The Allen Report: 7th Annual IMTM Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reunion

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we continue an annual tradition by ending our season in Auburn, Indiana, for the 7th Annual International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reunion. The ceremony is set inside the prestigious Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum, which also is home to the International Monster Truck Museum & Hall of Fame. Here, legendary monster trucks share the spotlight with hard to find merchandise, trophies and other awards from many years ago. There are even body panels and fire suits on display. With a large number of overall appearing monster trucks, a long list of sponsors and a new attendance record, this was the most successful Hall of Fame Ceremony yet.

This year’s Hall of Fame class consisted of the following personalities:
• Seth Doulton, the person who contributed to bringing corporate sponsorship into the sport and the former promoter of the Monster Truck Madness series, the first promotion company to use “in-house” monster vehicles.
• Jim Ries, the builder and occasional driver of Seth’s monster vehicles.
• Mike Gallaway, one of the sport’s greatest television personalities, both as an in the field reporter and as a booth announcer.
• Jeff Bainter, the owner, builder and driver of the most famous monster Jeep of all time, Hot Stuff. Very recently, Hot Stuff became a ride truck and was on display this year at the Museum for the weekend only.
• Gary Cook, the original owner and builder of 1989 TNT Motorsports National Champion truck Equalizer, which has been on permanent display at the IMTM the past two years.

Other monster trucks that were present at the museum especially for this once-a-year occasion included:
• The current version of fourth Hall of Fame class member Michael Vaters’ Black Stallion.
• A clone of the beautiful Showtime Ford monster, the original owned many years ago by Brian Shell.
• Titan, owned by Fil Tristan out of the quad cities area who was there when the sport was young, his truck having crushed cars with 48 inch tires at one point in time.
• One Bad Hombre, a bright blue monster truck that is only two years old, but is built very much like a traditional old school monster from years gone by.
• Raminator, a truck owned by brothers Tim and Mark Hall which, not long ago, was confirmed by Guinness as the World’s Fastest Monster Truck at 99.1 mph.
• High Roller 2, a rebuilt version of the iconic 48 inch tire monster currently owned by Jeff Krekeler.
• Predator 1, owned by third Hall of Fame class member, Allen Pezo.
• Finally, Taurus Racer, the 1991 USHRA National Champion which has found a new home inside the IMTM. For weeks, the IMTM had been teasing a mystery truck which would be unveiled Friday night and this was it. Original owner and inaugural Hall of Fame class member Jack Wilman Sr. didn’t know that Michael Vaters and his company were recreating the truck and had tears of joy in his eyes as the truck was unveiled to the attendees.

Other past Hall of Famers in attendance were Bob Chandler and Jim Kramer of Bigfoot, Mike Welch of Monster Mash, Jerry Richmond of Terminator, Gene Patterson of Breen Boyz Racing, and many others with at least one member of every single Hall of Fame class. Every so often, Gene would “mysteriously disappear” and original Snake Bite driver Colt Cobra would show up. One of these moments was during the auction on the big night, where Colt took to the stage to sell original Snake Bite concept designs from the early 1990s. In some cases, attendees themselves were notable monster truck industry personalities, such as Charlie “Kid” Rarig, notably of PA Mountain Monster and Thunder Chicken and John Furbee, who often drove Mike Welch’s Monster Mash on the frequent occasion that the iconic Super Pete semi-truck monster and Monster Mash were booked for the same show.

Friday night’s meet and greet started the weekend. There were several tabletop displays of memorabilia, and even a full, modern-day style show with radio control monsters presented by the fine folks at Jconcepts. There were all kinds of old school related activity at the museum and neighboring bingo hall until it was time for all to retire for the night.

The day of the Hall of Fame Ceremony itself got off to a great start with its customary Q&A and history discussion. Mike Gallaway was feeling a bit under the weather and unfortunately that kept him away from the Q&A, but his daughter did a great job filling in. Mike would be fine by evening and was in attendance for the big event. The inductees reminisced about the good old days and was very informative to the younger members of the audience and laughter to all in attendance. During the evening’s catered dinner before the Ceremony began, the spectators were treated to induction videos from past Hall of Famer classes. Finally, the big moment arrived.

Each inductee received a huge ovation from the crowd, both before their “thank you” speeches and after their induction interviews. At the end of the ceremony but before the auction, the silver plaques for each of the newest Hall of Fame class was unveiled before later being taken into the museum itself to join its predecessors. Once more, the night ended by auctioning off all kinds of monster truck related memorabilia. The final several items auctioned quite high, which is great for the museum’s future.

We always attend and enjoy this event every year and sincerely thank former War Wagon driver and IMTM President Jeff Cook for starting this museum and Hall of Fame and we urge as many Monster Truck fans (both old school and modern day) as possible to visit the museum and/or attend the Ceremony at least one time.

Well, that’s the 2017 season for us at “The Allen Report”. We thank each and every promoter who have graciously agreed to having us attend their shows over this past year and making us feel like VIPs. Thanks to all of you, the readers of TheMonsterBlog.com for coming back again and again to see our photos and read our event reviews we both work so hard on. We hope to see all of you at one of our covered events in 2018, encourage you to “Like” our Facebook page “Monster Truckin” with Jim and Chris”, follow our Instagram page and, of course, cheer on!

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The Allen Report: All Star Monster Truck Tour – Phoenix, AZ 2017 Part 2

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we return to the Arizona State Fairgrounds, where just two weeks earlier a thrill show co-starring a flame throwing jet car and the kid captivating Transaurus took place alongside the monster trucks. All Star Motorsport Productions, promoter of the thrill shows, also came back for this weekend. But unlike the events of earlier in October, this was a tried and true, full on monster truck show with six five ton, high horsepower mechanical beasts having the spotlight all to themselves on the fair’s final weekend for the year.

Throughout each show, the monsters would participate in Best Trick competition, single run obstacle course racing against the clock and no time limit, no holding back freestyle. Points were on the line for each competition and the truck with the highest number of points at the end of the show would be crowned the Overall Event Champion. As the weekend would go by, result trackers would count the number of Overall wins per monster with the competitor who had obtained the most Overall wins receiving the distinction of Arizona State Fair Champion.

Representing the home state was Marana’s El Perro Loco (translation – The Crazy Dog) with Murph McCrorey behind the wheel. Murph is the stepson of team owner Rod Wood and his tendency to drive like a madman in night shows garnered him the nickname “Werewolf”, a moniker he would live up to equally under the sun and after dark over the days this weekend. To make the truck sound as different as possible from McGruff two weeks earlier, the event announcers billed the truck from Ensenada, Baja, Mexico and had spent years dominating the Mexican circuit before crossing into the USA.

The rest of the field consisted of the entire Straight Up Racing team. Team co-founder and leader Bill Payne took the wheel of his trusty Rock Star. Gabe Montoya was ready to attack the track as the pilot of Reverse Racer, where the body is turned around one hundred and eighty degrees to make it look like the truck is always going the wrong way. Next in line was the vicious looking 10,000 Pound Hound to be driven by Nick Jones. Not far behind was Ezra Wilson in the Identity Theft. The fifth and final truck in the stable was the monster hot rod California Kid, controlled by Dallas Glen Rogers.

In the first of three shows on Saturday, Identity Theft got the show off to a splendid start with a one-two punch of great air and a sweet sky wheelie to get a score of 14 of a possible 20 for Best Trick. When El Perro Loco fell short by just one single point despite sick air and a great sky wheelie, the crowd openly voiced their disappointment. But next out was Bill Payne, who has performed as far away as Europe and Asia in years past. Bill followed up a great sky wheelie off the crush car with a wicked slap wheelie from one end of the floor to the other, taking the Best Trick win and Overall points lead.

