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Kevin Rommeney saves the bus as long as possible

A flagman waves the green flag at Riverhead

A flagman waves the green flag at Riverhead Raceway. (July 16, 2011) Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Kevin Rommeney is going to compete in the bus and car demolition derbies until his "body can't take it" anymore.

Rommeney, of Maspeth, Queens, is scheduled to compete in the school bus demolition derby at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday.

The strategy to survive in demolition derby is simple, according to Rommeney. "You just try to save your bus as long as possible and be the last man standing," he said. "You try to protect the front and the wheels for as long as you can."

What about protecting the driver behind the wheel?

"All you have is a seat belt, helmet and fire suit," said Rommeney, an MTA bus driver in New York City.

The school bus demolition derbies usually have four to six buses competing and are run twice a year. The buses are typically provided by the track. Drivers work on the buses they race with.

Sometimes there is a shortage of available buses. "It's usually harder to find buses than people," Rommeney said.

Rommeney was victorious in the last school bus demolition derby at Riverhead Raceway on June 30.

Rommeney, 24, has been involved in racing for six years and picked up the love for it from his brother Michael, who races on the legends circuit at Riverhead and is tied for 26 in the points standings.

Rommeney used to work on the vehicles with Michael when he was younger.

He said his experience as a New York City bus driver has served him well on the track. "Driving a bus in the city has given me a lot of experience with driving a bigger vehicle," he said.

Crashing and beating up vehicles is just part of the story on Rommeney, who also competes in the car demolition derby at Riverhead.

He also competes on the legends circuit at Riverhead.

So which does he enjoy most?

"I enjoy doing the legend races," Rommeney said. "The demolition derbies let me work out my frustrations."


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