The Road To The Monster Jam World Finals XV Begins In Earnest
Dec 31, 2013
These days, Monster Jam® is truly a year round, worldwide sport, which means that in many ways the road to the next Monster Jam World FinalsSM in Las Vegas, NV begins immediately following the crowning of the sport’s two World Champions each March. That said, make no mistake about it: the Road to the Monster Jam World Finals XV presented by NGK Spark Plugs begins in earnest this week and the next three months will feature intense competition and crowd pleasing performances all over North America as every team in the sport works toward the coveted goal of an invitation to the greatest event in the history of the sport scheduled for Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas March 20-22, 2014.
The New Year begins with a full slate of Monster Jam events as the action roars into a dozen cities in the United States this weekend alone, from Tacoma to Trenton, from Bangor to Birmingham, and in venues all over the country the action will be fierce as the greatest superstars in the sport each look to take a major step on the Road to Monster Jam World Finals XV. The historic expansion of the upcoming Monster Jam World Finals XV presented by NGK Spark Plugs to an all time high of 32 competing Monster Jam trucks, with the action expanded across three days, creates even more opportunities for these drivers and their teams to earn a spot in the most spectacular Monster Jam events ever created when we roll into Las Vegas. Between now and the end of March fans all across the continent will be packing into arenas and stadiums to cheer on their favorites, looking for their heroes to win that hometown extravaganza and at the same time looking to earn their way into Monster Jam World Finals XV.
This first weekend of 2014 features amazing line-ups ready to battle across the fruited plain, and many eyes will be focused on Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX this Saturday where the biggest line-up this side of the Monster Jam World Finals, both in terms of quantity and quality will be trying to make a major statement right out of the gate in the New Year. Check the upcoming events section of MonsterJam.com and you can see what an incredible roster is headed back to race and freestyle in front of the huge Houston crowd full of some of the most enthusiastic and loyal supporters of Monster Jam that you will find anywhere. The sport will compete three times in Reliant Stadium again this year, as it has for some three decades in that Texas city, always a true Monster Jam hotbed. The fans in attendance to “live it live” this Saturday can expect to be rewarded with an absolute Monster Jam World Finals preview as this large, stellar line-up can boast of a collective total of 19 Monster Jam World Championships claimed in the past.
When you look at the racing bracket for this event, considering all of that World Championship pedigree that will be on display, it is a racer still in search of his first world title who has to be considered the favorite. That would be Linsey Weenk, who returns to Reliant Stadium as the two-time defending racing champion at this event, having driven the Lucas Oil Crusader® to the racing trophy at the first Houston Monster Jam of the calendar year in both 2012 and 2013. Add to that sparkling Reliant Stadium resume the fact that the Lucas Oil Crusader was one of the winningest teams in the sport on stadium racing courses in 2013 and it is easy to make the case that Weenk and the Lucas Oil Crusader figure to be the team to beat on that race track this week.
Lucas Oil Crusader will have it tougher than ever though in pursuit of number three in a row at this event. Weenk will have to wheel his awesome machine through a bracket that includes the likes of Dennis Anderson in Grave Digger®, who won the Double Down trophy at this event just three years ago; Tom Meents in Max-DSM who has multiple Houston race bracket titles on his resume; and don’t forget hometown hero David Smith in King Krunch who has won some of the most important trophies of his career in past Houston Monster Jam events.
Just mentioning a few of the names who figure to be in contention for that racing victory you have to add in Ryan Anderson in Son-uva Digger®. Even though it was his brother Adam who claimed the 2013 Monster Jam World Finals Racing Championship driving Grave Digger The Legend®, Son-uva Digger had a stellar won-loss record last season and comes in arguably with the most momentum following Son-uva Digger winning the racing championship at the final event in the Minneapolis Metrodome less than a month ago.
So even though Lucas Oil Crusader has to be tabbed as the pre-race favorite there is more competition than ever before looking to deny Weenk the three-peat in racing. Then what is sure to be one of the year’s most amazing freestyle competitions will have that loud Texas crowd roaring.
Checking the results sheet over the past decade this event has been the personal playground of the biggest names in the game, Grave Digger and Max-D. Over the past decade Team Grave Digger has used a combination of Dennis Anderson, Pablo Huffaker, and even Adam Anderson behind the wheel to win freestyle at the opening Houston event seven times in that span. The Max-D team has three freestyle trophies claimed by Meents and Neil Elliott over that same timeline, including 2008 when Grave Digger and Max-D tied for the freestyle win. The only time the freestyle trophy was won by a team other than Grave Digger or Max-D at this event in the past 10 years was back in 2005, when Texan Lupe Soza turned the trick driving El Toro Loco®. And guess who returns behind the wheel of the Crazy Bull in Houston this week? The 2004 Monster Jam World Finals Freestyle Champion Soza is back in the popular orange El Toro Loco machine beginning this weekend in Reliant Stadium.
There are so many awesome events on the calendar this weekend and all will carry that same theme throughout: each and every superstar in competition will be giving it everything they have to not only thrill their fans on hand in each venue, but to gain a huge victory along the Road to Monster Jam World Finals XV.