Identity Theft set the standard for those coming after by completing the course in just under 23 seconds. The very next pass by 10K Pound Hound proved how tough the competition was by edging out his predecessor in the order by less than one tenth of a second. The colossal canine monster held the lead until Rock Star stormed past him on the stopwatch, reaching the finish line a whole two seconds faster with only freestyle to go.

The freestyle track consisted of a jammer stack for air, a wheelie bump and the time trial finish line crush car for wheelies and the obstacle course track second straightaway offering a distance jump ramp on one side and sideways tires for wheelies on the other. Identity Theft took advantage of his final shot for a trophy to get huge air and cross threaded the jump used as the obstacle course halfway point to stay in the hunt. Ten Thousand Pound Hound gave admirable efforts, including decent air. But Rock Star gave more incredible slap wheelies and hit the kicker obstacle the wrong way to get the early afternoon Overall Championship.

As the weekend progressed, the competition got tighter and tighter across the board. The second obstacle course competition of the day was decided by only half a second between winner Rock Star and runner-up Identity Theft. A few hours later in the evening show obstacle course race, Bill Payne finally pushed his truck too hard, breaking a steering line in the final turn of the course, causing his truck to do a complete 360 and rendering him unable to cross the finish line. This DNF would go on to end Rock Star’s perfect streak of Overall Titles, the final Saturday win eventually going to Identity Theft.

In the second to last show of the weekend, El Perro Loco was in the midst of a high intensity freestyle when an awkward landing from a sky wheelie sent him into the only rollover of the weekend. Murph was okay and the crowd roared when it was announced that El Perro had taken the freestyle lead. This, on top of a Best Trick win and runner-up placing in the obstacle course was enough for Murph and The Crazy Dog to finally take an Overall Championship.

In the last Obstacle Course contest of the weekend, Identity Theft just narrowly slipped past Rock Star with less than half a second being the difference. To end the weekend on a high note, Rock Star joined Identity Theft not long into the latter’s freestyle, causing All Star Productions officials to decree the two co-champions. This brought the crowd’s noise level very high, marking the ideal end to both the 2017 Arizona State Fair and the last weekend of monster trucks. Even so, with three sole titles and one shared win across a total of six shows over three days, Rock Star handily took the Arizona State Fair Championship.

At that, the monster truck action season for us at “The Allen Report” has come to a close. But we also begin to finalize plans for our trip to Auburn, Indiana, for one of our favorite annual events, the International Monster Truck Hall of Fame Ceremony. As of this writing, the number of overall display monster vehicles, weekend and full time sponsors and returning past inductees all look high, which is great news for us, as we are just as much fans of the early days of the sport as we are fans of its current state. With that behind us, a special thanks to Bryan Wagner and every member of All Star Productions for allowing us to cover his events, thank you, our readers, for following our show coverage, enjoy the photos and until next year, cheer on!

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The Allen Report: All Star Monster Truck Tour – Phoenix, AZ 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we return to one of our hometown venues, the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Bryan Wagner and his company All Star Productions have put together stadium motorsports events here several times before, but this show was different. Billed as a “thrill show”, three earth shaking monsters would be paired with plenty of great motorsports action. The main event of each show, monster truck single run freestyle, would be decided by fan applause, so every move would count. When a huge crowd piled in for every show, it truly was all or nothing for the drivers.

Representing the home state was McGruff. In the opening performance on Friday night, Rod Wood was the man behind the monster for the first time since shoulder surgery sidelined him a few months ago. Step-son Murph “Werewolf” McCrorey would take the wheel for the remaining shows throughout the weekend. Proudly performing for the Navajo Nation was second generation driver Derek Edd piloting the Fanatic. This truck is a southwestern monster finally coming back to this venue after an extended retirement. Finally, former World Champion Jimmy Creten arrived in Bounty Hunter. With each show featuring a single round of freestyle decided by crowd applause, every last move would count.

All shows got off to a roaring start as the monsters turned in a donut or a few during introductions, wasting no time in hyping up the crowd. In the only show on Friday night, Rod Wood looked like his old self with big air and excellent sky wheelies. Derek Edd fought steering issues, a problem that would plague him on and off throughout the weekend, but still gave the fans a nice performance. But Jimmy Creten wasn’t fazed by the show count in front of him, sending Bounty Hunter high into the night sky and digging up the dirt with his back bumper in beautiful wheelies. When the fate of the first championship of the weekend was on the line, there was no question about it when it came to crowd noise. Bounty Hunter took the first title no bones about it.

The monster action wasn’t over after freestyle, however, as the grand finale showcased all monsters returning to the track at once in a “monster train”, each five ton machine following each other over the obstacles before facing the grandstand to bring the curtain down on another great show.

Over the weekend, all drivers pushed their machines to the limit. Derek Edd and Fanatic turned the steering malfunctions in his favor, often upping the crowd noise with long and cheer-inducing donuts. Murph McCrorey seized every chance he got to bring the front tires in the air, succeeding more often than not. But Jimmy Creten refused to hold back, going progressively harder and harder each show.

Then, on the last show of the weekend Sunday evening, Derek Edd threw caution to the wind, executing a spectacular save and continuing to push his truck over the obstacles, smoke billowing from the engine, until it finally gave out. Still, Derek had done more than enough to earn thunderous applause from the spectators. Then, in the last run, Jimmy Creten finally pushed Bounty Hunter too hard as the truck broke a front and a rear axle, but the former World Champion still soldiered on, refusing to let the truck quit before he was satisfied. With the weekend sweep on the line, the crowd was suddenly the most divided it had been all weekend, so a second and final cheer off was decided upon. And the decision went to Fanatic, ending Bounty Hunter’s perfect win streak.

While the monsters were getting maintenance between runs, the crowd was treated to some fiery and noisy fun courtesy of a jet powered Smart Car, the audience often literally feeling the heat as the car belched flames from its afterburner. Finally, young and old alike were fascinated by the car eating, fire breathing antics of the half tank, half dinosaur known as Transaurus. Even when he’d had his fill for each show, the mechanical beast stopped by the grandstand to wave his metallic claws at the fans before departing.

With that behind us, we at “The Allen Report” set our sights on our final shows of the year, same venue and same town. But this show will be a full-on, true to the bone monster truck show where it’s all up to one single local favorite to fend off an entire multi-truck team. Well then, thanks for reading, a special thanks to Bryan Wagner and the entire All Star Productions team for granting us admittance to the shows and wonderful hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: WGAS Motorsports Season Finale – Turlock, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make our third and final trip this year to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, California. This show was the season finale for our friends at WGAS Motorsports with five high flying, dirt slinging and crowd pleasing monster trucks ready to square off in two rounds of freestyle. A maximum of 100 points per round would be on the line with the highest combined score between the two rounds taking the Overall Championship.

The “Flying Spaniard” Tony Canedo brought all three of his trucks to the fairgrounds. Tony himself took the wheel of Playin’ for Keeps. Local driver Jeff Souza once more got into the seat of Enforcer. Finally, David Tucker climbed back into the Survivor machine. Defending spring event champion Bounty Hunter returned and driver Jimmy Creten was ready to defend his title. Finally, teammate and wife Dawn Creten arrived in her trusty Scarlet Bandit, ready to take the boys head on.

Mini monsters were in the house as well, one of which was Skull Krusher driven by Shane Plato. Rounding out the field was Corbin Shockey in the bright yellow Monster Buddy. In addition, fans attending the event witnessed the first ever performance in California of the Wolfpack Mega Truck Team featuring drivers Glenn Miller, Bob Miller and Greg Queener . These machines are true to the bone monster trucks with the exception of smaller tires. However the drivers push these vehicles just as hard as their life size monster driving counterparts.

