Monster Photos: Monsters on the Beach – Wildwood, NJ 2016

Event Information

Event: Monsters on the Beach: WWNJ Monster Truck Beach Races
Venue: The Wildwood Beach
Location: Wildwood, New Jersey
Date: August 19th-21st, 2016
Photographer: Danny Maass (Check out Maass Media on Facebook)

Truck Lineup

Avenger (Cory Rummell), Bigfoot #19 (Darron Schnell), Crushstation (Greg Winchenbach), Equalizer (Mike Hawkins), Lumberjack (Tom Durkee), Red Solo Truck (Brandon Budd), Snake Bite (Vinny Venom), Wrecking Crew (Mike Thompson) [Read more…]

The Allen Report: Budweiser Monster Truck Fall Nationals – Turlock, CA 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a long trek to Turlock, California for the second time in 2016, and third time overall. Upon our arrival, we headed to the Budweiser Monster Truck Fall Nationals at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, presented by our friends at WGAS Motorsports as their last show of the season. Six high flying, ground pounding monster trucks came to the fairgrounds to slug it out in the car munching madness of freestyle.

From just a few hours away in Vacaville, CA was the team of Tony Canedo. Teammate and friend Jeff Souza drove team truck Enforcer while “The Flying Spaniard” Tony himself, as always, got behind the wheel of his bright red Play’n for Keeps. Rosalee Ramer took a weekend off from studying at Georgia Tech to take the wheel of her Wild Flower monster truck. Her father, Kelvin Ramer, took to the track in his trusty 1934 Ford Coupe he calls Time Flys. Finally, husband and wife Jimmy and Dawn Creten arrived, ready to invade the fairgrounds and defeat the competition. Once more, Dawn was behind the wheel of Scarlet Bandit, with the words “You can’t catch me!” displayed with pride on the tailgate. Jimmy Creten was piloting his usual American Sniper Bounty Hunter. With professional judges ready and a perfect score of 100 on the line, every move would count and consistency was crucial.

During the driver’s meeting earlier in the day, a random draw was held to determine freestyle order, a rare moment for WGAS Motorsports. Much to the dismay of the Grand Champion from the spring event last May, Jimmy Creten, he was out first. But in true Bounty Hunter fashion, the former World Champion came out with a storming run. One of Bounty Hunter’s first moves was a sky wheelie on top of a pair of pink-painted vans which crushed them down flat, but he also performed some beautiful slap wheelies, big air and even a rare triple combination of moves across the motorsports arena floor to set the standard for those still to come. With a score of 95, it wasn’t going to be easy for the remaining monsters to clear the bar set by Jimmy Creten.

Tony Canedo hit the tuff truck jumps and nailed slap wheelies for an admirable effort and score of 87. Time Flys continued the wheelie assault and hit the van stack with power. Jeff Souza and Enforcer smashed the crush cars and reached for the sky in another great freestyle. The last run of the afternoon went to the 2016 Monster Jam Rookie of the Year, Rosalee Ramer and Wild Flower. The young lady set to compete on the Monster Jam FS1 West points championship next year had a fantastic run going with huge air and a spectacular slap wheelie when she got a little too close to the arena boundaries and she had to be shut off by the event officials. Upon restart, Wild Flower was in great shape to continue on, but then a steering line blew and the run ended then and there. None of the competitors that had gone after Bounty Hunter achieved a higher score and Creten was the afternoon champion, but it wasn’t game over yet for his rivals, as there was still one more show to go that evening.

In the evening show, all drivers gave great freestyle efforts as they tried to top each other in a different order from the afternoon. Big air was accomplished, donuts were spun and what was left of the crush cars were smashed down even further. In a rare moment, Jimmy Creten was beaten in the evening show by Kelvin Ramer and Time Flys. Both had put together incredible efforts to impress the professional judges and when the scores were handed down, Bounty Hunter had fallen short of Time Flys by one single point. But the honest competition over two shows and very decent crowds both times had assured a very good season ending weekend for the WGAS Motorsports crew.

But the big monsters weren’t alone at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. Jeff Souza’s son Hunter brought his Wrecking Machine mini-monster to give a good show and, in the evening, brought the crowd to its feet with a sky wheelie that was a little too steep, ending in a backwards rollover. Hunter was just fine and the spectators loved it anyway. Also, there were two rounds a show of two different classes of tuff truck racing, creating four rounds of tuff truck racing altogether. Fastest time in both sessions was the winner. The competition was a heated affair, with drivers of both classes pushing hard to take the winner’s plaque.

On that note, we at “The Allen Report” are in the middle of preparation for the 6th Annual International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame Ceremony & Reunion in Auburn, Indiana. On the eve of Friday, November 11th, there will be a meet n’ greet with both past and incoming inductees as well as other classic monster truck owners and drivers. In the late morning of November 12th, there will be a history discussion with the inductees followed that evening by an inductee autograph session, a hearty meal and the Hall of Fame ceremony itself. We hope to see you there.

