by John Unrein
Father and son combinations filled the stands at Valley Speedway on June 20th. The opportunity to take in a sun drenched afternoon of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) racing and Demolition Derby heats were a big draw in Grain Valley.
Michael Clemons and his son, Brandon Michael Clemons were among the Eastern Jackson County residents to share the experience together.
“This is a good thing for my son and I to do. We come out here to watch Monster Truck competitions as well. What better thing could you ask for then to be at a place like this with your baby boy. Hopefully, the rain holds off,” the senior Clemons said.
“The bus is my favorite. It’s here for the monster trucks. This is my first demolition derby,” said the younger Clemons.
The jacked up yellow school bus that Clemons is referring to sits to the right of the entrance as fans make their way into Valley Speedway. The graphics and text that adorn the bus celebrate teachers and monster trucks. Two things that contribute to the education and imagination of children. The bus also makes an indelible mark in the memory of young fans who visit Valley Speedway.
Valley Speedway owner Dennis Shrout and his promotion of a family friendly environment included getting to meet drivers and taking a look at their vehicles on the track prior to the kickoff of racing. Public address announcer Greg Clemons walked the track interviewing families and drivers alike.
Drivers explained the different charities they race for as well as the satisfaction that comes from getting to compete by crashing their vehicle into someone else. Fans mentioned the strategy they pick at the outset of a race for determining who they think will win.
Matt Harrill is a driver who participated in a demolition derby heat. The combine mechanic at Heritage Tractor enjoys the weekend hobby he learned from his dad and his two uncles.
“The adrenaline rush from competition and trying to make it to the end is the goal. Sometimes it’s all worth it when you have to put the car back together afterwards. This takes many hours to get everything set up right,” Harrill said.
Harrill also provided insight to a driver’s mindset and how they select the vehicles they choose to run. There is strategy involved and having a mechanical aptitude helps to promote success.
“Frame strength of the car is important. We are starting to run 1998 to 2002 Ford Crown Victorias because they have double frames that make them solid. Those frames are also straighter than the older model Crown Victorias you come across. Up front is reinforced, and they have internal hump plates that strengthen out the car quite a bit.”
Harrill continued, “It would be nice if we could get even more people out here doing this (demolition derby driving). Seeing the sport grow through fans showing their appreciation by attending events like this is definitely appreciated and a welcomed site.”
The next event at Valley Speedway is C.A.R.B. point series racing on June 27th.
Here are the results of racing at Valley Speedway for June 20th.
6/20/2020 at Valley Speedway
ATV Open Amateur
A Feature 1 (6 Laps): 1. 24-Samantha LaRae; 2. 2-Danny Pliler; 3. 04-Hunter Post; 4. 88-Gaven Nave; 5. 13-Stephen Stadler; 6. (DNS) 616-Alex Hann; 7. (DNS) 43-Josh Smith
Heat 1 (5 Laps): 1. 2-Danny Pliler; 2. 24-Samantha LaRae; 3. 04-Hunter Post; 4. 88-Gaven Nave; 5. 13-Stephen Stadler; 6. (DNF) 43-Josh Smith; 7. (DNF) 616-Alex Hann
ATV Open Money
A Feature 1 (7 Laps): 1. 337-Mark Lee; 2. 420-Mathew Eppenauer; 3. 19-Garrett Feller; 4. 5-Brody Hibdon; 5. 98-Luke Drenon; 6. 00-Jonathan Roberts; 7. 11-Chris Stout; 8. 303-James Harrison; 9. 21K-Jordon Krusemann; 10. (DNS) 9115-Chris Shelton
Heat 1 (5 Laps): 1. 337-Mark Lee; 2. 19-Garrett Feller; 3. 5-Brody Hibdon; 4. 21K-Jordon Krusemann; 5. 11-Chris Stout; 6. 420-Mathew Eppenauer; 7. 00-Jonathan Roberts; 8. 98-Luke Drenon; 9. 303-James Harrison; 10. (DNS) 9115-Chris Shelton