Demolition Derby closes out Nevada County Fair with a bang |

Demolition Derby closes out Nevada County Fair with a bang

Elias Funez

Steam from a busted radiator shoots into the sky after a derby vehicle sustains a hit during Sunday's demolition derby at the Nevada County Fair.

A great American pastime exists at county fairs across the country, one that continues to put smiles on the faces of spectators young and old, and keeps competitors coming back year after year for the metal mayhem referred to as the demolition or destruction derby.

This year’s derby at the Nevada County Fair drew 30 competitors and a sold-out crowd Sunday night, Aug. 13, at the fairgrounds’ arena. The unsung heroes of the cacophony of car-crunching range from weekend warriors to professional auto wreckers, keeping an eye out for the likes of old Chrysler Imperials or Chevy Impalas to enter into one of the handful of destruction derbies throughout the state.

After a derby driver modifies a vehicle to safely withstand a bashing, they enter the arena where they are judged by the amount of hits they deliver and the severity of those hits. Being the last car standing helps, but delivering hits that disable other cars is a sure way to gain the attention of the judges.

Back in the pits, sparks fly and twisted metal drops from the cars as derby drivers and their crews frantically do what they can to get their vehicles ready for the next heat.

The winner of this year’s destruction derby was Mike Doyle Jr. of Dixon, who took home the $7,000 first-place prize with his 1974 Chevy Wagon.