World Finals XIV Sure To Be The Perfect Wrap-Up To The Epic First Quarter Of 2013
Mar 12, 2013
With the huge haulers containing Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® trucks from all across the continent heading to Las Vegas for the spectacle that will be Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World FinalsSM XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs March 22 and 23 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, the annual battle for the sport’s championships will be a fitting wrap on a first quarter of 2013 that has been absolutely epic. This amazing year has seen incredible action that has thrilled fans in arenas and stadiums all over North America, and it has been a phenomenal, record setting year already. With the bar being raised on a weekly basis so far this year the excitement for what will surely be the biggest and best World Finals ever is at a fever pitch.
An analysis of the amazing events that we’ve seen in 2013 has to start with the most incredible fans in the world. Along with the creative signs that so many fans make and bring to the events to support their Monster Jam® heroes the most common sign in evidence at Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam venues this year has said simply: SOLD OUT! Coast-to-coast, border-to-border, and across the Maple Leaf Monster Jam® Tour the unbelievable support of the fans has seen so many stadiums and arenas hosting Monster Jam action with every seat in the grandstands filled. The electricity that these huge crowds have been generating has pushed the drivers and crews to perform at amazing levels and the on-track action so far this year points to a trip to Las Vegas sure to take this incredible sport to new heights.
On the track the superstars in the sport have in many cases raised their games to the highest level ever, and examining the season long volume of statistics for both racing and freestyle it’s obvious that the battles for World Championships in Las Vegas figure to be the most wide open and possibly unpredictable that we’ve ever seen at Monster Jam’s grandest event.
Examining the results at domes and stadiums because those mega-events with huge fields of great trucks competing on massive racing courses and obstacle laden freestyle tracks are the best predictor of what to watch for at the World Finals, it’s significant to note that 15 different Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam drivers have won at least one racing trophy in a dome or stadium race bracket in 2013. The most recent addition to that list may be the most impactful looking toward Vegas: that would be Max-D winning the racing trophy last weekend at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, the first stadium racing championship of this year claimed by 10-time World Champion Tom Meents. The two-time defending and six-time overall World Racing Champion has seen a first quarter of 2013 filled with mechanical issues and shocking upsets that turned around with the huge win last week in Syracuse, and announcer Greg Whitacre, who was on the microphone to call Max-D’sSM Syracuse triumph, tells me it was clear how thrilled Meents was to finally get the monkey off his back of a winless 2013, and Greg says that the confidence from Meents looking ahead to the return to Las Vegas is obvious.
Meents became the 15th different driver to claim at least one stadium racing trophy so far in 2013. At the top of the racing trophy winners list on the big tracks this year are a pair of superstars who are absolutely on their game this year, two of the most accomplished stars in the sport with great talent and fast Monster Jam trucks who share an incredible motivation based on this fact: neither has ever won the World Racing Championship. That reference is to Bounty Hunter’s Jim Creten and Monster Energy’s Damon Bradshaw, who tie for the top spot on the 2013 stadium winners roster having claimed the Championship Round victory at 4 different stadium racing brackets each so far this season. Both Bradshaw and Creten have come within inches of winning the sport’s ultimate racing prize in the past and the momentum they’ve each generated in 2013 figures to have both of them rolling into Vegas brimming with confidence that this will be the year they get their hands on the biggest racing trophy in the sport.
Right behind Bounty Hunter and Monster Energy on the stadium championship list this year are trucks driven by a trio of drivers who all have the same last name. Grave Digger’s® Dennis Anderson and his sons, Adam in Grave Digger the Legend® and Ryan in Son-uva Digger® all have three stadium racing championships in 2013.The only other teams with more than one stadium racing trophy to their credit this year are Lucas Oil Crusader’s Linsey Weenk, Max-D’s Neil Elliott, and this year’s biggest breakout star, Donald Epidendio in Titan who each have two new pieces of racing championship hardware added to their trophy cases over the first three months of this year.
Going a little further in depth while checking the racing stats, when you break the results down to individual rounds of racing this year Weenk tops the list. Lucas Oil Crusader has a sterling won-loss record of 21 wins versus only 6 losses in rounds of stadium racing this year, two more wins than Adam Anderson has. Grave Digger the Legend has an impressive record of 19 wins and 4 losses round by round. Percentage wise though it’s Adam’s little brother leading the way, Son-uva Digger having posted a 93.8% winning ledger round by round at this season’s stadium races based on his sterling mark of 15 wins in 16 rounds of stadium racing this year. On that list Creten has the second best slate, Bounty Hunter having won 90% of the time in stadium one-on-one match-ups.
Flipping over to freestyle results on the huge tracks the list of winners also has fifteen different names on it, topped by Dennis Anderson and Grave Digger with six stadium freestyle championships. Here is another category where the balanced talent of Adam Anderson again is in evidence; Grave Digger the Legend is also second here with 4 stadium freestyle triumphs. Here’s another stat many fans will find interesting: when you look at every stadium freestyle run in 2013 the driver in the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals field with the highest average freestyle score is Team Grave Digger’s Jon Zimmer, who will switch over to drive Superman in Las Vegas. That stat is impressive and a feather in Zimmer’s cap and is a tribute to his ability and his crew’s knack for keeping his piece ready to go at freestyle time. Interestingly reigning World Freestyle Champion Cam McQueen in Northern Nightmare has one of the lowest averages, but if you think that means the current champ has lost his freestyle luster, I would simply say “not so fast my friend”. A closer look at the numbers shows that McQueen actually has put up some great numbers on the judges’ scorecards in freestyle and has a stadium freestyle win this year, but one malfunction where Northern Nightmare suffered mechanical problems as soon as the run started resulted with a score of just 3 for that appearance, which of course artificially forces his season average way down.
A look inside all the numbers adds up to one thing - 2013 is sure to be the most unpredictable and possibly the most spectacular trip to Las Vegas that the sport has ever seen. All that looking ahead will become reality soon at Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs.