The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Andrew Christiansen

Polajzar drives Minions car to second Fourth of July derby win


More cars and more action was the theme for this year's running of the Goldendale Jaycees' Demolition Derby, but the winner was a familiar car, a 1965 Chevy II that was driven to victory here in 2015 by Dale Arp. This year it was Randy Polajzar driving and with a little help from Arp, Polajzar outlasted the field for the $1,000 purse.

The Jaycees have teamed up with demo derbies in Sherman and Wasco counties this year to stimulate more entries. The six cars in this year's derby doubled the count from last year. The derby in Moro will be on Aug. 21 and the final at Tygh Valley on Aug. 28. The driver with the most combined points from those three derbies wins an added $1,500.

All six cars lined up to begin Monday's action. From the beginning there were huge hits to most of the cars. Morgan Gamble delivered the first big hit, which looked like it would be an easy winner for the Tom Harrington Memorial, Hardest Hit Award, but it was just the first of many crushing hits. The cars kept on running with the exception of Polajzar's Chevy which dropped out fairly early with a failed fuel pump, but minimal damage. Rory Duncan, of Forks plowed his 1978 Lincoln frontwards and backwards for some monumental collisions until he was stuck, the victim of a broken rear end gear. Arp and Jared Brokaw, who was also driving a car that was involved in the 2015 derby, delivered hard shots of their own with much different results. Arp's 1969 El Dorado was crumbling like tin foil while Brokaw's Mercury station wagon showed little damage.

With smoke pouring from his car, Arp, who was in his 34th Goldendale derby, somehow limped along as Zach Daniel followed by Brokaw, could go no longer. The win gave Arp, from Normandy Park, the $100 heat victory money.

There were only two trucks that made it to the arena Monday. Darren Scott and first timer, Christine Coleman, both of Goldendale. Coleman had a lot of trouble keeping her 1967 Dodge running during time trials and was off to a slow start in the first heat. All it took to get her going was a jarring hit by Scott in his 1980 Dodge. Coleman threw up her hands as if to say, "Okay brother, let's get it on!" and she chased down Scott and delivered her own hard shot, front end first. She later said that the first shot got her, "fired up."

After some sparring, Scott stalled in front of the bucking chutes and Coleman attacked, going into a slide that slammed her rear end into Scott, just before colliding head on into a concrete barrier. Both drivers were done, but Coleman won the heat money for the final hit. It was also her one and only heat as the truck was stuck with no reverse gear and Scott won the $1,000 final prize as the only truck to make it to the arena for the finals.

Four cars made it to the final heat. It was a free-for-all until Gamble was retired. Then it became the two drivers from Normandy Park, Arp and Polajzar against Goldendale's Brokaw. Arp and Polajzar double-teamed Brokaw, but Mercury was absorbing the blows with little effect. Meanwhile, the combination of crashing into Brokaw and taking hits from Brokaw was destroying the other two cars. Polajzar's Chevy was reduced in length by a third and Arp's El Dorado was crumpled and smoking.

In the end, only Polajzar's car was running. Brokaw and Arp died at about the same time, but it was determined that Brokaw made the last hit and he took home the $350 for second place. One of the hits he took ripped the radiator hose from the engine and led to his demise. Arp was awarded $250 for third, and his car from last year won again. "I hit some people hard," said Polajzar, after the race. "On a couple of them I said, "This is gonna hurt." One of those hits earned Polajzar $200 donated by Goldendale Exhaust for the hardest hit. For the most part, Polajzar's car suffered cosmetic damage. All four tire were still inflated and his replaced fuel pump worked fine. Asked if we would see the car back in 2017, Polajzar at first scoffed, then after taking a look, he said, "Good question," leaving the door open for a return.

Winner of the $50 for People's Choice was Morgan Gamble, who also won $50 for fastest in time trials.

In addition to the demo derby, intermission was once again filled with junior racers on motor bikes and four-wheelers. Due to a change in the configuration of the arena, there were no moguls to fly over. Bodhi Escene won the races for the older youth and Jackson Gamble won over the younger group.


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