This event was a family affair for the Souza’s as Jeff’s son Hunter took to the controls of his Wrecking Machine mini monster for the final time as Jeff and Hunter have big possible future plans. Finally, Jeff’s daughter Cheyenne drove the side by side, or Razor, in an exhibition only run over the tuff truck course. This pumped up the large crowd for tuff truck racing which is a longstanding tradition at this venue.

First out of the gate was Dawn Creten. She got big air several times and turned in some great donuts to take an early lead with a score of 75. Two runs later, Enforcer took to the track. In his run he reached for the sky and hit the obstacles the wrong way to take the Overall title points lead with a score of 90. The first round of freestyle was wrapped up by a bumper dragging wheelie, dirt throwing cyclones and consistent huge air by Bounty Hunter to secure the points lead.

As the final round progressed, all drivers threw caution to the wind. Scarlet Bandit had an excellent run highlighted by big air and capped off by Dawn Creten’s customary wave while leaning out the window. Jeff Souza performed an incredible save right in front of the main grandstand to evoke a huge crowd response. Tony Canedo brought Playin’ for Keeps back out and didn’t let a deflated tire and broken sway bar stop him from thrilling the crowd. But the only former World Champion on the roster delivered a storming run, nailing a virtually perfect score and took the Overall Championship.

Then it was time for the grand finale. The four surviving life size monsters, one omega truck and one mini monster all performed donuts at the same time in front of a roaring crowd to end another season for WGAS Motorsports.

Throughout the night, fans were treated to exciting tuff truck racing as well as quad war action with Team Turlock defeating rival team Phoenix in the main event. Also, the crowd was treated to a burnout contest, which proved a hit with fans. Jake Blackwell and Kaylee Muntz provided fans with spectacular Monster Truck rides in the Extinguisher and Zombie Tracker ride trucks respectively.

Well, that completes our first full season with WGAS Motorsports. Next, we head back to one of our hometown venues for the first of two weekends at the Arizona State Fairgrounds thanks to Bryan Wagner and the All Star Productions. We want to give a gracious thank you to John Borba, Chelsea Kessler and all of the members of WGAS Motorsports for their excellent hospitality and having us every chance possible. We want to thank you, our readers, for taking the time to read our coverage, enjoy the photos, please check us out and follow us on Facebook and Instagram under “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris” and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Gila County Fair Monster Trucks – Globe, AZ 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make it to a one-night-only show at the Gila County Fair in Globe, Arizona, in the eastern part of the state. Globe hosted a monster truck show at its County Fairgrounds for the very first time two years ago to great positive feedback and we made it back after a year off to see two southwestern household names and a legendary monster make short work of two sets of crush cars and a motor home in exhibition only freestyle.

Making a short trip from Marana, AZ, was Murph McCrorey at the controls of El Perro Loco, meaning “The Crazy Dog”. This was to be a night show, so time would tell if Murph lived up to his nickname, “Werewolf”. From right across the way in New Mexico was multi-time Monster Truck Hall of Fame nominee Jack Koberna driving the beautiful retro yellow painted Tuff-E-Nuff. Finally, having stayed over the week after Tucson Speedway was Mike Phelps in the iconic police themed Monster Patrol. Once again, an enormous crowd showed up for high flying car smashing action.

In the opening round of freestyle, the drivers wasted no time in delivering great action. El Perro Loco made his mark by clearing the entire set of cars on his final hit. Tuff E Nuff, not to be outdone, also smashed the cars before giving an admirable attempt at a slap wheelie. Monster Patrol continued the big air assault, also making jumps without touching a single car. In the second round, all monsters stepped up their game, while El Perro Loco attempted slap wheelies and Tuff-E-Nuff pleased the crowd by nailing some cross-thread moves. Monster Patrol got even bigger air, hyping the crowd for the finale.

In the third and final round, Rod Wood’s stepson driving El Perro Loco got huge air to start the run. The “The Crazy Dog” then attacked the motor home, smashing it to much approval from the fans. Tuff E Nuff hit the cars before nailing another cross thread and finishing off what little remained of the motor home. Monster Patrol finished the show on a high note by doing cross threads of his own, clearing the cars with room to spare and jumping right through the gap where the motor home had been minutes earlier.

While the monsters were resting between rounds of freestyle, the fans were treated to hard hitting, car slamming demolition derby action. With that, we at “The Allen Report” make our final California trek of the year to Turlock, CA, in order to attend the season’s final motorsports production by our friends at WGAS Motorsports. This past spring, Bounty Hunter either shared or solely took the Overall Championship trophy and Jim Creten will settle for nothing less than again taking the title all to himself.

Well then, we sincerely thank the Gila County Fairgrounds for having us again, thanks for reading, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Tucson Speedway Fall Monster Truck Show 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we return to Tucson Speedway for the final time in 2017. This track is a 3/8 mile paved oval that hosts numerous forms of mainstream auto racing, headlined by a lower tier NASCAR series titled “The Whelen Championship”. However, this weekend was headlined by the rumble of ground shaking, car smashing monster trucks ready to fight it out in a preview freestyle, a half-lap “roundy-round” style race on the asphalt oval and the anything goes, all or nothing insanity of freestyle.

The field was headlined by the hometown truck El Perro Loco piloted by Murph McCrorey, stepson of Rod Wood and known for his hard charging driving style in night shows under the nickname “Werewolf”. Hailing from New Mexico was multi-time Monster Truck Hall of Fame nominee Jack Koberna in the sweet looking Tuff-E-Nuff, performing publicly with a retro paint scheme for the very first time. The other two names in the house were both making their debut appearances at Tucson Speedway. First was Mike Phelps at the controls of the black and green Monster Patrol. The other was Canton, Texas’s own Chris Trussell behind the wheel of his trophy truck bodied Big Chief machine, named for his mother’s Cherokee ancestry.

The show opened with the continuation of a popular tradition. Together, Monster Patrol and Big Chief jumped over the barriers onto the front straightaway to get the crowd hooked early. In the preview freestyle, Tuff-E-Nuff got the crowd into the action early with an incredible save coming down from the van stack. However, doing so also popped two tires and bent one four link bar. El Perro Loco put together two excellent wheelies, but the run was cut short due to electrical problems.

With two of the four monsters being repaired, Tucson Speedway officials decreed to go straight to the racing finals between Big Chief and Monster Patrol. With one truck starting at the track’s start/finish line and the other halfway down the back straightaway, this race was different as only half a lap with one sweeping turn had to be completed, not a full lap with two turns. There was no clear leader off the line, but Big Chief took control of the race going through the only turn which he held to the finish, taking the racing championship. In order to excite the fans about the upcoming freestyle, the two racing finals participants did a brief dual freestyle before heading back to the pits.

Finally, it was time for freestyle. With a van stack, two busses and four cars to crush, plus two different wheelie barricades meant that taking the freestyle championship would not be easy. In the meantime, Tuff-E-Nuff and El Perro Loco had been fixed from earlier breakage and were ready for a better shot at taking a win in front of the home region crowd.

At one point, it looked like El Perro Loco was ready to flop on its side, but Murph McCrorey used his veteran driving skills to bring the crazy dog back onto its sixty-six inch paws. Frustrated by the earlier abrupt ending to his run, Jack Koberna attacked the track with full force, hitting the bus stack several times in each direction and turning in some smoke-causing donuts. Monster Patrol cleared the crush cars several times and got huge air over the busses to remain in the championship hunt.

