January 19, 2013
GRAVE DIGGER THE LEGEND
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS GRINDER
Monster Jam® Trucks: Grave Digger® driven by Pablo Huffaker, El Toro Loco® driven by Ryan Huffaker, Grave Digger The Legend® driven by Adam Anderson, Captain America driven by Chad Fortune, Advance Auto Parts Grinder℠ driven by Lupe Soza, Madusa®, Iron Man™ driven by Lee O'Donnell, Rod Ryan Show driven by Rod Ryan in racing/Dan Evans in freestyle, Outlaw driven by Mike Harper, Barbarian driven by Devin Jones, Bounty Hunter driven by Ben Winslow, Iron Outlaw driven by Darren Migues, Nitro Hornet driven by David Smith, Predator driven by Allen Pezo, Prowler driven by Robert Parker and Bad Habit driven by Joe Sylvester!!
Saturday 7:00 p.m. – Native Texan Lupe Soza thrilled a huge crowd in his home state with a rocking performance in Advance Auto Parts Grinder to win the freestyle competition after Adam Anderson drove Grave Digger the Legend to the racing championship in front of more than 50,000 delighted Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam fans at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
With another star studded 16 Monster Jam truck line-up on hand in Reliant Stadium for the second straight week a near capacity crowd was roaring from the first qualifying run to Grave Digger’s event ending freestyle. The night started with Lee O’Donnell in Ironman setting the fast time, edging The Legend by .19 of a second for the fastest time, and those two would prove to be the fastest round after round as Ironman and Legend marched through their respective half of the bracket on their way to the UTI Championship Round Race.
Among the highlights in the early rounds of racing was Houston radio legend Rod Ryan competing for the first time ever, fulfilling his dream to race the Rod Ryan Monster Jam truck himself in Reliant Stadium. The racing bracket was packed with close, thrilling finishes throughout all the way to the finale and the battle between the trucks that had proved to be superior all night. Ironman and The Legend stayed virtually even the entire race, with Anderson muscling his retro style blue and silver Grave Digger to the finish line less than a tire length in front of O’Donnell’s Ironman.
Back in the Rod Ryan truck for freestyle, Dan Evans turned on the Reliant Stadium crowd for the second straight week, that high energy performance would eventually land the Rod Ryan Show team in the runner-up spot on the final results sheet. It was Advance Auto Parts Grinder’s high flying performance that earned both the highest regulation scores and the highest score from the bonus judge, Soza’s 28 total points moving the 2004 World Freestyle Champion into the hot seat with two trucks remaining, neither of which would fill the clock and Soza’s emotional celebration on the winner’s stage included his father who got Lupe started in a Monster Jam truck some three decades ago.
Fast Qualifier – Ironman 18.72
1st round – Ironman def. Bounty Hunter; El Toro Loco def. Nitro Hornet; Grave Digger def. Iron Outlaw; Outlaw def. Rod Ryan Show; Madusa def. Bad Habit; Advance Auto Parts Grinder def. Pouncer; Barbarian def. Predator; Grave Digger the Legend def. Captain America
2nd round – Ironman def. El Toro Loco; Grave Digger def. Outlaw; Advance Auto Parts Grinder def. Madusa; Grave Digger the Legend def. Barbarian
Semifinals – Ironman def. Grave Digger; Grave Digger the Legend def. Advance Auto Parts Grinder
UTI CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND RACE – GRAVE DIGGER THE LEGEND DEFEATED IRONMAN
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS GRINDER 28 (24 + 4 bonus points)
Rod Ryan Show 25 (21 + 4)
Captain America 23 (21 + 2)
Grave Digger the Legend 23
Madusa 20 (18 + 2)
El Toro Loco 19 (17 + 2)
Bounty Hunter 19 (17 + 2)
Grave Digger 19
Bad Habit 14
Nitro Hornet 7
Iron Outlaw 6
By Scott Douglass