Scott's Odds for the Young Guns Shootout
By Scott Douglass
Feb 29, 2012

  The Young Guns Shootout is the Latest Addition to Friday Night’s Double Down experience at the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World FinalsSM presented by NGK Spark Plugs  

With a brand new event, the Young Guns Shootout, added to Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals XIII presented by NGK Spark Plugs as an exciting addition to the Double Down festivities on Friday March 23rd that exclusive Double Down ticket is an even greater value this year. There are still some Double Down tickets available but fans need to purchase them now to have the ultimate ticket package in their hands. Double Down ticket holders have the best seats in Sam Boyd Stadium as the thrilling action unfolds Saturday March 24th when the two new Monster Jam World Champions will be crowned but that’s just part of what makes the Double Down ticket the ultimate ticket package for the biggest Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam fans.

With the Double Down package fans get so many premium perks, including an extra pit party Friday afternoon with more than 70 monster trucks and drivers on hand, the awesome Friday barbecue, and then Friday night only Double Down ticket holders are admitted to Sam Boyd Stadium to see the drama of qualifying for Saturday’s race bracket and the pursuit of the coveted Double Down trophy that will be claimed by the fastest in those time trials. Now the added value and excitement of seeing 8 of the sport’s newest superstars battling in their own competition in pursuit of winning the first ever Young Guns Shootout Championship makes that Double Down ticket even greater, something that is hard to imagine because the Double Down experience has been the most amazing fan experience available each year. Now it is simply even more fantastic. Again, there are still some Double Down packages available at MonsterJam.com, but don’t wait: GET YOUR DOUBLE DOWN TICKETS RIGHT NOW! 

So since we have this exciting new competition I will expand an Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals tradition and post the odds on the entire Young Guns Shootout field here. Like with the odds you will be able to see on the entire 24 competitor field for 2012 that will be coming soon to MonsterJam.com, these odds are not necessarily my predictions, rather they are ratings for the field and how I would handicap the line-up in the Young Guns Shootout based on the body of work that they have in their brief careers. The odds I have posted in advance of each previous trip to Las Vegas have always taken into account current season success and previous history at Sam Boyd Stadium. Obviously with the Young Guns Shootout none of the drivers have previous experience on that track, so these odds are based mainly on the results that these up and comers have posted on the track so far in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam competition. So here we go with my first ever Young Guns Shootout odds: 

Young Guns Shootout, Friday March 23, 2012 at Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas  


5 - 2 STONE CRUSHER, MORGAN KANE – The day before Kane turns 22 years old he will be the favorite to claim the first Young Guns Shootout title. It says here that Kane is the favorite. It also says here that he is the favorite by a very narrow margin over Todd LeDuc. Here’s the way this event lays out on paper. With no disrespect intended to the other 6 in the field when you examine each driver’s experiences and accomplishments this first Young Guns Shootout looks like a two-team showdown, Stone Crusher vs. Metal Mulisha. I haven’t seen the finalized format for how the event will unfold, but if the 8 qualify to set up the race bracket the expectation will be that Kane and LeDuc will post the best times, grab the top 2 seeds, and Stone Crusher and Metal Mulisha will be on a night long collision course that will culminate in the Championship Race. Should the match-ups be determined in a blind draw and this pair meet in an early round, the winner of that race will emerge as the odds-on favorite. 

That said, picking the top choice between Kane and LeDuc is not easy and as you can see in the odds, the numbers are extremely close between Stone Crusher at 5 to 2 and Metal Mulisha at 3 to 1. Here are the two factors that tip the scale ever so slightly toward Kane: seat time and the biggest win on the resume. Even though LeDuc has been in more stadium events this year Kane has actually been behind the wheel every weekend while LeDuc has shared his seat with Brian Deegan, watching The General drive Metal Mulisha in Phoenix and Los Angeles. 

