(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)
This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to Tucson Speedway, a three-eighths mile NASCAR Home Track where opportunities abound for motorsport entertainment. And on the third weekend of August, four southwestern, household names arrived to do battle in wheelies, donuts and freestyle Monster Truck competitions.
From Menifee, California, Eric Swanson in his trophy truck bodied Obsessed arrived. Coming the other way from New Mexico was recently announced International Monster Truck Museum 2016 Hall of Fame Nominee Jack Koberna and the Tuff-E-Nuff monster. Making a hometown appearance was Murphy “Werewolf” McCrorey driving for his step-father, Rod Wood, behind the wheel of McGruff. The show was being held at night, so all would find out if Murphy lived up to his nickname. Rounding out the field was former Monster Jam on SPEED announcer, hailing from Lake Havasu, AZ, Mark Schroeder piloting Felon. The show was held on the front straightaway of the speedway, so there was little room for error, but the drivers were undeterred by the tight performance space.
The speedway management had a wide variety of obstacles for the monsters to hit. Three crush cars were on hand, as was a K-rail for wheelies. There also were two major jumps, one at each end. At the turn one side, a big hill with a van and car half buried into it. At the turn four end, a jump lined with tires that lead straight onto the show floor. With such a great track in so small a performance area, all signs seemed to point to a great show for all involved.
In the show opening wheelie contest, the monsters had a stack of three crush cars and a K-rail to get the front axle off the ground. First out of the chute was thirty year plus veteran Jack Koberna. He went straight up and down on the cars the first try and then repeated the feat going the other way. Felon hit both the cars and K-rail to get excellent forty-five degree wheelies, much to the spectators’ delight. Obsessed and McGruff all put together great runs, but were unable to match the western Arizona driver as Felon opened the show with a win.
Next was the always popular donut competition. Tuff-E-Nuff had great speed and gave an admirable effort all around. McGruff was going very fast in his revolutions and had the crowd cheering, putting himself in the hunt for the win. Felon went faster still when it was his turn, smoking the tires on the main straightaway pavement. But Eric Swanson went deep into the spin cycle and kept rotating for a brief moment after applying the brakes. This outstanding performance won donuts for Eric, tying the event score between Felon and Obsessed with one event each with only freestyle remaining.
Jack Koberna got off to a roaring start, sailing over the crush cars and hitting the performance area entry jump with much speed. During an attempt to cross thread the cars, only one of Tuff-E-Nuff’s tires hit the last car in line and Jack rolled over. It was only a minor crash, however, and Jack was just fine, even after a brief methanol fire that was quickly extinguished by the Tucson Speedway safety crew. Hoping to make it three different winners in as many competitions was Murphy McCrorey and McGruff. He hit the big hill on the turn one side, something no one else had done thus far and got very good air over the crush cars to put himself in the chase for the championship. Felon upped the ante by clearing the big hill at the turn one end, flew into the show area over the jump and put together more spectacular wheelies to make it known that he was fighting hard for the freestyle win. But former Young Guns Shootout Competitor Eric Swanson was not to be denied on this night, getting big air over what remained of the car stack, hitting the big hill flat out and doing cyclones for sixteen straight seconds to win the capacity crowd over and take the freestyle title and overall night championship.
While the monsters were resting between events, there were both heats and mains of Super Stock and Hornet car racing to keep the fans on their feet. The racing was close and exciting. One winner even took a page out of NASCAR superstar Carl Edwards’ book and did a backflip off his car while celebrating his victory.
Now, we at The Allen Report are currently scheduled to go way out of our normal travel zone to Indianapolis, Indiana, for the historic 35th Anniversary of the 4-Wheel and Off Road Jamboree Fall Nationals, where Larry Swim and BIGFOOT will attempt to defend his championship from one year ago. We will also witness the 2016 International Monster Truck Museum 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees be announced. You will hear from us again at that time. ‘Til then, thank you for reading, a special thanks to our hosts at the Tucson Speedway for a great show and super hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!