Unable to choose between the hometown dog and the world’s only winged monster, Tucson Speedway officials declared El Perro Loco and Monster Patrol freestyle co-champions.
When the monsters were resting, there were several classes of regular car oval racing on the race card and some had very exciting finishes. There was also many stock car three lap ride-a-longs and some Shriner minicars.

Now, with Tucson Speedway in the rearview mirror, we at “The Allen Report” look towards the final events of the year for our friends at WGAS Motorsports. First up is the final show of the year at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock. More coverage will arrive soon from there. Well then, thank you for reading, a special thank you to Dave Track Guy and Tucson Speedway for allowing us to cover his show and great hospitality, enjoy the photos, don’t forget to follow us on “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris” on Facebook and Instagram, and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: WGAS Motorsports Monster Trucks – Watsonville, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a drive to the Santa Cruz County Fair in Watsonville, California, for the very first time to a show promoted by our friends at WGAS Motorsports. We have long known this place as the hometown of the father/daughter team of Kelvin Ramer driving his usual Time Flys and Rosalee Ramer piloting her traditional Wild Flower. This team is wrapping up a phenomenal season that saw Rosalee finish in the top 10 in the battle for the World Finals Freestyle Championship and Kelvin walk away with both the Save of the Year and Stadium Wheelie of the Year awards from the same event. These two came ready to put together the best show possible for their hometown fans at the Ocean Speedway, at the fairgrounds.

The competition was supplied by Tony “The Flying Spaniard” Canedo at the helm of the haunting red Play ‘n For Keeps machine and Jeff Souza at the wheel of his trusty Enforcer, the truck’s red and blue police car style flashing lights making it impossible to miss while on the arena floor.

The all freestyle track, built across the main straightaway of the dirt oval featured two sets of van stacks and a motor home to smash, plus a junk car used for wheelies as opposed to the typical construction barrier. When fans filled the grandstand to the rafters, all signs pointed to a fast paced, highly destructive freestyle battle.

Enforcer opened things up for the monsters by getting big air several times and pointing the truck’s nose towards the sky repeatedly to great positive response from the crowd. The good performance was acknowledged by the professional judges with a score of 65 out of a possible 100. Next, Tony Canedo performed even steeper vertical wheelies than his team truck and followed it up by hitting the wheelie junk car the opposite way. His efforts to upstage his teammate were successful as the judges gave him a score of 75. But the loudest cheers were reserved for the home team.

Kelvin set the pace for what was to come very soon with huge air, great attempts at his signature wheelstands and excellent donuts. The elder Ramer left very little room to top with a score of 95. But the 2016 Monster Jam Rookie of the Year was ready to attack the track. She did so with consistent big air and admirable slap wheelies of her own. Moments later, Time Flys returned to the floor alongside Wild Flower, commencing a side by side freestyle. While Wild Flower was content to jump over the motor home, Time Flys went right through it. For the grand finale, both drivers took a spot on the Speedway infield and began to turn side by side cyclones. Rosalee had her truck rotating at incredible speed, even bringing the inside tires off the ground and back down at least three times yet never rolling over. The fantastic finish garnered Wild Flower a perfect 100 score, handing her the freestyle championship for the night, much to the roaring audience’s approval.

Throughout the final show of the week the following night, all drivers upped their game to please the fans. Enforcer hit the wheelie car the wrong way, just as his teammate had done the night before, and jumped higher still, upping his score to 70. But Tony Canedo refused to back down, reaching for the stars and getting great air several times. And doing so convinced the judges to hand down a score of 85, leaving not much room at the top. But that little room was all Kelvin and Rosalee needed. The father and daughter duo each got huge air and duplicated their finale from the night before, only faster still. Many times it looked like Rosalee had finally pushed her truck over the edge only to bring the tires back down to the ground each time, repeating her perfect score and accomplishing the weekend sweep.

There was plenty of action besides the monsters at the Santa Cruz County Fair. The first night saw a round of quad war action between the good guys of Team Watsonville and the bad guys of Team Los Angeles. It appeared that the trophy would be taken home by the rival team, but race officials had caught a member of the visiting team cheating in an attempt to steal the win. A grudge match with the series on the line was agreed upon, and this time, there was no denying the good guys of Team Watsonville the overall win. The second and final night was highlighted by the daredevil airborne antics of freestyle motocross riders Jimmy Fitzpatrick, commander of the Fitz Army and former X Games Gold Medalist Destyn Cantrell. Their breathtaking feats, from Superman’s to heel clickers to the fan favorite backflips had the crowd gasping for more.

With those great shows now history, we at “The Allen Report” make a quick turnaround to the second and final show of the year at Tucson Speedway. With two participants making their first ever appearance at this venue and the reigning Tucson Speedway freestyle champion, Mark Schroeder’s Devastator, busy elsewhere, it’s almost impossible to predict who will walk away with the championship. With that behind us, thanks for reading, a gracious thank-you to Dave Track Guy and Tucson Speedway for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Rocky Mountain Raceway Maverik Clash of the Titans 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we hit the road back to Rocky Mountain Raceways in West Valley City, Utah, for the ninth consecutive year. Once again, we arrive to a stacked lineup of twelve well known monster trucks ready to do battle on the oval track’s figure-8 course, a track that has been equally tough on rising stars and experienced veterans alike.

Again this year all four members of 2Xtreme Racing came to take on each other, the competition and the track. Not surprisingly, Jimmy Creten took the controls of his trusty Bounty Hunter, complete with the original rendition of his popular and patriotic American Sniper Chris Kyle body. Dawn Creten was again at the helm of her trusty Scarlet Bandit. Mikeal Christensen came along to drive the prestigious Iron Outlaw truck. The fourth member of the equation, Knucklehead, had a different driver each of the two days, Austin Minton on Saturday and Christian Norman on Sunday.

Team Bigfoot returned to the Raceway after a year off with Larry Swim behind the wheel of Summit Bigfoot #21. But not far behind was the mysterious masked man Vinny Venom, recently crowned the 2017 Toughest Monster Truck Tour series champion, piloting Snake Bite. This version of the truck, hugely popular with the kids at the pre-show pit party, was a mixture of classic and current as the iconic “retro red” paint style remained from its 25th Anniversary tour one year ago, but the bedsides clearly showcased the sport’s recent trend of off road race truck bodies.

Back again was one of the father/daughter teams on the circuit as Darren Migues returned in his Nitro Menace truck with daughter Kaylyn in her usual Jailbird. The twins from Gig Harbor, Washington, were also back with Travis in his orange Trouble Maker and Tyler ready to put his Saturday championship from last year on the line in the sleek looking black Double Trouble. Making the trip up from Lake Havasu, AZ was past World Finals field reporter Mark Schroeder in driving Devastator. Finally, ready to defend his home state turf was Ron “the Dunk” Duncombe continuing his tenth year of driving the Maverik Monster Trakker. When a huge crowd came through the gates of the Raceway and into the pre-show pit party, it appeared that the stars had aligned for an intense, go-or-blow monster truck battle royale.

Qualifying set the pace for the rest of Saturday evening. The first three trucks in line went progressively faster than the monster that went before them until Larry Swim and Bigfoot threw down the challenge to his rivals with a time of 30.71 seconds. And Bigfoot’s old rival showed no fear when racing the clock, as Snake Bite bested Bigfoot by just a few tenths of a second. When qualifications were over, Snake Bite and Bigfoot has qualified first and second, sending them to opposite ends of the bracket.

