Pauken Looking Forward To This Weekend
Jan 5, 2011
Pauken Looks To Finally Bring Team Grave Digger A Ford Field Trophy
Here we go. The Road To Vegas officially kicks off this weekend with a slew of awesome Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam events scheduled, and I have the pleasure of working at one of the sport’s true showplaces, Ford Field in Detroit where freestyle fireworks should be on display as reigning World Champion Charlie Pauken and eight time World Champion Tom Meents will battle each other and a line-up full of some of the sport’s best.
For Pauken there is so much going on here. He’s been known as one of the top performers in the sport for more than a decade but for the first time Chucky starts a New Year as the World Champion, and to grab the win in Detroit he’ll have to outshine Meents right off the bat. Then there is the fact that in the previous five trips for the sport to Ford Field, Grave Digger has never won the race bracket or the freestyle competition. It may be a little premature to call it a Grave Digger curse in Ford Field, but the fact remains that in the massive Team Grave Digger trophy case there is not a single piece that says Ford Field on it.
Think about it this way. How many facilities can you name where Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam competes annually where there has never been a Grave Digger victory? Frankly, I can’t think of any right off the top of my head, except Ford Field. Dennis Anderson has competed here twice. Randy Brown took a turn bringing his black and green wrecking machine to the Motor City. Pablo Huffaker came the closest to taking a trophy out of Ford Field when he put Grave Digger into the Championship Race in 2007, but he lost that battle to Tony Farrrell in Blue Thunder. Even Chad Tingler gave it a try but couldn’t put Team Grave Digger on the winner’s stage. Now it’s Charlie Pauken’s turn.
For the record, here is the list of winners in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam’s five previous events held in beautiful Ford Field:
2010: Fast qualifier –Dennis Anderson/Grave Digger; Championship Race, Adam Anderson/Taz defeated Linsey Weenk/Blue Thunder; Freestyle champion, Weenk/Blue Thunder
2009: Fast qualifier – Linsey Weenk/Blue Thunder; Championship Race, John Seasock/Batman defeated Ricky Ownley/Mopar Magic; Freestyle champion, Weenk/Blue Thunder
2008: Fast qualifier – Jim Koehler/Avenger; Championship Race, Linsey Weenk/Blue Thunder defeated Michael Vaters/Black Stallion; Freestyle champion, Koehler/Avenger
2007: Fast qualifier – Tom Meents/Maximum Destruction; Championship Race, Tony Farrell/Blue Thunder defeated Pablo Huffaker/Grave Digger; Freestyle champion, Meents/Maximum Destruction
2006: Fast qualifier – Dennis Anderson/Grave Digger; Championship Race, Linsey Weenk/Iron Outlaw defeated Tony Farrell/Blue Thunder; Freestyle champion, Adam Anderson/106.7 The Drive
In racing here’s a trend to keep in mind. The fastest qualifier in Ford Field has never gone on to win the racing bracket. As a matter of fact only once, last year, has the fastest qualifier even made it to round two. In 2010 fast qualifier Dennis Anderson made it into the semifinals in Grave Digger where he lost to his son, Adam who then took Taz to the Championship Race victory over Linsey Weenk, the most successful driver in Ford Field’s five year history in the sport. Before that the fast qualifier lost in the first round three times, and the other time it was Dennis Anderson again with the fastest run in time trials in 2006 and he did win his first round race that year but mechanical problems eliminated him after round one. Maybe it’s not a Grave Digger curse, maybe it is a curse on the fastest qualifier. Or you can look it at from another point of view, in that the fast qualifier may not race well in Ford Field, but three times after the racing disappointment the fast racing qualifier did redeem himself by winning freestyle.
We’re used to seeing Grave Digger at some point winning something just about everywhere, so it’s up to Pauken to try to snap the Digger’s Ford Field losing streak this weekend. Of course racing notwithstanding, it’s in freestyle where Pauken brings in the World Championship pedigree, but it will take, I’m sure, a World Finals caliber performance to take that trophy in this stacked line-up that also includes World Finals veterans like Marc McDonald, the fastest qualifier in Las Vegas last March in El Toro Loco, along with Jon Zimmer who looked so strong in his Vegas debut driving Shock Therapy, and there’s Lee O’Donnell starting his second full time season driving Ironman, plus high flying Steve Sims will rock the house in Stone Crusher. Oh, and there is also that fellow named Tom Meents. And that’s just to name a few. Detroit should be off the charts this weekend with a wide open racing bracket full of potential winners and an incredible freestyle competition where the fans will probably get to see Meents and Pauken performing back to back looking for the win.
By the way this will be the first time Meents has brought Maximum Destruction into Ford Field since 2007. That year Tom took the freestyle win by one point over Courtney Jolly, who arguably turned in the best freestyle ever in her brief career. But earlier that night Meents was a victim of the aforementioned “Ford Field Fast Qualifier Curse”. Meents set the fastest time in qualifying that night but lost to Huffaker and Grave Digger in the first round. So Maximum Destruction and Grave Digger both are looking for some redemption in Detroit this weekend.
Now we are off and running, week to week, with incredible Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam action all across North America, phenomenal action in front of millions of fans that will culminate with the crowning of the sport’s 12th World Champions at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas March 25th and 26th. Let the games begin!