Raymond James Stadium
Raymond James Stadium
January 19, 2013
7:00 p.m.: Son-uva Digger
7:00 p.m.: Son-uva Digger
Monster Jam® Trucks: Grave Digger® driven by Rod Schmidt, Max-D℠ driven by Tom Meents, Son-Uva Digger® driven by Ryan Anderson, El Toro Loco® (Black) driven by Marc McDonald, Advance Auto Parts Grinder℠ driven by Frank Krmel, Monster Mutt® Rottweiler driven by Chris Lagana, Iron Man™ driven by Morgan Kane, Stone Crusher driven by Steve Sims, Hooked driven by Bryan Wright, Razin' Kane driven by JR McNeal, Ice Cream Man driven by TJ Tripp, War Wizard driven by Randy Moore, Gunslinger driven by Scott Hartsock, Wolverine driven by Dustin Brown, Bad News Travels Fast driven by Brandon Derrow and Zombie℠ driven by Sean Duhon!!
Wild was about the best way to describe the action that dominated the return of the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The torrid Saturday night action set the stage for the return in two weeks as many of the trucks will get another chance to wow the crowd.
No one knew what to expect for certain, but an all-star lineup that included several world champion trucks started the day at a huge pit party that rivaled any stop on the circuit. As the Monster Jam trucks paraded back to the arena, the cheering fans let the drivers know they were there for the action.
Monster Jam trucks hit the lanes for qualifying, bringing two trucks to the line at a time. El Toro Loco posted the early fast time that held until Son Uva Digger lowered the mark to 19.724. Competitor after competitor tried to beat the mark with Max D coming closest with a 19.746 run. After 14 trucks had played their own version of beat the clock, Hooked could not go, leaving Morgan Kane in Iron Man for a solo pass. When the stop button was hit, the fastest qualifier was announced as
Iron Man was able to trim the time back to 19.684. Morgan Kane, in his second Tampa appearance, now can claim a fast qualifier to his credit.
With the Hooked crew still working to fix the ride, Iron Man ended up with a bye run. The rest of the field didn’t get off as easily. Grave Digger, with Rod Schmidt subbing for an ailing Dennis Anderson, took care of Stone Crusher. Gunslinger powered past Monster Mutt Rottweiler and El Toro Loco got the best of Razin’ Kane.
Max D took out War Wizard and Ice Cream Man stunned Wolverine as both trucks ventured off course, but Ice Cream Man recovered quickly to gain the win. Advance Auto Parts Grinder returned Zombie to the netherworlds while Son Uva Digger took out stadium first-timer Brandon Derrow in Bad New Travels Fast.
With eight trucks earning a spot in the next round, the action would get even tighter. Iron Man beat Grave Digger when Digger rolled on approach to the final turn. Ice Cream Man could not come back, which opened up the opportunity for Wolverine to return. The unfortunate part of that was that Wolverine had to face Max D, who won the race, but blew a left rear tire in the process. Son Uva Digger prevailed over Advance Auto Parts Grinder with El Toro Loco winning a close one over Gunslinger.
The semi-finals pitted El Toro Loco against Ironman and the fast qualifier’s winning run ended there. El Toro Loco would face Son Uva Digger, who knocked off Max D, who made it back into the arena with time to spare, thanks to the hard working Max D crew.
El Toro Loco has been to victory lane in Tampa when Nathan Weenk won the event five years ago. Now, “the crazy bull” was poised to repeat, b ut just couldn’t beat Son Uva Digger to the finish line. In his first appearance at Raymond James Stadium, Ryan Anderson and Son Uva Digger earned a racing win. In 2012, the Tampa winners were Dennis Anderson and Adam Anderson. Now, Ryan Anderson has taken his place with the rest of the family.
Ryan vowed to put himself in position for the double down by taking Advance Auto Parts service is Our Best Part freestyle. The weren’t kind with the truck not due on the floor until late. Sub driver Chris Lagana in Monster Mutt Rottweiler started the action with a solid 18, considering it was his first time in the truck. Bad News Travels Fast came close to dethroning the dawg, falling a point short. War Wizard had an abbreviated run, which led into Tampa stalwart Gunslinger. The drive to take the lead resulted in a tie with two trucks sitting at 18. Bryan Wright was able to bring Hooked from the pit area and his desire to compete was clear, taking the lead with a 22. Ice Cream Man posted a solid 18, but Wolverine tore to the floor. After eight years of serving as crew chief for Dennis Anderson, driver Dustin Brown wanted to show that he learned something and it was obvious. The truck ended up on its lid and Brown ended up on top with a score of 25. Iron Man had a 47 second run that didn’t threaten the leader. Zombie and Stone Crusher had solid efforts, but couldn’t change the leaderboard. Grave Digger hit the floor and body parts started flying. After the right front fender disappeared, the rest of the body except for the driver’s door ended up on the stadium floor. The impressive effort brought a 26 and the new lead. He was joined at the top by El Toro Loco, who mixed in tail-dragging wheelstands to the delight of the crowd. Grinder came up a few points short, but racing winner Son Uva Digger smelled a double down. A score of 27 would be enough, but not for Ryan Anderson. He made a statement with a 30 and dared the rest of the field to knock him off. A solid effort by Max D saw the truck end its runs halfway through bonus and claim second place with a 27.
Earlier in the show, Tom Meents thrilled the crowd with a backflip out of intermission. A field of local democross drivers saw Bill Hindman pick up a heat win and the main with Dillon Jackson claiming a heat. Mark Bibeau took the main in Legends cars.
Fast Qualifier: Iron Man 19.684
Round One – Grave Digger def. Stone Crusher, Gunslinger def. Monster Mutt Rottweiler, El Toro Loco def. Razin’ Kane, Max D def. War Wizard, Ice Cream Man def. Wolverine, Grinder def. Zombie, Iron Man (bye run), Son Uva Digger def. Bad News Travels Fast
Round Two – Iron Man def. Grave Digger, Max D def. Wolverine (Wolverine returned when Ice Cream Man could not), Son Uva Digger def. Advance Auto Parts Grinder, El Toro Loco def. Gunslinger
Semi-Finals – El Toro Loco def. Iron Man, Son Uva Digger def. Max D
UTI Championship Round – Son Uva Digger def. El Toro Loco
Service is Our Best Part Freestyle
Monster Mutt Rottweiler – 5-5-6-2 = 18
Bad News Travels Fast – 5-5-5-2 = 17
War Wizard - 4-5-4 = 13
Gunslinger – 6-7-5 = 18
Hooked – 7-7-7-1 = 22
Ice Cream Man – 6-5-6-1 = 18
Wolverine – 8-8-8-1 = 25
Iron Man – 4-4-4 = 12
Zombie – 7-7-7 = 21
Stone Crusher – 7-6-7 -2 = 22
Grave Digger – 8-8-8-2 = 26
El Toro Loco – 9-8-7 – 2= 26
Advance Auto Parts Grinder – 8-7-7-2 = 24
Son Uva Digger 9-9-8-4 = 30
Max D 9-8-8-2 = 27
By Larry Jewett