10/01/07 — Crashing to claim 'king of the heaps'

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Crashing to claim 'king of the heaps'

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 1, 2007 1:46 PM

Seven days ago Larry Lane of Dudley was lying in a hospital bed, having just undergone colon surgery.

On Sunday, ignoring the pain and the stitches, he was sitting, helmet on, in his demolition derby car listening to the final-round crowd begin the countdown.

Afterward, the second-place finisher said that despite the soreness and the knowledge that his doctor wasn't going to be too happy, he wouldn't have missed the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair's first demolition derby of the week.

"I owed it to my buddies," Lane said. "I won Fayetteville a week ago, and they went with me down there for that. I wasn't going to miss this."

Working with his "teammates," Lane captured the runner-up trophy, while helping cousin Chris "Arab" Lane win and Garry Young reach third place.

Fellow Grantham boy, Josh Kiser, a soccer playing, business major junior at Mount Olive College, also ran in Sunday's final round.

He said it was an easy decision to break off the orange flag this year.

"Soon as it came down to us, I broke my flag. It was Arab's time -- his home track," Kiser said. "It's all about the team. We got a good chance to win every time we go out there because we look out for each other."

And as of now, Larry, Chris and his brother, Tim Kimbrough, are all set to run in the three-day tournament at the state fair in 19 days. On Saturday, the rest of the crew will get their shot, and then again in Sanford a week from Thursday.

In the meantime, they will work to get their cars back in shape.

"We work in the shop every night till 12 or one in the morning, trying to get everybody ready to go," Kiser said.

Of course, the drivers from Grantham won't be the only ones coming back to the Wayne County Fairgrounds at the end of the week. Most of the 26-member field will as well, with another 20 or more joining them.

Among those will likely be Jerry Chandler, one of the Dudley crew, who drove flying the skull and crossbones over his derby car.

Expect Travis Taylor of Kinston to make the drive back, as well.

Running in derbies for the first year this fair season, Taylor has already got his eye on the big prize.

"It's just something I always wanted to do, and now I want to make a run of it to the State Fair," he said. "But I guess that's what everybody's trying to do."

Even newer to the game, though, was Wayne County resident William Mills.

Sunday was his first-ever derby.

Fortunately, he explained that a lifetime of watching and cheering had prepared him for what was about to happen when he drove into the muddy ring for his qualifying heat.

"I kind of went into a different state of mind," he said. "You don't get nervous once you make that first hit."

And, even though he was knocked out early, he said he enjoyed the experience.

"It was fun," Mills said.

And really, even for those guys who didn't quite make it through the afternoon, that's why they run -- not for the trophies or even the cash prizes.

"I've done drag racing, round-track races and just about everything you can do with cars, but I ain't never had an adrenaline rush like this before," said 2005 state champ Robby Short of Goldsboro.