But Vinny Venom didn’t slow down there. He had no trouble at all in the opening round and caught the Iron Outlaw in the first quarter final while Bigfoot beat Jailbird in the first round and defeated the former World Champion Bounty Hunter in the quarter finals. It wasn’t game over for the Tonganoxie, Kansas, team owner though, as Jimmy Creten had gone fast enough to return as the fastest loser. But from there, Creten’s racing luck ran out for the night as he just couldn’t catch Snake Bite in an incredibly close race. In the other semi, Bigfoot escaped the dark horse Devastator to set up another classic Bigfoot/Snake Bite championship round. But it wasn’t going to be easy as the final race was set for two laps, per tradition of the Raceway.

The final race was one to remember. Both trucks were dead even out of the gate, with Vinny Venom drifting around the turns but Larry Swim never let “the Snake” get too far ahead. In the second to last turn of the race, the masked Snake Bite driver finally pushed it too hard at the exit of the turn, the truck’s back end coming so far around the driver had to lay off the throttle. Larry’s took full advantage, slipping past his old rival in the final turn of the race and never looking back to take the Racing Championship to thunderous response from the spectators.

One year ago, RMR officials introduced the Donut Contest (billed as a “Twister” contest at the time), and its huge popularity with the crowd encourage officials to bring it back for 2017. Sadly, Bigfoot had encountered engine trouble so there would be no double win on Saturday. Additionally, Snake Bite wouldn’t get a chance to as transmission trouble kept him sidelined, too. Trouble Maker was the second truck out and went straight to an incredible height with a score of 9.6 with perfection being 10.

Scarlet Bandit stepped up to challenge the good old boys but missed the lead by a fraction of a point. But there were still several more opportunities for 2Xtreme Racing to take the Donut win. Iron Outlaw and Knucklehead both gave admirable efforts, but the team’s big boss was locked and loaded and Bounty Hunter’s lightning fast rotations, smoke rising from the tires and long spinning duration had the crowd roaring and the judges most impressed with a score of 9.85, taking the Donut Contest win.

As the second and final day of monster competition went on, it wasn’t long before the Racing comp got turned on its ear. Fastest qualifier Bigfoot easily won his first race against rising star Kaylyn Migues and Jailbird, but more mechanical gremlins kicked in and sadly kept him out for the remainder of the night. Despite being a first-timer on this track, Christian Norman quickly proved the doubters and skeptics wrong by marching straight to the finals. Scarlet Bandit showed consistency round after round, the driver’s superb efforts paying off when Dawn Creten found herself across the starting line from Knucklehead, the females in the crowd were firmly in Dawn Creten’s corner. And it must have worked because Dawn Creten took the lead early in the first of the two laps and never looked back, claiming the Racing Championship.

With a triple car stack, a large distance jump and a wheelie bump to play with and two long minutes on the clock, freestyle was certain to be a seriously competitive affair. Motivated by his early racing loss, Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter got huge air, put down dizzying donuts, executed several vertical wheelies and several cross threads to shoot into the lead with a score of 36.5. Truck after truck came after him, only to fall short. Only his own wife and the Racing Champion, the last driver in the order, came close at a score of 33.5, but Creten again won the freestyle competition to close the Maverik Clash of the Titans for another year.

We at “The Allen Report” are going to take some time off for now. But when we return, we will do so from Watsonville, California, the hometown of our friends at Living the Dream Racing, home of the popular Time Flys and Wild Flower monster trucks. With that, we send a huge and sincere “Thank you” to Mike Eames, Dan Breach, Ron Craft and all of the Rocky Mountain Raceways staff for giving us such great hospitality and support, thank you for reading, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Stanislaus County Fair Monster Trucks – Turlock, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a familiar trek in a new time of the year. We have covered excellent monster truck action from the FoodMaxx Arena at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in the town of Turlock, California, several times before, but this was our first time doing so during the fair itself. Six ground pounding, crowd pleasing competitive monster trucks and one mini monster came from across the state to compete in the all-or-nothing freestyle competition over the closing days of the fair.

Vacaville, California’s Tony Canedo had all three of his monster trucks ready to storm the track. The team owner nicknamed “The Flying Spaniard” took the helm of Play ‘N for Keeps. Local driver Jeff Souza got back in the saddle of the Enforcer truck. Jeff’s son Hunter was also back in his faithful Wrecking Machine mini monster. Both father and son were eager to put their respective rollovers from this arena a few months ago in the rearview mirror. David Tucker once again tightened the belts of the third member of the team, Survivor.

Kelvin Ramer had both trucks on standby, but normal Wild Flower driver and 2017 World Finals Freestyle Championship Top 10 finisher Rosalee Ramer was busy with an engineering internship in Michigan. Luckily, a young lady named Molly Bertchie-Berkowitz gladly stepped up to drive the truck into the arena for introductions before giving the seat to Kelvin for the show itself. WGAS Motorsports officials put the runs of Time Flys and Wild Flower at opposite ends of the freestyle order both nights to allow Kelvin plenty of time to change seats.

The field was wrapped up by young newcomer Jonathan Elkins behind the wheel of Terminator, with Gary Schott Sr. retaining ownership. Both nights saw a massive crowd file in to fill the arena, setting the stage for wide open, hard charging motorsports action.

David Tucker took Survivor over the tuff truck jumps as his signature move, got big air and churned some high speed donuts to take the early freestyle lead with a score of 70 out of a possible 100. Play ‘N for Keeps had a great run going and was well in the running for the top spot before a planetary gear locked up, ending his run early. Jeff Souza stood on the loud pedal, getting great air multiple times and pulled out a nice slap wheelie after hitting the step up car stack. His admirable effort garnered him an 85 point score and the lead from the professional judges with only a few runs left to go. All the monsters that came after tried their hardest to upstage the police themed monster, but when all was said and done, Enforcer was still at the highest point on the board, taking the Freestyle Championship, triggering a great deal of loud positive response from the crowd.

As the final show of the weekend progressed, all the monster truck drivers pushed their machines to the limit to please the fans. Jonathan Elkins only furthered his progress as a monster driver with good air and an all around nice run. His run was good enough to garner a score of 50 from the professional judges. Next up was Kelvin Ramer in Time Flys. The recently crowned Monster Jam Stadium Wheelie of the Year award winner put down huge air, great combinations and high speed to become the new leader with a score of 75. None of the following monsters could top him and Kelvin Ramer and Time Flys took the second and final Freestyle Championship.

But the competition monsters weren’t alone in this weekend’s motorized mayhem. Hunter Souza struggled all weekend with an assortment of mechanical problems, but still managed to please the fans. And there was another Souza family member in the house as Cheyenne Souza, Jeff’s daughter and Hunter’s sister drove a UTV around the tuff truck course as a solo exhibition. The tuff trucks themselves were entertaining in their own right, with body panels coming off in some cases and many vehicles taking their suspension to the limit with high jumps and hard landings. Additional activities at the show this week were ten professional bull riders and medieval knights giving the spectators jousting and sword fighting exhibitions.

With that show in the books, we at “The Allen Report” direct our focus towards one of our favorite weekends every year, the Maverik Clash of the Titans Figure-8 race at Rocky Mountain Raceways just outside Salt Lake City, Utah. Double Trouble’s Tyler Groth and Bounty Hunter’s Jimmy Creten enter the event as the reigning champions, but the return of big names like Bigfoot and the slithery Snake Bite will give the champs from a year ago a serious run for their money. Well, a grateful “Thank You” to WGAS Founder John Borba and his daughter and company CEO Chelsea Kessler for their wonderful hospitality, remember to check us out on Facebook under the name “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris”, thanks for reading, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: San Diego County Fair Monster Trucks – Del Mar, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we head to the annual San Diego County Fair in the picturesque town of Del Mar, CA. Our friends at WGAS Motorsports have been entertaining fans at the annual fair for 22 straight years with a vast variety of motorsports entertainment, from tuff truck racing, to UTV racing, to freestyle motocross, and much more. But on the closing days of the fair, the shows held at the Del Mar Arena were headlined by six dirt slinging, high flying, bumper dragging monster trucks in freestyle action.

