History of the Monster Jam World Finals VII
By Monster Jam Media
Mar 5, 2012

World Finals VII, March 25, 2006 – Back Where We Started: Anderson and Meents Are The World Champions

Racing Champion – Dennis Anderson, Grave Digger
Freestyle Champion – Tom Meents, Maximum Destruction

Racing Semifinalists: Grave Digger (Anderson), Bounty Hunter (Jimmy Creten), Hot Wheels (Neil Elliott), Blacksmith (Pablo Huffaker)

Top 5 Freestyle Scores: Maximum Destruction (Meents) 37, Grave Digger (Anderson) 33, Monster Mutt (Charlie Pauken) 32, Del Scorcho (Frank Krmel) 29, King Krunch (David Smith) 26

After several years of the championship hardware being distributed among several different drivers the sport’s highest profile pair returned to the top when Anderson won his second racing championship in three years and Meents took freestyle to extend his record to seven World Championships.

This was the first year that the field was expanded to 24 trucks, meaning qualifying gained even more importance. Now the 8 fastest qualifiers went immediately in to round two, a significant advantage. The stunning development in qualifying again involved Meents. This time a broken drive shaft ended his time trials run and he was seeded dead last in the 24 truck field, so after a first round win over Chris Bergeron and Brutus Maximum Destruction squared off with fastest qualifier, Grave Digger, in the second round. Anderson won that battle and rolled into his third straight Championship Race in Las Vegas. This time the opponent for the title was Jimmy Creten, whose Bounty Hunter had been running slightly faster than Grave Digger in the earlier rounds. In the finale, though, Anderson found a little something extra. Many times in the past, with so much pressure on the two finalists, the world title was decided by one driver making a mistake. Not this time. In one of the greatest Championship Races ever Grave Digger edged Bounty Hunter by less than the length of his front wheel for Anderson’s second World Racing Championship in three years.

Despite falling short of the World Racing Championship again Bounty Hunter did set a record of excellence and consistency at WFVII, becoming the first ever to make it to at least the semifinal round in five straight World Finals racing brackets.

Another year of racing frustration did not sit well with Meents, and he let it all hang out in freestyle. On the obstacle laden track before Maximum Destruction’s freestyle the action was the best ever, and it was Frank Krmel who spent a large portion of the night in the hot seat with the top score. Coming on the track second in the freestyle performance order Krmel attacked the huge obstacles in Del Scorcho, and his score of 29 stayed in the lead spot until Charlie Pauken, 12th in the order of performances, amazed the crowd in Monster Mutt, highlighted by a move that went from a wheelie, to a bicycle into the seed container, to a pirouette style roll over on the nose, back onto all fours as he continued and earned a huge standing ovation from the crowd, which had grown to include fans from all 50 states, several Canadian provinces, and more than a dozen foreign countries.

Maybe the most unforgettable moment of this extravaganza came from former freestyle champ Jim Koehler, who had the Crash of the Year when he soared his stunning chromed Avenger on a huge leap over the volcano fountain obstacle, then into a free fall style nose dive and a hard crash onto the stadium floor. To finish it off, for the second straight year, Koehler then did his now signature move, diving into the fountain obstacle to the delight of the capacity crowd. Anderson pushed Pauken out of the hot seat and put Grave Digger in line for a Vegas Double Down with a vintage Digger freestyle but Meents was still to come. Then Tom became the first driver ever to bring his own obstacle! Max-D drove onto the track, pulled into the fountain, and the motor shut off. Everyone thought Tom had a problem with his truck until his teammate Neil Elliott jumped out of the truck, leaving the back-up Maximum Destruction on the course as another obstacle. Tom then rolled onto the floor, began his run by leaping over his other truck and went on to turn in one of his best performances ever and claimed world title number 7.