Monster Jam 2014
April 11-12, 2014
Friday 7:30 p.m.: Grave Digger
Saturday 2 p.m.: Lucas Oil Crusader
Saturday 7:30 p.m.: Grave Digger
Friday 7:30 p.m.: Grave Digger
Saturday 2 p.m.: Stone Crusher
Saturday 7:30 p.m.: Stone Crusher
Monster Jam® Trucks: Grave Digger® driven by Gary Porter, Monster Mutt® driven by Whit Tarlton, Madusa®, Lucas Oil Crusader® driven by Linsey Weenk, Stone Crusher driven by Steve Sims and Hooked driven by Steven Sims!!
Friday 7:30 p.m.
The schedule-maker was kind to the Raleigh Monster Jam fans as a star-studded lineup came to PNC Arena for the highly anticipated date. Four of the trucks in the lineup were fresh from the Monster Jam World Finals XV and looking for victory. At the end of it, the driver with the most wins in the history of Monster Jam competition in the building had added to the total. Gary Porter and Grave Digger captured three of the four elements, cheered on by the Carolina fans.
Porter would be denied a sweep with the results of the very first competition, the wheelie competition. The field of six went vertical in great fashion, each trying to improve upon the opening effort of first-time Raleigh competitor Steven Sims. All came close, but none could take the win from Sims, who had one previous wheelie win this season.
The Maniac Challenge was a new element to Raleigh Monster Jam fans as the obstacle course race against the clock but the drivers and trucks to the test in a synchronization of man and machine. Excitement peaked when Monster Mutt nearly toppled, but a great save by Whit Tarlton kept the truck in competition. Madusa led the early stages with a 16.44, but Lucas Oil Crusader lowered the time by more than a second with a 15.41 run. Grave Digger had the last shot and made the best of it with a 14.90 for the win.
The six-truck racing was side-by-side and each event was close, some decided only after the replay confirmed the results. Grave Digger defeated Madusa to open round one. Stone Crusher bested Monster Mutt and Lucas Oil Crusader slipped past Hooked. The fastest loser from the round was Hooked, who earned a pass to the semi-finals. The second life lasted one pass as Grave Digger advanced with a win. Lucas Oil Crusader gained the semi-final berth with a win over Stone Crusher. The final was so close the drivers had to rely on the officials to know who got the win, which proved to be Grave Digger. While Gary Porter has been adding freestyle wins (including three last year), the Friday racing win was his first in the building since 2008. It was Porter’s 24th championship, which ran his 2014 racing record to 84-13.
The Freestyle action gave the competition another shot at glory. The field went after the course with a variety of tricks to get the fans cheering. Monster Mutt gained the advantage with a 22, but Stone Crusher picked up the lead with a 24. It took an effort that brought a 26 to give Grave Digger the Double Down for the night and Porter’s 24th freestyle win of the year with his 36th consecutive freestyle score of 20 or higher.
Team South Carolina opened the Quad Wars competition with a heat win and backed it up with the finals win until the North Carolina champion objected. North Carolina won the challenge to go along with the second heat win. The Jet Golf Cart, Teed Off, played through to entertain the fans who were amazed at the power and heat.
Two more shows are on tap on Saturday, following a pit party for the community fans.
Hooked 7-7-8 = 22
Grave Digger 8-7-6 = 21
Lucas Oil Crusader 7-7-7 = 21
Stone Crusher 7-7-6 = 20
Monster Mutt 6-6-7 = 19
Madusa 6-6-5 = 17
Grave Digger – 14.90
Lucas Oil Crusader – 15.41
Madusa – 16.44
Hooked – 17.09
Stone Crusher – 17.25
Monster Mutt – 18.50
Round One – Grave Digger def Madusa, Stone Crusher def Monster Mutt, Lucas Oil Crusader def Hooked
(Hooked would return as fast loser)
Semi-Finals – Grave Digger def Hooked, Lucas Oil Crusader def Stone Crusher
The Road to the World Finals Championship – Grave Digger def Lucas Oil Crusader
Grave Digger – 9-9-8 = 26
Stone Crusher – 8-8-8 = 24
Lucas Oil Crusader – 8-7-8 = 23
Monster Mutt – 8-7-7 = 22
Hooked - 7-7-6 = 20
Madusa – 5-6-7 = 18
By Larry JewettSaturday 2 p.m.