From just up the road in Menifee, CA were the father and son team of Rick and Eric Swanson. Twenty year old Eric continued to run his 1968 Ford F-100 body on Obsessed while Rick carried on with his Top Notch Tee’s sponsored yellow body. For the first time ever, Jim Creten had all four of his trucks in the house. 2Xtreme drivers Mikeal Christensen, Christian Norman, Austin Minton and Sinjan Gergick all took turns driving Knucklehead and Iron Outlaw. Once more, Dawn Creten took the helm of her usual Scarlet Bandit and Jim Creten lead the charge in his traditional Bounty Hunter, complete with the updated version of his American Sniper Chris Kyle Foundation body.

As with years past, the afternoon shows were exhibition only while the evening shows would utilize the sport’s traditional freestyle scoring system to crown an Overall Day Champion. A tabletop jump, two wheelie bumps, a small roller with a kicker and the customary Del Mar huge hill were all in play. This meant that winning the Overall Day Championship would not come easy for any of the participants.

The first day of monster truck action got things off to a roaring start. Rick Swanson made several admirable attempts at slap wheelies while Mikeal Christensen made some massive leaps off the tabletop. Eric Swanson turned in a high speed, high energy run from start to finish with huge air and Dawn Creten combined consistent huge air and dirt churning cyclones to stay in the hunt for the Overall Day Championship.

But, the crowd favorite and former World Finals Champion was waiting in the wings. Jim Creten dug his truck’s wheelie bar into the dirt, shot for the sky multiple times and continued long after his two minute time expired. In the evening show with scores and a trophy on the line, the 2Xtreme Racing team owner and founder had just enough points altogether to take the Overall Day Championship on the first day of monster action.

As the next few days marched by, the action inside the arena only got progressively hotter. The second day of action saw each driver step up their game and great performances all around, but Jim Creten, even with the strong performances by all of those who went before him, was able to repeat as the Overall Day Champion.

The third day of action saw a special twist to the show format. Eric and Rick Swanson began the spectacular trend of team trucks performing freestyles at the same time. Their respective runs were topped off by Eric putting his truck’s tires on top of those of his father’s vehicle. In the evening show with judges watching, both trucks were scored together as a team and did very well. But Jim and Dawn Creten, ever the competitors, accepted the challenge. When they took to the track, the husband and wife team got frequent huge air and ended their runs with simultaneous, lightning fast cyclones. When the couple’s winning score was handed down by the judges, the capacity crowd roared with approval.

On the fourth and final day of the 102nd annual San Diego County Fair on Independence Day, WGAS officials had a surprise ready for the fans who showed up to the arena for the final time this year. From the opening freestyle onward, the action inside the arena only got more and more exciting. Each truck was almost done with their freestyle time when the next truck in line came roaring into the arena. This process continued on until the father and son Swanson were the only trucks still on the track. As one last thanks to the fans for coming, all the monsters did one noisy parade lap around the perimeter of the arena, bringing the curtain down on another successful year of WGAS monster truck action at the San Diego County Fair.

While the monsters were waiting their turn to take to the track, the crowds were entertained by several different kinds of scaled down race cars with young gals and guys at the wheel. Mini dwarf cars and junior outlaw sprint races showcased future race drivers in the kids behind the wheels. With many battles for position and several races ending in photo finishes, it was clear that these kids have just as big a will to win as the adult racers.

With Del Mar behind us for the year, we don’t get much time to rest as only two weeks later we take a familiar trip at a new time of year. We have followed monsters to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, CA in both the spring and fall, but this is our first time seeing them during the fair itself in late July. Coverage from there will be coming soon. That said, thank you for reading, a huge, heartfelt thanks to John and Charlene Borba, Chelsea Kessler, Greg and Carol Atherton and all of the WGAS Motorsports family for their warm hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Budweiser Monster Truck Spring Nationals – Turlock, CA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to the peaceful town of Turlock, CA. It’s a quiet place where most thrills are supplied by the sports teams of nearby big cities. But on the second weekend of May, the thrill seeking crowd was inside the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds ready to experience some thunderous, high flying, high speed monster truck action. Eight competitive monster trucks and one mini monster arrived to do battle in hot and heavy freestyle competition.

Second generation driver Hunter Souza brushed the off season dust off and took the wheel of the Wrecking Machine mini monster. International Monster Truck Hall of Fame member Terry Woodcock was in the house inside the cockpit of the 35th Anniversary Cyclops. All three of the “Flying Spaniard” Tony Canedo’s monsters came to town. Tony himself, as always, drove the new trophy truck bodied Play ‘n For Keeps. David Tucker was the pilot of the Survivor machine and was ready to make thunder around the arena and Jeff Souza, Hunter’s father, was ready to rumble as the driver of Enforcer. Eric Swanson and his beautiful 1968 Ford F-100 bodied Obsessed were locked and loaded. Father Rick Swanson would settle for nothing less than the win in his Top Notch Tee’s sponsored Obsession. Dawn Creten was ready to give the boys a run for their money in Scarlet Bandit. Finally, 2005 World Freestyle Champion Jim Creten had his eyes on first place with American Sniper Bounty Hunter in tow.

With two tabletop jumps, a big hill and a construction barrier for wheelies all on the track, it was going to take a great deal of effort to walk away with the trophy and celebratory champagne. Then, to top things off, a near capacity crowd filed in for both shows and all signs pointed to great monster truck action for all.

On Friday night, Scarlet Bandit set the pace with a good run featuring big air, hitting the arena entry construction barrier the wrong way and nice combos to score 75 points with perfection being 100. Next in line was Survivor, who had terrific cyclones and more big air, but just missed the lead by five points at a score of 70. Terry Woodcock and Cyclops had steering issues and did not make it out of the pits. Wrapping up the first half of the field was Enforcer. Jeff Souza delivered the biggest air so far, lightning fast cyclones and even cross threads to raise the bar to new heights with a score of 95.

Truck after truck came after the police themed monster vehicle, only to fall short. Then, Bounty Hunter came storming in with dirt digging slap wheelies, hitting the big hill the wrong way and massive air over the tabletop. When the judges score was handed down, Bounty Hunter and Enforcer found themselves tied for the win. The real winners, however, were the fans. And as the co-champions got into a champagne spraying battle, the spectators continued to cheer.

The final show of the weekend on Saturday evening saw freestyle once more a heated affair, with all drivers looking to better themselves from the day before. Former World Finals Freestyle runner-up Dawn Creten and Scarlet Bandit did just that, with great donuts, big air and hitting obstacles the wrong way upped her score to 80, five whole points better than the night before.

Terry Woodcock had worked much of Friday night and most of Saturday to fix broken steering in the hopes he could give a significantly better show the second night. It worked and the monster with a legendary name got great air and brought the front tires up in an almost perfectly vertical wheelstand right as time expired to temporarily take the lead by one single point at 81.

A potent combination of huge air, high speed, hitting obstacles sideways and then a nasty crash put Enforcer in a familiar place, the top of the leader board with a score of 95. In spite of the severity of the crash, Jeff Souza was unhurt. But Bounty Hunter was not to share the trophy a second time. Incredible speed, fantastic combos, vertical slap wheelies and dizzying cyclones had the crowd roaring and the judges were impressed. With a perfect score of 100 Jim Creten and Bounty Hunter took the freestyle trophy.

