With 690,000 vehicles sentenced to one final gargle of sodium silicate, thanks to the now-defunct Cash for Clunkers program, demolition-derby drivers seem to have been left holding the short end of the driveshaft. What the government seems to have forgotten is that many cars, hobbling and sputtering as they near death, prefer to make one final trip to the local county fair (assuming they escape a 24 Hours of LeMons team). There, stripped of glass and with fuel tanks moved safely inward, the clunkers die an honorable death smashed gloriously to pieces in front of large (and often well-hydrated), cheering crowds.

"Obama is an anti-demo-derby guy," says Tory Schutte, head of the Demolition Derby Drivers Association. "He's targeting the cars we've been using." (But let's not just blame the President. Scrap metal prices have skyrocketed in the past two years, so many last-leg heaps are heading straight to the junkyard for recycling.) According to those who keep track of such things, there were 3,500 demolition derbies in the U.S. last year. The orchestrated pageantry of bent steel, blown radiators, and dislodged wheels is often the main draw at local county fairs... and the drivers prefer to keep it that way.

[Source: Time | Image: Illinois State Fair]

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