Cars come and go.

That rusted classic you had since college eventually gets traded up for a classier sedan your colleagues won’t make fun of. Clunky gas-guzzlers get swapped for hybrids. Cramped hatchbacks are traded for minivans with plenty of space for the kids.

We’d like to think that our treasured ’95 Accord drove itself right into the heart of another caring owner.

Or maybe that prized 1983 Oldsmobile is on permanent cruise control, coasting along the great Autobahn in the sky.

Truth is, many of our old steel compadres, our four-wheeled former wingmen, have been committed to the automobile retirement community known as a scrap metal yard. They’ll huddle together for warmth as strangers strip them for parts, until finally their headlights flicker and then go out, forever.

It’s a sad car reality.

But some cars — the lucky ones — get to shine one last time. Those favored autos go down in a blaze of glory on the oval track at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough.

Thursday nights throughout the summer, cars and trucks take to the track during Thursday Thunder. The weekly races consist of two hours worth of engine revving, tight passes and frequent collisions. Races include the Beetle Bug cars, Mad Bombers, Mighty Trucks, Legends cars and a Ladies League.

There are winners each round — those cars whose speed and angling put them ahead of the others. But just being out there — even spun off into the grass or tangled among the tractor tires on the track’s sidelines — well that’s a win, too.

Beech Ridge is also hosting the second of its three Day of Destruction events on Friday. It’s a night where beater cars, plastic Santas, spray paint, traffic cones and blowup dolls swirl together on the gray pavement. Rickety vans race alongside rusted Suburbans and dent-covered Corollas.

Cars thrill in reverse during the backwards race. They bump and collide during the Donut Dash around a pair of tractor tires. They billow smoke during the Burn-out Bonanza. And throughout the evening they sputter and stall and start again. And they crash. Frequently.

Spectators can get in on the car-killing action by entering the Spectator Drags with their own well-loved automobiles. But racer beware: Your ride is at risk. Many a shiny new vehicle has been marred on the Beech Ridge tarmac.

To keep your strength up in the speedway bleachers, there are food stands serving up burgers, hot dogs, fries and the like. For those 21 and over, there’s also a beer garden on the other end where the cups are plastic and the view is still decent.

So if the time has come to put your wheels out to pasture, take them with care to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. There’ll be no spent tears for those old beauties. They’ve lived full, happy lives.

But if your auto is still earning its keep and maintaining its half of the relationship, leave it in the parking lot.


Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at:

[email protected]