In other racing action, a new addition arrived thanks to WGAS Motorsports in Quad Wars ATV competition. It was Turlock riders against a rival CA team. Even controversial mid-race actions by the evil team couldn’t stop the hometown heroes from taking the main event wins both nights. Also in the arena was vehicle against clock tuff truck racing. The second night, the opening two vehicles in the street legal class got big air multiple times, culminating in much damage and loud cheers from the massive crowd. Finally, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, commander of the Fitz army and Cal Valone wowed the crowd with death defying, incredible tricks, climaxing in the fan favorite backflip train. The riders were hesitant to perform due to the gusty wind conditions, but when show-time arrived, both riders stepped up and made the best of the sketchy conditions.

All that said, we at “The Allen Report” are going to take a rest from monsters for a while. But we will return soon from one of our favorite shows every year, the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. We are excited to give you Monster Truck loving fans more coverage from that venue. Well, thanks very much for reading, a huge “Thank-You” to John Borba, Chelsea Kessler, Greg Atherton and each member of the WGAS Motorsports crew for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Monsters & Mud – Tuscon, AZ 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to the Tucson Speedway asphalt oval track. It’s a NASCAR sanctioned home track that sees all kinds of auto racing weekend after weekend. But, on the last weekend of April, the Speedway was taken over by four massive monster trucks ready to duke it out in Wheelie Contest, Donut Contest and all out freestyle. In front of his hometown folk were Rod Wood and McGruff. Former Monster Jam on SPEED color analyst Mark Schroeder brought his wild looking Devastator to the Tucson track. Wrapping up the field and representing 2Xtreme Racing were Russell Steeley in the Iron Outlaw and Austin Minton in Knucklehead, the official monster truck of rock band Five Finger Death Punch.

In the wheelie contest, the slick paved third mile oval made wheelies tricky. Iron Outlaw made admirable efforts, spinning the tires trying to bring the front axle in the air. But Mark Schroeder did an excellent job of pointing his front tires towards the night sky. He easily won over the crowd and as the show was judged by the audience’s applause, took the Wheelie Contest win.

Going into the donut competition, McGruff had sadly broken the locker in the front axle and his performance status for the rest of the night was in danger. Devastator proved that he can do more than just ride a wheelie by turning in fast rotation to stay in the hunt. Russell Steeley proved that he still had what it takes by turning in super fast cyclones to stay alive. But newcomer Austin Minton had the crowd roaring by getting Knucklehead progressively faster and faster in his spin cycles, taking the win and ending Devastator’s chances at an evening’s clean sweep.

The freestyle track consisted of four crush cars, a construction barrier for wheelies and two jumps, one at the turn four end, the other and the turn one end. In the main event of the night, Iron Outlaw got things kicked off very well by hitting the van stack jump just past the start finish line, clearing the cars, inadvertently turning slightly mid wheelie and hit the van stack the wrong way to much applause from the spectators. McGruff was fixed just in time for the freestyle competition and put down a great run, causing a shower of sparks as he dragged his bumper across the front straightaway during one of his slap wheelies. Knucklehead was next on the track and gave the fans jumps, donuts and high speed energy. The final freestyle was Devastator and when Mark Schroeder was through there was no doubt who was the freestyle winner as the crowd cheered long and loud for his impressive performance. However, as far as the drivers were concerned, the fans were the winners on this clear and col night in Tucson.

While the monsters were resting or getting maintenance in the pits, the fans were treated to mud bogging in the infield and several kinds of mainstream car racing on the oval. Most of the races, both heats and features, were fast and entertaining with multiple attempts to take the lead and not many cautions.

Well, next on the agenda for us at “The Allen Report” is a trek to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, CA, where our friends at WGAS Motorsports have a traditionally great show waiting for us with ATV racing, tuff trucks, Fitz Army freestyle motocross and, of course, monster trucks. On that note, thanks for reading, a sincere thank you to Dave the Track Guy and Tucson Speedway for their great hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Washington State Spring Fair Monster Trucks – Puyallup, WA 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to the Washington State Spring Fair in Puyallup. It’s a fair that sees all kinds of entertainment from thrill rides to concerts. Adding to the fair’s opening evening entertainment on Friday, WGAS Motorsports brought ten of the best monster trucks to go to war in qualifying, Chicago style racing and the car munching, sky touching insanity of freestyle. This show is a rarity in the sport of monster truck competition as the performance arena had no dirt, the show taking place on the asphalt surface.

Making the trip from Bakersfield, CA, was International Monster Truck Hall of Fame driver Terry Woodcock and his beautiful 35th Anniversary Cyclops. Hometown hero from just up the road in Stanwood, WA, was Dave Smith and the sleek black Maniac. Coming north from Vacaville, CA, was the “Flying Spaniard” Tony Canado himself driving the red Play ‘n For Keeps while friend and Turlock, CA, resident Jeff Souza took the wheel of the police themed Enforcer. Hot off his excellent performance at Monster Jam’s Double-Down Showdown was Eric Swanson and his retro Ford pickup bodied Obsessed. Right behind him was teammate and father Rick Swanson and his Top Notch Tee’s sponsored Obsession.

Completing the field were all four members of the 2Xtreme Racing team. Piloting Knucklehead, the official monster truck of metal band Five Finger Death Punch, was a new driver for 2Xtreme racing Austin Minton. Behind the wheel of Iron Outlaw was Christian Norman, a young driver who has driven this truck three times previously. Per always, former Army medic Dawn Creten took control of Scarlet Bandit. Finally, team leader and founder Jim Creten was at the helm of the Chris Kyle Bounty Hunter. Jim had driven almost three thousand miles from Charlotte, North Carolina to be in Puyallup for this show.

In qualifying, it didn’t take long for the action to unfold as Enforcer nicked the turning tire on his first run and sent him upside down. Jeff was okay and the damage to Enforcer was quite minimal. The past two times Rick Swanson had been here, he won and it appeared that a third win would not be far ahead as he set the new time to beat at 15.04 seconds. But the twenty-one year veteran’s happiness was short lived as former World Champion Jim Creten put together a storming run of 12.19 seconds. Truck after truck went after Jim Creten’s time, but the former Mr. Kansas bodybuilding champion was able to hold off the competition to take the number one spot headed into eliminations.

At the drivers meeting earlier in the day, WGAS officials decided that in spite of ten trucks participating, only those who qualified eighth or faster would race in the bracket. In the opening quarter final heat, Terry Woodcock tried his hardest against the fastest qualifier, but Bounty Hunter easily took the win to advance one step closer to the racing championship. Obsession stayed in the hunt to keep his win streak alive with a win over home state truck Maniac. In the semi-finals, Dawn Creten’s hopes of a husband and wife final were dashed when in the closest finish of the evening she came up only a few inches short to Obsession in the photo finish. Bounty Hunter disposed of team truck Iron Outlaw to meet the two time winner in the finals. The Menifee, CA, driver gave everything he had, but Jim Creten was just too fast, taking the Racing Championship.

With many crush cars in the center of the arena floor and all sorts of room for wheelies and donuts, freestyle was sure to be a heated affair. Scarlet Bandit set the bar for all followers with decent sky wheelies and smoke-causing cyclones. Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the judges either, her run being rewarded with a score of 70 out of a possible 100. Terry Woodcock gave a nice effort with cross threads and a nice sky wheelie to much positive response from the big crowd on hand. But Scarlet Bandit’s lead would remain intact until the second half of the field took to the track. Rear steer problems couldn’t stop Enforcer from a high energy run full of cross threads, lightning speed and tire smoking donuts taking the lead with a score of 80. The second to last truck was Enforcer’s teammate. Play ‘n For Keeps had great sky wheelies, big air and went into the spin cycle to put the freestyle championship within his reach with a score of 95. But Jim Creten was a man on a mission, and he drove accordingly. Hi high energy run included bumper dragging slap wheelies, high flying air and smashing flat the crush cars to garner a score of 98 and the double win.

