While the Chautauqua County Fair may have been in full-swing as of Monday, for some people it isn't officially under way until two cars collide. Tuesday, the demolition derby drew a huge crowd as drivers from all over the area competed for a spot in the championship round on Sunday.
Some of the drivers that will be competing on Sunday will be Ken Harvey of Cattaraugus and Brandon Barr of Jamestown. Harvey and Barr placed in Heat A, which featured small cars. Winning best of show in the first heat was Brandon Robbins of Sinclairville. One more driver from that heat also advanced, Justin Perry (Fredonia) earned the bid with the promoter's pick.
The second heat featured 23 cars and a lot more destruction. The No. 9 car driven by Chuck Dillenburg of Forestville and the No. 18 car of Keith Glowniak of Dunkirk made some of the biggest hits of the heat, but neither was able to place. Tim Thorpe (Fredonia) and Don Dillenburg (Forestville) took the top two spots, but both Chuck Dillenburg and Glowniak will be mixing it up on Sunday as Dillenburg earned best of show and Glowniak earned the promoter's pick.
The third heat of the night, featured the gladiator division, where vehicles could be modified and reinforced with welded steel supports.
With extra water laid down on the track, the mud really started flying as the six "tanks" plowed into each other. Unlike the other heats, the gladiator division was broken down into first, second and third places.
After a red flag, the No. 4 car of Chad Ellman (Dunkirk) failed to get back in the action which resulted in a third-place finish.
The battle for first place came down to Hank Pencek (Dunkirk) and Chris Cerrie (Fredonia), with Pencek outlasting Cerrie in the end.
Heat C ended up being one of the more competitive heats of the night as Andrew Diaz of Dunkirk and Dan Sasso of Fredonia placed. The crowd's decision for best in show was to close to call, so Dave Kessler (Fredonia) and Kevin Davis (Dunkirk) will both be competing on Sunday. Alan Wolfe earned the promoter's pick honors.
Dennis and Wayne Clemens (Fredonia) took the top two spots in Heat D, which was one of the larger heats of the night. Kelly Paluch of Dunkirk took best of show, as her car refused to die, while Melissa Paluch earned promoter's pick with an impressive run.
In the final heat of the night James Ellman (Dunkirk) and Al Kearns (Dunkirk) took the top two spots, while Tom Shaffer of Dunkirk earned the best of show.
The championship round will take place on Sunday, August 1 at 4 p.m. Gates open 45 minutes prior to the start of the event and pre-sale tickets are on sale.