El Toro Loco And Marc McDonald Shed Bridemaid Status In Minneapolis

By Scott Douglass
Dec 4, 2012

Ever since Marc McDonald got behind the wheel of an El Toro Loco® truck in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® competition that team has established a reputation as one of the fastest racing teams in the sport, yet so often over the past few years at some of the biggest events on the schedule El Toro Loco would see great racing nights come up one victory short of the ultimate goal by finishing in the runner-up spot. Last Saturday night at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, against a powerful 16 truck line-up McDonald was able to break through to the winner’s stage at a Speed televised event when El Toro Loco edged Monster Energy and Damon Bradshaw in the UTI Championship Round Race to cap an unpredictable bracket that saw some of the biggest names in the game struggle throughout the race program.

With another huge Minneapolis crowd cheering wildly for their favorites throughout, McDonald was consistently fast round after round on the challenging race course, defeating three of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam’s top guns on his march to victory. El Toro Loco knocked off Tom Meents and Max-DSM in the first round, Ryan Anderson and Son-uva Digger® in round two, and then Adam Anderson and Grave Digger the Legend® in the semi-finals before vanquishing Monster Energy to claim the Championship Race trophy, which he immediately went on to give to a thrilled El Toro Loco fan in the Minneapolis grandstands after his emotional winner’s interview on the championship stage in the Metrodome where it was obvious just how important that final round win was to Marc and his top level team.

Even though McDonald powered El Toro Loco to a pair of stadium racing championships earlier this year at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, 2012 was proving to be a season where El Toro Loco was more often left in the bridesmaid role, a status that McDonald was thrilled to finally shed last Saturday night at that mega event. McDonald’s two most recent appearances on Speed saw him get El Toro into the final round race at the Path of Destruction events in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and the week before that in Philadelphia, but at both of those high profile TV racing events he finished the night in second place as El Toro Loco lost to Adam and Grave Digger the Legend in Met Life Stadium just outside of New York City, and was the victim of Dennis Anderson and Grave Digger® in the UTI Championship Round at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly. That run of second place finishes was put to rest with El Toro Loco’s racing championship last weekend in the Metrodome.

During his interview in front of the Speed cameras and that large Minnesota crowd after defeating Monster Energy McDonald heaped praise on El Toro Loco Crew Chief Dennis “Bucky” Foltz, and with good reason. On a night where several teams had to thrash often and fight mechanical issues Foltz and the El Toro Loco team had McDonald’s piece running at peak performance all night and that included in freestyle where McDonald took a valiant run at the Double Down trophy with a crowd pleasing El Toro Loco freestyle run. The list of trucks that had to overcome mechanical woes during the event included several of the sport’s elite, with Grave Digger and Max-D at the top of that list. After setting the fastest time in qualifying Grave Digger was unable to fire for round one and an extremely upset Dennis Anderson found himself on the sidelines for the intense race bracket. When Meents was eliminated from the racing bracket he also suffered a broken planetary on Max-D at the conclusion of that race, all of which sent the Grave Digger and Max-D teams into full thrashing mode. To no surprise both of those talented crews of technicians were up to the challenge as Digger and Max-D both returned to the Metrodome floor for the freestyle competition.

That freestyle competition was packed full of thrills from start to finish and according to the judges’ scores the results were extremely close on an exciting new freestyle course designed by Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam officials. When the incredible action was complete it was Ryan Anderson who successfully defended his freestyle title from this event in 2011 as Son-uva Digger’s ragged edge high flying performance was scored one point better than Grave Digger’s to cap the young Anderson’s triumphant return to stadium competition. Despite missing the Path of Destruction and European stadium events due to injury, Son-uva Digger’s freestyle championship in Minneapolis was that team’s seventh stadium freestyle win of 2012, a total that is the best in the sport for this year. Neil Elliott comes closest to Ryan Anderson’s total with five 2012 stadium freestyle championships in his Max-D. No other driver/Monster Jam truck combination has won more than 4 stadium freestyle competitions since the beginning of 2012. You better believe Ryan Anderson and Son-uva Digger are back and primed to be even more spectacular in freestyle as we are just a month away from the start of the busy first quarter of 2013 that will culminate at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas at Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World FinalsSM XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs. There are tons of thrills fans will be enjoying all over North America on that “Road to Vegas” but based on last weekend’s performance and the body of Son-uva Digger’s work earlier in 2012 you have to consider Ryan Anderson and Son-uva Digger the freestyle pre-season favorite to win the World Freestyle Championship, a title that both his father and brother have claimed in the past.  

As noted in this space a week ago, the annual trip to Minneapolis each fall falls into two categories for most, closing one calendar but year but in many ways it is the green light on the new Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam season. The 16 teams in action last weekend seemed to take the latter attitude, with virtually every driver and crew member pointing toward the success that they are each planning for in what is sure to be a spectacular 2013 not just for these competitors, but especially for the fans who continue to be thrilled as these superstars raise the bar on virtually a weekly basis. There are so many incredible thrills just around the corner, which is why tickets to 2013 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam events as well as so many of the cool items available on line at the Monster Jam store are going to be so popular as gifts for so many this upcoming holiday season.


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