To close this first night of motorsport mayhem at Puyallup, an epic fireworks show shot high into the night sky that had the spectators cheering on and on. Next on the list of shows for us at “The Allen Report” is our third trip to Tucson, AZ, this year for a show at the NASCAR sanctioned Tucson Speedway. More coverage from there on the way. On that note, thank you for reading, a special thanks to John Borba, Chelsea Kessler and the whole WGAS crew for their gracious hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Maricopa County Fair Monster Trucks – Phoenix, AZ 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a short trip to the Maricopa County Fair in Phoenix, AZ. It sees all sorts of spectator entertainment over its five days every spring from farm animal auctions to BMX stunt shows and at the Sanderson Ford Arena on Friday and Saturday, the entertainment was supplied by six earth shattering, car smashing monster trucks.

Making the trip from Menifee, CA, were the father/son duo of Rick and Eric Swanson. Rick’s Obsession truck was sporting its brand new Top Notch Tee’s vinyl wrap. Also, Eric’s truck Obsessed showcased a classic 1968 Ford pickup body. The two were hot off their impressive performance from the Monster Jam Double Down Showdown in March. Coming from just down the road in Tucson was Sam Sturges behind the wheel of Unnamed & Untamed. This truck/driver combination was followed by his team mate in the bright red 1963 Split Window Corvette Rat Attack driven by Jacob Ladwig. Hailing from Marana, AZ, came Rod Wood and McGruff the Crime Dog. Finally, coming east from Lake Havasu City, AZ, was Mark Schroeder taking control of Devastator.

The opening show on Friday had Chicago style racing with right hand turns as opposed to the traditional left turns and freestyle. In the opening round of racing, Rat Attack pulled an upset win over Obsessed to advance to the semi-finals. The next race was Devastator vs. Obsession. Even though Devastator won the race, Obsession would still advance as the fastest loser. The championship round was a classic California vs. Arizona civil war between Obsession and Devastator. It was close and a great race, but Devastator took the racing win.

In freestyle, there were multiple construction barriers for wheelies, the race lane jumps and a massive hill at one end of the arena floor. Sadly, Obsessed had broken a steering hose and was out for the night. Unnamed & Untamed attacked the big hill going the other way and made decent attempts at wheelies to get the crowd excited. Rat Attack struggled to achieve wheelstands, but compensated with some terrific cyclones. Finally, Devastator performed great wheelstands again and again to close out the Friday night show.

Over the course of two shows the next day, there were many highlights. Devastator’s chances at a clean sweep were dashed when Sam Sturges beat him in the finals of Chicago style racing. In freestyle, Obsession put together great combos to stay in the hunt. Unnamed & Untamed performed the team’s signature move, slap wheelies. In the all freestyle final show, every truck went all out, taking advantage of its last shot to please the fans. Several trucks jumped the barricades into the arena to start their runs off on a high note. McGruff finished his run with some lightning fast cyclones that had the audience cheering long and loud. But the high point of the weekend for the monsters was the double freestyle with the father and son Swanson. Eric got the best air of the freestyle competition when his father fired up and joined him on the track. The crowd’s roar of approval clearly signified the Swanson boys as the winners.

In other motor race action throughout the weekend, there was smash ‘n bash Democross, a staple of promoter Grand Canyon State Promotions, which is a fascinating mix of off road racing and demolition derby. It is very entertaining with a lot of action. During the evening show on Saturday, there was death defying, trick busting freestyle motocross which had the fans screaming on and on.

Well, we at “The Allen Report” look north towards a massive ten truck field at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, WA, put together by our friends at WGAS Motorsports. So, thanks for reading, a special thanks to Zack McKinley and all of the GCS Promotions people for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Tournament of Destruction – Tuscon, AZ 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make our way to the Tucson Rodeo Grounds for the very first time. It’s a venue that is no stranger to family entertainment as the host site of the annual Celebration of the Cowboys, but this time, the family entertainment was supplied by four dirt slinging, car clearing monster trucks scheduled to appear in drag racing, wheelie contest, roundy-round racing and freestyle.

Fresh off their performance at the Monster Jam World Finals were Jim Creten and the Chris Kyle Bounty Hunter. Not far behind was former Army medic Dawn Creten piloting Scarlet Bandit. In front of the hometown folks was Tucson’s own Rat Attack, driven by Jacob Ladwig and rounding out the field was Nasty Boy, driven by Gary Ely, as Sturges Motorsports team owner Sam Sturges sold the truck to Gary not long ago.

In the opening round of drag racing, Bounty Hunter was quicker out of the gate and beat Nasty Boy for the opportunity to face Scarlet Bandit in the finals. In the finals Scarlet Bandit was quicker off the line. Jim Creten tried to make up the ground in the air but it was too late. Dawn Creten took the drag racing win. Up next was the wheelie contest. The muddy track made wheelies difficult, but all drivers gave great efforts regardless. The win, not surprisingly, went to Bounty Hunter.

On to roundy-round racing, where Dawn Creten bested Nasty Boy to advance to the finals where she got the rematch she wanted with Bounty Hunter, who had defeated a hard charging Rat Attack to make the championship round. But the former World Champion was not going to go down twice. Jim Creten kept his truck low over the crush cars and mastered the mud in the turns to get his revenge from drag racing by taking the win.

Finally, it all came down to freestyle. With both sets of crush cars, a van stack and a wheelie bump all fair game, there was plenty of room for the monsters to show what they could do. Nasty Boy got nice air and carried a great deal of speed to stay in contention. Rat Attack crushed the van and carried good sky wheelies to great response from the crowd. Scarlet Bandit crushed the cars and put together great move combinations, showing that she was for just as for real as the boys. But Jim Creten held nothing back. He carried terrific slap wheelies across the floor, cleared the cars and assembled an all-around fantastic freestyle run to claim the freestyle win.

Throughout the second and final show the following night, the competition was hot and heavy. At the top of the show, the announcer asked the crowd who their favorite was thanks to applause, monitored by a decibel counter. After it came down to Scarlet and Nasty Boy, the numbers on the machine showed that the female spectators had pulled through for Dawn Creten and Scarlet Bandit. However, Jim Creten was not to be denied a second time as he won the drag racing final, again with Scarlet Bandit staged against him. The drier track was much more suited for wheelies and Bounty Hunter took full advantage, putting the front tires in the air most of the length of the floor to sweep wheelies.

In roundy-round racing, Rat Attack put up a good fight against Bounty Hunter in the finals, but Jim Creten was just too fast, taking the clean sweep of what promoter M80 Productions called “Chase racing”. Lastly, in freestyle, all drivers gave good efforts, but again Jim Creten threw down with an all around amazing freestyle to put the spectators on their feet one last time.

While the monsters were resting in other parts of the show, the fans were treated to figure-8 trailer racing. In this offbeat form of motorsport, the objective is to be the last vehicle standing by knocking the trailers towed by the other cars off. The crowd was very much entertained by this as well as both a car and truck demo derby at different points throughout each night.

With this behind us, we at “The Allen Report” turn to our own back yard and the Maricopa County Fair where monster trucks as well as a hybrid of off-road racing and demolition derby known as “Democross” await us. Well, thanks for reading, a sincere thanks to Dale Penn and M80 Productions for having TheMonsterBlog.com back for the first time in several years, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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