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Sports :: Vinton native thrills audience with Demo Derby finish, pink car
· 8:37pm July 30th, 2013
The audience at the annual Jerry Stanley Demolition Derby on Saturday night cheered and ooohed at the collisions and the way drivers kept their vehicles going despite the continually increasing damage and in many cases, clouds of steam or smoke rolling from under their hoods.
Among the audience favorites on Saturday was the driver of the pink car with the number 1x: Vinton native Jess Ender.
"I hit like you, only prettier," was a message drivers saw painted on the trunk of the car as Jess forcefully backed into them. "Save the racks," was painted on the hood, a reference to the breast cancer theme color. Jess says it's a tribute to everyone who has dealt with the disease.
Jess, who had finished fourth in last year's event, was competing in the 6-cylinder event. The field quickly narrowed down to two surviving vehicles: Jess's car and the number 26, driven by her friend, Matt Krempges of Independence.
The two conducted a sustained bumper battle, as each attempted to get into position to deliver a blow strong enough to put the other's vehicle out of commission.
Throughout this entire saga, a large cloud of steam was billowing from the radiator, enveloping the vehicle in white. At one point, officials stopped the action when they determined that it was smoke that was coming out from under the hood. But after firemen sprayed the hood, Jess got back inside. The audience cheered as the echoes of her engine's revving filled the Benton County Speedway.
Both cars, at times, sputtered, as the audience cheered what seemed to be a victory for the other driver. But both engines roared back to life and the crashing continued.
At one point Matt's vehicle collided with Jess's with such force that her head snapped back; officials saw her put her hand to her helmet and prepared to intervene. But she continued, and managed to exchange a few more collisions with the remaining opponent.
Eventually, however, the pink car ran out of steam; Jess climbed out of the car and congratulated Matt with a hug.
"It's two places better than I got last year," she told friends after finishing second.
Other Demo Derby competitions featured mini-vans, and 8 cylinder cars.
Vintage racing: 1930s speedsters seen at Benton County Speedway
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