Well, thank you all for reading. We especially want to extend our gracious thank-yous to John Borba, his daughter Chelsea Kessler and the whole WGAS Crew for having us this weekend and past all this past year, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram under the name “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris”, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals – Indianapolis, IN 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we go far from home to Indianapolis, Indiana, a city where motorsport has thrived for decades with open wheel racing’s Indy 500, stock car racing’s Brickyard 400 and drag racing’s U.S. Nationals all hugely popular events on the calendar. Another such occasion this past September was the historic 35th Anniversary of the Lucas Oil 4 Wheel Jamboree Fall Nationals at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Seven of the nation’s fastest and most destructive monster trucks were on hand to settle the Monster Truck Thunder Drags Racing and Freestyle Points titles. On the racing side of things, the series returned to its roots with a simple two obstacle drag race track with no turns. Reigning champion Larry Swim pulled in with the Lucas Oil Bigfoot #21. The old rivalry in monster truck competition continued as the mysterious Vinny Venom, nephew of Colt Cobra, arrived in the retro Snake Bite. From Champaign, IL were no less than three different Hall Brothers Racing team trucks. Team co-founder Mark Hall, as usual, drove the sleek black Raminator. Mat Dishman came to town in the bright red Rammunition and Dale Benear completed the Hall Bros team triple threat behind the wheel of the General Tire Monster Truck. Returning to the 4 Wheel Jamboree circuit after a few years elsewhere was Doug Noelke and the Tail Gator monster truck. Finally, series newcomer Denver Echternkamp and his Venom Chevrolet monster rounded out the field.

There was non-competitive, display-only monster presence on the grounds too. Jeff Krekeler had recently bought the iconic High Roller monster truck from a long time ago and, with some help, the truck has been restored and it certainly looked great. Also, Alan Fenstermaker brought his former mega truck turned Stage 1 old school truck Earthquake to the fairgrounds. Finally, International Monster Truck Museum and Hall of Fame creator and President Jeff Cook had his 1934 Coupe monster Hot Rod Harry in tow. Jeff set up a tent to advertise the Hall of Fame ceremony in Auburn in a couple short months, complete with this year’s Hall of Fame banner and flyers to pass out.

As far as points were concerned early Friday, Larry Swim was the betting man’s favorite, needing to win five rounds of racing at the least to retake the title. Snake Bite, however, was running away with the freestyle championship and a win on Friday night would lock up the win for the Snake Bite team. With every round of racing and every freestyle run counting, it wasn’t going to be easy for any of the teams eligible for either championship. Bearing this in mind, the drivers strapped into their trucks and the weekend of competition began on Friday. Even a horrible rainstorm just a few hours before Friday’s show time couldn’t keep the monsters off the track as the Family Events staff dried the track quickly as best they could to ensure a fast and even racing surface and the freestyle obstacles would not be a hindrance.

In the first heat of Round 1, the Bigfoot team’s chances of a second straight title got off to a bad start when Larry Swim barely lost in the first round to Rammunition. It was no easier for Mat Dishman in the semi finals, however, as the opponent was teammate Mark Hall. But Mat duplicated his speed and finesse from the round before, punching his ticket to the finals. The rival for the racing win would be Snake Bite. Vinny Venom pushed as hard as he could, but the power of Rammunition was too much, taking the first win of the weekend and closing ground on Bigfoot in the points.

In freestyle, the Hall Brothers team trucks all gave very good efforts, doing tire smoking cyclones, some hitting the bus at the finish line end of the track and putting together all around exciting runs. Snake Bite, however, hit the cars on top of an eight foot hill sideways, did some drifting around the far end of the track with one rear wheel over the edge of the banking and did excellent slap wheelies to take the freestyle win and the points championship in the freestyle category.

Over the course of the weekend, the side by side racing remained intense and fast, with many heats decided by less than a truck length. Freestyle was also a heated affair, with multiple trucks getting big air and others going progressively faster on donuts. With only freestyle in the second show on Saturday, Snake Bite shed his fiberglass skin from the cab forward early in the run and later crushed it, causing much cheering from the spectators.

When all was said and done in racing on Sunday, Larry Swim and Bigfoot became the first person all weekend to defeat Rammunition in the racing semi-finals and winning a second consecutive series championship by just one single race in doing so. When his opponent in the finals, General Tire, could not return, Larry took it easy over the course and snagged the Sunday racing title. Dale Benear in General Tire had just barely beaten Doug Noelke and Tail Gator but landed awkwardly and suffered a horrible crash which saw the truck tumble both end over end and side over side. In spite of the severity of the crash, Dale walked away unhurt.

Between shows on Saturday, the 2016 International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame Class was revealed on the main stage at one end of the grounds to much positive adulation. This year’s inductees include:

• Bob George, promoter and founder of the USHRA. Coined the term “monster truck”.
• Charlie Pauken, driver of famous trucks including Excaliber and Grave Digger.
• Jerry Richmond, owner and driver of Lethal Weapon and Weapon 1 and builder/driver of Overkill and Maximum Overkill.
• Terry Woodcock, owner, builder and driver of numerous monster trucks including several bearing the on-screen identities of 1990s wrestling superstars and the legendary Cyclops name.

All of us at The Allen Report sincerely congratulate this year’s Hall of Fame class and we look forward to seeing them inducted into monster truck immortality in just a matter of weeks.

