sheer battle, it looked to like every car was finished. But no! A Rage car would fire, then a Crush car would fire and they'd take each other out! The seesaw crash fest went on for over 8 minutes before finally, finally the 10 second countdown was issued and with no cars left running, Orange Crush was the winner. PHENOMINAL Team Demo race for the ages. The crowd gave both teams a huge standing ovation after that incredible display. Wow!
Stranglehold vs. Junkyard Dogs
The strategy in this race compared to the one prior was a complete opposite. Instead of a full fledge attack on each other, the teams focused more on the actual speed portion of the race rather than let it drag into a survival contest. The cars thinned out early and started tackin' on laps. Each team missed big opportunities to slow down lead cars and did not. They both had at least one car hustling around the track picking up laps and because of that, when one was finally taken out, another easily picked up their spot and continued to inch towards the finish line. JYD looked to be out ahead but were stopped dead in the last lap and Stranglehold flew on by for the win and into the Finals!
With each demo event, a special thrill or stunt act is also brought in to mix up the action as well spread out the time inbetween rounds to give the teams time to prepare more cars for the next round. This month it would be World Record fire fall holder Steve Nirenzo falling 100 feet on fire! It took a very long time to get Steve setup for even his test jump to make sure everything was right. Finally he was set for that and he came plummeting to the giant airbag below!
Pretty creepy seeing a guy falling through the sky with nothing around. After another good, long wait, the crowd was getting restless and wanted to see some fire! Just as Steve was about to make his way up, the generator powering the fans that keep the air bag inflated ran out of gas! A mad scramble began to find more and thankfully it did not take too long to get them back up and running. Steve rode the lift 100feet in the air and lit himself on fire!
He stood on the edge of the platform and hurled himself through the air and smacked into the airbag still on fire! He got up and began running around the track to give more of an effect, I suppose he had some time before he really started getting hot. Then he fell to the ground, which is the sign for him to be put out, but no one moved! He got back up and quickly fell back down and finally some of the fire crew decided to put him out. Steve got up a bit shaken and probably pissed off that he was not extinguished quicker. Out of 6 or 7 guys with fire extinguishers, only 2 rushed to him, the rest just stood there, pathetic. In end it was a perfect jump and he was unharmed.
Stranglehold vs. Orange Crush
A long grueling night has come down to one final battle between the proverbial underdogs Orange Crush and the always dominant and always popular Stranglehold. Stranglehold looked to make it a quick victory and choke out Orange Crush but right from the green flag, Crush had different plans. Several Stranglehold cars were spun out quickly allowing two Orange Crush cars to get out away from the pack and take an early lead collecting laps. Stranglehold continued to be thwarted in any attempts to stop the lead cars and were either missing their own shots or being blocked by other members of Orange Crush. Stranglehold was finally able to knock one of the quicker orange cars out of the race but the #66 cars was flying around the track like a sprint car and had no signs of slowing down. Stranglehold had only one or two laps collected as Orange Crush entered their final lap. Stranglehold was able to get in some nice hits on the enemy but it was all in vein as the #66 car squirted around the track for 5 practically untouched laps to capture Orange Crush's first Team Demolition Derby Victory!
The Orange Crush celebration may have lasted through the weekend, but come Monday I doubt they were excited to find out they were to be fined $1000 and docked 3 Championship points! Losing the three points drops Orange Crush out of 1st place in the 2005 standings and gives Stranglehold the top spot while Crush is tied for 3rd with Havoc. The reason for the harsh penalty is the TDA policy of NO alcohol in the pit area at any time before/during/after the Team Demo event. Orange Crush was found to be in violation of this policy and therefore was punished. A hard lesson to learn with so much time and effort put into the team for each event only to have 1/3 of it taken away from you in the end. I truly hope Orange Crush can bounce back and finish well in Round 2 to stay near or at the top of the standings.
But it will be an uphill fight as no team in Team Demolition will give an inch to anybody. The 2005 Team Demolition Derby Tournament of Destruction continues June 25th at Route 66 Raceway. Check out TeamDemo.com for all the up-to-date info, results and photos starting the Monday after the race. Thanks for reading and be lucky you've survived the place where cars come to die: Team Demolition Derby!