Revving engines, screeching tires, and adrenaline-fueled collisions: the Wrecked Neck Racing Mentorship Program is transforming local Utah high schools into a training ground for future demolition derby drivers and more importantly, trade career workers.
In a bold and innovative initiative, Wrecked Neck Racing, a demolition derby team based out of Santaquin, has introduced the Wrecked Neck Racing Mentorship Program, which is a one-of-a-kind extracurricular activity that blends automotive and welding skills with teamwork, perseverance, and a healthy dose of controlled chaos. This groundbreaking program is captivating the attention of students and motorsport enthusiasts alike, as it sets the stage for the next generation of demolition derby stars and trade field workers.
The brainchild of the program, Tyler Warner, aims to provide students with hands-on experience in the thrilling world of demolition derbies while imparting essential life skills. The program, which is open to students in CTE classrooms, immerses them in the technical aspects of vehicle customization, safety protocols, and the strategic art of controlled vehicular mayhem.
Under the mentorship of Tyler, with assistance from volunteers from the local community, students participating in the program are exposed to a comprehensive curriculum. They learn about the mechanics of automobiles, including engine and transmission modifications, reinforcing structures, and safety enhancements necessary for this extreme motorsport discipline. Classroom sessions are complemented by practical workshops, where students get their hands dirty working on real derby cars, applying their newly acquired knowledge to transform ordinary vehicles into formidable demolition machines. With this, they are cross-trained in automotive and welding skills that will help them succeed in a trade career.
However, the mentorship program is more than just automotive education. It instills critical life skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. Students collaborate in groups to strategize and execute demolition derby techniques, fostering a spirit of camaraderie and resilience. Students of all ages can participate as pit crew, but only a graduated senior will drive. The program challenges their ability to remain focused under high-pressure situations, teaching them the value of quick thinking and adaptability in real life as they repair their cars in the pits.
Advanced Learning Center (ALC) automotive mechanics teacher Lucas Adams spike highly of the mentorship program.
“The Wrecked Neck Racing Mentorship Program has exceeded our expectations,” Adams said. “Not only are students learning about cars and motorsports, but they are also growing as individuals. They gain confidence, learn how to work as a team, and develop a strong sense of responsibility. It’s amazing to witness their transformation. We learned this last year when my students had electrical problems getting their car going the night before the derby. We learned real life skills and I am excited to see what this year brings.”
The initiative has received immense support from the local community, with automotive businesses and derby enthusiasts rallying behind the program. Several sponsors have stepped forward, providing financial assistance, equipment, and expertise, ensuring the success and sustainability of the Wrecked Neck Racing Mentorship Program. This includes YouTubers Johnny B Good and Do It Bro of Santaquin, MHC Sign & Design in Payson, Wheeler Cat, Jones Paint & Glass, Iconic Fabrication, Geno’s Towing, Shelley Excavating, Stringham’s True Value, Payson’s Fast Gas, and many more.
In addition to the academic and personal growth opportunities it offers, the program culminates in a thrilling spectacle—the annual Wrecked Neck Racing High School Crash N’Bash, August 19, 2023 at the West Jordan Stampede Arena. This much-anticipated event brings together students from different high schools, showcasing their skills and teamwork in a friendly yet fierce competition. Students get to smash their projects safely, and earn money that is donated to their classrooms. This year, the program teamed up with a few local trade businesses to offer students career opportunities at the event, in hopes that students will be able to network and continue on a career path. The championship attracts large crowds of motorsport enthusiasts, who witness the electrifying collisions and heart-pounding action as these young racers battle for glory.
The highly anticipated event brings together a diverse range of participants, creating an exhilarating experience for everyone involved. Representing their schools with fierce competition are Payson High School, Maple Mountain High School, Salem ALC, Provo High School, and Tintic High School.
We are also thrilled to welcome students from the homeschool co-op Yates Place, adding an exciting dynamic to the mix. The event is designed to showcase different heats, including a thrilling public high school heat where rivalries ignite and school pride is on the line. The homeschool heat offers a unique opportunity for homeschooled students to display their skills and engage in friendly competition.
Filler heats will feature racers from Nebo School Districts Utah Valley CTE Welding Expo. Furthermore, there will be a special heat dedicated to past graduated seniors, who will take on the challenge with their modified lawn mowers, creating a nostalgic and entertaining atmosphere. Adding a touch of humor, educators will also participate in a minivan heat, putting their driving abilities to the test. As a testament to their commitment to providing an unforgettable experience, our show sponsors have prepared exciting surprises that will captivate the audience throughout the event. Get ready to witness a spectacular display of talent, teamwork, and adrenaline-fueled action.
The Wrecked Neck Racing Mentorship Program is transforming traditional notions of high school extracurricular activities and paving the way for future motorsport professionals. By fusing the excitement of demolition derbies with valuable life lessons, Wrecked Neck Racing Mentorship Program is empowering its students to become skilled drivers, responsible individuals, trade field workers, and champions of the future.
The demolition derby program prioritizes the safety of participants and spectators alike by implementing a comprehensive set of precautionary measures. Each driver is required to wear a full face racing helmet, providing essential protection for the head and face. To minimize the risk of neck injuries, a neck brace is also mandatory for all drivers. A four or five-point harness is also utilized, securing the driver firmly in their seat and reducing the likelihood of ejection during collisions. To ensure maximum structural integrity, the vehicles are equipped with a robust full metal roll cage, which is thoughtfully padded around the driver’s compartment to absorb impact forces. As an additional safety measure, steering wheels are reinforced with duct tape to prevent detachment during intense collisions.
Wrecked Neck Racing Mentorship Program maintains a strict policy of using tuned down cars with stock engines, reducing the risk of excessive speed and maintaining a controlled environment. Prior to participating, all drivers must sign liability waivers, acknowledging the inherent risks associated with the event. The program does carry liability insurance coverage to provide financial protection in case of unforeseen incidents.
Finally, an age requirement is enforced, allowing only those who are 18 years old and have graduated high school to compete, ensuring a level of maturity and responsibility in the derby. With these precautions in place, they strive to create a safe and thrilling experience for all involved. The program is happy to report 0 injuries.
As the sun sets on another exhilarating day at the Wrecked Neck Racing Mentorship Program, the roar of engines and the determined faces of young racers serve as a testament to the program’s success. With each collision and each hit completed, these students inch closer to realizing their dreams, and the program secures its place as an educational institution geared toward preparing students for their trade careers.
Submitted by Tyler Warner