When the monsters were not racing, there was no shortage of other four wheel drive action going on throughout the weekend. On Saturday, a new Jamboree tradition was born in the UTV Side by Side Shootout. A burnout contest was held as well, which had the audience cheering long and loud. Also, there were tough trucks racing each other head to head on a special figure-8 course that included elements of the monster truck race track. Finally, four young people of eight to fifteen years of age showcased what they could do in their mini monsters. Even a rollover here or vehicle breakage there could not dampen the happy spirits of both the kid drivers and the crowd.

Well, tickets for the International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reunion are now on sale. There will be a meet ‘n’ greet the evening of Friday, November 11th and a history discussion with the inductees in the late morning of November 12th. This will be followed by an autograph session and hearty dinner on Saturday evening prior to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony later that night. We hope to see you there.

With this weekend behind us, we at “The Allen Report” turn towards a month of October jam packed with monster truck shows her in the Southwest. After a weekend with our friends at WGAS Motorsports in Perris, CA, the Arizona State Fair will receive new participants with a new promoter and we will cover the long-awaited return of monsters to the drag strip of Wild Horse Motorsports Park, formerly Firebird Raceway.

Thank you ALL for reading, a special thank you to Family Events for having us, don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Instagram under the name “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris”, enjoy the photos, and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Monster Truck Madness – Tucson, AZ 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

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!

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The Allen Report: 2016 Rocky Mountain Raceway Maverik Clash of the Titans

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make our way to West Valley City, Utah, a state full of motorsport history as some of the biggest names in speed have gathered at the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats to be the fastest man on wheels. However, on the second weekend of August, Rocky Mountain Raceways holds its traditional Maverik Clash of the Titans monster truck figure-8 race event, this year for the historic twentieth consecutive year. To commemorate the event, a record sixteen monster trucks were invited, the most ever at this event.

Leading the charge were all four members of Jimmy Creten’s 2Xtreme Racing. Jimmy himself drove the American Sniper Bounty Hunter while wife and teammate Dawn, as usual, took the steering wheel of Scarlet Bandit. Tim “Mullet” Missentzis piloted the pickup Iron Outlaw. And the lead guitarist of metal band Five Finger Death Punch himself, Zoltan Bathory from Hungary brought his insane looking 3D-bodied Knucklehead to compete. From just up the road in South Willard, Utah was Kreg Christensen in his hot rod hybrid Wicked on Sunday. On Saturday, Kreg’s stepson Paul Jensen drove Wicked before stepping into the radical trophy truck bodied monster in its first public outing, Kamikaze on Sunday. Twins Travis and Tyler Groth arrived to do battle; Travis in his orange Trouble Maker and Tyler in the bright green Double Trouble.

Another set of twins was in the house this weekend as Aaron Basl filled in for David Smith in King Krunch while brother Daron, as usual, took the helm of the reborn El Matador after several years of the Nitro Hornet identity. Darren Migues (pronounced Me-guess) had both trucks in tow. Darren himself hopped in the driver’s seat of Nitro Menace while his daughter Kaylyn continued her blossoming monster truck career in Jailbird. From West Jordan, Utah was Ron “the Dunc” Duncombe in the Maverik Monster Trakker. Returning to the Raceway for the third straight year were Doug Charles and Wild Thang. Rounding out the field was southwestern monster truck legend Jimmy Lyons stepping in for Rod Wood to drive McGruff and Lake Havasu, Arizona’s Mark Schroeder in the cockpit of Felon.

On Saturday qualifying to open the weekend, Bounty Hunter set the pace as the first truck out at a time of 30.97 seconds. None of the trucks that followed him could go faster and Jimmy Creten got off to a strong start as the number one qualifier. In the opening round of eliminations, Scarlet Bandit and Iron Outlaw both crossed the finish line first in their respective heat races to face each other in the quarter finals. On the opposite side of the bracket, the brothers Groth both won their first round races, but would have to race against each other in the third heat of the second round. In the final opening round race, Kaylyn Migues was unable to defeat the more experienced Mark Schroeder, but garnered a good ovation from the crowd nonetheless. Bounty Hunter would out-race Maverik Monster Trakker and Iron Outlaw over the next two rounds, earning his spot in the championship race. Double Trouble did the same by defeating his own brother in the quarters and Felon in the semis to meet the former World Champion in the two lap finals. The championship round was one for the history books. Jimmy Creten got the jump off the line and had a clear cut lead going into the second half of the race. With only one corner to go, Tyler Groth whipped his truck around the turn and past an unsuspecting Jim Creten to take the Racing title.

To close the Saturday night show, a donut contest was held for the very first time after many years of wheelies, billed as a “Twister” competition. Despite being down about five hundred horsepower, Jimmy Lyons gave an admirable effort and low scores couldn’t keep the noise from the spectators down. Former Australian Monster Finals competitor Paul Jensen quickly shed the rust by turning the half Studebaker, half Camaro monster Wicked into the spin cycle and being rewarded with a good score of 8.75, with 10.0 being perfection. The very next truck out was Aaron Basl and King Krunch. His run had the crowd picking up noise as he picked up speed and cleared the bar set by Wicked with a hard to beat score of 9.35. Truck after truck came after him, but it wasn’t until the Racing champion came out when the legendary Texas monster was beaten. Tyler Groth spun Double Trouble so fast he was bicycling on two wheels before laying off the throttle to bring it down on the rubber side. The crowd was roaring and the professional judges were impressed too, giving the Gig Harbor, Washington driver the Saturday Twister win and the clean sweep.

