Cedar Rapids, IA - Hawkeye Downs Speedway

Monster Jam Summer Heat
Hawkeye Downs Speedway
Cedar Rapids, IA
July 16-18, 2004
MonterJam logo
Racing Winner
Freestyle Winner

Friday: Bounty Hunter
Saturday: Bounty Hunter
Sunday: Bounty Hunter
Friday: Bounty Hunter
Saturday: Grave Digger
Sunday: Bounty Hunter
Trucks: Grave Digger(Rod Schmidt), Destroyer, Rolling Thunder, Bounty Hunter, and Scarlet Bandit.


 Weekend Race Recap


(Cedar Rapids, IA)  Hawkeye Downs Speedway has been a fixture in Cedar Rapids since 1925, having operated under different names throughout the years including FrontierPark and the Cedar Rapids Speedway.  Standing on the front straightaway, you can almost feel the excitement of wheel-to-wheel racing action between old Ford Coupes that would have taken place here over fifty years ago.  Without question, Hawkeye Downs is truly a historical sight to see.


Fast forward to July 16, 2004.  The old Ford Coupes were absent from the track, and in their place were the awesome ten thousand pound Monster Trucks of the United States Hot Rod Association.  Without a doubt, the Hawkeye Downs history book became several pages thicker with the arrival of these motor sports marvels.  The competitors included Rolling Thunder (driven by Jim Bendzick), Scarlet Bandit (Dawn Creten), Destroyer (Dan Evans), Bounty Hunter (Jim Creten), and Grave Digger (Rod Schmidt).


Directed by Rob Eschbach, the fun-filled night started off with a demonstration by a freestyle sportbike rider.  The fans watched with wide eyes as the rider performed several incredible stunts aboard his tricked-out motorcycle.  Freestyle takes nerves of steel and incredible timing, and ZX Chris had it all put together tonight.  He displayed a cool heelclicker wheelie for the delighted fans.


Quad Wars saw Team California take on Team Iowa.  Heat number one started with a wild first turn exchange which saw Team California take the holeshot and the eventual win.  Heat number two allowed Team Iowa to even the score.  The Quad Wars Final was filled with aggressive riding which caused numerous pileups in the chicane on the back chute.  The race was so crash-filled, in fact, that U.S.H.R.A. Officials determined that a rematch was necessary to establish the true winner.  When the green flag dropped, Team Iowa sped away and led the entire race en route to the big win.


To set up the crush cars for Monster Truck Racing and Freestyle, a Wheelie Contest was run.  The goal: to point the front bumper at the sky and hold it there as long as possible.  The competitors earned the following scores from the Advance Auto Parts judges:


Rolling Thunder          12

Scarlet Bandit              12

Destroyer                    15

Bounty Hunter            19

Grave Digger               17


The Chicago-Style Monster Truck racing course was a high-speed setup which produced some memorable racing among the competitors.  The top qualifier was Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter in a time of 22.39 seconds.  Race brackets saw Rolling Thunder defeat Scarlet Bandit, while Destroyer made short work of Grave Digger.  Dawn Creten in Scarlet Bandit returned to race husband Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter, with Jimmy taking the win.  This set up a Bounty Hunter/Destroyer Monster Truck Racing Final.  When the lights turned green, Jimmy Creten poured on the throttle in Bounty Hunter and never looked back to take the first win of the weekend.  If Creten can maintain this level of performance throughout the weekend, he may be a very tough man to defeat.


U.S.H.R.A. Technical Officials Al Lamere and Chris Winter watched carefully as the ten thousand pound Monster Trucks took to the track for a little freestyle action.  Safety is always first in the United States Hot Rod Association, and it is a privilege to have our well-trained Tech Officials in control of the very important Remote Ignition Interrupters at all times.  Freestyle saw ground-pounding, earth-shattering destruction throughout the race track.  As a unique feature, a two scorecard system was used with crowd noise taken into consideration to make up the final result.  With a maximum score of twenty points possible, the competitors ended up with the following tallies:


Rolling Thunder         14

Scarlet Bandit             12

Destroyer                  17

Bounty Hunter          20

Grave Digger             7


Freestyle Winner: Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter!

With the first night of the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam Summer Heat Series now complete here in
Cedar Rapids, the competitors will now turn their attention to the all-important and pivotal Saturday night event.  Quad Wars is sure to be a great show, while Jimmy Creten in the Monster Truck division is certainly the driver to watch.  Drivers are already hard at work getting their rides ready.  Their game faces will definitely be on again tomorrow.

We will see you Saturday, July 17 at
7:30 right here at the beautiful Hawkeye Downs Speedway!



