Eve of Destruction 

Why create a car just to destroy it? Because it's fun to do while drinkin' beer and bullshittin' with some of your friends.

Page 7 of 7

Kemps accepts a trophy that's more than five feet tall. He turns to the crowd and hoists it in the air. For several seconds he poses there. Flashbulbs light up the stands.

Back in the mud, drivers pick their way through the wreckage, surveying the damage and shaking hands.

K.O. is standing next to his car. He's laughing and pointing at his front right wheel -- it's dangling from the well. This is the second derby in a row in which a busted axle has ended his run. I ask K.O. if he's okay; that hit he took looked painful. "What hit?" he says. I can't tell if he really doesn't remember, or if he's refusing to acknowledge the vicious collision that knocked him out of the year's last derby.

Brian is standing next to his car. He is breathing heavily and sweating. The Undertaker, survivor of three derbies, is finished. The frame is shredded. Strips of metal are sticking out at all angles like old tattered bandages. Brian will need a new car for the first derby of the new year, in Ripon. But right now, he isn't thinking about that. He's looking out over the Altamont. He's watching Kemps cradle his trophy as people in the stands shout out "Chris! Chris!" He's looking at Brandon and Missy making out again next to the smoking Impala. He's admiring the piles of burnt and twisted metal scattered all about him. And now he's shouting: "What a night! What a fucking night!"

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