March 12, 2011
Monster Jam® Trucks: including Grave Digger® driven by Dennis Anderson, Maximum Destruction® driven by Tom Meents, Captain's Curse® driven by Alex Blackwell, Madusa, Lucas Oil Crusader℠, Superman driven by Chad Fortune, War Wizard driven by Randy Moore, Bad Habit driven by Joe Sylvester, Stone Crusher driven by Steve Sims, Mopar Magic driven by Morgan Kane, Avenger driven by Jim Koehler, Brutus driven by Chris Bergeron, Eradicator driven by Andy Slifko, and Backdraft driven by Jeremy Slifko!
Syracuse Carrier Dome
March 12, 2011
Truck line-up: Grave Digger (Dennis Anderson), Maximum Destruction (Tom Meents), Lucas Oil Crusader (Linsey Weenk), Captain’s Curse (Alex Blackwell), Stone Crusher (Steve Sims), Madusa (Madusa), Superman (Chad Fortune), Avenger (Jim Koehler), Backdraft (Jeremy Slifko), War Wizard (Randy Moore), Brutus (Chris Bergeron), Eradicator (Andy Slifko), Bad Habit (Joe Sylvester), Mopar Magic (Morgan Kane)
Saturday 7:00 p.m. – A new era of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam action began with the first event for the sport in the Carrier Dome on the campus of Syracuse University, with Dennis Anderson and Alex Blackwell putting their names in the history books as the first winners in the New York facility, Anderson driving Grave Digger to the racing victory and Blackwell piloting Captain’s Curse to the freestyle trophy.
With the first round race pairings being determined by a draw of numbers on the race bracket by the drivers the luck of the draw gave the fans in the near capacity crowd what many of them came to see, a renewal of the greatest rivalry in motorsports with Grave Digger drawing Tom Meents and Maximum Destruction in the opening round. Anderson out-dueled Meents in a photo finish race, but Meents still advanced to round two since Maximum Destruction was the fastest first round loser.
The pair would meet again in the semifinals, and the result was the same with Anderson using that win to take Grave Digger to another racing final. In the bottom half of the bracket Steve Sims took advantage of a reprieve in the second round when he was beaten by Madusa, but a wild leap and hard landing after the finish line broke her pink truck and put Stone Crusher through to the semis. Chad Fortune and Superman squared off against Sims and Stone Crusher for the right to face Grave Digger in the Championship Race, with Sims pulling off the win. In the finale Sims kept it close, but Anderson would eventually power Grave Digger to his 12th Championship Round victory in the 14 stadium events he has competed in over the last year.
All the drivers attacked the freestyle course with a vengeance, everyone wanting to claim the historic first ever Carrier Dome freestyle triumph.
After a series of impressive, clock filling runs, Chris Bergeron in Brutus and Sims in Stone Crusher shared the hot seat with the lead in a very close competition. It looked as though 20-year old phenom Jeremy Slifko would break the tie and grab the lead with his rocking performance in Backdraft, but the youngster flipped his truck over just as regulation time expired and he came up one point short.
Next it was Blackwell and his high energy run filled not only the regulation time but all of the bonus period and the three points he received from the bonus judge put Captain’s Curse in to the lead with a total of 28 points.
Coming off back to back weeks with incredible, winning freestyle runs, Meents was at the same level again in Syracuse with an amazing run that had the huge crowd standing and cheering after Meents rolled Maximum Destruction completely over, powered the truck back onto its wheels and continued his phenomenal run. But this weekend it would be those needed bonus points that would do Tom in, Maximum Destruction finally rolling over just as regulation time expired. All three regulation time judges scored Meents with a 9 out of a possible 10 each, but with no bonus his 27 point total was one short of Captain’s Curse.
Finally Anderson went for the Double Down trophy and he too was spectacular, but Grave Digger went over with :27 seconds remaining on the regulation clock and Blackwell claimed the popular win in front of the crowd that included dozens of his family and friends who made the short trip up from Pennsylvania to enjoy the historic first night for Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam in the Carrier Dome.
1st round – Mopar Magic def. Eradicator; Grave Digger def. Maximum Destruction; Captain’s Curse def. Backdraft; Stone Crusher def. Brutus; Madusa def. Lucas Oil Crusader; Superman def. War Wizard; Avenger def. Bad Habit (Maximum Destruction advanced to 2nd round as fastest 1st round loser)
2nd round - Maximum Destruction def. Mopar Magic; Grave Digger def. Captain’s Curse; Madusa def. Stone Crusher; Superman def. Avenger (Stone Crusher advanced to semifinals due to Madusa’s damage suffered at end of run)
Semifinals – Grave Digger def. Maximum Destruction; Stone Crusher def. Superman
CHAMPIONSHIP RACE – GRAVE DIGGER DEFEATED STONE CRUSHER
CAPTAIN’S CURSE 28 (25 + 3 bonus points)
Maximum Destruction 27
Brutus 26 (23 + 3)
Stone Crusher 26 (23 + 3)
Lucas Oil Crusader 26 (22 + 4)
Superman 25 (22 + 3)
Avenger 25 (24 + 1)
Mopar Magic 21
Grave Digger 21
Bad Habit 20
War Wizard 16
By Scott Douglass