On Sunday, a big crowd filed in for the pre show pit party and into the stands for the final night of the twentieth anniversary of the event. Scarlet Bandit was the first truck out for qualifying and she put together a very nice run, punching in a time of 31.94 seconds. By the halfway point of qualifications, Trouble Maker held the lead with a time of 31.35 seconds. But Jim Creten, the ninth of sixteen drivers out, set a new standard of 30.39, bettering his time from Saturday. That time took the lead and held it to the end. In the third heat of the first round of eliminations, Zoltan and Knucklehead won against a struggling Aaron Basl and King Krunch. In the first race of the second round, Bounty Hunter faced off against former teammate driver Kreg Christensen and Wicked. The superstar in both America and Australia put up a good fight right up until the third of the four corners, where the truck did a complete 270, ensuring that Bounty Hunter was one step closer to getting another shot at the racing win. Reigning racing champion Double Trouble was out to defend his crown and got off to a great start, dispensing of Monster Trakker and Wild Thang to reach the semi finals. But his twin Travis was there waiting. Travis gave it everything he had, pushing Trouble Maker to the limit, but Tyler could not be stopped, punching his ticket to the two lap finals for the second straight night. After beating teammate Iron Outlaw in the semi-finals, Jim Creten got the rematch he wanted. This time, the 21 year veteran of the sport could not be stopped, sliding Bounty Hunter around the turns beautifully and standing on the loud pedal down the straightaways. Tyler Groth raced as hard as he could but the power of Bounty Hunter was too much, as the Tonganoxie, Kansas native took the racing championship that had eluded him the night before, fair and square. With two minute freestyle next in line to end the event, the battle was far from over.

The track construction crew had put together a great track with a wheelie bump at one end, a ramp for big air at the other and a double van stack off the back straightaway, all fitting considering the magnitude and prestige of this year’s event.

To open freestyle, Darren Migues and Nitro Menace got off to a great start, hitting all the obstacles with gusto, doing great donuts and not stopping until his brake rotors were glowing and shooting sparks. Kamikaze, for a brand new truck with a driver who had spent a few years out of the sport, did a very good job by hitting the cars the wrong way, doing some donuts and overall getting the crowd excited. Maverik Monster Trakker nailed several slap wheelies, had great speed and consistently got good air, never breaking down and driving out under its own power, officially ending the bad luck streak that has plagued this driver and team for so many years here. His efforts did not go unnoticed, either, as the truck sponsored by the local Maverik convenience store franchise took the lead with a score of 28.5. A couple trucks later was Felon, who used several slap wheelies, lightning fast cyclones and big air to take the lead with a score of 35.5.

The very next truck was Wicked, and Kreg Christensen stood on the throttle most of the run, matching the former Monster Jam on SPEED announcer jump for jump and for velocity. The judges gave him a score of 34.75. The third to last truck out was Trouble Maker, who bent the champagne early in his run, but kept going for as long as he could, hitting numerous obstacles while the left front wheel was still attached. He finished his time, ensuring a score, just as the tire came off. Trouble Maker was towed out onto the grass and out of the way to make room for the remaining monsters. His score reflected his efforts, taking the lead at 35.5. Sadly, Iron Outlaw and Double Trouble received no score for failing to finish their two minute time. But Jimmy Creten and the Chris Kyle Bounty Hunter would settle for nothing less than the double victory. Huge wheelies, getting into the spin cycle and big air multiple times had the crowd roaring and the judges most impressed, giving Creten the freestyle championship to end the historic weekend at Rocky Mountain Raceways.

In other racing action, the Raceway featured Super Stock and fan favorite Pro Truck Racing, the latter similar to NASCAR’s Camping World Truck series, to compliment the monster action. Next, we at “The Allen Report” turn south towards the Tucson Speedway, where four western favorites arrive to tear up the front straightaway. More coverage coming from that event later. Well, thanks for reading, a special thank you to Dan Breach and all the Rocky Mountain Raceway staff for their generous hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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Monster Photos: Monster Truck Nationals – Springfield, IL 2016

Event Information

Event: Monster Truck Nationals
Venue: Illinois State Fairgrounds
Location: Springfield, Illinois
Date: June 4th-5th, 2016
Photographer: Danny Maass (Check out Maass Media on Facebook)

Truck Lineup

Bigfoot #19 (Darron Schnell), Raminator (Mark Hall), Rammunition (Mat Dishman), Snake Bite (Vinny Venom), Tail Gator (Doug Noelke) [Read more…]

The Allen Report: Kaboom Monster Trucks – Pomona, CA 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make our way to Pomona, California, a town rich in motorsport history as the home of one of the first professional drag strips and that of the official NHRA museum. But on this day, five giant monster trucks took to the Pomona Fairplex to do battle in head to head racing and motor home munching, high flying freestyle.

Jimmy Creten came to town in his slick looking Yellow Stripe Bounty Hunter with East Coast regular Matt Cody behind the wheel of the pickup Iron Outlaw. Rod Wood, piloting McGruff, made the trip from just outside Tucson, Arizona. Rounding out the field was Vacaville, California’s Tony “Flying Spaniard” Canedo driving Play ‘n 4 Keeps with teammate Jeff Souza in tow, who took the wheel of Enforcer. This is a name that garnered legendary status throughout the West Coast under ownership of Terminator’s Gary Schott in the ‘90s before being retired. However, the name was brought back into the public eye at this venue two years ago as the third member of Tony’s trio of monsters.