Four different winners claimed a trophy in the Saturday afternoon presentation of Monster Jam at PNC Arena in Raleigh. No one was able to earn more than one victory showing the even competition that presented for the day’s action.
The event looked like it could be very similar to the Friday night affair when Hooked captured the wheelie competition. The afternoon pair of wheelstands put up by Steven Sims in Hooked was a mark that proved to be unbeatable. The score of 24 was even higher than the night before and three drivers recorded scores of 23 that would have been tops if they had come a day earlier. One of the trucks, Lucas Oil Crusader, tipped at the end of the run. There was no denying Steven Sims who recorded his first multiple win weekend of the year and there is still another show to go.
The Maniac Challenge put the drivers to the test as the timed competition required a steady effort. Madusa opened with a near flawless run that didn’t rely on speed, but focused on consistency. The time stood until Stone Crusher was only .35 seconds quicker. Lucas Oil Crusader dipped into the 15-second range with a 15.22 run, but even that wasn’t enough as Grave Digger repeated the Friday night win as the fastest time. The 14.53 run was the quickest of the weekend and it will be a topic of conversation leading into the night show.
In racing action, the drivers paired off and each race required a replay review. Grave Digger beat Madusa, putting the record at 10-1 against Madusa this season. Monster Mutt avenged a Friday night loss to Stone Crusher as the Big Dog advanced. The final race of the round was a victory for Lucas Oil Crusader over Hooked. Stone Crusher would get the fast loser provisional, but Stone Crusher fell to Grave Digger in the semi-finals. The results set up a re-match from Friday, but here’s where the path changed course. In the closest race of the weekend, Lucas Oil Crusader nipped Grave Digger to claim a racing win for the second straight week.
The Monster Jam Fox Sports 1 freestyle was chaotic at best. Hooked hit the floor and charged at the obstacles, ending the run a few seconds early and losing valuable points. The score withstood the challenge of Madusa and Steven Sims watched as Monster Mutt hit the floor. After a high-flying start, Monster Mutt rolled just 22 seconds into the run and faced a disappointing 14. The fans had hoped for more and gave their support to the home-state driver. Stone Crusher, winner of the 2006 freestyle event, came roaring to the floor and there was no mistaking the mission. His 22 was reflective of the effort that earned the lead. Lucas Oil Crusader went out and looked strong, but the judges liked it only to the point of a 21. The single point denied the Double Down and set the stage for Grave Digger as the final contestant. Just past the halfway point, Grave Digger rolled over and ended hopes of a second freestyle win of the weekend. The victory went to Stone Crusher, the fourth truck to claim a trophy.
Team South Carolina started strong, but the effort of Team North Carolina allowed them to take the overall title. Fans once again were surprised by the appearance of Tee’d Off, the world fastest and only jet-powered golf cart.
Hooked 8-8-8 = 24
Stone Crusher 8-7-8 = 23
Monster Mutt 8-7-8 = 23
Lucas Oil Crusader 8-7-8 = 23
Grave Digger 6-76-7 = 19
Madusa 5-5-6 = 16
Grave Digger 14.53
Lucas Oil Crusader 15.22
Stone Crusher 16.00
Monster Mutt 16.41
Round One – Grave Digger def Madusa, Monster Mutt def Stone Crusher, Lucas Oil Crusader def Hooked (Stone Crusher returns as fast loser)
Semi-finals – Grave Digger def Stone Crusher, Lucas Oil Crusader def Monster Mutt
The Road to the Monster Jam World Finals championship – Lucas Oil Crusader def Grave Digger
Monster Jam Fox Sports 1 Freestyle
Stone Crusher 7-8-7 = 22
Lucas Oil Crusader 8-7-6 = 21
Hooked 6-6-7 = 19
Madusa 5-5-7 = 17
Grave Digger 5-5-5 = 15
Monster Mutt 5-5-4 = 14
By Larry JewettSaturday 7:30 p.m.
