Jason Savoy is looking to close out the season at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night with a Miller Lite National Demolition Derby championship.
Savoy, who is from Lake Panamoka and was last year's champion, also claimed the season title last month at Riverhead, his second career crown.
"It takes time to learn how to be successful and it's mostly the people that help that make a difference," said Savoy, 34. "I grew up in the '80s and ever since then, I wanted to do this. And when I first started doing this, I was just a kid in my backyard."
Savoy credits his boss at Monster's Recycling of Lindenhurst, Bobby Benison, whom he met in 2008, for teaching him "the ins and outs and all the tricks." Savoy also said his younger brother Brian, who also will be competing Saturday, has been instrumental.
The National Demolition Derby championship is marking its 50th anniversary Saturday ngiht. It was started back at Islip Speedway when it was then known as the World Demolition Derby championship.
If Savoy is going to repeat as champion, he will have to do so against perhaps the toughest field in several years. Among those competing will be former World Demolition Derby champion Eugene Malvery, who once lived in Lindenhurst and now resides in Florida.
Former Bellmore resident George "Moe" Knauer also is making the a trip from Florida and is part of the popular Crash-A-Rama series in the Southeast.
"We know how good they are and the fact that they're making the trip has a lot of people on edge," Savoy said. "It's kind of an honor to be competing against them."
Among the Riverhead Raceway regulars in action will be "Mad" Mike Smith of Kings Park, "Maniac" Matt Mulqueen of Levittown and "The Exterminator" Jimmy White Jr. of Southampton.
The $1,500 prize is the largest of the season.
"I know that there's a bull's-eye on me," Savoy said. "There are a lot of rivalries and it's never the same twice."