(Darren Pallen, USHRA Announcer)

Under warm and sunny conditions on Saturday afternoon, the track crews of the U.S.H.R.A. worked diligently to prepare the race track for the evening’s competition.  It is amazing to see first hand the volume of work it takes to prepare a safe and fast course as specified by U.S.H.R.A. rules.  By 7:15 P.M. Saturday night, work was complete and show time was just fifteen minutes away.  Returning to Hawkeye Downs Speedway for night number two were Rolling Thunder (driven by Jim Bendzick), Scarlet Bandit (Dawn Creten), Destroyer (Dan Evans), Bounty Hunter (Jim Creten), and Grave Digger (Rod Schmidt).

ZX Chris returned to entertain the Hawkeye Downs crowd with his awesome Kawasaki ZX6 sportbike and solid freestyle routine.  In the pit area before the show, Chris mentioned that his favorite trick to perform was the Flamingo Wheelie.  This maneuver is very difficult in that the rider must execute a long standup wheelie while hanging one leg off the back of the motorcycle.  ZX Chris performed the stunt with great precision, and the fans loved every second of it.  He ended his performance with a flawless Highchair Wheelie.

Heat number one of Quad Wars was the next component of the evening.  Team California and Team Iowa rolled to the starting line for heat one.  The competitors achieved an equally good start, but it was Team Iowa emerging with the holeshot in turn one.  Racing was tight and competitive throughout with Team Iowa maintaining the lead and taking heat one.  In heat number two, Team Iowa once again grabbed the holeshot and held on for many laps before being passed by eventual winner Team California.  With the teams tied at one win apiece, the Quad Wars Final was modified to include an Australian Dodge Ball component.  One by one the riders were hit with the ball until only two riders remained.  Team California and Team Iowa went bar to bar for two laps before Iowa made a dramatic last corner pass to take the win.  The crowd erupted as the hometown boys made good on their promise of Quad Wars supremecy.

The Wheelie Contest would prove to be an important first event for the Monster Trucks, as this competition often sets the tone for the rest of the night.  Rolling Thunder kicked things off with a score of 14.  Scarlet Bandit answered with 15 points, while Destroyer earned 19.  Bounty Hunter then equaled Destroyer with 19.  Grave Digger also finished with a score of 19, making it a three way tie between Destroyer, Bounty Hunter and the legendary Grave Digger.

Monster Truck Freestyle was an opportunity for the drivers to show the fans what they were truly made of.  With this Saturday night show being the middle of a three-show weekend, the drivers knew a Freestyle win tonight would give them momentum into Sunday afternoon’s final performance.  Bounty Hunter was unable to compete due to a broken driveline component, leaving the opportunity to win wide open to the rest of the competitors.  Once again using a two scorecard system combined with crowd noise, the drivers earned the following final scores:

 Rolling Thunder        14                                            

Scarlet Bandit            15                                                            

Destroyer                 19                                            

Bounty Hunter          Did Not Compete (Mechanical)                               

Grave Digger             19           


Freestyle Winner: Grave Digger in a crowd cheer-off!


The top qualifier in Monster Truck Racing was Dawn Creten in Scarlet Bandit in a time of 22.76 seconds.  The first pairing of bracket racing saw Destroyer against Rolling Thunder, with Rolling Thunder stealing the win.  In the next race, Bounty Hunter returned from repairs and took advantage of a great start to take the victory over wife Dawn Creten in Scarlet Bandit.  The exciting Advance Auto Parts Monster Truck Racing Final pitted Bounty Hunter against Rolling Thunder.  Crowd anticipation was extremely high as the huge trucks staged on the starting line.  Using his trademark smooth style, Creten in Bounty Hunter powered off the starting line and appeared to have the early advantage.  However, Jim Bendzick in Rolling Thunder wasn’t about to give up.  Bendzick poured on the throttle at mid track and evened things up.  The race was decided in a photo finish with Bounty Hunter taking the big trophy home to Toganoxie, Kansas.


Following his huge racing win, Jimmy Creten attacked the crush cars for the U.S.H.R.A. Salute to the Fans.  For over two minutes, Creten performed a mini-freestyle, complete with three incredible donuts and unbelievable power wheelies.  He completely leveled the pyramid obstacle, leaving fans wide-eyed and tremendously excited.  It was truly something to see.


Following event number two here at Hawkeye Downs Speedway in Cedar Rapids, Jimmy Creten has firmly established himself as the man to beat for the rest of the weekend.  He is certainly an intense competitor; one that comes to win each and every time out.  And that’s a great thing for the sport, because drivers of Creten’s caliber keep everyone on their toes.


We will see you at the Advance Auto Parts Pit Party on Sunday at noon.  Showtime is at 2:00 P.M.


It is sure to be an event you won’t want to miss!