WGAS officials constructed an interesting double-semi-oval race course. Both trucks would race down off the giant tabletop in the middle of the floor in opposite directions. Next the monsters would go around a hairpin turn before putting the heel to the steel and jumping past each other over the finish line ramp. With the odd number of monster vehicles in the field, reigning champion Bounty Hunter got a bye to the finals where he would await the winner of a standard four truck bracket.

To open racing, Jeff Souza and Enforcer upended McGruff and Iron Outlaw beat Play ‘n 4 Keeps to advance to the semi-finals. With the right to face Bounty Hunter on the line, both trucks ran a great race, but it was Iron Outlaw who took the win. The championship race was one for the history books. The finish was so close, officials could not agree on who to call as the winner. So it was decided to rerun the championship race. With the title still undecided as the green flags waved again, both drivers pushed even harder, but this time, the race was more decisive, with Bounty Hunter narrowly taking the win and retaining his championship. But freestyle was still to come.

Upset about his racing loss, Jeff Souza went out first. With a good run going, his rear axle got away from him coming down from the big hill and blew the rear tire. McGruff put himself in the hunt with great slap wheelies, smashing one of the two motor homes and having consistent good speed. Play‘n 4 Keeps destroyed the other motor home, carried beautiful wheelies and even performed some dusty donuts to the delight of the crowd. Even a bent champagne couldn’t keep the veteran from having a great run. But Bounty Hunter could not be stopped. Driver Jimmy Creten gave the judges everything they were looking for and so much more. Right as his run ended, the other trucks that were still mechanically good came back on the floor. For the finale, all the monsters came down the side of the big hill and went right into cyclones. That was the cue for the preliminary pyrotechnics. This set the stage for the fireworks, a longstanding tradition at the KaBoom! event. Once more, the display from smiley faces, to all sorts of color combinations, to the usual red, white and blue, the Fourth of July tradition of fireworks had the fans cheering the whole time.

In other action, Chachi “The Rocketman” Valencia loaded himself into a cannon and shot himself one hundred and sixty-three feet through the air and landed perfectly in his safety net. As you can expect, the crowd was going nuts. Another KaBoom! tradition continued with four of the top freestyle motocross riders in the nation delivering a wide variety of death defying tricks, the most notable of which were backflip variations.

Well, we at “The Allen Report” are turning our attention to the month of August and the biggest monster truck event in the state of Utah, the 20th Anniversary Maverik Clash of the Titans. This year is slated to be the biggest of them all with no less than 16 trucks on the card for figure 8 racing, wheelie contest and freestyle. Well monster truck fans, thanks for reading, a sincere thank-you to Chelsea Kessler and all the WGAS officials for another great time on Independence Day, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: San Diego County Fair Monster Trucks – Del Mar, CA 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report” we travel to San Diego, California, a city with no shortage of sport and entertainment venues, from football’s Qualcomm Stadium to baseball’s Petco Park. But on the first few days of July at the San Diego County Fair, the big crowds were inside the Del Mar Arena. Six monster trucks arrived to do head to head battle in roof scraping, dirt slinging freestyle competition.

Making the trip from Tonganoxie, Kansas, were Jimmy Creten piloting Bounty Hunter with wife Dawn Creten right behind in Scarlet Bandit. From just up the road in Watsonville, California, were the father and daughter team of Kelvin and Rosalee Ramer. Kelvin was in his sleek 1934 Ford coupe Time Flys and Rosalee, the 2016 Monster Jam Rookie of the Year, in her usual Wild Flower. Finally, Rick and Eric Swanson arrived looking to bring the title back to their home state. Rick, once more, was driving his 20th Anniversary Obsession with Eric at the wheel of the Baja bodied Obsessed.

In the opening show on Friday, Obsession kept his speed up and turned in his customary great donuts for a reasonable score of 19. But Wild Flower was not as lucky. The camshaft got jammed within the engine that cut the power of the truck, causing internal motor damage and Rosalee was unable to fire back up. Kelvin’s luck wasn’t much better, for an attempt to crush the anti-breast cancer car in the middle of the arena floor tore a steering hose. But the Swanson family wasn’t safe from mechanical gremlins either. Obsessed had a great run going with lots of air when a head gasket blew, finishing the truck for the weekend. Driver Eric wasn’t finished, however, as he hopped in his father’s vehicle for the rest of the weekend. But Jimmy Creten could not be stopped. His signature coasting slap wheelies, incredible speed and multiple trips to the sky had the crowd roaring by the time the red flags waved, signifying the end of his two minute time. The crowd continued to cheer when Jim’s scores of tens across the board came up, giving him the win.

Over the course of the weekend, Jimmy Creten used terrific wheelies, ongoing high speed, great air and, most of all, kept his truck together through the whole run again and again to take the clean sweep of freestyle victories. Time Flys and Wild Flower would get fixed but as Kelvin was doing a wheelie on the second, a champagne snapped and the monster lost his left front wheel. Multiple teams pitched in and Kelvin’s ride was repaired in good time. Eric continued to showcase his talent for monster driving in his father’s truck, getting very good air, picking up the family tradition of great cyclones and often getting good scores for it. Wild Flower was put back together eventually and the crowd favorite Rosalee didn’t miss a beat, consistently putting together all around exciting runs.