The finale of a three-show weekend in Raleigh was filled with drama and excitement and the story lines started right off the bat. As the trucks came to the floor for a rousing introduction something was amiss with one of the competitors. Word soon filtered back that Madusa had a blown engine and it brought an early end to the night for the two-time world champion.
The unfortunate turn of events left the field with five trucks, all determined to walk away a winner on Saturday. Once again, the wheelie competition was decided by a single point with several drivers settling for second best. At the top of his game once again was Steven Sims, who goes first and makes it impossible for the rest of the crowd to show him up. He told the Raleigh crowd that he wanted to challenge the experienced drivers and going first gave him the chance to challenge them. The strategy worked for the third time as the driver of Hooked claimed his title with s weekend best 25.
The Maniac Challenge has been gaining popularity among Monster Jam fans as the timed competition really forces drivers to focus on smooth and not just fast. Hooked had the honor of first and set a solid 16.24 as the mark to beat. Monster Mutt was a mere .57 seconds slower in the first assault. Stone Crusher powered through into the 15-second bracket with a 15.78 run. Lucas Oil Crusader clipped the turning car (not a penalty) and regained momentum with a dash to the finish line to score the best time of the weekend at 14.32. That time held up through the challenge of Grave Digger as a new name was added to the Maniac Challenge winners list.
Racing opened with a Grave Digger bye run, due to the motor issues with Madusa. Monster Mutt edged Stone Crusher and Lucas Oil Crusader got the best of Hooked. Stone Crusher came back out to face Grave Digger in the semi-finals and Grave Digger moved to a third consecutive championship round. He would face a familiar foe as Lucas Oil Crusader would move on at the expense of Monster Mutt.
Each of the finalists had one Raleigh win to show for their effort and The Road to the Monster Jam World Finals championship race would give one driver a 2-1 advantage. Once again, the race was close, but the balance tipped to Grave Digger for his 25th championship of the season and nearing 90 wins on the year.
Grave Digger was in position to repeat the Double Down of the night before, but the wild Fox Sports 1 freestyle showed that nothing in Monster Jam is a sure thing. Hooked again led the way and threw out a torrid pace with a determined run. As the 60 second was ticking down, the high flight took its toll on the left front tire, which blew with 10 seconds to go. The effort didn’t stop there, but the truck rolled onto its side with five seconds left. That resulted in enough time off the clock for a full score of 24. Next out was Monster Mutt, who hustled through the routine starting with a high flying jump and a series of assaults on crush cars. The truck toppled at the end, rolling heavily on the battered body and the score of 21 was posted, though the fans believed it should have been a little higher. Stone Crusher, who had won the afternoon contest, looked to add a second one and completed the time to earn a solid 25. Lucas Oil Crusader included a backwards pass over the jack rabbit stack, but the effort was a couple points short. Grace Digger’s closing effort was solid, but not enough to sway the judges, who kept Stone Crusher at the top.
Monster Jam fans were treated to Quad Wars racing with the home North Carolina besting neighbor South Carolina. The jet cart Tee’d Off showed power and flame through the night’s performance “Fore” Monster Jam fans of all ages.
Hooked 9-9-8 = 25
Stone Crusher 8-8-8 = 24
Monster Mutt 8-8-8 = 24
Lucas Oil Crusader 8-8-7 = 23
Grave Digger 8-7-6 = 21
Madusa – Did not compete
Lucas Oil Crusader – 14.32
Grave Digger – 15.52
Stone Crusher – 15.78
Hooked – 16.24
Monster Mutt – 16.81
Madusa – Did not compete
Round One – Grave Digger bye, Monster Mutt def Stone Crusher, Lucas Oil Crusader def Hooked (Stone Crusher advances as fast loser)
Semi- Finals – Grave Digger def Stone Crusher, Lucas Oil Crusader def Monster Mutt
The Road to the Monster Jam World Finals championship – Grave Digger def Lucas Oil Crusader
Fox Sports 1 Freestyle
Stone Crusher – 9-8-8 = 25
Hooked – 9-8-7 = 24
Grave Digger – 8-7-7 = 22
Lucas Oil Crusader – 7-7-8 = 22
Monster Mutt – 7-7-7 = 21
Madusa – Did not compete
By Larry Jewett