Monster trucks returned to the legendary Pontiac Silverdome for the second time in 2010 as Silverdome Events presented the Inaugural Monster Truck Fall Shootout last night. Eleven top trucks competed in racing, obstacle course and freestyle contests as several drivers returned to the Silverdome for the first time in many years and others made their first appearance at one of the most historic venues in monster truck history. The return of the Silverdome has been one of the best stories of the year as Silverdome Events attempts to establish yearly spring and fall monster truck events for hopefully many years to come.
With a lineup of generally more racing-focused teams and drivers, the “Tornado-style” course was sure to produce some great action and did not disappoint. Mark Hall in the Raminator was the odds on favorite going into the weekend and lived up to expectations in his round one bye run, setting a blistering pace. Only Doug Noelke in Tail Gator appeared to be in Hall’s league through the first round. Trouble would strike for Raminator in round two during a defeat of Ben Winslow in Bounty Hunter as the motor gernaded ending Hall’s evening in heartbreaking fashion.
Hall’s exit left Noelke as the favorite and he marched his way to the finals, dispatching Big Dawg, Rammunition and Bar’s Leaks Eliminator along the way. Rookie Mat Dishman in Rammunition would return as the fast loser in the semi-finals and defeated Bounty Hunter, who was replacing Raminator. That setup a re-match from round two as the veteran Noelke would take on the rookie Dishman who had been getting faster every round.
The grand finale of racing saw both trucks neck and neck all the way to the final turn when Noelke bobbled, hitting a turning car and having to do some fancy driving to keep from rolling the Gator. Dishman would have tough to beat even without the missing and he powered Rammunition across the line to capture the huge win in front of the over 100 RAM Trucks represetatives on hand for the event. The win was even more special in that it was Dishman’s first ever racing victory in monster trucks.
Following the big racing competition would be a special timed obstacle course challenge where drivers would follow a set path around the obstacles on the track against the clock. Bounty Hunter and Rammunition were quick and Diehl Wilson in Virginia Giant laid down a great pass, but in the end no one would touch Noelke this time around as he powered Tail Gator to victory.
The evening’s big finish would be the freestyle competition as Shelley Kujat in Shell Camino kicked things off with a solid run to set the bar. Zach Adams highlighted his run in the Rislone Defender with a great slap wheelie while father Greg Adams in Bar’s Leaks Eliminator laid down a solid effort as well. Diehl Wilson had the ground shaking with some incredible donuts and Dale Gerding in Big Dawg walked a couple of slap wheelies across the center of the floor. Mat Dishman looked to follow his racing win with a big freestyle but it wasn’t to be as a hard landing snapped the right front wheel off Rammunition.
One of the first contending runs of the night came from what you would probably say was the top performing truck overall on the evening, that being the Tail Gator. Doug Noelke hit a huge slap wheelie across the center of the floor combined with some big air and a wild, wheel out the window cyclone. The Gator would maintain the lead in freestyle the majority of the night.
One driver who fell short of Noelke’s score was Andy Hoffman and War Wagon. Hoffman had what many thought may have been the best run of the evening as he kept up a great pace, hitting everything on the floor. War Wagon had some of the biggest moves as well as Andy cross-threaded one of the big van stacks for the best vertical launch of freestyle at one point and then finished his run with a huge cross-thread reverse move on the same stack.
Noelke’s score would eventually be tied as Joe Cypher in the Airborne Ranger laid down a great freestyle performance with some of the best moves of the night. Cypher hit a couple big slap wheelies across the center of the floor and was the only driver to cross-thread the big blue stack.
The final truck to compete was none other than Ben Winslow in the Bounty Hunter. “Bobo” as he is often referred to as, has been riding a great hot streak since joining 2Xtreme Racing with a big racing win in Montreal and sweeps of smaller shows in Bounty Hunter. Suprisingly Winslow was having trouble getting a good rhythym going for the majority of the run as he tried to work with well used obstacles. But just as time was coming to a close, Winslow launched Bounty Hunter in some of the most extreme air we’ve seen all year long. The tough landing would end the performance but it was enough for the judges to proclaim the victory for Bounty Hunter in yet another huge success for driver Ben Winslow.
The TMB crew had a great time having the opportunity to return to the Silverdome for the second time in 2010 and the privilege to be able to bring you coverage from this historic venue is one we greatly appreciate. For that we send a big thanks to Ryan Westlake and everyone with Silverdome Events for their hospitality. The final TMB TV episode of 2010 will featured the Monster Truck Fall Shootout and will premiere Wednesday, December 8th at 8PM Eastern. Colby, Kaedon, Chris and Ross did some great work on this episode and also be watching for huge photo galleries from Ross and Paul Harry. Stay tuned as plenty of great coverage from the Silverdome is coming your way right here on TMB!