Monster Jam 2014
January 4, 2014
Monster Jam® Trucks: Grave Digger® driven by Dennis Anderson, Scooby-Doo™ driven by Nicole Johnson, Max-D℠ driven by Tom Meents, El Diablo℠ driven by J.P. Ruggiero, Mohawk Warrior® driven by George Balhan, Rod Ryan Show driven by Dan Evans, El Toro Loco (Orange) driven by Lupe Soza, Lucas Oil Crusader® driven by Linsey Weenk, Captain's Curse® driven by Alex Blackwell, Team Hot Wheels® Firestorm® driven by Scott Buetow, Son-uva Digger® driven by Ryan Anderson, Monster Mutt℠ Rottweiler driven by Rod Schmidt, Avenger driven by Jim Koehler, Wrecking Crew driven by Steve Koehler, Barbarian driven by Devin Jones, Outlaw driven by Mike Harper, King Krunch driven by David Smith, Nitro Hornet driven by Daron Basl, Xtermigator driven by J.R. McNeal, Ice Cream Man driven by Roy Pridgeon, Stone Crusher driven by Steve Sims, Hooked driven by Steven Sims and Cleatus driven by Frank Krmel!!
Facing the largest and most competitive line-up of Monster Jam superstars they are likely to battle on the Road to Monster Jam World Finals XV presented by NGK Spark Plugs the two biggest names in the sport came out on top in front of a roaring crowd at Reliant Stadium in Houston as Dennis Anderson drove his brand new Grave Digger #30 to the racing championship and Tom Meents rocked the house with Max-D claiming the freestyle trophy.
Following the biggest Party in the Pits ever in the 30 plus year history of Monster Jam in Houston the fans packed into Reliant Stadium to witness a 20 truck racing bracket contested with even more Monster Jam trucks added in for freestyle. The appreciative crowd was treated to great racing action round after round on the SoCal style, multi-turn race track, and then cheered in delight for a freestyle competition packed with wow moments and ragged edge performances.
Anderson displayed a surprising confidence before the first round of racing got underway considering the fact that he was competing in the newest Grave Digger Monster Jam truck for the first time ever. Dennis himself has seen new trucks in the past both on his team and others that took a while to work out the bugs but he said he had “a really good feeling” about how his new piece would perform, saying that much of the design on the new Grave Digger included pieces of technology that have proved successful on the trucks his sons have been driving, The Legend and Son-uva Digger.
Those premonitions proved correct as Grave Digger rolled through the upper half of the racing bracket and after eliminating George Balhan and Mohawk Warrior in the semifinals Anderson secured a slot in the Championship Round Race where the opposition would come from his son Ryan in Son-uva Digger. Son-uva Digger eliminated two-time defending Houston 1 racing champ Lindsay Weenk and Lucas Oil Crusader in his final four match-up to create the family showdown in the finale. Dad has had the better of his son over the first few years of their head-to-head match-ups although last year it was close, Grave Digger winning 3 of 5 races against Son-uva Digger in 2013. To start 2014 Dennis drove a spot on race in Grave Digger while Ryan made a mistake on the tricky course for the first time all night and it was costly allowing Grave Digger to cruise to the victory over Son-uva Digger.
Other highlights in the race bracket included an amazing win for Max-D in round two against David Smith in King Krunch. Smith was struggling on the long track and Max-D built a huge lead, but then in the final turn the truck flipped over but the roll was 360 degrees and when Max-D landed back on the wheels Meents got back on the throttle to continue to win the race which has to be one of the only times ever a truck has rolled on the course and went on to win that race. Max-D was damaged in the rollover though and was unable to come back in the next round. The fans were also treated to the racing debut of the Fox Sports 1 Monster Jam truck Cleatus with veteran Frank Krmel behind the wheel. Cleatus won its first ever race before falling in round two.
Coming off the amazing race action the crowd was on fire for the start for freestyle and young Steven Sims in Hooked gave them lots to cheer about with a big air performance as the first truck on the track and Sims would spend more time in the leader’s hot seat than any other in the star studded line-up. Eventually Cleatus would move into the lead and shared the top score with the Lucas Oil Crusader when Meents ripped the track up with an incredible freestyle and Max-D took the lead. Both Anderson’s wowed the crowd with amazing performances but neither filled the entire clock and Max-D, the reigning Monster Jam World Freestyle Champion opened 2014 with a huge freestyle victory.
1st Round – Nitro Hornet def. El Toro Loco; Grave Digger def. Ice Cream Man; Mohawk Warrior def. El Diablo; Outlaw def. Team Hot Wheels Firestorm; Son-uva Digger def. Xtermigator; Captain’s Curse def. Barbarian; Max-D def. Avenger; King Krunch def. Scooby-Doo; Lucas Oil Crusader bye run when Hooked was unable to make the start; Cleatus def. Stone Crusher
2nd round - Grave Digger def. Nitro Hornet; Mohawk Warrior def. Outlaw; Son-uva Digger def. Captain’s Curse; Max-D def. King Krunch; Lucas Oil Crusader def. Cleatus (Nitro Hornet advanced as fastest round 2 loser, Captain’s Curse advanced when Max-D was unable to return for next round)
3rd round - Grave Digger def. Nitro Hornet; Son-uva Digger def. Mohawk Warrior; Lucas Oil Crusader def. Captain’s Curse (Mohawk Warrior advanced as fastest 3rd round loser)
Semifinals – Grave Digger def. Mohawk Warrior; Son-uva Digger def. Lucas Oil Crusader
CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND RACE – GRAVE DIGGER DEFEATED SON-UVA DIGGER
Max-D 28 (25 + 3 bonus points)
Grave Digger 25
Cleatus 23 (22 + 1)
Lucas Oil Crusader 23 (21 + 2)
Monster Mutt Rottweiler 22
Hooked 21 (19 + 2)
Captain’s Curse 21 (19 + 2)
Son-uva Digger 21
Mohawk Warrior 19
Wrecking Crew 17
Rod Ryan Show 16
Scooby-Doo 16 (15 + 1)
Xtermigator 16 (15 + 1)
El Toro Loco 16
Ice Cream Man 15 (14 + 1)
El Diablo 15
Team Hot Wheels Firestorm 15 (14 + 1)
Nitro Hornet 10
Stone Crusher 7