"It's road rage," said Bobby Hooper of Lawrenceburg, who has been competing in demolition derbies for the past 21 years. "All your stress ends here. You can't do it on the road, but it's all legal here."
It may seem a bit counterintuitive to work on a car and then send it out to be smashed, but for the competitors, the only reason to bring a car back from the dead is so they can throw it back into the gauntlet.
"If you don't like to hit, you might as well stay home," said Blake Norton, who has been working on his uncles' cars for a decade but only recently joined the fray.
Learning from the veterans
Entering the demolition derby as a novice is no easy task. More often than not, these greenhorns are red meat for seasoned competitors that are out to kill.
"You just got to hold on and learn as you go and get the secrets from the veterans," said Mark Baker of Harrodsburg, who has been competing in demolition derbies for two years.
The key to a successful run is to use your back end as much as possible and try to knock your opponent out of commission by hitting their front.
Although this technique sounds simple enough, in the heat of action it is not so easy. With a gaggle of cars careening across the pen, avoiding a pile-up is almost impossible.
"You have to play hide and seek; hit and run," Hooper said.
Charles Hicks, who has been participating in demolition derbies for the past three years, knows exactly what can happen when you do not play the game right. He has seen cars catch fire and hop on top of one another, and this time around, like the other participants, he wanted an aggressive but safe race.
"I got a good running car," Hicks said. "Other than that, I don't know. I just hope nobody gets hurt."