February 9, 2013
Saturday 7:00: Grave Digger
Saturday 7:00: Grave Digger
Monster Jam® Trucks: Grave Digger® driven by Dennis Anderson, Wolverine driven by Dustin Brown, Lucas Oil Crusader® driven by Linsey Weenk, Monster Mutt® Dalmatian driven by Candice Jolly, Metal Mulisha driven by Brian Deegan, Batman™ driven by Norm Miller, King Krunch driven by David Smith, Nitro Hornet driven by Daron Basl, Big Kahuna driven by Shane England, Titan driven by Donald Epidendio, El Toro Loco driven by Dan Rodoni, Devastator driven by Mark Schroeder, McGruff driven by Rod Wood, Shocker driven by Pat Gerber, Obsession driven by Rick Swanson and Tropical Thunder driven by Andrew Peckham!!
The enthusiasm was high as the crowd turned out in full force for the final event of the 2013 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam season at Angel Stadium. Two previous events had featured close competition, but this event moved the needle even higher with a stellar field of 16 Monster Jam trucks poised to leave nothing on the sidelines.
Much of the talk was about three drivers who had been selected to the Young Guns competition as part of the 2013 Advance Auto Parts World Finals presented by NGK, scheduled for next month. One of those deserving drivers was Donald Epidendio, who had won both previous Anaheim competitions. Tonight’s bid for a three-peat was thwarted early when the truck broke during the introductions, vicitimized by a faulty transmission. The breakdown denied Epidendio a chance to repeat as fast qualifier, leaving 15 trucks to vie for the honor.
The field was faced with the So-Cal style track that has become quite popular throughout the series. Trucks were sent to the line two at a time with Dennis Anderson and Grave included in the first pair. Anderson’s blistering 19.87 stood strong against the field of competition as no one could get within two seconds of the time. Linsey Weenk’s 21.90 also came early in the qualifying and ended up being second quick time.
The action moved into elimination rounds as Grave Digger earned a bye run when Titan scratched. Monster Mutt Dalmatian ended up getting a bye run when El Toro Loco suffered engine issues en route to the line. Metal Mulisha gained a victory when Batman spun on a set of turns. Other round one winners included Obsession’s victory over Big Kahuna, Tropical Thunder decisional McGruff, Nitro Hornet stopped King Krunch and Lucas Oil Crusader dropped Shocker. Devastator found himself alone at the starting line when Wolverine suffered some issues that prevented it from answering the call in the allotted time.
Second round action put Grave Digger, Obsession, Tropical Thunder and Lucas Oil Crusader on the path to the semi-finals. That round saw Grave Digger sideline Obsession while Tropical Thunder took advantage of a Lucas Oil Crusader spin in the first turn. Driver Andrew Peckham was competing in his third Anaheim semi-final of the year, but this night marked the first night he advanced into the UTI Championship round.
The crowd was rocking as the trucks came to the line to settle the score. Dennis Anderson was making his first Anaheim start since 2008. On that night, Anderson was fast qualifier and won racing, so the stage was set for history to repeat itself. Meanwhile, the ledger showed California drivers winning the previous racing efforts and Peckham had the state’s honor on the line. The final race was too close to call at halfway, but Grave Digger made the final swing to pull off a narrow victory.
The Service is Our Best Part Freestyle would draw plenty of energy from the crowd who knew they would either have to wait 11 months or go to the World Finals a few hours away to enjoy this type of action. The freestyle was worthy of a World Finals competition as the desire was strong and the track inspection at intermission was done with conviction. Unfortunately, Shocker couldn’t finish his run, but the next eight drivers managed to carry their runs into bonus time. McGruff poured on the wheelies to take an early with Obsession filling the time frame well enough to gain the top spot. Disappointed that he couldn’t make the call for racing, Young Gun Dustin Brown held nothing back and put on a freestyle exhibition. Clearly pumped up by his involvement in the Young Guns, Brown told the crowd he waited too long for the chance to meet the Anaheim fans to disappoint them. His score of 25 was solid and withstood the challenges, though a few trucks were close. Brian Deegan went after the mark with the idea of gaining the lead, an idea that proved to be correct as his big air and constant attack pushed the lead to 27. Bigger air proved to be the key for Lucas Oil Crusader who carried the score up to 27. The floor was cleared for Dennis Anderson, who stood as the only driver to double down. As time was running out on the: 30 bonus, Anderson sent the truck into the air, crashing down on the roof with the fans on their feet. The score was enough to guarantee that the Double Down would happen and 29 did the job.
The fans were treated to Jiffy Lube UTV competition and NGK Spark Plug off-road as well as local three-quarter midget racing.
Grave Digger – 19.87
Lucas Oil Crusader – 21.90
Tropical Thunder – 21.91
Obsession – 22.39
Metal Mulisha – 22.75
Devastator – 22.75
King Krunch – 23.41
Monster Mutt Dalmatian – 23.47
El Toro Loco – 23.63
Nitro Hornet – 23.97
Wolverine – 25.09
Batman – 25.53
Big Kahuna – 26.63
McGruff – 33.31
Shocker – 33.62
Titan – DNQ (transmission)
Round One – Grave Digger bye, Monster Mutt Dalmatian bye, Devastator bye, Metal Mulisha def. Batman, Obsession def. Big Kahuna, Tropical Thunder def. McGruff, Nitro Hornet def. King Krunch, Lucas Oil Crusader def. Shocker
Round two – Grave Digger def. Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Obsession def. Metal Mulisha, Tropical Thunder def. Devastator, Lucas Oil Crusader def. Nitro Hornet
Semi-finals – Grave Digger def. Obsession, Tropical Thunder def. Lucas Oil Crusader
UTI Championship Round – Grave Digger def. Tropical Thunder
Service is Our Best Part Freestyle
Grave Digger 8-8-8-5 = 29
Lucas Oil Crusader – 8-8-7-4 = 27
Metal Mulisha – 7-8-8-3 = 26
Wolverine – 8-8-7-2 = 25
Monster Mutt Dalmatian – 7-7-7-2 = 23
Titan – 7-7-7-2 = 23
Tropical Thunder – 7-6-7-2 = 23
Obsession – 6-6-6-2 = 20
Nitro Hornet – 6-6-6-2= 20
Devastator – 6-5-6-2 = 19
McGruff – 6-5-5-2 = 18
Batman – 5-6-5 = 16
Big Kahuna – 3-4-4-1 = 12
King Krunch – 2-3-3 = 8
Shocker – 2-2-3 = 7
El Toro Loco – Did Not Compete
By Larry Jewett