Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam 2013: A Year Of Action Packed Highlights
Dec 17, 2013
Looking back as the 2013 calendar draws to a close and the excitement builds for 2014 and what is sure to be the greatest year of Monster Jam® ever this past year was full of so many incredible moments and highlights all over the world that had fans marveling at the amazing superstar drivers and their Monster Jam trucks, and for so many they will hold on to Monster Jam memories from 2013 for a long, long time. So before we roar into the New Year of Monster Jam thrills here’s a look back at just some of the most special Monster Jam moments of 2013 from my perspective.
The Monster Jam season opened all across North America in January of 2013 with a pair of new Monster Jam trucks, created by the fans, competing for the first time. Monster Jam fans selected ZombieSM as the new truck they would most like to see created and then Zombie became a reality, making its debut with Sean Duhon behind the driver’s wheel in Nashville on January 4th. One week later the truck created online by fans during Hispanic Heritage Month, El DiabloSM, competed for the first time in Monster Jam at Angel Stadium in Anaheim with bilingual driver J. P. Ruggerio in the driver’s seat. Both new trucks would go on to have awesome rookie seasons with El Diablo earning a berth in the Young Guns Shootout and Zombie being named to the 28-truck line-up at Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World FinalsSM XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs.
The “I Love Florida Tour” has become an annual highlight and again Monster Jam rocked major stadiums across the Sunshine State with some of the year’s biggest Wow moments coming in front of the packed houses in Florida. The first stop came in Tampa on January 19th where young phenom Ryan Anderson powered Son-uva Digger® to the Double Down trophy at an event where Max-DSM and Tom Meents had the crowd roaring by executing a back flip before the start of the freestyle competition. One week later Ryan did it again, taking both the racing and freestyle wins in Orlando. It was back to Tampa the following weekend where in front of a standing room only crowd in excess of 60,000 Monster Jam fans Damon Bradshaw claimed one of his biggest victories of the year, driving Monster Energy to the racing championship before Neil Elliott and Max-D took the freestyle triumph. In Miami Jimmy Creten took Bounty Hunter to the winner’s stage in racing while Grave Digger® and Chad Tingler claimed freestyle. In the year’s Florida stadium finale Son-uva Digger took a third Florida racing championship trophy by winning the bracket in Jacksonville. Then it was Ryan’s Dad claiming a trophy, as the Grave Digger crew fixed a broken fuel pump in racing to send Dennis Anderson and Grave Digger back for freestyle and that epic performance put the Jacksonville freestyle win in the Grave Digger column.
The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis has seen many champions but never before has Chad Fortune in Captain America brought home a victory from this stadium against such a tough field of competition. In one of the biggest triumphs of his career Fortune wheeled Captain America to a semifinal victory over Adam Anderson in Grave Digger the Legend® and then knocked off Grave Digger in the UTI Championship Round Race to take home the hardware.
Once again the hottest ticket in Hotlanta during the winter months was for the return of Monster Jam to the Georgia Dome. Every seat in that spacious facility was sold well in advance and the huge crowd was treated to a star studded line-up that delivered incredible racing and freestyle thrills all night. It was the 21st straight year that fans in Atlanta have packed into that dome for Monster Jam and Dennis Anderson and Grave Digger have competed there in the majority of those annual events. During many of Grave Digger’s trips to the Georgia Dome in the early years the results were not kind, Anderson may have felt almost cursed there but that has all changed in recent Atlanta Monster Jam events. In 2013 Grave Digger dominated and for the second straight year Anderson left Georgia with the Double Down trophy in hand.
Epic is one way to describe Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. As fans flocked to Vegas for the event from all across the globe Joe Sylvester etched his name into the history books by winning the Young Guns Shootout in Bad Habit to highlight the amazing Double Down experience for the fans there. Then more history was made during the intense battles for the Monster Jam World Championships first with Adam Anderson driving the Legend to the racing title, making Adam just the 4th driver ever to have won both the racing championship and a freestyle crown. In the freestyle competition Tom Meents extended his record for championships to 11 as Max-D claimed another World Freestyle Championship. Much of the buzz after the event amongst the fans was about the incredible Max-D multi-back flip encore, a prefect prelude to the upcoming 15th edition of the biggest event in the sport next year when a record setting 32 Monster Jam trucks will battle for the World Championships as the event expands to a three-day format with the Double Down on Thursday March 20, followed by the incredible 32 truck race bracket on Friday and an all freestyle Saturday night that will have to be seen live to be believed!
Moving into the spring of 2013 the ever expanding Monster Jam World Tour made history in a new part of the world as an incredible line-up ventured father from North America than ever before, all the way to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the first Monster Jam ever contested in the Middle East. With a roaring crowd that was obviously thrilled to see the sport live for the first time it was Grave Digger that made the most history with driver Carl Van Horn powering the black and green wrecking machine to the racing championship and then to the freestyle win with an off the hook performance that earned Grave Digger the Double Down trophy at the Abu Dhabi debut. That was just the beginning as the sport’s superstars logged more miles than ever before across Canada, Europe, Mexico, and then venturing all the way to Australia in October for the debut live down under in front of more than 50,000 fans at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium. After World Racing Champion Adam Anderson in Grave Digger The Legend added the first historic trophy winning the Aussie race bracket it would be Ryan Anderson who would get the crowd on their feet for the loudest ovation with a ragged edge Son-uva Digger freestyle run as the Anderson clan claimed all the hardware from Australia.
In the summer months the Path of Destruction was the talk of the Monster Jam fans, first at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and then to the shadows of New York City for the second ever Monster Jam at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Great on track racing excitement saw reigning World Champion Adam Anderson drive Grave Digger the Legend to the racing trophy in Baltimore, which extended his round racing win streak at that point to 17 straight races. That streak was snapped the following week at MetLife Stadium where Linsey Weenk and Lucas Oil Crusader® took the racing trophy. Freestyle on the Path of Destruction was all about the current World Championship team with Max-D celebrating the Decade of Maximum Destruction with wins in both huge stadiums, Tom Meents claiming the freestyle trophy in Baltimore and teammate Neil Elliott winning freestyle in the New York City market.
While 2013 saw incredible expansion of Monster Jam on the World Tour there were also first time events on the US schedule as well, maybe none more anticipated than the first ever Monster Jam at the legendary Eldora Speedway owned by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart. With some of the biggest names in the game battling in this initial competition on these hallowed sprint car grounds Grave Digger, Max-D, and Son-uva Digger all won trophies during the two nights of awesome action. Another tradition rich sprint car race track, Knoxville Speedway in Iowa, was also added to the Monster Jam schedule for the first time in 2013.
The final Monster Jam of 2013 was one for the ages, one final amazing day and night at the Minneapolis Metrodome where for some three decades Monster Jam fans have packed in, and that legendary building has seen some of the most spectacular moments in Monster Jam history. So it was fitting that the amazing 2013 year of Monster Jam came to an end on an epic night with an incredible line-up throwing down one more time there, an amazing final night in the storied history of Monster Jam in the Metrodome. As incredible as the action was in 2013, get ready because the thrills will be even bigger and better throughout Monster Jam 2014!