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If they build it, demolition will come

First-time derby driver expects nerves

Staff writer

The first time Tommy Tajchman of rural Marion saw a demolition derby, he decided he wanted to drive in one himself.

Having volunteered to serve in a friend’s pit crew, he became enamored with the sport.

“When I was in the pit crew, I decided to build a car,” he said.

This spring he found a 1976 Pontiac Grand Ville in a junkyard near his home and set to work readying it for the Marion County Fair demolition derby — his first as a driver.

Tajchman estimates he has spent four hours each day for the past month and a half working on the car. He hasn’t thought about how much work he is putting in a car just to crash it.

“I don’t know,” he said Monday. “I just think it’s going to be fun.”

Tajchman doesn’t know what to expect when he drives into the arena for his first derby, and he isn’t thinking much about his strategy.

“I’ve just been thinking about getting the car done,” he said. “Getting everything stripped out was pretty hard. It took a while.”

He is getting close to done and is confident the car will be ready for the July 31 derby.

Experienced derby drivers have given him advice about building the car, and friends have worked on the car with him.

But when he drives into the arena, they won’t be able to help him anymore. It will just be him and the other drivers.

“I’m sure I’ll be nervous when I get in there,” Tajchman said.

Last modified July 21, 2010

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