During breaks in the monster action, the audience was treated to the future of auto racing as kids of various ages raced mini dwarf cars and junior outlaw sprints. The small scale of the race cars didn’t have much impact on the racing action itself; however, as multiple battles for positions, the occasional spin and great action all around had the crowd cheering again and again. Also performing were Shane Plato and Corbin Shockey in the Skull Krusher and Monster Buddy mini monster trucks. Based on the good performances of these two youngsters, the future of the sport is in good hands.

Also in attendance throughout the weekend was a retired FDNY firefighter who had been trapped by World Trade Center debris for three days after 9/11 before being rescued. Before each show, he gave a passionate speech on how blessed we as Americans are. We at “The Allen Report” were thrilled to hear such an American hero speak on Fourth of July weekend.

Next for us at “The Allen Report” is a show just up the road in Pomona, California, a town steeped in motorsport tradition. More monster action is expected to come from there. That said, thanks for reading, a special thank you to John Borba, Chelsea Kessler and all of WGAS Motorsports, not just for their great hospitality but also for letting your humble writer announce in front of the crowd for the very first time, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Freaks of Freestyle – Longview, WA 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel north to Longview, Washington, a town with all sorts of automotive repair shops and beautiful scenery. It was into this great scenario for motorsport that International Monster Truck Hall of Famer Mike Welch brought his Freaks of Freestyle show to the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds. Four giant monster trucks would go take each other on in freestyle that was more intended for loud applause than high scores.

From Tucson, Arizona were all three amigos in the Sam Sturges contingent. Once more, Sam Sturges himself drove the 1942 Dodge Panel Wagon Unnamed & Untamed and recently married Kendra Duggar took the helm of the 1963 Split Window Corvette Rat Attack. To complete the trio, Jason Hall, a former driver of numerous monsters built by Mike himself, stepped into the seat of the 1942 Willys Nasty Boy. Rounding out the field was Yakima, Washington’s Jeff Bainter and Captain USA. Jeff brought a surprise with him for the huge crowds that would turn up at the fairgrounds. Jeff had restored the World’s Largest Jeep, the legendary Hot Stuff and slightly revamped it into a ride truck. The vehicle had done some birthday parties and other occasions but this was the first appearance back in the motorsport spotlight. Jason Hall gave rides to all who desired before and after the shows, between them and during intermission. With a dirt-ramp-to-tires obstacle and several concrete blocks with steep dirt ramps on either side complimented by lots of room for wheelies and donuts, there was plenty of room for the monster trucks to play.

The real people deserving attention were the Freaks of Freestyle track maintenance crew. Heavy rain just hours before show-time prompted officials to replenish the messed up mud pits and to dry the main floor best they could. The track was ready for action just as the public filed in. We at “The Allen Report” gladly tip our hats to the track crew for their hard work and refusal to let the elements overpower them.

To open the monster action, Jason Hall and Nasty Boy made an admirable attempt at a slap wheelie and came around for another try. With the front axle about halfway up, the left rear planetary suddenly locked up, bringing his run to a premature end. Between shows, the Sturges team was able to fix the damage and Nasty Boy would return for the evening. Undeterred by the breakage, Sam Sturges went even harder and performed a beautiful slap wheelie to the applause of the spectators. Rat Attack reached for the sky over all the jumps multiple times and even performed some donuts. Jeff Bainter and Captain USA jumped high multiple times and tried to match the Sturges stable in the wheelies department multiple times and gave an all around great performance.

With the show back on again after intermission, Captain USA came right back out and gave big air and even a rare sky wheelie to get the audience pumped up. Rat Attack came back out and kicked up some muddy donuts. As driver Kendra Duggar came back past the pit area, that was Sam Sturges’ cue. He came out onto the fairground floor right behind his teammate and they did a spectacular pair freestyle to end the matinee show.

When another fantastic crowd filled the grandstands for the evening show, the pressure to perform was on, but the drivers were ready. Right out of the gate, Rat Attack picked up right where she left off, doing great cyclones and pumping the crowd for what was to come. Sam Sturges again went for the team’s signature slap wheelies, giving a great show. With the planetary all fixed, Jason Hall took to the floor out for revenge and he clearly won the day against the track, finding the wheelies he wanted several times. Captain USA continued to sky it for the Longview crowd and they were thankful, clapping and cheering as the Pacific Northwest legend drove back to the pits.

In the final runs of the evening, the monsters went all out on the fairground floor. Kendra and Rat Attack only furthered her cyclone assault and even let get a couple big tires get a little muddy at the finish line end of the mud pits. Nasty Boy nailed some slap wheelies and got good air to finish on a high note. Unnamed and Untamed performed well one last time as driver and team leader Sam Sturges looked towards the sky once more and got some good air to seal the deal. As Jeff Bainter freestyled the track, Jeff knew he had only one more chance to please the fans. So, the multi-decade veteran of monster trucks cross-threaded the mud pits to put the crowd on their feet one more time.

