Meet The Remainder Of The Field For The Monster Jam World Finals XIV
Mar 5, 2013
MEET THE REMAINDER OF THE FIELD FOR ADVANCE AUTO PARTS MONSTER JAM WORLD FINALSSM XIV
PRESENTED BY NGK SPARK PLUGS
Continuing to get ready for the biggest weekend in the sport, Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World FinalsSM XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs March 22 and 23 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, this is the final of the three part series introducing the players in the sport’s biggest weekend. This week we meet the 13 remaining teams that will complete the expanded 28 Monster Jam truck field that will compete for the two World Championships.
BatmanTM – Norm Miller: A resident of Warren, Oregon, where he is a police Lieutenant, Miller’s weekday job makes him the perfect fit to drive the awesome black machine inspired by one of the world’s most popular super heroes. Miller fills big shoes behind the wheel of the machine that John Seasock drove to back-to-back World Racing Championships in 2007 and 2008, bringing an impressive resume himself to the ride in his Monster Jam driving career that dates back some 13 years. A big hit at the Party in the Pits wherever it appears, Batman closely resembles the iconic Batmobile made famous not just in the comic books but also on television and in the movies. Featuring the appearance of triple jet engines sticking out the back, its sleek black color, and huge wings standing high in the air, Batman grabs the attention of fans and the talented Miller is known for flying the truck around arenas and stadiums in spectacular fashion. Before earning the coveted Batman ride Miller logged time as a driver for some of the sport’s best known teams, including stints as a pilot for Team Grave Digger®, Blue Thunder®, Black Smith, and Bearfoot. Motorsports is a family affair for Miller, who often travels with his family in support of his daughter Alisha, a championship level quarter-midget racer.
Blue Thunder® – Pablo Huffaker (2007 World Freestyle Champion): One of the most successful drivers in World Finals history adds to his legacy at the event sporting the Blue Thunder body style for the first time in his pursuit of another World Championship. The longest tenured Team Grave Digger driver other than Dennis Anderson, the veteran of more than 30 years in Monster Jam has previously competed at the World Finals driving Black Smith, Captain’s Curse (the truck he drove to his world title in ’07), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Ragin’ Steel, and even once in Grave Digger when he was tabbed to sub for the injured Anderson at World Finals IV. Huffaker’s long tenure in the sport has seen him impact the sport away from the track as well as his impressive accomplishments as a driver, his RaceSource shop continues to be a real innovator in Monster Jam technology, building, and design. The family support has always been a major part of Huffaker’s success with his wife and grandson often at the track with him, and his son Ryan drives for the El Toro Loco team in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam competition. Pablo is the fourth winningest driver in rounds of racing in World Finals history.
Iron ManTM – Lee O’Donnell: One of the most exotic and popular truck designs on the circuit today, Iron Man is another wildly popular machine bringing Marvel thrills to the sport and New jersey native Lee O’Donnell has racked up a collection of major victories since landing the ride after working his way up the ladder as maybe the best known “hired hand” ever. An accomplished off-road racer, O’Donnell began to transition into Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam more than a decade ago when he was at the top of every team’s list as a fill-in driver and racked up several major wins in racing competition during those years, that success eventually landing O’Donnell the full time Iron Man ride in 2010. From there the wins have continued and O’Donnell heads to Las Vegas off the momentum of a successful 2013 first quarter that has featured multiple event racing championships, highlighted by Iron Man winning the racing trophy when O’Donnell bested a star-studded line-up at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
Metal Mulisha – Todd Leduc: Another talented shoe to enter the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam world after an impressive career in off-road racing, LeDuc stunned the sport when, in his first ever World Finals competition last year, he took home the Double Down trophy when Metal Mulisha set the fast qualifying time for World Finals XIII. LeDuc made his Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam debut when he took over Blue Thunder after Linsey Weenk joined the Lucas Oil team, and immediately turned heads with a series of impressive performances in that rookie season. Among those taking notice of Leduc’s on-track feats was the 13-time X-Games medalist Brian Deegan and when “The General” brought the Metal Mulisha to Monster Jam LeDuc was selected to get into the drivers’ seat when Deegan was not behind the wheel of Metal Mulisha. Leduc also has a background in the thrilling sport of downhill mountain bike racing where he won two national championships before joining with his father and brother to extend the legacy of the LeDuc name in off-road racing. It was there that he first met Lee O’Donnell, and their friendship aided Todd as he too moved into Monster Jam, and again this year both of the off-road veterans are a part of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam’s grandest event.
