Full Throttle did not need a last-minute replacement driver this month as they did back in May. Rather than a ‘ringer,’ they went back to their roots. #46 Andy Fleischman is one of the team’s original 4 drivers from back May 2011. That’s also the last time he competed in Team Demolition Derby. On that night, Full Throttle burst onto the scene with a shocking first round victory over Orange Crush, the reigning Champions from 2010, and nearly toppled Reckoning, the would-be 2011 Champions, in the Finals.
5 years later, it is no longer a shock to see Full Throttle win the Tournament of Destruction even though their first, and only, was just in September 2015. Yet, how they were able to storm back from almost certain defeat last Saturday at Round 2 is equally impressive.
The opening round races set the twisted tales in motion. Chicago Hitmen went for immediate knock-out shots against Orange Crush with an apparent all-crusher approach rather than protecting a lap runner out front. The strategy led to pure mayhem throughout the first 2-minutes of the race. Numerous big hits delivered by both sides, but it was the competing strategy of Orange Crush to send 2 lap runners that ultimately held up. New recruit #60 Chad Young took over the led after #66 Ron Tyrakowski was derailed by #5 Peter Gabriel. Young endured his share of hits which led to a broken front control arm, and combined with other mechanical problems, forced the race into a countdown. The Hitmen were unable to make forward progress, so Young’s 4 laps were good enough for the win.
Crazy 8s outlasted Sting in an wild contest that also was decided by countdown. Rookie driver #22 Dustin Wilson delivered a brotherly bashing to Crazy 8’s lap runner #88 Matt Wilson which gave #21 Matt Jensen a brief opening to run laps. #80 Dave Janjanin and #8 Greg Schmitt slammed the door on the comeback and Wilson’s 4 laps were enough for the win.
Mean Green Machine struck first against Thunderstruck and buried #71 Nick Hartung into the Turn 1 wall. #11 Andrew Sherman took the lead only to have #77 Ryan Lagestee fly by on the inside and lead into Lap 2. Suddenly, the engine backfired and, in a flash, the momentum shifted away from the dark side. The two guys with more years of racing experience than the ages of some of their teammates, #10 Jerry Decker and #79 Charlie Turnbaugh, put on a show all their own with several big hits against each other as Mean Green prevailed.
JYD brought the heavy artillery with 4 full-sized wagons ready to make a statement in hopes of another Final round appearance. Throughout the first 4 laps, they did just that. #38 Kyle Shearer and #39 Jason Ritacco must’ve had clones of themselves because it seemed as if Full Throttle’s 2 runners were met in every corner by one of the two JYD crushers. Ritacco also put a monster shot on #40 Ron Johnston, effectively taking him out of the equation.
#3 Ryan Riley cruised through 3 laps while #46 Andy Fleischman and #44 Steve Schaefer had to claw for every inch of 2 laps. Vollbrecht found a spot to tee up Riley out of Turn 4, Ritacco went for the all-or-nothing block and met more concrete wall than Vollbrecht’s car. Vollbrecht wasn’t able to get full impact on Riley thanks to Ritacco’s efforts and then was smacked aside by Shearer giving Riley another clear path to the white flag.
Then it all changed. Ritacco was done; Shearer was holding Fleischman; #33 Kyle Thompson’s car was spewing flames in Turn 4. Schaefer got in a glancing shot on a Riley out of Turn 1 that put the leader squarely in the crosshair of Vollbrecht charging fast out of the next turn. Vollbrecht delivered some Team Demo déjà vu and nearly put his car airborne in the process. Riley was stopped, and now Full Throttle needed laps. Vollbrecht dug for distance, fought off multiple blocks from Shearer and completed the full 5-lap comeback in the most dramatic race of the 2016 thus far.
In the Semi-Finals, Orange Crush defeated Crazy 8s in a 4-on-3 advantage which also included #88 Matt Wilson switching to the #108 back-up car that was scheduled for the Amateur Race. #81 Dave Janjanin threw stiff shots on #66 Ron Tyrakowski and #60 Chad Young, but he was now out numbered 4-to-1 after problems felled his teammates. #65 Pete Ryan and #67 Elmer Fandrey put a decisive stop to Janjanin’s efforts and Young grabbed the win.