In other action, a trio of local favorite racers called the Wolfpack, piloting mega trucks took to the floor and tried to duplicate the action supplied by the monsters. They jumped over the concrete blocks, went up the dirt ramps and one truck even rolled over twice in the same show. Also, fans were treated to a different kind of burnout. Only one car appeared, but the ensuing burnout resulted in thick pink smoke. Fans were also treated to numerous classes of thick, oozy, side by side mud bog racing. Finally, History Channel star and stuntman Dr. Danger teamed up with another Mike Welch alum Sammy “The Rocka” Baca to bring the iconic Wall of Steel stunt. Both times the stunt was executed beautifully.

Finally, the intermission in both shows ended with the doctor appearing to “blow up” some persons and lighting them on fire. The fans were advised to “not try this at home as these performers were professionals with special safety gear”. Both times this highly dangerous stunt was done successfully, safely and no one was injured.

Well, we at “The Allen Report” now turn our attention towards the majestic, peaceful and 30 degrees cooler Del Mar, California, where our friends at WGAS Motorsports put on an exceptional show every year. Well, thank you for reading, a sincere thank you goes out to Mike Welch and the Freaks of Freestyle crew for a great show and a great time, enjoy the photos, and cheer on!

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Monster Photos: Monster Truck Show – Xenia, OH 2016

Event Information

Event: Monster Truck Show
Venue: Kil-Kare Raceway
Location: Xenia, Ohio
Date: June 4th, 2016
Photographer: Paul M. Harry

Truck Lineup

Bad News Travels Fast (Brandon Derrow), Holman’s Beast (Bobby Holman), Predator (Allen Pezo), Samson (Allison Patrick), Son of Beast (Cody Holman), Virginia Giant (Diehl Wilson) [Read more…]

Monster Photos: Toughest Monster Truck Tour Championship Weekend – Loveland, CO 2016

Event Information

Event: Toughest Monster Truck Tour Championship Weekend
Venue: Budweiser Events Center
Location: Loveland, Colorado
Date: April 8th-9th, 2016
Photographer: John Roberts

Truck Lineup

Dawg Pound (Vern House), Dirt Crew (Jerry Beck), Heavy Hitter (Derick Anson), Over Bored (Jamey Garner), Quad Chaos (Aaron Cain), Summit Bigfoot #21 (Dan Runte) [Read more…]

Monster Photos: 4-Wheel Jambore Nationals – Lima, OH 2016

Event Information

Event: 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Venue: Allen County Fairgrounds
Location: Lima, Ohio
Date: January 15th-16th, 2016
Photographer: Paul M. Harry

Truck Lineup

General Tire (Dale Benear), Lucas Oil Bigfoot #21 (Larry Swim), Raminator (Mark Hall), Rammunition (Mat Dishman), Snake Bite (Vinny Venom), Tail Gator (Doug Noelke), Venom (Denver Echternkamp) [Read more…]

The Allen Report: Budweiser Monster Truck Spring Nationals – Turlock, CA 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

“The Allen Report” is back and we return to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, California, this time in the month of May for the popular Budweiser Monster Truck Spring Nationals. Turlock is a relaxed, peaceful town where the biggest disturbance is normally the frequent freight train. However, there was some additional noise in the air on Friday and Saturday night where seven high flying, car smashing monster trucks arrived to do battle in bus munching, donut spinning freestyle.

Making the trip from Tonganoxie, Kansas were Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter. Popular hometown driver Russell Steeley stepped up to drive team truck Iron Outlaw for the final time so he could give his pulling truck his sole attention in the near future. From just down the road in Menifee, California, were the father/son duo of Rick and Eric Swanson. Former Monster Jam Young Guns Shootout competitor Eric was behind the wheel of his pickup bodied Obsessed and Rick continued his 20th anniversary of professional monster trucking in his breathtaking Obsession, complete with a film strip featuring just a fraction of his numerous TV and commercial appearances running down either side. Rounding out the field was Tony Canedo, who brought all three of his trucks, ready to give a good show to the crowd. David Tucker would take the wheel of Survivor and Jeff Souza would pilot Enforcer while Tony himself stuck to his usual Play ‘N for Keeps.

With two buses to crush, a van stack at the arena entry, two great spaces for getting into the spin cycle and several tuff truck jumps to get the monsters off the ground, there was no room for error and every freestyle point would count. As the huge crowd filed in for the pre-show autograph session and the show on Friday night, the drivers could feel the pressure.

First truck out was Jeff Souza and Enforcer who immediately got huge air over the bus stack. Obsession with Rick Swanson at the wheel came out next, got good air and great donuts. The third truck in the order was Survivor, and the iconic Pacific Northwest name under new ownership put together a great run, clearing the tuff truck jumps and doing a nosedive over the bus that saw driver David Tucker just barely bring it back down onto all fours. Next in line was Iron Outlaw, who cleared the entire bus stack completely, kept the speed up the whole run and did some lightning fast cyclones as Russ Steeley finished up his second to last ever run in a monster truck. His effort rewarded him with a score of 86 with 100 being perfection. Truck after truck came after him but it wasn’t until the last truck in line and former World Champion hit the floor. Jimmy Creten matched Russell jump for jump, but carried several great wheelies across the fairgrounds floor to take the lead and the Friday night victory.

