and text:: Davis Archibald
The sounds of
crushing metal, smoking radiators and the
crowd cheering for favorite drivers are
all to be expected at a demolition derby.
Nikki Carver, a Utah
State student, is all too familiar to those
sounds. She has been driving in the derby
for several events, but has been involved
in some way since she was a freshman in
high school. Her father, Ronn Carver, has
been building derby cars for years, but
it has just been the past three that Nikki
has driven in them.
The event is split
into three heats, with the top four of each
heat moving on to the main event, where
the most money could be made. Carver was
randomly selected for the third heat, and
said she was quite excited because of the
Each car had a theme,
and hers, named Pi-Rate, had skull and cross
bones, painted black with a yellow door
on the driver's side. While waiting for
her heat to start, she was positioned next
to a pink and purple car that had seen its
share of derbies. After looking at her car,
the neighboring car's pit crewman turned
to his driver and said, "Why did you have
to paint it pink? Her car is cooler and
it has skulls!"
During her heat Nikki
did not finish in the top four, but delivered
plenty of bone-jarring hits. Her goal during
the heat was to wipe out opponents' tires
and radiators without damaging her car.
To do that, she hit the other cars using
mainly her rear, so that her engine would
not be damaged. Unfortunately, her last
hit was so hard that she was caught up on
another car and could not come free.
After the heats, the
cars were returned to their designated pit
areas, where crews attempted to revive the
smashed beasts. The flicker of the welding
machines and flashlights were the only light
available. The pounding of sledgehammers
and the groan of overturning engines signaled
an end to the destructive night, all echoing
through the stadium in an attempt to be
able to compete once again.
the thumbnail photos below for larger versions.