DJ BenJammins demolition derby page

I have been doing demolition derbies since 1997.  My first taste of the sport was when TNN's Friday Night Thunder series came to Orlando Speed World.  My first car was a 1076 Cadillac Fleetwood with a 500cui big block.  I didn't really know how to setup a car, or even seen a demolition derby in person before this. I cleaned up the car under the hood, and did the usuals like place the battery and fuel tank in the car, and welded the rear end in posi.  I had a small sponsor and painted the car up with a red white and blue theme.  It was so patriotic you would want to salute.  I was sponsored by AutoZone also at the time and got tons of free tune up parts, and hats for me and the crew.  Upon getting to the track and looking at other cars, I really got a crash course in setting a car up.  With 4 hours before Showtime we yanked the hubcaps off, beat in the fenders and started chaining everything up.  It was a real eye opener.  We did another demo derby a year later on TNN.  This time I had a late 70ís front wheel drive Oldsmobile Tornado.  I had a small sponsor then again and ended up painting it 2-tone purple.  I did Ok with the Cadillac, however upon going to the 2nd round I forgot to fuel the 6 gallon fuel tank, and ran out of gas.  Whoever thought a 500cui big block could use that much gas.  On the Tornado I didnít loosen the fuel line on the frame rail, and it got pulled from the fuel pump, I had some flames coming out when I tried cranking it over.  That was a bit scary.

 

My latest Demolition Derby I took part in was at the Monster Truck Jam at the Orlando Citrus Bowl Jan 2005.  My friend Moe from the TV show eventually won that one.  This derby I used my favorite car; a Chrysler 5th Ave.  I picked this car up exactly 2 weeks before the show and had to set it up.  I had this car totally setup, it was sweet, did some real cutting edge stuff, and new ideas Iíve been thinking of.  I did my usual 4 Barrel intake/carb swap, and alternator relocation.  I totally stripped this car down to nothing, from the windshield, to taking out the entire dash.  I put up a heavy duty windshield screen and rear bar brace (something I usually donít do).  I was running out on time finishing this thing, but had to have in staging by noon of the derby.  I ended up dragging it down there unpainted and without most of the doors welded.  I welded them there with the generator and mig, but didnít do as good a job as the mig was really pulling down the generator.  I painted it there on the spot with an idea I was kicking around for weeks.  I did a fluorescent tiger stripe thing.  I got to pull it out into the stadium with a sold out crowd of 65,000 people.  We had the crowd vote for the best car for a $100 prize.  I won it, as it was a sharp car.  It was funny as I just finished it 30 mins before we pulled out.  Iím on the hood sitting on wet paint as 65,000 screaming fans were cheering us on.  It was an experience.  The car was great, handled awesome, but had 1 problem...  I forgot to tighten the distributor down all the way.  Once we pulled out I drove over some rough dirt, and knocked the timing off a few degrees.  It ran, but was super rough.  I gave it all it had.  I got nailed many times as I had to find neutral first rev up some RPMs and then dump it in gear.  I was a sitting duck doing all this.  I still finished about half way through of the derby as I eventually got a direct hit in the radiator that totally steamed me out. I couldnít see anything.  Totally freaky situation when a Radiator goes off in your face.  I wasnít going to win the way the car was running so I just sat the rest out.  Ended up driving it off the track and on the trailer and saved it for a Grudge match between me and Demo Dave.

My first demolition derby win was with a 4 cylinder compact in 2003.  I had a 91 Mercury tracer.  I picked this car up for $40, it ran (kind of) pretty bad.  It was real cold blooded and temperamental till it got warmed up.  I ended up doing an entire tune up, plugs, wires, cap coil, oil change etc.. on it.  I Cleaned out under the hood of all the unnecessaries, and gutted the inside totally.  I simplified all the wiring and tied up all the loose ends.  I didnít think it would be too competitive as it was rough but gave it a try anyways.  I painted it up purple with flames and tricked it out to be one of those cheesy 4 cylinder fast and furious cars.  I put a cheesy spoiler on the back I made out of wood paneling.  I left it natural wood, to go with all the natural burl wood accessories on the market.  I totally cheesed it out.  That and put some ďNew SpeedĒ logoís on the side to make it a performance car.  It was a riot.  I barely made it out to the track as I had a bus race just prior to the demo and had problems starting the car.  It spit and sputtered all the way to the staging area.  I kept my foot on the gas half throttle trying to warm it up before the horn.  Once we were at it, it handled awesome.  I used the front, rear, anything.  The motor never stalled once.  My opponents just kept getting knocked out one by one, and eventually it came down to me and my friend Will who I teamed up before hand and agreed to not take each other out till the end.  It came down to the 2 of us, and I had to take em out.  It was great.  I got the trophy and the cash, and even hopped in the car for a victory lap around the track.  Nothing beats winning.

Iíll add some more pics and information later; I have 3-4 more cars that I will be listing on here.  Any comments or info about setting up cars is always welcome.  Just email me.

More to be updated later.

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