Mohawk Warrior® – George Balhan: having created his own huge fan base that proudly calls itself “Mohawk Nation” Balhan returns to the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals for the ninth time trying to improve one more spot on his best ever Las Vegas finish, earning the runner-up score in the battle for the 2010 World Freestyle Championship. After making his name racing quads Balhan got his first opportunity in Monster Jam back in 2003 and made his unnamed Escalade Monster Jam truck one of the most popular and hip machines in the industry. Eventually Balhan was ready to take his signature Mohawk hairstyle and incorporate that into the theme of his Monster Jam truck, and that became reality in 2010 when Mohawk Warrior was unveiled in Las Vegas. Mohawk Warrior has been one of the most popular trucks in the sport since that debut and Balhan has stepped up his game as well since Mohawk Warrior entered the sport, having won both racing and freestyle championship trophies at some of the biggest annual events on the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam circuit. Balhan has also been a popular addition to events on the Monster Jam World Tour as he expands the Mohawk Nation into the Mohawk Universe.
Monster Mutt® Dalmatian – Candice Jolly: In just a few years Candice has made the spotted mutt one of the most popular fixtures at the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals and the “Dalmatian Nation” makes a huge impact at both the Double Down and the World Finals Party in the Pits where the Monster Mutt Dalmatian fashion show has become a huge hit among fans. The native of Naples, Florida, was raised in a motorsports family and has been racing herself since the age of 8. That vast amount of on the track experience in vehicles as varied as go-karts and swamp buggies has made her one of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam’s quickest starters, Candice being known for cutting such great starting lights that she normally leads her opponent as soon as the lights turn green. Jolly has powered her part of the Mutt operation to many wins in her career in both racing and freestyle, still she says that the Party in the Pits and the special relationships she has with her fans is her favorite part of being in the sport. A frequent visitor at children’s hospitals and supporter of a variety of children’s charities, Jolly and the Monster Mutt Dalmatian are a big part of the Make-A-Wish festivities that are a huge addition to the World Finals each year.
Scooby DooTM – Nicole Johnson: Sure to be the most popular first-time truck to compete at the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals presented by NGK Spark Plugs, the world famous mystery solving canine Scooby Doo has been an instant hit since debuting earlier this year. Budding superstar Nicole Johnson got the opportunity to drive Scooby Doo when it debuted this past January and now both she and Scooby will make their first ever start in the sport’s greatest event. The Las Vegas resident has competed at Sam Boyd Stadium once before, having been a part of the first ever Young Guns Shootout in 2012 where she made it all the way to the Young Guns Shootout Championship race driving Advance Auto Parts Grinder, finishing in the runner-up spot. Before getting her first chance to compete in Monster Jam when she took over the reins of the Tasmanian Devil, Johnson competed at a high level in rock crawling competitions and in off-road racing. The mother of two takes great pride in setting a positive example for her young fans and being a major part of the women’s movement in the sport today.
Son-uva Digger® – Ryan Anderson: You can call him “The Natural”, or you can call him “The Phenom” for now, but most observers believe that you will eventually call Ryan Anderson “World Champion” a title that both his father and brother have earned. This will be the second appearance in the World Finals as a competitor for Ryan in Son-uva Digger, yet to this point his most famous moment in Vegas came in the encore of World Finals XII where he debuted Son-uva Digger with a breathtaking exhibition freestyle that rates as one of the most memorable performances in the history of the event. Growing up the son of the most popular Monster Jam driver of all-time, Ryan has seen the amazing popularity of Dennis Anderson and Grave Digger grow year after year and since joining the sport in his own “Digger style” ride Ryan has cultivated new fans while still embracing his Dad’s huge fan base. While his truck’s name is an extension of the moniker his father created, the design of Son-uva Digger is a tribute to his grandfather, Son-uva Digger’s 1950’s version Willys style body a throw back to his Grandpa’s own hot rod from back in the day. Ryan has made a huge impact from day one in the sport and has put together an incredible string of freestyle wins at major stadiums and in arenas since Son-uva Digger’s debut, and in 2013 Son-uva Digger has become one of the winningest stadium racing teams in Monster Jam.
Spider-ManTM – Bari Musawwir: One of the great success stories in recent Monster Jam history, Musawwir became a champion racing R/C cars and trucks, then got an opportunity to earn a tryout for a Monster Jam team where he was so impressive that he now finds himself behind the wheel of one of the highest profile rides in the game, Spider-man, and will make history in 2013, becoming the first African American driver to compete in the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals. Musawwir’s addition to this year’s field is truly deserving based not just on his impressive winning record this year, but also based on his history making night in Las Vegas in 2012 when Musawwir drive Spider-man to the first ever Young Guns ShootoutSM Championship. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, who now calls central Florida home, Musawwir made his Monster Jam debut in 2010 on the World Tour in Panama driving Backwards Bob and then joined the El Toro Loco team the following year. Bari took over in the cockpit of Spider-man at the start of 2012 and has moved quickly to the sport’s headline level, not only winning the first Young Guns title but also making huge impressions on the Monster Jam Path of Destruction and the Monster Jam World Tour.
