Weenk Makes Early 2013 Statement With Lucas Oil Crusader's Houston Triumph

By Scott Douglass
Jan 15, 2013

We are on the fast track on the road to Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World FinalsSM XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs March 22nd and 23rd at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas and early in this New Year Linsey Weenk and the Lucas Oil Crusader® have already served notice that they plan to make 2013 the year that they make a major charge toward winning their first World Racing Championship by claiming the racing trophy against a line-up absolutely stacked with some of the top contenders for this year’s title when they collided head-to-head last Saturday night at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

Make no mistake about it, every would be contender for this year’s world racing crown is well aware that the route to the 14th World Racing Championship goes through Max-DSM territory. When the elite in the sport arrive in Vegas in a couple of months Tom Meents will again be the favorite to do it again, having won the last two racing championships to increase his record setting total to 10 World Championships. With Meents competing in Anaheim last weekend where Young Gun Donald Epidendio in Titan made a big-time statement as well, it was in Texas where Weenk blasted Lucas Oil Crusader onto the track against several of the other likely title contenders, a group that all was returning to Reliant Stadium to back up wins racked up in recent years, and when the dust settled it was Weenk and Crew Chief Mike Christensen hoisting up the Houston racing winner’s hardware. That Championship Round Racing victory came at an event where the field included several former world championship drivers, a group that included Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter, Madusa®, Advance Auto Parts GrinderSM pilot Lupe Soza, as well as Grave Digger® and Dennis Anderson, the team that Lucas Oil Crusader came out on top of in the final race of a crowd pleasing night in Houston.

Weenk backed up the win in Houston that he claimed at this event in January of 2012, but to get this one he had to best a roster that included several drivers who also had won the racing trophy in their most recent Reliant Stadium competition. Anderson and Creten fit into that category and so did Lee O’Donnell in Iron ManTM and Alex Blackwell and Captain’s Curse®. Max-D’s Kreg Christensen, another former Houston winner, was also in last Saturday night’s bracket to add even more gravitas to the huge accomplishment for the Lucas Oil Crusader team. Coming into the night everyone knew it was Star Wars in Houston, and it’s hard to remember an event where the superstar line-up competing included that many drivers who had won in their most recent trip to a specific venue. With multiple drivers back in Houston who had won their most recent trip to Reliant Stadium the night started with all of the previously mentioned drivers looking for a Houston winning streak but there was only one racing trophy available, only one team would be able to carry forward a win string in Houston, and that team is Weenk’s Lucas Oil Crusader.

Lucas Oil Crusader benefited from electrical troubles that struck Grave Digger mid-way through what was going to be a nail biter of a finish in the UTI Championship Round Race. Weenk and Anderson had consistently posted the fastest laps all night from qualifying through each round of racing, and the pair’s times in their separate semifinal round wins were separated by only .03 second, so it was clear that the two fastest Monster Jam trucks made in to the racing finale and when they pulled to the line it was truly set to be either truck’s race. The pair were virtually even when the mechanical woes slowed Grave Digger and Lucas Oil Crusader soared across the finish line to score the huge win in the event that will be shown during this year’s Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® on Speed broadcast schedule.

While Weenk and Lucas Oil Crusader made a big impression and established important early season racing momentum for what has to be one of the most likely teams to take the step up to World Championship level if this is a year that we will see a first time titlist, arguably it was Epidendio and Titan that caught the most attention among Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam competitors and fans alike when the driver who was so impressive in 2012 that he earned a berth in the first ever Young Guns Shootout last March during the Double Down festivities at the World Finals took another huge leap forward in his career by winning the racing bracket at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Talk about making a statement! Epidendio powered Titan to victories over Meents in Max-D, Charlie Pauken and Grave Digger, and then Adam Anderson in Grave Digger the Legend® to claim the biggest racing triumph of his exploding Monster Jam career.

With great action thrilling fans in 11 different cities last weekend the winner list in Championship Races, along with Lucas Oil Crusader and Titan included John Seasock and Advance Auto Parts Grinder as well as George Balhan in Mohawk Warrior®, each of whom grabbed a race trophy at the Alamodome in San Antonio; Neil Elliott and Max-D won racing at Ford Field in Detroit in route to taking the Double Down trophy there; Pablo Huffaker drove Grave Digger to a sweep of all three wins in Wichita; Brandon Derrow in Bad News Travels Fast and all-time great Dan Patrick in Samson tasted victory in Evansville; Ryan Anderson grabbed a pair of the Hidalgo racing wins in Son-uva Digger, where Carl Van Horn in Grave Digger and Rod Wood in McGruff also each claimed one of the racing trophies; Randy Brown in Grave Digger and Mark Hall driving Raminator shared the racing victories in Greensboro; Steve Sims in Stone Crusher, Gary Porter in Grave Digger, and Whit Tarlton in Monster Mutt each won a Championship Race during the three event weekend in Charlotte; Young Gun Morgan Kane powered Iron Man to one of the racing wins in North Charleston with Jim Tracey getting the other triumph behind the wheel of Higher Education; while Ed Eckert in Full Boar and Mike Vaters in Black Stallion split the racing victories in Knoxville. With so many great events taking place last weekend several top veterans and rising stars all stepped up looking toward building that sought after early season momentum by outgunning their competition in racing action last weekend.

This year 28 drivers and their Monster Jam® trucks, the most ever, will earn the opportunity to compete for the World Racing Championship at Sam Boyd Stadium and these are the weeks when the coveted invitations to Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World FinalsSM XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs are being earned. Everyone is looking for the signature victories that will cement their spot in the ultimate 28 truck bracket, and Weenk with his Lucas Oil Crusader and Epidendio and Titan lead the way among those putting their names at the top of the list in last week’s action.

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