(Darren Pallen, USHRA Announcer)


(Cedar Rapids, IA)  The Advance Auto Parts Pit Party began promptly at the stroke of twelve noon and was filled with excited Monster Jam fans from across the state of Iowa.  These friendly people collected autographs and spoke with the drivers about Quad Wars, Monster Truck Racing, Monster Truck Freestyle, and motor sports in general.  With three elements of Monster Truck competition and awesome Quad Wars racing between Team Iowa and Team California scheduled for the afternoon card, there was certainly a great deal to look forward to.


ZX Chris helped bring excitement to the early part of Sunday afternoon’s event with some Freestyle Sportbike action.  The high horsepower and lightweight nature of these motorcycles allows their riders to perform some incredible tricks.  ZX Chris offered the crowd everything from Flamingo Wheelies to Circle Burnouts.  Smoke was everywhere as the rider fried the rear tire, much to the delight of the Iowa fans.


After two Quad War feature wins in as many tries this weekend, Team Iowa returned to Hawkeye Downs with one simple goal in mind: to run Team California out of town in a big way.  Team California arrived this weekend with an extremely confident attitude, but Team Iowa have certainly been successful in keeping that attitude at bay thus far.  Heat races were split at one win each, leaving the feature event to decide the big winner.  The main event featured Australian Dodge Ball, where one by one the riders were eliminated until only two riders remained.  Coming to the checkered flag, Team Iowa and Team California were virtually side-by-side.  However, Team Iowa proved to have a little more horsepower as they won the drag race to the checkered flag.  Chalk up three wins in three tries for Team Iowa.  All in all, a perfect weekend for the home-state team!


The Wheelie Contest was run using a two-car stack rather than the traditional one-car set up.  The course looked in perfect shape for the event, and the drivers attacked the stacks with a vengeance.  Competition was extremely close throughout, with the Advance Auto Parts Judges offering the following scores:


Rolling Thunder        8                             

Scarlet Bandit            13                            

Destroyer                 16            

Bounty Hunter          19                            

Grave Digger           19


Wheelie Contest Winner:  A tie between Bounty Hunter and Grave Digger with 19 points each!  


Following an exciting Wheelie Contest, the drivers prepared themselves for the all-important Freestyle Competition.  As you are well aware, things can get pretty wild in this event.  With Rolling Thunder and The Destroyer out with mechanical difficulties, it was up to Bounty Hunter, Scarlet Bandit, and Grave Digger to show the fans what Freestyle is all about.  Dawn Creten in Scarlet Bandit kicked off the destruction party, generating a score of 15 points out of a possible 20.  Jimmy Creten, Dawn’s husband, drove out moments later and wheelied his Bounty Hunter machine to an incredible 19 points.  Not to be outdone, Rod Schmidt in Grave Digger put the loud pedal to the floor and went off on an incredible run before a suspension arm broke loose and found its way into the engine compartment.  Unfortunately for Schmidt, the suspension arm pierced right through the expensive engine block, ending his day prematurely.  The final scores looked like this:


Rolling Thunder        No Score (Mechanical Difficulties)                             

Scarlet Bandit            15            

The Destroyer           No Score (Mechanical Difficulties)                                             

Bounty Hunter          19            

Grave Digger            14            


Freestyle Winner: Bounty Hunter!


The final event for the evening was Chicago-style Monster Truck Racing.  Due to his fast qualifying time of 22.09 seconds, Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter earned the bye run.  By U.S.H.R.A. rules, the driver must take both a green light and cross the finish line in order to be eligible for the next round of competition.  Jimmy did just that, and then carefully watched as wife Dawn in Scarlet Bandit prepared to take on a repaired Rolling Thunder and driver Jim Bendzick.  Although the race was close, Dawn Creten showed the fans what girl power is all about as she powered Scarlet Bandit to the win.  This meant one thing: a husband/wife, Bounty Hunter/Scarlet Bandit final.


Crowd anticipation was high as the two family members brought their beautiful 2003 Ford Expeditions to the Advance Auto Parts starting line.  Both trucks staged very slowly, with the drivers playing the mental game with each other.  When the lights showed green, Dawn was the faster of the two trucks off the starting line.  However, Jimmy seemed to realize this quickly, and went to work immediately to rectify the situation in his Bounty Hunter machine.  He remained smooth and controlled while laying down the horsepower on the Hawkeye Downs surface.  Jimmy took the racing win in a very close finish.

There is no doubt that the United States Hot Rod Association Monster Jam is alive and well in the friendly state of
Iowa.  Fans in Cedar Rapids saw some incredible competition all weekend long and were given the opportunity to meet the stars at the autograph sessions.  For a true motor sports fans, you can’t really ask for anything more.  A great time was had by all involved.

Thanks for a great weekend.  We will see you down the road!


(Darren Pallen, USHRA Announcer)