Stone Crusher Rocks Hampton As Sims Enjoys "Weekend At Home"

By Scott Douglass
Nov 13, 2012



He’s a veteran of several impressive appearances over the past few seasons at the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World FinalsSM presented by NGK Spark Plugs and he has become a popular figure at many of the biggest annual events on the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® s chedule. Steve Sims and Stone Crusher have shot up the ranks in the sport over the past half dozen years to build fan followings all across the United States. But make no mistake about, the Virginia Beach based team brings a real rock star style status to the Hampton Coliseum every time Stone Crusher is in the line-up in that longtime Monster Jam venue, and Sims showed again last weekend how much he loves thrilling his hometown fans with huge performances in front of so many family members and friends with two nights full of awesome Stone Crusher highlights in competition against an all-star line-up.

Sims set the bar for a big weekend right off the bat on Friday night by winning the weekend’s first test, hitting a pair of huge air sky wheelies that topped the field for the win. While Sims was basking in the cheers for the win from his home state fans during an interview with Monster Jam announcer Todd Morey in front of the near capacity crowd, long time Crew Chief Tommy Powers and his team were already thrashing away underneath the big Ford. You see Sims’ wheelies were things of beauty but the landings were rough and a broken stabilizer bar had to be fixed right then and there. It was neat to see every part of that team doing its job at the highest level. Sims grabbed a Monster Jam t-shirt, put his signature on it and then headed up into the crowd to present the special piece of merchandise to a young Hampton fan, then headed back down to his truck. During that time Powers and the team worked feverishly and when Sims came back down from the grandstands and strapped back into the driver’s seat Stone Crusher was fixed and ready for racing.

The level of competition in Hampton, with a roster that included Gary Porter in Grave Digger®, Whit Tarlton in Monster Mutt®, Scott Hartsock in Gunslinger, Frank Krmel in Advance Auto Parts GrinderSM and Ryan Anderson back behind the wheel of Son-uva Digger®, was expectedly supreme and every one of the superstars there had moments to shine throughout the weekend with Sims leading the way, winning both of the wheelie contests held during the two-night event and even thought Stone Crusher did not grab the racing or freestyle wins Sims’s machine was in the thick of each battle all weekend, a tribute to both his ability to perform and his crew’s ability to keep Stone Crusher at its peak level after Sims continuously pushed it to the limit. As an example even though Grave Digger won the freestyle part of the Friday event everyone was buzzing as well about the Stone Crusher freestyle, highlighted by three of the most amazing saves of the weekend. Sims had Stone Crusher on the ragged edge but kept bringing it back for more every time out. It was clear that sleeping at home and then just driving a few minutes over to the arena worked well for Sims and his entire team.

There was a real down home family feel throughout the annual fall stop for the sport at the Hampton Coliseum and it was not just with the large contingent of Sims’ Virginia Beach area fans and family. Remember that 30 years ago the legend of Grave Digger was created in Virginia before Dennis Anderson relocated to the well known home base of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Hampton is the closest annual event on the schedule to the Grave Digger team’s current home, including Ryan Anderson and Son-uva Digger, so it was a real family affair in the pits and in the stands for Ryan as well. “It’s always a blast to go to Hampton because it is the closest Monster Jam event to our hometown” Ryan explained. “When we go to Hampton the family comes, so many friends come too, all of our friends and family get to come experience it. A lot of times it’s just Mom and Dad and Grandma and Granddad that come to the events further from home but for this one the whole family is there. So all my friends and family come out to be there to support me and they’re behind me no matter how everything goes. I’m always really excited about being there and I can’t really ask for a better place to go than to Hampton because it is basically a hometown show for us.” Ryan rewarded his legions of fans there last weekend by winning the racing championship at the Friday night Hampton event, then edging Grave Digger for the freestyle triumph at Saturday’s weekend finale.

It was interesting to hear Porter’s reaction to falling a point short of Son-uva Digger in that action packed night of freestyle action on Saturday. The classy veteran came over to congratulate Ryan on the win and lamented to the crowd that “after all those years of chasing Dennis Anderson in this sport now I’m having to chase his kids!” The great freestyle action was a real highlight each night with top level performances coming from all six of the teams in action, and the judges had a tough job scoring the spectacular freestyles. Grave Digger won it Friday, Son-uva Digger took the victory on Saturday, and there are plenty of people who were in the stands who disagreed with the judges both nights and will tell you that Stone Crusher should have won both nights. Those fans may have a little hometown bias, but they are not off base if that’s how they viewed the scoring because Sims had Stone Crusher right in the thick of the pursuit for the top score in both of the freestyles held in Hampton last weekend.

The actual win totals reflect just how balanced the results in Hampton were. Son-uva Digger and Stone Crusher each winning two disciplines, while Grave Digger and Advance Auto Parts Grinder also grabbed a victory. As usual though the winners list was topped by the Hampton fans who were treated to a pair of events chocked full of incredible competition and breathtaking performances as each team that took to the arena floor delivered time and time again over the course of the weekend. That’s why so many fans who were on hand in Hampton talked about previous trips into that building to watch some off the sport’s greats building their careers over the years. Lots of fans talked about action they had seen in the Hampton Coliseum ten or more years ago, about how much they loved coming to see the monsters in that locale when they kids, and there they were, back again this year, many now bringing their own children, enjoying some of the greatest wheelies, races, and freestyles ever in the long history of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam in the Hampton Coliseum.


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