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Pensacola, FL - Pensacola Bay Center






Thunder Nationals
Pensacola Bay Center
Pensacola, FL
March 1-2, 2013
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Racing Winner
Freestyle Winner

Friday 7:30 p.m.: NitemareSaturday 2 p.m.: Grave DiggerSaturday 7:30 p.m.: Fullboar
Friday 7:30 p.m.: Grave DiggerSaturday 2 p.m.: Grave DiggerSaturday 7:30 p.m.: Grave Digger
Trucks: Monster Jam® Trucks: Grave Digger® driven by Randy Brown, Superman™ driven by Joey Parnell, Fullboar driven by Ed Eckert, Nitemare driven by Andy Hoffman, Razin' Kane driven by JR McNeal and Backdraft driven by Jeremy Slifko!!

Photos

Friday 7:30 p.m.

The opening night of the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam Thunder Nationals in Pensacola made the crowd inside forget the unseasonably cool conditions outside of the gulf coast community. The action was non-stop as a field of six Monster Jam trucks set out to show the world that the best entertainment could be found right here.
The night opened with wheelie competition and it didn’t take long to find a winner. Young Guns 2013 candidate JR McNeal set the Razin’ Kane down on the tailgate with high-flying action from the green light. As second to go, his near-perfect 26 held up through the entire competition. For the Paisley, Florida, second-year competitor, this was the first win in any element and his victory interview was one of true joy.
Drivers had drawn for their racing spots in our pre-show and the stage was set for the first eliminations. Superman opened the action with a win over Fullboar. Backdraft prevailed over Grave Digger. In the final race of the round, Razin’ Kane rolled past Nitemare. The presence of three winners meant the fast loser from round one would go to the semi-finals. It was close, but Nitemare earned the right to move on. Veteran Andy Hoffman would be called immediately to the line to face Superman for the first semi-finals event. Nitemare made the best of the situation, picking up the win and getting the ticket to the UTI Championship round. The opponent would be determined in the match-up between Razin’ Kane and Backdraft, which resulted in a Backdraft win.
When the time came for the UTI Championship round, Nitemare came to the line, ready to race. Razin’ Kane was started and sent to the line despite the earlier loss. Despite the snafu, officials rolled on with the competition, leaving Backdraft on the sideline. In the match-up, Nitemare prevailed to claim the win. Driver Andy Hoffman signed his winner’s plaque and delivered it to a lucky Monster Jam fan, who will enjoy the special keepsake.
Following intermission, the field came charging out for donut action. Wheelie winner JR McNeal was competing in his first-ever donut competition and set a pretty high standard. Jeremy Slifko charged out in Backdraft and posted a solid 27, but the truck stopped on the track with some issues. The driver had to be called from his work to accept the donut trophy, giving the show the third different winner of the night.
The action closed off with the Service is Our Best Part freestyle. The drivers were given just 60 seconds to do whatever they could to get the attention of the judges. When it was all said and done, a jubilant Randy Brown claimed his 19th arena freestyle, leading the Monster Jam world.
The show started with a drifting exhibition and performance by a team of fire jugglers. Megasaurus destroyed a special car that had been painted by the local Girls and Boys Club in a message to crush bullying.

Wheelies
Razin’ Kane – 9-9-8 = 26
Nitemare – 8-8-7 = 23
Backdraft – 7-7-7 = 21
Superman – 7-7-6 = 20
Grave Digger – 7-6-6 = 19
Fullboar 6-5-5 = 16

Racing
Round One – Superman def Fullboar, Backdraft def Grave Digger, Razin’ Kane def Nitemare (Nitemare returns as round one fast loser)
Semi-Finals – Nitemare def Superman, Backdraft def Razin’ Kane
UTI Championship – Nitemare def Razin’ Kane

Donuts
Backdraft – 9-9-9 = 27
Grave Digger – 9-9-8 = 26
Razin’ Kane – 9-8-8 = 25
Fullboar – 7-7-8 = 22
Nitemare – 7-7-8 = 22
Superman – 7-6-6 = 19

Service is Our Best Freestyle
Grave Digger – 9-9-9 = 27
Backdraft – 9-9-8 = 26
Nitemare – 8-8-9 = 25
Superman – 7-8-8 = 23
Razin’ Kane – 7-7-8 = 22
Fullboar – 7-6-6 = 19

By Larry Jewett

Saturday 2 p.m.

