Monster Tours Across The Nation See Familiar Winners, Big Thrills, and Scary Spills
Lead Photo credited to Matthew Cureton
The second weekend of monster truck action is truly where everything gets into high gear. One weekend ago, it was Monster Jam that started their full season of action. Now, it was a weekend where the Monster X Tour and The Toughest Monster Truck Tour got to compete, giving Monster Jam some more competition to attract fans.
Yet it didn't matter where the action was, what came about was some familiar victories for popular drivers, plus some surprises, and a lot of carnage in the end.
Let's break down each tour this weekend to show what all took place.
MONSTER X TOUR
The big kickoff for one of the most exciting indoor tours of the year happened in Stockton, California. With a line-up that included new looks for Bill Payne in Rock Star, plus Larry Swim debuting the new Monster Truck Mafia Bigfoot, it was going to be a strong two-night kickoff to the season, but on night one it was all Larry Swim.
He not only decided to debut the new look of Bigfoot 19, he would take home a wheelie win, a racing win, and then freestyle, sweeping the entire night.
But night two was when things really got chaotic. In racing alone, Payne decided to show his crazy driving and rolled the truck, while racing. The truck took a lot of damage, including breaking a wheel off. It was after another hard run in the afternoon that meant repairs continued into the night.
Then in freestyle, during a dual run with Swim, Payne rolled the truck again...twice. To say the fans went home happy at the end of the night was an understatement, but Payne now has a destroyed body and a destroyed truck. Guess it was all in a night's work for the leader of the Monster Truck Mafia.
TOUGHEST MONSTER TRUCK TOUR
One of the premier tours during the winter season is put on by Monster Nation, and once again they are bringing in some really strong competition. Dan Runte brought out his Bigfoot 18 machine, but with the likes of Equalizer, Walking Tall, and Toxic in attendance, Southaven, Mississippi, was in for a strong opening weekend.
Added to the line-up was Mat Dishman, who was unveiling officially an entirely-new Rammunition, complete with a new body that included a 3D Ram head, and a new-design chassis.
But, on the first night, Bigfoot again had a clean sweep. This time, Runte put the #18 piece through it's paces, taking home wheelie, racing and freestyle. The biggest highlight of the night came from Mike Hawkins in Equalizer, as he pulled off a very impressive backflip. The second night was not quite a sweep, but it was an impressive night nonetheless.
Runte was not feeling well on the second night, so it was Chris Ludwig getting another chance to drive Bigfoot, and his night started out well with him taking a win in wheelies. But, the streak ended as in the racing portion, Brandon Budd took the victory in the Red Solo Truck. Freestyle, it was a big victory for Maxie Broaddus taking a big victory in the Walking Tall Chevrolet.
Hawkins once again went for a backflip, but ended up short on this night. Quite the opening weekend for Monster Nation.
The second weekend of the biggest promoter of monster trucks saw an entire plethora of events across the country, with four huge stadium events taking the headlines. Out west, Anaheim, California, got to host a huge show with big names, and a slightly changed track design. It was still the popular "So-Cal Style" but instead of a tabletop as the start and finish jump, it instead was a pair of hills, with the trucks actually starting in the valley between.
It didn't seem to matter as the truck that was on the early tear was Donald Epidendio in Titan, who was looking for a third consecutive win in the Big-A. His streak was ended in the semi-finals as eventual racing winner Carl Van Horn took him down in Grave Digger.
But, Epidendio was looking to make a statement and did that in freestyle. The 1970's-style Chevrolet was rocking on this night, taking the lead from a very impressive run by Madusa. Not even CVH or Tom Meents could top him on this night, and he assured the California fans he would not leave them without a trophy in hand.
Up north, Detroit would rock Ford Field for the first time this year, it would be a night of dominance by an off-road champion and a first-ever for another. In racing, Lee O'Donnell would march through the field, taking the big win in Ironman. But, the freestyle of the night went to Morgan Kane, the newest shoe to take on driving duties of Max-D.
In the southern US, San Antonio, Texas, got two nights of action from Monster Jam, and on night one, it was a clean sweep. Adam Anderson debuted the new Grave Digger the Legend chassis last weekend, sweeping racing and freestyle on both nights. On the first night in the Alamo Dome, he would do it again, making his new piece undefeated in both racing and freestyle thus far this season. With another night of action coming, Anderson is looking hard to beat.
But, no night was more epic than the one inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. A huge line-up that included two Andersons, Neil Elliott in Max-D and many other stars hit the red clay for some intense action.
It didn't take long for things to heat up as in qualifying, as the spookiest wreck of the night saw Jim Koehler in Avenger get sideways in the final corner, but run on the sides of the tires practically halfway across the floor, and suddenly he ran straight into Chuck Werner in El Toro Loco. Both trucks suffered damage, with Koehler's taking the brunt of it. His truck would be towed to the pits, hoping to make it back out for freestyle.
Meanwhile, once again Dennis Anderson had his Grave Digger #30 rolling, making it all the way to the finals once again, and taking the win over Bari Musawwir in Spiderman, making his new truck a perfect 9-0 thus far in 2014.
Freestyle became rather interesting, as early on Cody Saucier in Monster Energy got his truck stuck not just on, but inside, the bus obstacle, and actually blocked one of the big jumps, taking out any chance for drivers to attempt a backflip. But, despite that, the biggest runs of the night came from four drivers. Koehler got the truck fixed, and again put on a show that was filled with major air, taking over the lead.
Then came Max-D and Elliott, who gave the WOW factor of the night as he twisted off the same hill that Monster Energy was stuck on, breaking off a wheel and yet still went on. With two trucks left, it was going to be up to the Andersons to get it done.
Dennis brought out his truck hoping to double down again in Atlanta, but his run fell short in bonus time, and that left one man left. His son, Ryan, roared Son-Uva Digger onto the track, which had Max-D, Digger and Monster Energy left on it, but he went on to show that sooner than later, he will have a big world title in his future.
The younger Anderson filled the clock with air, saves, and a finish that can be described as destructive. He took aim for Monster Energy, hoping to knock it free. Instead, he would hit the truck, look to the ceiling, and fall backward. It was still enough, as it would complete a family sweep in the Georgia Dome.
Next weekend the Monster Nationals will kick off for Family Events, adding to the already busy schedule for first quarter. Monster Jam again has big stadium events, including a double-header in Toronto, a return to Houston, plus events in San Diego and Tampa.
Visit AllAboutHorsepower.com for results coverage of all events, and be sure to check out Monster Nation, Monster X Tour, Monster Jam and the Monster Nationals for up-to-minute results from events.