'Wild man' wins spot at State Fair
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 7, 2012 1:50 AM
Chris Lane steers his demolition car into a opponent during the Demolition Derby at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair. Lane was able to withstand the crashes of his adversaries and his vehicle was the last one running, making him the victor of the derby. Lane will go on to compete in the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh on Oct. 21.
DUDLEY -- Mud was flying.
Engines were screeching.
Metal crushed metal.
A driver steamrolled over the hood of one of his competitors.
Another car got lifted -- and stuck -- on the wall that guards the ring.
And the packed grandstand wanted more.
So Chris Lane delivered blow after blow to his fellow drivers.
He didn't just want to inflict damage on their cars.
He wanted to cripple their chances of claiming the day.
"Look at him," said Jake Revelle, an 8-year-old who was attending his first demolition derby. "He's a wild man, Daddy."
His father, Willie, smiled.
"Just don't tell your mama I brought you over here," he said. "She thinks it's too violent."
The boy started laughing.
"It ain't violent, Daddy," he said with a grin. "It's awesome."
By the time the horn sounded, the ring looked far different than it did an hour before.
Random car parts had burrowed into the trenches created by the carnage.
Incapacitated automobiles with smoking engines sat static along the walls.
All but one.
Lane's gray station wagon was, at his command, flinging more mud into the grandstand with spinning tires -- celebrating a victory that came to fruition, in part, thanks to its driver's aggressive, unrelenting attacks.
And moments after he took off his helmet and climbed onto the hood to pump his fist at the cheering crowd, he talked about what it takes to leave the event as a champion.
"A lot of hard work," he said. "A lot."
And the patience and understanding, he added, of a loving spouse -- the woman whose name, "Wendy," graced the winning wagon's doorframe.
"I got a good wife," Lane said. "For putting up with it."
With the victory, the Goldsboro resident walked away with $500 and earned a slot in the State Fair derby -- an event set to unfold Oct. 21 in Raleigh.
Jake hopes he will be there -- as a witness to what he firmly believes will be another championship for his new hero.
"Can we please go, Daddy? I gotta see that wild man drive again," the boy asked several times, playfully poking his father in the stomach. "He's gonna win it all."
"We'll see, boy," he replied. "I reckon you ain't gonna keep your mouth shut about coming over here, are ya? Mama's gonna be cross with me."
But not as cross as she'll be when her only child tells her what he now wants to do when he grows up.
"Think she'll let me drive in the derby when I'm 16?" Jake asked. "No one got hurt."
Willie shook his head.
"Don't even start," he said. "Come on boy. Let's go get on some rides and get one of them fried Oreos."