Stone Crusher – Steve Sims: This successful Virginia Beach based businessman met Grave Digger’s Dennis Anderson in 2005 and by 2006 created his own team in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam and his outfit has seen a meteoric rise in the sport ever since. Sims created Stone Crusher and planned to operate his Monster Jam team strictly as the owner, but when a driver was needed at the last minute at an event Sims was ready for his next challenge, stepping into the driver’s compartment and he has been both an owner and driver ever since and is now a regular at the World Finals. Sims’ expanding team is known for fielding state-of-the-art equipment that Steve isn’t afraid to push to the limits, especially in freestyle. Since getting involved in the sport Sims has pushed to make sure his team has the best of everything, including in the pits where he employs one of the most respected Crew Chiefs in the sport, Tommy Powers. The name Stone Crusher comes from Sims’ successful business, Custom Stone Company. Double Down Friday at Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs figures to be one of the greatest days of his Monster Jam career since not only will Steve drive Stone Crusher in the qualifying round of the World Finals, his son Steven will make his maiden Vegas voyage when he takes Hooked into the Young Guns Shootout.
SupermanTM – Jon Zimmer: After joining Team Grave Digger at the start of 2013 and having posted one of the best won-loss records in the sport this year, Zimmer gets the chance to compete again at the World Finals in 2013 as he takes Superman into this competition. A native of Vermont, Zimmer first appeared in the World Finals driving Shock Therapy in 2010. Having been in motorsports for most of his life Zimmer developed a love for Monster Jam trucks and entered the sport working for the Pennsylvania based teams of John Seasock when he drove Sudden Impact and Andy Slifko’s Eradicator. Learning the ropes from those teams Zimmer was ready when a driving opportunity opened up and he impressed fans and industry insiders alike in his days driving Shock Therapy which culminated with that first invitation to Las Vegas to battle in World Finals XI. His sensational season for Team Grave Digger makes him a natural pick to take the wildly popular Superman Monster Jam truck onto the track for this year’s World Championship competitions.
Team Hot Wheels® Firestorm – Scott Buetow: The Chicago area driver Buetow makes his Advance Auto Parts World Finals debut this year behind the wheel of Team Hot Wheels Firestorm. Beutow’s first competition at Sam Boyd Stadium came one year ago when he was a part of the first ever Young Guns Shootout. Away from the track Buetow is a Senior Design Engineer and designs linear combustion motors for gas powered nail guns. Scott has 20 years of engineering under his belt as well as 10 United States Patents and has applied for numerous more. On the track moving to Team Hot Wheels has been a great fit as the enthusiastic Beutow has become one of the most improved driver’s in the sport while at the same time promoting the popular line of Hot Wheels Monster Jam toys for the Mattel team. While Hot Wheels has been a major participant in the sport for years and has had its name on the side of Monster Jam trucks previously, the new Team Hot Wheels Monster Jam truck first appeared in 2012. Team Hot Wheels created the ultimate truck and the name Firestorm was selected by the fans. The Team Hot Wheels Firestorm is the first Monster Jam truck of its kind, constructed with state-of-the-art laminate technology. Made of carbon fiber, Kevlar and E-glass (which is used to make some of the parts found on the International Space Station), the body weighs half that of a normal fiberglass body and the awesome body style and design has proven to be incredibly popular with fans worldwide.
ZombieSM – Sean Duhon: When fans at Monsterjam.com were asked to pick the newest Monster Jam truck Zombie was a runaway of that vote and Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam listened, creating Zombie and debuting the machine in 2013 with veteran driver Sean Duhon earning the opportunity to drive the Fans Choice machine. Duhon has embraced his new piece and the fan base immediately and often can be seen in Zombie make-up during the Party in the Pits which has made the Zombie experience for fans even more popular. Born in New Orleans, Duhon still calls the Crescent City home and along with a lifelong love of motorsports Sean has a background in law enforcement before becoming a Monster Jam driver full time. Duhon has been competing in the sport since 2005 and has had previous stints as the driver of T-Maxx, Sudden Impact, Cult Energy, and Superman. Now Sean has found a popular new home, thrilling fans behind the wheel of the truck that they created, Zombie.
That completes our look at all of the competitors set to battle at Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs. Be sure to check monsterjam.com every day as we head to the sport’s biggest event for continuing World Finals information and updates, and make sure you download the FREE Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam APP. Lots of World Finals updates will be available first on the APP, including my odds for the entire field in the 2nd annual Young Guns ShootoutSM which will be released on the Monster Jam APP this coming Thursday.