By Matthew Doyle
MEDINA — The thousands of fans who packed the grandstand for Friday night’s Old Iron Demolition Derby witnessed feel-good stories in nearly every heat.
From the rising of the ashes to the beginning of a new era, the event proved once again why it has been a top draw for so many years.
Having a specialty in building and repairing cars is very important to succeed in any demolition derby. By helping to build and repair his mother’s cars over her career, Medina’s Tyler Haury was meant to be a derby driver.
“My mom started running in the event and that got me started up,” Haury said.”(Helping her) taught me how to build a car to last.”
Growing up, Tyler watched his mom, Bonnie, drive in six derbies at the fair, but she was never able to bring home a victory. After turning 18 years old this year, Haury wanted a shot at the title.
Friday night was his first time running in Medina, and Haury did what his mother was never able to do — win.
After not making the top four in his heat, Haury and his 1967 Chrysler Imperial had to enter the consolation round in order to have a shot in the feature event. After a dominating performance, Haury set himself up beautifully for a shot at the $3,000 award.
Haury’s battle with Medina’s Kurt Fry in the consolation round was a fan favorite. Haury won that one, but the war was yet to be decided.
In the feature, the final five cars remaining were all Medina County residents. Haury once again faced Fry in the final showdown with both delivering major blows, but neither gaining any advantage. It wasn’t until Haury pinned Fry against a boundary tire and crushed the rear tire on Fry’s 1977 Chrysler New Yorker that the event was ultimately finished.
“This was my first time running in Medina and my first win,” Haury said with his mother by his side. “It means more than anything that we kept (the prize money) all here in Medina.”
Brunswick’s Randy Eggler was filled with enthusiasm when his 1993 Honda Civic was able to blow the finishing touches onto Doug and David Wilkinson’s cars to win the sub-compact division.
Although Eggler was able to survive through the eliminations of the first five drivers, the crowd, announcer and some fellow competitors counted out his tiny, beat-up car. Doug Wilkinson’s 1986 Ford Mustang was still going strong.
Eggler’s determination never diminished, though. He was constantly pinned, but in the end, Wilkinson got stuck.
Unable to move, Wilkinson watched Eggler deliver the finishing touches on his victory. When the sirens rang, Eggler stood up on his car and raised his arms after a long, hard-fought battle.
“I think that (knowing the Wilkinson’s) really helped,” Eggler said. “We eliminated the toughest competitors we could. It was just five of us out there, and once the other two were out, it was just me and the Wilkinsons. I just put it to the floor, kept it going and wouldn’t give up.”
After racing in Monday’s derby and being beat up in the Old Iron, it was a sigh of relief for Eggler after winning his first derby.
“A lot of hours went into preparation — a lot,” Eggler said. “I ran this car Monday, so I had to rebuild the car all week just to get it here. All the changes we made to make it a little stronger and work better paid off.”
In other action, a four-vehicle truck heat added a new wrinkle to the derby. West Salem’s Jeff Clark outlasted the field to take first in a 1993 Ford F-150.
With a theme based on the Toby Keith hit song “Red Solo Cup” — highlighted by a keg and garbage can painted like a red solo cup attached the roof of his ’67 Imperial — veteran Nate St. Clair of Montville Township won his first best of show trophy.
Contact Matthew Doyle at email@example.com.