The other factor that points toward Kane is looking at the marquee wins turned in by this field. Nothing beats Kane winning one of the year’s toughest racing brackets when the youngster took the racing trophy in Minneapolis last December against a line-up that included the likes of Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction and all three Andersons in their various styles of Grave Diggers. While that remains Kane’s biggest win he has racked up his share of arena racing trophies since then. His total of 8 Championship Round racing victories in arenas this year is the most for any driver in this field. The margin is slight, but in my morning line odds, Stone Crusher is the favorite to win the first ever Young Guns Shootout. 

3 - 1 METAL MULISHA, TODD LEDUC – So after touting Kane as the favorite I’ll now make the case for LeDuc who will shock no one if he wins this whole shootin’ match. While Kane gets the nod for the highest profile win on his resume and more 2012 seat time, LeDuc’s advantage comes in experience and in momentum. LeDuc’s pre-Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam background comes in off-road racing which will come in handy when these 8 drivers try to tame the desert conditions and the fastest track any of them have ever been on in a monster. LeDuc should be the most at home of them all rolling onto the Sam Boyd Stadium track for the first time. 

As for momentum, LeDuc has it. He closed the month of February with a huge stadium racing victory when the Metal Mulisha team grabbed the racing trophy in Oakland, beating the top-ranked driver and truck in the sport at the time, Neil Elliott and Maximum Destruction in the Championship Race. That was huge and while there are many reasons to like LeDuc’s chances, the Metal Mulisha racing win in Oakland is exhibit A for making this team the very strong second choice in the odds. 

Note now that from number 2 to number 3 on this list you’ll see the largest gap in the actual odds. That’s because as noted before when you look at the criteria I used to create these odds it looks like a Stone Crusher vs. Metal Mulisha showdown. 

10 – 1 SPIDER-MAN, BARI MUSAWWIR – In terms of picking up racing wins this season Musawwir is second only to Kane’s total with 7 racing events won and the Spider-man driver has the hot shoe right now after returning to his hometown at the end of February and racking up three racing wins along with a freestyle triumph in Cleveland, so Spider-man is the clear choice as the number three pick in this line-up based on both total wins and that important momentum he established at Quicken Loans Arena. You also have to like Musawwir’s international stadium experience, looking good on big race tracks in places like Wroclaw, Poland, and Arnhem, Holland. He had impressive runs on big fast tracks in Europe last fall which should be an advantage for Spider-Man. Musawwir has been impressive since he first entered the sport and this season in Spider-Man he has produced many more wins than in Bari’s debut campaign in El Toro Loco, so this is a driver whose stock is really on the rise. Musawwir had to be one of the first choices when the Young Guns Shootout was created, his invitation to this competition is a no-brainer and so well deserved. Spider-man should have a shot here, especially if one of the two favorites makes a mistake Musawwir could sweep in and take it all.  

12 – 1 IRON MAN, SCOTT BUETOW – From here it really gets tough to rank this field, the remaining drivers after the top three are really close when you analyze them. Buetow, in his second year driving Iron Man has gained valuable stadium experience which is so important heading into this event. The personable rising star has seen plenty of early success in one of the most popular truck designs in the sport. He gets the nod as number four on the odds list based on head-to-head results. Buetow is the only driver in this field who has beaten Kane heads up in a race, Buetow powering Iron Man to a round racing win over Kane and Stone Crusher early this year in Chattanooga although Kane got a measure of revenge when Stone Crusher knocked off Iron Man a few weeks later in Oklahoma City. Buetow also owns a victory over Nicole Johnson when she returned to Tasmanian Devil in Spokane, the only time that pair of Young Guns has squared off, so Iron Man is the number four pick in the morning line odds. 

