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Hit the gas

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Andrew Woods, driving car No. 1776, takes a hit from Brian Henderson Jr. in the mini autocar feature race.
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Johnie Buck crashes into Paul Brickles Friday during the lawnmower demolition derby at the Shelby County Fair.
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Dustin Foust competed in the big car autocross Friday evening at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.

By KATRINA BRANSON - kbranson@shelbynews.com

One thing became crystal clear Friday evening at the Shelby County Fair – people love a good demolition derby.

A large crowd filled the grandstand and prepared for a night of racing including a lawnmower demolition derby, gut-n-go, big- and little-car autocross, and lastly the adult demolition derby.

Before it all began, however, announcer Jeremy Ogle explained that a lot more goes into an event like this than people may realize.

“There’s definitely a lot of work that goes into these and a lot of people don’t understand that,” he said. “There’s a lot of work as in your putting a cage in a car or your changing motors or your changing the rear end for whatever reason – the list just goes on and on. There’s a lot of money involved in it. It’s a good time. We love to put a show on for fans.”

The day began with three heats in the little-car autocross. Each heat consisted of 10 laps. Heat one winner was Robby Drew followed by Kaleb Wells and Brian Henderson Jr. For heat two, Austin Schoettmer drove himself to a first-place victory with Taylor Trowbridge and Brian Pollitt behind him.

The final heat went to Andrew Woods followed by Brian Henderson Sr. and Trey Erven. For the finale, Austin Schoettmer took a first-place finish followed by Kaleb Wells and Brian Henderson Sr.

Among the fans in the grandstand Friday evening was Brooklynn Foust – there to cheer on her nephew, Austin Foust, in the 811Jr. Car. Racing tends to run in the family explained Brooklynn as she showed off her Foust Racing shirt.

“Austin is fourteen,” she said. “My brother in law also races, he’s the 902 Foust (Dustin). I guess this is in their blood – I just married into it. Both of my brother-in-laws do it and their sons also compete as does my husband.”

Although she married into a family who loves racing, Brooklynn admits she’s grown a love for it as well.

“It’s fun and I love to watch,” she said. “We get a little rowdy at times. I like when cars catch on fire, the flames are cool – obviously when no one gets harmed.”

Before the little-car autocross began Friday evening, the event actually started with a match up in a different form – power wheels.

“Yeah, we offer a power wheels demo for kids young enough to get in them to too big to get into them,” explained Ogle. “Obviously, that just gets their foot in the door and gets them started. We’ve got lawn mowers too – not your standard ones though. They look like army tanks with the amount of metal on it. They have it for all ages.”

The winner of the mower demolition derby was Robert Withers on the 18x mower. Johnie Buck placed second and Craig Buck was third.

Another big event on the night was the big-car autocross causing a lot of cheers from the crowd due to the action. Kyle McDonald finished first in the 20-lap race. Before the finish line a pile up occurred and McDonald was able to fly by to take the checkered flag.

Second place went to John Nicklos and third went to James Miller.

The second-to-last event was the gut-n-go, which in simpler terms looked like a demolition derby with smaller cars. Jason Scott finished first while Steve Stewert and Brian Henderson Jr. followed.

The day ended with the main event – the adult demolition derby. After a slow start, Shawn Long proved to be a champion while Jason Meyer would fall just short to take second place. Finishing third was Billy Woodward.

“It’s just the whole thing of smashing cars and doing it legally,” he said. “I mean it’s just the thrill of seeing guys crash into each other – it always draws a crowd.”

Katrina Branson is a Sports writer for The Shelbyville News. Follow Katrina on Twitter @k_b527.