After 4 straight losses to Mean Green Machine from 2012 – 2014, Full Throttle is on a 4 race winning streak. 3 wins in 2015 and now 1 in 2016 has to weighing on the minds of both teams. The 4-on-4 race quickly became 2-on-2 with #44 Steve Schaefer tangled with #13 Ryan Decker while Vollbrecht locked front-ends with #16 Zac Van Allen, pushing him from one end of the outer wall to the other. Fleischman ran nearly untouched and #40 Ron Johnston secured the win with a head-on shot to #11 Andrew Sherman.
In the Finals, Vollbrecht was taken out early and Schaefer wedged against the wall after a hit with #65 Pete Ryan. Johnston and Fleischman, in the #43 car, again found themselves in a 2-on-2 spot against Tyrakowski and Fandrey.
Fleischman’s persistence to gain forward progress and ultimately the car’s resistance to the opposition had a striking resemblance to the car’s former driver Shaun Elder. Add in the fact Fleischman endured hit after hit from Fandrey, this was a full Real Steel flashback.
Johnston provided 2 clutch blocks that gave Fleischman the clearance to complete 5 laps and propelled Full Throttle into a 1st place tie atop the points standings.
Team Demolition Derby Tournament of Destruction Round 3 is July 23rd! Join us LIVE @ The Dirt Oval for “Summer Heat” featuring the Stars of the Cars pit party, watermelon eating contest, fireworks and all the destruction! Advance ticket discount valid thru July 17th.
The AFTERMATH of Round 2
#30 Pete Morris wins BOTH Figure-8 races!
The 2015 Figure-8 Truck Champion pulled off an incredible feat by winning both Figure-8 races; the first time it’s been accomplished at Dirt Oval 66! Morris started at the front in the Figure-8 Car race and was able to avoid an immediate pile-up in Turn 1. Deep ruts consumed several cars as did the inevitable collisions crossing the ‘X’ in the middle.
#76 Derrick Decker and #11 Rob Hess did what they could to keep pace with Morris though the treacherous track. In the end, Morris prevailed, but still needs another dominate night to overcome both those guys in the points standings.
In the blazing fast Truck race, Morris closed the gap on points leader #22 Geoff Domrose down to a mere 4 points while #11 Ryan Hoffman finished 3rd to also pull within 1 point of Domrose. The truck division is shaping up to be a grueling marathon and highly-competitive battle for the Championship in the remaining 3 events.
Figure-8 Cars & Trucks divisions hit the track again July 23rd! Entry is open to anyone over the age of 18 with any level of racing experience. Check the rulebook for full details and sign-up today! Zero entry fee!
Crazy for Kid Crashers
Next generation Team Demo superstars put their foot-powered peddles to the concrete and looked very ‘cozy’ behind the wheel of their plastic coupes for the annual Kid Crashers event. A record number of entrants expanded the field to upwards of 16 kids in a single race. 2, 3, 4 and 5-year-olds shuffled along towards the checkered flag and traded some bumps and shoves in the friendly competition. All racers had a blast and took home a medal to remember the day. There’s no doubt Kid Crashers will return in 2017!
#97 Mac Hastings wins Amateur Race
Mechanical gremlins and last-minute car switches left the field for the Team Demo Amateur Race down to 3 cars. #97 Mac Hastings had the elite vehicle of the trio and was able to out run #91 Rob Palumbo, who did manage to get in a few shots on Hastings. Thunderstruck may have themselves another lap runner in their midst for the rest of the season.
The dogs have their day at Team Demo!
4 Paw Sake Rescue was the featured non-profit organization at Round 2 and their friendly canines easily became the center of attention at the pre-race pit party. The wild-looking Team Demo cars on display were no match for cute, cuddly puppy power. Learn more about adopting a new 4-legged best friend at 4PawSake.com or visit them in Lynwood, Illinois.
Contact the Dirt Oval 66 office at (815) 740-8000 to get your non-profit organization featured at an event this summer!
A Team Demolition Derby Milestone for Round 3, July 23rd
July 31, 1999: Team Demolition Derby “Santa Fe Nights” made its debut and impact. Locomotives, the legendary team from Santa Fe Speedway, claimed victory on the historic night.
18 years later, Tournament of Destruction Round 3 on July 23 will mark the 75th Team Demolition Derby event at Route 66 Raceway.
Look for Team Demo throwback photos in each week’s newsletter leading up to Round 3! In this week’s photo, Team Xtreme dealt big hits to Havoc and knocked them out of the Tournament in the first round on July 31, 2004. Havoc regrouped and came back to win the final event of the year on September 3, 2004.
Get tickets for all 2016 events and watch for the latest details @ DirtOval66.com