15 – 1 ADVANCE AUTO PARTS GRINDER, NICOLE JOHNSON – A lot of fans are really thrilled that two impressive young ladies are a part of this event and the cheers for this young mom are likely to be as loud or louder than they will be for anyone in this competition. Johnson’s 2012 plan took a major turn when Frank Krmel was injured last December and she was tapped to fill-in for Krmel in the state-of-the-art Advance Auto Parts Grinder. She represented that team superbly throughout the first quarter until Krmel returned a couple of weeks ago sending her back to her Tasmanian Devil ride, but she’ll return to The People’s Truck for the Young Guns Shootout. There still is not a lot of stadium experience on her resume or she might have rated higher here. She did finally get to run some bigger tracks this year in San Antonio and Houston and while she did not take home any racing trophies, here’s something to keep an eye on: Nicole has a winning record in her rounds of stadium racing this year (4 wins and 3 losses) and Johnson has not lost a first round race in a stadium in 2012. Since she has a track record of starting off well it looks like the Advance Auto Parts Grinder has a great chance to make the semifinals and on this track, if you can get some confidence and get on a roll anything can happen. 

18 – 1 RAZIN KANE, J. R. MCNEAL – Again all of these drivers are so close and hard to separate mainly because after all, this event is for Young Guns and because all of these drivers are in their first or second year of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam competition there is not a lot of a track record for me to work with in determining the odds. I’ve got McNeal a little higher than Epidendio and McDonough based mainly on the fact that despite his status as a rookie on the tour his schedule this year has looked like one a veteran would get, dominated by stadium events, and because of that big track experience he’s been getting he gets a slight edge over the others here. Razin Kane competed at major stadium events this year in San Diego, Anaheim twice, St. Louis, Dodger Stadium, and in Oakland. He’s been on lots of large fast courses already so if he can adapt that experience to the Sam Boyd Stadium layout Razin Kane is very capable of pulling off some surprises in the Young Guns Shootout. 

20 – 1 TITAN, DONALD EPIDENDIO –Young and aggressive, you can expect Epidendio to go for broke, which appropriately is the ultimate high risk/high reward strategy in Las Vegas. Winners on the fastest track in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam have to be able to handle the tricky thunder alley, top out at the highest speeds possible and then negotiate the sport’s toughest turn. The reward is there for any driver who can handle the speed and nail that final turn. The risk is that over aggressive drivers for the past 12 years have missed that turn and lost races. Expect Titan to “go for it” and this team seems like a nice bet if you want a longer shot to take against the top two. While not having the number of stadium runs this year that Razin Kane has had Titan has won a race event, winning the bracket earlier this season in Portland, a great accomplishment for any rookie in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam competition. He’s won plenty of rounds in racing this season as well as the previously mentioned entire bracket in Portland. After all, he just needs three more of those wins in Las Vegas to be the first Young Guns Shootout Champion. 

25 – 1 EL TORO LOCO, BECKY MCDONOUGH – I really hate putting Becky here having watched her tremendous growth first hand from when she came into the sport working her way up the ladder on the pit crew and really grabbing the spotlight as the Crew Chief for Cam McQueen during his Nitro Circus days, then getting the chance to get behind the wheel of El Toro Loco. Becky has had some outstanding driving performances early in her driving career and if we were talking freestyle here she would be a lot higher on this list. But comparing the bodies of work in racing, looking at stadium results, she hasn’t had a lot of action on the big tracks and has won only one of four rounds of racing in stadiums this year. To be fair one of those losses came to Meents and Maximum Destruction in St. Louis, nothing to be ashamed of there. None the less McDonough deserves to be in this competition as one of the Young Guns that will carry this sport far in to the future and you can bet that El Toro Loco will be one of the most popular entries in this first ever event on Double Down Friday. 

So there you have it, a brand new area for me, trying to post the odds with the limited information that we have on these eight rising superstars in the first ever Young Guns Shootout. I know so many are excited about this new event and I’m one of them. I can’t wait to see the Young Guns Shootout play out on Double Down Friday and to be able to salute our first ever Young Guns Shootout champion that night and at the annual Champions Awards Ceremony that following Sunday night in Las Vegas.