Beware of Babb’s Bumperadmin
By Chuck Corder
Like clockwork, just before the green flag drops, Justin Babb’s nerves start constricting like a python wrapping itself around an unfortunate prey.
The reality of his impending adventure sets in and it delivers a punishing blow.
“Butterflies get me the very last five minutes. I feel like I’ve gotta use the bathroom,” Babb said.
But, when your hobby is a Demolition Derby you understand the implied dangers. Babb remains unflustered, knowing the adrenaline rush outweighs all the bad.
“I don’t mind getting hurt if it comes down to it,” said the 35-year-old, who has won multiple Demo Derbies. “That stuff doesn’t bother me.”
Babb looks to defend his 2018 championship Friday night at Five Flags Speedway for the track’s annual Demo Derby. Gates open at 5 p.m. and admission is $5 for all fans except for 11-and-under children, who get in free as always.
A Snowball Derby-like field of Modifieds of Mayhem will make their second appearance of the season, joining The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen and the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks.
While Babb enjoys the high of the sport, $1,500 is also up for grabs to the Demo Derby winner. In addition to last year’s title, Babb also won the 2016 event at Five Flags and a Demo Derby at Southern Raceway in Milton.
His game plan involves strategy more than brute force.
“You gotta have patience,” Babb said. “As soon as they drop the green flag, you can’t just hammer down and hit somebody right away. One hit is not going take anybody out. So don’t take yourself out early. And, my eyes never quit moving in the car.”
Like last year, Babb will sit behind the wheel of a mid-90s Lincoln Town Car. (see 2018 photo below)
This year’s version is a 1995 edition (last year was a 1996) and has a paint scheme to represent his support of President Trump.
Babb got the Town Car from a friend who was well familiar with Babb’s love affair with Demo Derbies.
After a rough Demo Derby debut, It’s a wonder that Babb likes the sport at all. He entered his first during the 2012 running at Five Flags and, needless to say, it did not go smoothly.
“My buddy bought this car, this big ol’ piece of junk,” Babb said. “I said, ‘Let me, at least, try to win some money with it.’ I get around to the front stretch to get lined up and the motor just locked up. So for my first Demolition Derby, I sat on top of my car and watched it.”
Things have certainly improved since that first Demo Derby.
Babb is confident he can reign again come Friday, but just wants every driver to remain free of harm. Other than the harm he plans to inflict on their cars, of course.
“It’s definitely dangerous. But, sitting in the car, I’m not scared,” Babb said. “I’m worried for other drivers getting hurt. Every Derby I do, I get told I hit really hard. I don’t wanna hurt anybody.”