The afternoon show for the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam took some interesting twists and turns to keep the action high for the event. A Monster Jam Party in the Pits allowed the early arriving crowd to maximize their experience and meet the drivers they would see in action. The afternoon show for the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam took some interesting twists and turns to keep the action high for the event. A Monster Jam Party in the Pits allowed the early arriving crowd to maximize their experience and meet the drivers they would see in action.

Wheelie competition opened the show with Grave Digger proving to be the strongest of the early runners. A solid 27 looked unbeatable until the last truck hit the line. Andy Hoffman set Nitemare onto the tailgate and carried the wheelstand across the floor to earn a perfect score. Unfortunately, the run ended when his truck made contact with a parked Backdraft, resulting in damage to both trucks. The Nitemare crew went to work on a broken four-link and front steering issues. Backdraft’s crew turned their attention to the steering damage. The resulting situation put both trucks out of action for racing.

With the departure of two trucks, a modified four-truck bracket was implemented. In the first of two opening round races, Fullboar squeaked by Superman. The last race saw Grave Digger take down Razin’ Kane.

The Monster Jam trucks that were not able to advance from the first round were given an opportunity to determine a third-place finisher with a consolation round. The honor went to Razin’ Kane, who took the win over Superman.

In the UTI Championship round, Grave Digger slipped past Fullboar to bring driver Randy Brown his seventh arena racing championship of 2013.

The hard work of the Nitemare crew and the Backdraft crew got both trucks ready in time for donut competition. Jeremy Slifko started tentative and finished strong, poising himself for a win in the action. Grave Digger had a chance to beat the 2009 Rookie of the Year and made good on it to bring Grave Digger ahead of Backdraft by a single point.

The Service is Our Best Part freestyle remained for the cheering fans. Fullboar opened the action a blower belt broke to end his effort a few seconds from the allotted 60. Razin’ Kaze stepped up to take the lead before Superman scooted out to a solid 24. That mark stood to the next two challengers, but the incentive to double down was a strong one. Randy Brown pulled off the feat with some air and hard charging, gaining his 20th arena freestyle title in the process.

The crowd the Up in Flames fire dancers, a drifting exhibition and the destructive ways of Megasaurus. The final Pensacola show for 2013 rings up in just a few hours.

Wheelies
Nitemare – 10-10-10 = 30
Grave Digger – 9-9-9 = 27
Superman - 8-9-8 = 25
Backdraft – 8-7-8 = 23
Fullboar – 6-7-8 = 21
Razin’ Kane – 5-6-7 = 1

Racing
Round One – Fullboar def Superman, Grave Digger def Razin Kane (Nitemare and Backdraft could not compete)
Consolation Round – Razin’ Kane def Superman
UTI Championship Round – Grave Digger def Fullboar

Donuts
Grave Digger – 9-9-9 = 27
Backdraft – 8-9-9 = 26
Razin’ Kane – 7-7-7 = 21
Superman – 6-7-6 = 19
Fullboar – 6-6-6 = 18
Nitemare – 6-5-5 = 16

Service is Our Best Part Freestyle
Grave Digger – 9-9-8 = 26
Superman – 8-8-8 = 24
Nitemare – 7-7-8 = 22
Razin’ Kane – 7-7-6 = 20
Backdraft – 6-6-7 = 19
Fullboar – 6-5-5 = 16

By Larry Jewett

Saturday 7:30 p.m.

