From Co-Rookie of the Year to Championship Contender
Authored by Samuel Reiman on March 1, 2023
Two months into the 2023 Monster Jam season and one of the biggest stories is how Jon Zimmer Jr. (Terminal Velocity) is keeping Brandon Vinson (Grave Digger) honest in the hunt for the championship in Arena Championship Series Central.
This is just Jon Zimmer Jr.’s second full-time season in Monster Jam, after placing fifth in the points in Arena Championship Series Central in 2022.
However, in the first 28 rounds of the Series, he has taken 9 Overall Event Championship wins and trails Vinson by 54 points with half of the season left to go.
Two great maneuvers land Jon Zimmer, JR the @GreatClips Skills Challenge win in Birmingham! #MonsterJam pic.twitter.com/2YNSydhLBu
— Monster Jam (@MonsterJam) February 11, 2023
“I definitely think about the championship, but – when it comes time for the event – I really try not to keep it in my mind, because the more I think about it, the more I will mess up on the track,” said Jon, who won co-Rookie of the Year honors alongside Weston Anderson in 2022. “My goal this season is just to keep having fun. It’s really not all worth it if I’m not having fun with my team. Especially if it projects to the fans, they can all tell if we’re not having fun. So I just wanted to come out in this season, have fun, and the wins have just been a bonus.”
Jon Zimmer Jr. is the son of former Monster Jam driver Jon Zimmer, and he hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps into Monster Jam World Finals.
“[The wins] are kind of opening up more doors to maybe being able to go to Monster Jam World Finals in July, but, you know, nothing’s promised. So I’m just going to keep doing my thing, have fun out on track and we’ll see what happens.
“I’ve never done a stadium event before with Monster Jam, so just making it to the World Finals would be a dream come true. Making the World Finals – it’s the biggest event there is for Monster Jam, it’s a big stadium floor, would get me outside of my comfort zone of the arena, and I’ve watched my dad get to compete in the World Finals for years and years, and I’ve always wanted to get there to the biggest event.”
It would be a David overcoming Goliath story if Jon was able to overcome his 54-point deficit and beat Brandon Vinson in Grave Digger to win the Arena Championship Series Central championship in 2023. But if he achieves it, he won’t be doing it alone.
“A master shout out to my team. You know, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without [Over Bored Team Owner] Jamey Garner. He’s what keeps us all rolling. Can’t do it without Don Doty at North Star Ranch, Marco Abruzzi with our transmissions, keeping our trucks going. And I couldn’t do it without my dad working his butt off. And also Zack Garner (Wild Side). We go back and forth, helping each other out and making sure we’re all 100 percent ready to go.”
Jon Zimmer Jr., Zack Garner and Brandon Vinson will all be in action this weekend for a non-points event in Tupelo, MS.