Heard on CultureShift

Ready, Set, Crash? Flat Rock Speedway’s Night of School Bus Destruction

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Image credit: Shiraz Ahmed

CultureShift took a field trip to meet the bus drivers whose job it is to take a beating.

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The buses lineup for the derby at Flat Rock Speedway.Shiraz Ahmed
Shiraz Ahmed

The buses lineup for the derby at Flat Rock Speedway.

Chants fill the night air and the crowd is energized as they await Flat Rock Speedway’s Night of Destruction, where school buses take a whip around the race track. 

The annual event, also known as the school bus figure-eight race, features big, colorful buses literally crashing into each other, flipping over and giving the audience one heck of a show. It’s adrenaline-pumping and exciting. Dangerous? Well, that depends on whom you ask. 

Jack Franzel, racer, talks with CultureShift host Amanda LeClaire.Shiraz Ahmed
Shiraz Ahmed

Jack Franzel, racer, talks with CultureShift host Amanda LeClaire.

Most people would think it’s dangerous,” says Jack Franzel, a regular racer at Flat Rock. “But if you’ve been doing this your whole life, compared to what we used to do, this is like slow motion to us.” 

Click the player above to hear CultureShift’s Amanda LeClaire trip down river and see photographer Shiraz Ahmed’s images below.


Shiraz Ahmed
Shiraz Ahmed
Frenzel, driver, posing in his bus (left) and with a shirt a family member gifted him. ‘I’ve been racing my whole life, once I quit doing it on a weekly basis I kind of retired into this,’ says Franzel.Shiraz Ahmed
Shiraz Ahmed

Frenzel, driver, posing in his bus (left) and with a shirt a family member gifted him. ‘I’ve been racing my whole life, once I quit doing it on a weekly basis I kind of retired into this,’ says Franzel.

The glass-strewn floor of one of the vehicles. “We pick them up at auctions and scrap yards. These buses are on their way to the scrap yard, we just make them last,” says Franzel.Shiraz Ahmed
Shiraz Ahmed

The glass-strewn floor of one of the vehicles. “We pick them up at auctions and scrap yards. These buses are on their way to the scrap yard, we just make them last,” says Franzel.

 

The crowd at Flat Rock Speedway.Shiraz Ahmed
Shiraz Ahmed

The crowd at Flat Rock Speedway.

 

Young fans at Flat Rock Speedway. Their favorite part? ‘When they try to hit each other.’Shiraz Ahmed
Shiraz Ahmed

Young fans at Flat Rock Speedway. Their favorite part? ‘When they try to hit each other.’

The bus derby begins with drivers revving their engines and pulling out of the parking zone.Shiraz Ahmed
Shiraz Ahmed

The bus derby begins with drivers revving their engines and pulling out of the parking zone.

Franzel crashes his bus, the first hit of the night.Shiraz Ahmed
Shiraz Ahmed

Franzel crashes his bus, the first hit of the night.

 


CultureShift , Weekdays from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on WDET 101.9

Your soundtrack to discovering arts, culture, food, music and the latest local events worth your time throughout metro Detroit.

cultureshift@wdet.org Follow @DETcultureshift

LaToya Cross, Producer, CultureShift

LaToya Cross is a Producer with CultureShift, where she produces in-depth content that spotlights creatives and individuals using their platform to examine, cultivate, shape and shift culture.

Latoya.cross@wdet.org Follow @ToizStory

This post is a part of Summer Field Trip.

CultureShift's Summer Field Trip takes you out of the studio and around town to highlight some of the coolest spots in the region.

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