January 12, 2013
Saturday Night: Titan
Saturday Night: Grave Digger The Legend
Monster Jam® Trucks: Grave Digger® driven by Charlie Pauken, Team Hot Wheels Firestorm driven by Scott Buetow, Max-D℠ driven by Tom Meents, Monster Energy driven by Damon Bradshaw, Grave Digger The Legend® driven by Adam Anderson, Captain America driven by Chad Fortune, El Diablo driven by JP, The Patriot driven by Dan Rodoni, Tropical Thunder driven by Andrew Peckham, Obsession driven by Jim Lehnertz, Obsessed driven by Rick Swanson, Time Flys driven by Kelvin Ramer, Detour driven by Garrett Ladelle, Devastator driven by Mark Schroeder, Titan driven by Donald Epidendio, and Shocker driven by Pat Gerber
Tonight kicked off the first of three shows here at Angel Stadium over the course of next thirty days. We did it with a field of Monster Jam Trucks that included some of the very best. Represented tonight were 13 total World Titles won by 4 different drivers, 2 of the 8 “Young Guns” from last year’s World Finals, and a stellar group of monsters from the West Coast.
Tonight’s Monster Jam Racing began with what felt like the first of several “upsets” of the night. The truck that made to last year’s Championship Round at the World Finals, Monster Energy, looked like he would take an easy win to start the night. But in the last turn he lost too much ground, and was overtaken by a late surge from Obsessed. In another upset, JP, the rookie driver in El Diablo, won his first ever Stadium race with a come-from-behind victory after Hot Wheels Firestorm hit a turn car on the track. Each side of the bracket had one dominant truck, piloted by the smoothest driver. On the top half it was clearly Adam in Grave Digger The Legend®. Each race was the same efficient run with tight corners, and precise driving. Anderson even punctuated each run with huge air off the tabletop’s finish line – just a little something extra to impress the fans. The biggest story of the night in racing may have also been the biggest surprise of the night. Titan’s Donald Epidendio KO’d not one or two, but three of the biggest names in Monster Jam to earn the championship. Perhaps, though, it should have been no surprise at all. Everyone should have seen this coming when Titan was one of the only eight invited to Vegas to compete in last year “Young Guns Shootout” during World Finals weekend. Epidendio vowed to make the ‘big show’ this coming March, and tonight may have been a look at Donald simply backing up his words.
Monster Jam Racing Round 1
Obsessed def Monster Energy, Tropical Thunder def Captain America, Time Flys def The Patriot, Grave Digger The Legend® def Devastator, Max-D℠ def Shocker, Titan def Obsession, El Diablo def Team Hot Wheels Firestorm, Grave Digger® bye run (Detour unable to answer the 1 minute clock)
Monster Jam Racing Round 2
Tropical Thunder def Obsessed, Grave Digger The Legend® def Time Flys, Titan def Max-D℠, Grave Digger® def El Diablo
Monster Jam Racing Round Semi Finals
Grave Digger The Legend® def Tropical Thunder, Titan def Grave Digger®
UTI Championship Round of Monster Jam Racing
Titan def Grave Digger The Legend®
Quad Wars featured one of its friendliest and most respectful rivalries. Team Mexico and Team USA just want to compete for their fans, and always take a positive approach to the racing. USA took the win in the first Heat, but from there, it was all Mexico. Though the races with tight on the track, Team Mexico took the final two rounds decisively to earn the championship.
In tonight’s ‘Service is our Best Part’ Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam Freestyle Competition, we were treated to both the trills and the destruction that comes with huge obstacles and steeply cut ramps. Tropical Thunder led off the competition with a solid run that earned him the lead. El Diablo came out and put the front axle high into the air multiple times, off several different ramps. A little more experience in the big stadiums will bring a smoother “flow” to his freestyle, and when the rookie JP gets that nailed down – look out! Time Flys popped a slap-wheelie, road it down the track, landing it right inside a barrier container on the edge of the track. It was incredible to watch, and the fans loved it. The only bad thing was that it flipped him over onto his lid, and ended his run way too early. Team Hot Wheels Firestorm brought the bar, and the night’s energy, to the next level as Buetow took over the lead. Shortly after, Bradshaw in Monster Energy hit the track with a bone rattling display that earned him the lead. Having narrowly lost the Racing tonight, Adam was determined not to let a second trophy get away. He shot onto the track hitting every obstacle, from every direction. He clearly put up the biggest air of the night, and did in way that seemed to defy logic. After the right rear tired separated from the rim and began to flap against the dirt, it looked as if he was going to have to end it all early. Fortunately for the fans, Adam couldn’t have cared any less about losing a tire. He kept up the momentum, and focused on completing the Bonus time. When the right front tire also flattened, the run had to come to an end. His score was enough to take the lead with just two trucks remaining. When Tom started, it looked like another classic Max-D℠ moment was about to unfold. But then we all saw the steering break, and the tie rod snap, and it was over. Digger had the best opportunity to snatch the victory from Adam after Pauken lit up the track during regulation. Now into the Bonus, all Charlie had to do was keep the pedal down and all four tires on the track. About half way through, though, it all came unraveled as Grave Digger toppled over onto its side.
Tropical Thunder : 18 +2 = 20
El Diablo: 15 +2 = 17
The Patriot: 6
Obsession : 18
Obsessed : 15 +1 = 16
Devastator : 12 +1 = 13
Time Flys: 9
Team Hot Wheels Firestorm: 22 +2 = 24
Captain America: 20 +2 = 22
Monster Energy: 24 +3 = 27
Grave Digger®: 24 +3 = 27
Grave Digger The Legend®: 26 +3 = 29
By Michael C. Williams