A rousing finish hit the town with the final show of the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam Thunder Nationals at the Pensacola Bay Center. A capacity crowd was on hand to witness the excitement as the Monster Jam truck drivers were not going to be content with leaving anything undone.
Wheelie competition began the night as five trucks from the field of six were able to participate. The misfortune continued for the Backdraft crew as the truck experienced an issue during opening ceremonies and had to miss this competition. Early leader Razin’ Kane was anxiously awaiting what the outcome would be as Superman rolled out and went vertical to score a 26. The score would have to withstand one more challenge and it would be from Saturday afternoon wheelie winner Nitemare. A solid effort got Nitemare the win by a single point.
The Monster Jam racing opened with a bye run for Razin’ Kane, who had drawn Backdraft, still under repair. Grave Digger came on strong to defeat Friday racing winner Nitemare and Fullboar charged past Superman to complete round one. Fast loser was Nitemare who got a second chance at the semi-finals. The matchup with Grave Digger was yet another close encounter with Grave Digger getting a popular victory. The remaining race was a Fullboar win over Razin’ Kane, setting up a Saturday night rematch from the earlier show’s activity.
The UTI Championship round was historic with the results. Ed Eckert in Fullboar claimed the win and revealed that it was the first time in his 12 years of racing that he beat Randy Brown in Grave Digger in a racing final. Fullboar was added to the weekend’s list of winners.
After intermission, the action continued with donut competition. There was plenty of incentive for all of the drivers as the fans were really throwing their support behind their favorite Monster Jam trucks. It took a near perfect effort to win and Backdraft was up to the task with continuous cyclones bringing the truck back into competition in a winning way.
The Service is Our Best Part freestyle closed off the night with a rush for the fans who earned the competition by keeping the energy level high. On his way to Las Vegas for the 2013 Young Guns Shootout, JR McNeal put together an inspired freestyle that earned an early 24 that stood through most of the competition. Knowing that Grave Digger had suffered engine problems at the conclusion of the donut competition, the score looked good enough to win when Nitemare posted a 22. The Grave Digger hopeful were watching the pit area anxiously, waiting for the truck to fire. Driver Randy Brown brought the truck to life and it was immediately obvious that the engine was damaged. It didn’t stop Randy Brown from charging out into contention and completing the 60 seconds and more to the delight of the fans. The scoreboard showed a 26 for the win. In his interview, marking his third freestyle win of the weekend, Randy told the crowd that he knew the engine was hurt and he called the engine shop and they told him to keep going. In the process, he picked up his Monster Jam leading 21st arena freestyle championship.
The 2014 schedule will see a return to Pensacola on March 7-8 and Sprocket made sure some of the best fans had tickets to come back. Throughout the weekend, the crowd was kept entertained to the delight of young and old.
The pre-show featured a team of four fire dancers and a pair of drift cars performing their exhibition. Megasaurus devoured yet another car as the fans oohed and aawed to the destruction and fire.

Wheelies
Nitemare 9-9-9 = 27
Superman 9-9-8 = 26
Razin’ Kane 8-7-8 = 23
Grave Digger 7-6-7 = 20
Fullboar 6-6-6 = 18
Backdraft – did not compete

Racing
Round One – Razin’ Kane (bye run when Backdraft could not compete), Grave Digger def Nitemare, Fullboar def Superman (Nitemare returns as round one fast loser)
Semi-finals – Grave Digger def Nitemare, Fullboar def Razin’ Kane
UTI Championship Round – Fullboar def Grave Digger

Donuts
Backdraft – 10-9-9 = 28
Grave Digger – 9-9-9 = 27
Nitemare – 8-8-8 = 24
Razin’ Kane – 7-8-8 = 23
Fullboar – 7-7-7 = 21
Superman – 6-6-7 = 19

Service is Our Best Part Freestyle
Grave Digger – 9-9-8 = 26
Razin’ Kane – 8-8-8 = 24
Nitemare – 7-7-8 = 22
Superman – 7-7-7 = 21
Fullboar – 6-7-6 = 19
Backdraft – 5-6-6 = 17

By Larry Jewett