Demo derby: Action kicks off with a bang on Wednesday

NEW HAVEN — In the much-anticipated summertime tradition, crowds at the Addison County Fair and Field Days flocked to the dirt track Wednesday and Thursday evening to see cars trucks and vans meet in battle. After six qualifiers and two features, vehicles were reduced to smoking, twisted metal, and champions left with checks in their pockets and trophies in hand.
Wednesday evening’s first round did not disappoint, with Gary Grant from Addison driving his car onto the roof of Brian Blake Jr. of Cornwall shortly after the start, drawing cheers from the crowd. The round concluded with Zac Stone from Vergennes and Kelli Martel of Mineville, N.Y., taking turns bashing Bristol’s Tyler Hubert’s vehicle. After rendering Hubert inoperable, they turned their attention to each other. Stone and Martel took first and second, respectively. Hubert took third.    
In the second round, Ethan Gevry of Addison took first, Ashley Bodington of Vergennes, who dominated most of the ring before stalling out, took second, and Dustin Wright of Weybridge took third. 
The third round featured more Volvos with heavier frames. Brian Blake Jr. of Cornwall escaped entrapment in a far corner to stalk Garrett Given of Shoreham within a few hits. Given fended off Blake and caused him to start leaking gas, forcing him to settle for second. Given and Ray Marcotullio of Bristol tied for first. Andy Husk of Ferrisburgh took third. The driver known as Kid Dynomite took fourth.
Despite dragging a wheel dangling from the axle, James Sweeney of Bristol managed to bash his way to the top of the pile in the fourth round, followed by Gary Grant of Addison in second, Robby Devoid of East Middlebury in third and Deven DuBois of Addison in fourth.
In a fast fifth round that saw multiple deployments of firefighters, Jason Ethier of Bridport came in third, Ashley Kennett of Middlebury came in second and Mark Billings Jr. of Essex Junction claimed first.
Georgia, Vt.’s Josh Poeck asserted himself as an early leader in the sixth round, maneuvering skillfully around his competitors. But when Salisbury’s Ashley Moulton managed to stall his progress, Poeck had to settle for a two-way tie for first with Moulton. Jordan Broughton of Bridport took second.
While earlier bouts saw crowded fields, the pickup truck division featured just four trucks of varying sizes. Garrett Given of Addison was fastest from the starting line, smacking Charlie Dwy of Addison, who was eliminated when Deven DuBois threw it in reverse and pulled the rear tires of his large GMC directly up into the bed of the much smaller pickup. This inadvertently eliminated himself as well. After dealing the opening blows in what was to be a lightning round, Given found himself the winner in under three minutes with Gary Grant of Addison in second. After extracting himself from the bed of Dwy’s truck, DuBois drove off the track with all four tires and the frame intact, still apparently drivable, if not street-ready. 
The evening’s van division included a crowded field of 12 that reduced each other to subcompacts. When the action stopped due to a small fire, event organizers struggled to keep control of drivers’ touchy gas pedals and nerves. When the driving flared up again without the go-ahead, announcers and flagmen blew hard into whistles; even the fire department stepped in, getting the drivers attention with bursts from the fire hoses. Three additional fires broke out, stopping the driving again. When the smoke cleared, Garrett Givens had won with Ethan Gevry of Addison in second. Greg Whitney from Brandon took third.  
Winners from the earlier bouts limped back onto the track for two final features. Mark Billings’ car served best as a smokescreen, puking plumes of black smoke that obscured much of the action. Gary Grant won the first feature, followed by Josh Poeck in second. Grant made his exit through the windshield of his wrecked car, waving to the crowd as he walked off the track.
“I feel great,” he said after picking up his winnings. “But don’t ask me tomorrow, tomorrow’s when you feel it.”
In the second and final feature, Garrett Given barely outlasted Zac Stone, inching forward to deliver a final, light tap before his car completely gave out.
See the results from the Demo Derby’s Thursday night heats here.
Read about a rookie’s first experience behind the wheel at Demo Derby here.

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