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demolition derby thrills fairgoers

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 15:43 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

Cars crashing into each other with mud flying into the stands from the tires is a family tradition for some of the drivers.
Jessica Ungerank, 22, took part in her first demolition derby Monday night at the LaPorte County Fair after growing up watching her father, Randy, regularly participating in the sport.
''I feel like it's my turn. It's my turn to drive,'' said Ungerank, who lives just outside LaPorte.
Mr. Ungerank, who plans to compete next in the fall, looked on with anticipation while she headed from the infield and into the ring.
''Hopefully, she can run out there and run with the big boys,'' said Ungerank, who hopes to get his 24 year old son, Randy, Jr., involved in demolition derby at some point.
Jessica was one of three drivers knocked out early in the first heat won by Jake McGowan, who barely outlasted Larry Hooper in a show down leaving both cars badly damaged with loud engines that kept stalling toward the very end.
She did win the best looking car content in her red, white and blue Toyota Avalon in a contest judged by the applause from the nearly packed stands in the motor sports arena.
Jessica said she painted the car herself in honor of her late grandfather, Ernest Ungerank, a U.S Army veteran.
Another driver, David Coates of LaPorte said he's competed for over 20-years because there's nothing quite like the action.
He gets banged up from time to time but has never been seriously injured.
''I just enjoy the excitement and the competition that's out here,'' he said.
''Wow. Wow,'' was the reaction from Tracy Mashburn of Michigan City on the amount of mud the cars were slinging into the stands.
Her three-year old grandson, Thomas Salyer, took second place on the kidde tractor division of the demolition derby.
''It's so much fun. I love to see the guys crashing into each other and getting all dirty,'' said Carla Pillai, a longtime fan from LaPorte.
A third demolition derby is scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday at the fair which ends Saturday night.
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