Sun Life Stadium
Monster Jam 2014
Sun Life Stadium
February 8, 2014
Grave Digger The Legend
El Toro Loco
Monster Jam® Trucks: Grave Digger® driven by Pablo Huffaker, Wolverine driven by Aaron Basl, El Diablo℠ driven by JP Ruggiero, Mohawk Warrior® driven by George Balhan, Grave Digger The Legend® driven by Adam Anderson, Captain America driven by Chad Fortune, El Toro Loco® (Orange) driven by Lupe Soza, Blue Thunder® driven by Dan Evans, Stone Crusher driven by Bryan Wright, Hooked driven by Steven Sims, War Wizard driven by Darrin Goin, Gunslinger driven by Scott Hartsock, Xtermigator driven by JR McNeal, Ice Cream Man driven by Roy Pridgeon, Predator driven by Allen Pezo, Prowler driven by Lenny Kuilder, Black Stallion driven by Mike Vaters and Overkill Evolution driven by Mike Vaters Jr.!!
The thunderous roar permeated Sun Life Stadium as Monster Jam’s return to Miami was greeted with high energy throughout the entire performance. The largest Monster Jam field was gathered on a sunny Saturday afternoon, starting with a well-attended party in the pits. Fans young and old met their heroes face to face and set the sights on the combat awaiting inside.
Monster Jam trucks lined up for the all-important qualifying sessions to determine the racing brackets throughout the evening. Qualifying at or near the top has been critical in the success throughout 2014 all across the monster Jam nation and Miami would prove no exception.
It didn’t take long for the crowd to see that speed was coming. Dan Evans put Blue Thunder around the Chicago-style course in 19.74 seconds early in the run and the mark held up through the 12 remaining challengers. It was a full eight-tenths of a second quicker than Adam Anderson’s 20.592 that claimed second.
The first round sorted out the competition as winners would advance in hopes of claiming the Miami win. The round was marred by a rollover when Steven Sims behind the wheel of Hooked clipped a turning car and ended his run, handing victory to Overkill Evolution. First round winners included Xtermigator, Gunslinger, Grave Digger, Captain America, Mohawk Warrior, Blue Thunder and Grave Digger The Legend.
Races got closer in the second round as four more trucks advanced toward the semi-finals. The elite group included Blue Thunder, Gunslinger, Captain America and Grave Digger The Legend.
Blue Thunder eliminated Gunslinger in the semi-finals, stopping a trend that saw Gunslinger win in Miami every time there was a Winter Olympics in the 21st century (2002, 2006 and 2010). In the remaining semi-final, Captain America pulled from the pits, but an electrical problem prevented the truck from re-firing. That gave an opning for Grave Digger, who had fallen to Captain America in a previous round. The opponent would be defending Monster jam World finals racing champion Adam Anderson in Grave Digger The Legend. The second chance ended when Grave Digger The Legend cruised home with the win.
The stage was set for the Road to the Monster Jam World Finals championship. Fast qualifier Dan Evans in Blue Thunder would meet up with Grave Digger The Legend in its first appearance in Miami. When the lights turned green, it was pretty even through the first two jumps, but Grave Digger The Legend powered home with the win. Anderson thanks the Miami fans and took his championship trophy to find a new resting place with a South Florida fan.
Along the way, El Toro Loco (Lupe Soza) and El Diablo (J.P. Ruggiero) made periodic appearances in the Monster Jam Hispanic Shootout. El Toro Loco won the wheelie portion and El Diablo captured donuts.
Since each driver won one element of the Shootout, the drivers earned the right to join Monster Jam Fox Sports 1 Freestyle, setting up the scenario where as many as 18 trucks could have been involved in the competition. The scores keep creeping up through the early stages with Gunslinger posting a 17 to raise the mark. Stone Crusher became the first truck in the 20s and faced a challenged from Hooked, who broke off a right front wheel, falling just short with a 18. Mike Vaters Jr. made a nice save in his freestyle, but the truck rolled shortly after, denying him a bonus score. Wolverine carried the mantle for the Marvel Universe by moving to the lead with a 21. Mohawk Warrior tallied a strong 24 to become the new leader until El Toro Loco sailed from the tunnel. In 20 seconds, a horn fell off. In 30 seconds, the other horn fell off and the rest of the truck was powering through a strong routine that thrilled the crowd that included great saves and much more. A 26 was the reward. Captain America couldn’t quite move the bar despite a tremendous effort. Grave Digger The Legend sought to become the first Miami Double Down winner, but the run ended early with mechanical problems and a 20. Grave Digger could not finish the run and earned a 20, giving Lupe Soza his third Miami freestyle win.
Team USA avenged a pair of losses to Team Cuba in Quad Wars by taking the main event.
Fast Qualifier – Blue Thunder 19.74
Round One – Xtermigator def War Wizard, Gunslinger def Stone Crusher, Overkill Evolution def Hooked, Grave Digger def Black Stallion, Captain America def Predator, Mohawk Warrior def Wolverine, Blue Thunder def Prowler, Grave Digger The Legend def Ice Cream Man
Round Two – Blue Thunder def Xtermigator, Gunslinger def Overkill Evolution, Captain America def Grave Digger, Grave Digger The Legend def Mohawk Warrior (Grave Digger advances due to mechanical issue with Captain America)
Semi-finals – Blue Thunder def Gunslinger, Grave Digger The Legend def Grave Digger,
Road to the Monster Jam World Finals Championship – Grave Digger The Legend def Blue Thunder
Monster Jam Fox Sports 1 Freestyle
El Toro Loco – 8-8-8-2 = 26
Captain America 8-7-7-2 = 24
Mohawk Warrior 7-7-7-3 = 24
Wolverine 6-6-6-3 = 21
Stone Crusher 6-6-6-2 = 20
Grave Digger The Legend 6-7-7 = 20
Grave Digger 7-6-7 = 20
Xtermigator 6-5-5-2 = 18
Hooked 6-6-6 = 18
Gunslinger 5-5-6-1 = 17
Overkill Evolution 5-6-6 = 17
El Diablo 5-5-6 = 16
Ice Cream Man 5-5-5-1 = 16
War Wizard 4-5-5 = 14
Prowler 4-4-4-1 =13
Black Stallion 4-3-5 = 12
Predator 4-4-3 = 11
By Larry Jewett