The normal weekend for the Monster Nationals has been a big weekend of events in the small arenas, hitting the concrete running with five competitions to find the overall winner of the entire weekend.
However, this weekend was a switch for the tour as the stars headed north to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois. What makes this show different is that it's an indoor fairground, normally used for cattle shows and auctions. That meant the track would not be on a concrete floor, nor would there be a small arena to be had. The fairgrounds provided a lot more room to maneuver, and for the only time this season the trucks would do battle on the dirt.
The five trucks that were at the previous event in Kentucky all returned for competition, as Vern House brought in the red War Wizard, Allison Patrick was behind the wheel of Samson, the Hall Brothers came to town with the Raminator and Rammunition, and Eric Tack brought in the Lucas Oil Bigfoot. In addition, for the first time this year, Hall of Fame driver Allen Pezo brought his unique setup and look of his famed black 3D panther truck, the Predator.
Only four competitions would make up the weekend events, as there would be no donut contest due to it being on dirt. Friday night's festivities began with the wheelie contest, which this time had more options to choose to either sky the truck high, or bounce the nose up into a slap wheelie instead. All six trucks gave their best effort, but the new Hall Brothers chassis seemed to get the needed grip as it was Mark Hall getting the first victory of the night.
Up next was the long jump, which for the first time had an actual ramp setup for each beast to launch far ahead. Hall tried to double up in the victories, but Tack would not be denied, taking home the second win of the night.
Now the big trophies were on the line, as the six-truck bracket would go head to head in racing. Unlike all the previous weeks that were straight-line runs to the finish, with reaction time having a big effect on who won, the track in DuQuoin would be a J-Hook style race, with the trucks hitting both lanes of cars in order to make it to the finish. Each truck gave their best effort, and it came down to the big names once again. In the end, Hall would continue his racing streak as he would take home the big trophy with yet another racing win on the year.
The final event of the night let all six trucks stretch out the shocks and show off for the fans. The freestyle portion of the night would see every driver go all out, but knew they still had two shows to go the next day, so things were just warming up on the night for everyone.
That didn't halt the effort from Tack as he would make the Ford Raptor shine, as he would take home the big trophy on the night, leaving it Halls 2, Foot 2 at the end of the first day.
Saturday's festivities began early, as a 1 p.m. matinee event would welcome the crowd to start the day. All six trucks were ready for action, and up first was the wheelie contest. After a strong effort the night before, House would bring the red War Wizard to the top of the board as it would be him taking home the win, his first since his long jump effort a few weeks ago. In the long jump portion of the afternoon show, it would be a case of deja vu as just like the night before, Tack would make Bigfoot sing loud and launch far, taking home another win on the weekend.
The rest of the afternoon show was a mirror image of the night before, as it was Hall once again taking the victory in racing, and Tack dominating freestyle. This gave the Bigfoot team a 4-3 lead in wins over the weekend, but with one more event to go, it was going to be a matter of who could survive to make it to the end.
Survival was the name of the game on Saturday night, as it turned out to be one of the more crazy nights seen by the Monster Nationals in quite a while.
It all started with the wheelie contest, and House was the first one to go after the win. But, he went was too hard on his very first hit, rolling the Willy's Coupe onto it's roof. At the same time, Hall went for it hard in the same contest, only to break a planetary end on one of his wheels, locking it up and forcing his entire team to go hard to work trying to fix it. Tack would then suffer his own breakage, as despite winning the opening contest, it also meant in the process of winning, he bent one four-link bar, broke the driveshaft in the rear of the truck, plus bent the wheelie bar.
Only four trucks would return for the long jump, as House was able to make it back for the next round. Unfortunately, that didn't last long as on his effort, the truck landed hard, in the process taking a cartwheel tumble down the track. The entire front end was broken, including steering rams and gears, tie rods and many other pieces, not to mention a destroyed body. House was alright, but the truck was done for the night.
At the end of the long jump contest, it was actually Pezo getting the victory in his Predator machine.
The racing portion of the night would again only see four trucks compete. Tack and crew still had not fixed the Bigfoot truck, but had mentioned they would be ready for freestyle. Hall and company fixed the planetary end on the truck, and would make it back for round 1 action. Hall would make it to the finals and would face off against his teammate, Mat Dishman in the Rammunition. But, after making all the repairs and making it back to compete, Hall would make it a clean sweep of the weekend, taking home the third racing trophy in DuQuoin.
Not to be outdone, Tack got the Bigfoot machine back running, minus one bedside, and would throw down in freestyle. Despite the wheelie bar still facing upward, he still made the #14 chassis talk, and the fans were glad he did, as he would take home the freestyle win, sweeping the weekend as well.
At the end of the weekend, it would be Bigfoot taking home the most wins over the Hall Brothers team, 6-4, and that brings Tack closer to the overall title.
The series has no rest as next weekend the tour remains in Illinois, but heads back indoors to the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. Five of the six trucks from DuQuoin will make the quick trip, as only Predator will not return. The season is coming down to the wire as after next weekend there is only one more indoor event remaining to determine the champion. Two nights of action are set for Hoffman Estates next weekend, so visit MonsterNationals.com to get all the ticket information, along with times for the events and pit parties.