The second and final night of monster truck competition saw a big crowd and bigger efforts by every monster pilot in the field. However, the end of the night came a little too soon for the first truck out Enforcer. Coming down from the van stack awkwardly, the 1990s West Coast monster legend in its new form blew the left front tire. Jeff Souza wasn’t hurt, however, and that was the closest to a major incident the whole night. In his last ever appearance behind the wheel of a monster vehicle, hometown hitter Russell Steeley gave huge air over the bus, and an admirable wheelie attempt to put him back in the lead with the championship in sight. The young rising star Eric Swanson pushed his machine to its limit, clearing the bus stack both ways and turning in his family’s usual great donuts to get the crowd screaming. Last out was the only driver who could earn back to back titles. Jimmy Creten gave everything the fans wanted; big air, wheelies and donuts. It was not an unrewarded attempt either as the second perfect score in as many nights garnered Bounty Hunter the double victory. Both the 2Xtreme drivers were interviewed for the crowd and were thankful to the fans for showing up to support them.

In other race action, Jeff Souza’s son Hunter, Lee Plato’s son Shane and Corbin Shockey practiced for the big leagues with the Wrecking Machine, Skull Krusher and Monster Buddy mini monsters, respectively. Also there was one at a time, vehicle against timed tuff truck racing which saw the crowd cheering the reckless drivers and booing the cautious ones. One of the tuff truck participants was former Mike Welch Motorsports driver Sammy Baca out of Modesto, CA. Finally, the future of racing was on full display as kids drove Junior Outlaw Sprint and Mini Dwarf racecars on a tight oval around the bus stack with very little room to overtake. This made the racing exciting for all in attendance. During opening ceremonies for both shows, a moment of silence was held for longtime WGAS announcer Lloyd Massey who tragically passed away just days before the Monster Jam World Finals this year.

Okay, now we at “The Allen Report” look to make a return to Longview, Washington, to support Mike Welch Freaks of Freestyle and we do so hoping for better weather this time. In the meantime, thank you for reading, a special thank you to Chelsea Kessler and the entire WGAS crew for having us, enjoy the photos, don’t forget to follow us in real time under the name “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris” on Facebook and Instagram, and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Maricopa County Fair Monster Trucks – Phoenix, AZ 2016

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report, we make a short trip over to the Arizona State Fairgrounds, which sees a wide variety of entertainment forms over the course of a calendar year, from expos and trade shows to concerts and, on two of the last three days of the 2016 Maricopa County Fair, earth shaking, sky touching monster trucks. Six of the best monster trucks in the southwest arrived in the Sanderson Ford Arena to do battle in an all freestyle event on Friday, and side by side racing as well as freestyle on Sunday.

Making the trip over from Menifee, California were the father and son duo of Rick and Eric Swanson. Rick drove his beautiful 20th Anniversary body on his usual Obsession while former Young Guns Shootout competitor Eric took time off from his trophy truck body and reverted to his longstanding pickup shell on Obsessed. Driving up from Tucson, Arizona were all three trucks in the Sturges Motorsports entourage. Per usual, Sam Sturges drove the 1942 Dodge Panel Wagon Unnamed & Untamed. Longtime friend Gary Ely took the helm of fan favorite Nasty Boy and Cesar Nunez made the trip across the border from Mexico to pilot the 1963 split window Corvette Rat Attack. Finally, Rod Wood’s stepson Murphy McCrorey got behind the wheel of McGruff the Crime Dog.

To open the freestyle only show on Friday evening, each monster made a jump over an obstacle on the floor one after the other. Unfortunately for Sam Sturges, the intro saw an input shaft in the transmission break, bringing his night to a premature end. To raise the curtain on the competition, Rick Swanson played it cool, getting decent air off the cross thread jump in the middle and finishing it up with his customary donuts. Next up was Murphy in McGruff, in his first monster truck action since a car accident a few years ago. Murphy lived up to his nickname “Werewolf”, starting with a great entry jump, cleared the double in the middle of the floor, and got some great cyclones, making it look like he had never left the driver’s seat. Cesar Nunez was not to be outdone, getting even bigger air and continuing the donut craze. Last out was the 20 year old rising star Eric Swanson. Early in his run, he shot for the moon off the cross thread jump and landed hard on the left rear tire, causing all kinds of damage to the rear end of the truck. Despite the mishap, the crowd was roaring for the kid. With the next show not until Sunday, all the teams with broken trucks had no shortage of time to get their machines back together.

On Sunday a huge crowd piled into the grandstand ready for some hot and heavy, heads up competition. In the opening round of reverse Chicago style racing, innocence briefly trumped experience as Eric Swanson in his fully repaired Obsessed upset the Unnamed and Untamed vehicle. Sam Sturges still advanced, however, as the fastest loser. When both Rick and Eric dispensed of their semi final round opponents, all signs pointed to a great final. And it didn’t disappoint, with the father getting the jump over the son off the start line, but Eric had made up the ground halfway home. With all eyes on the finish line, Eric just barely hit his finish line jump before his dad, taking the racing win.

In freestyle, Sam Sturges was angry after losing twice in racing, and it showed in his driving, getting huge air off the double and carrying on a team tradition with gorgeous slap wheelies. During one of these moves, Sam kept the move going right over the grandstand side racing jump. Murphy McCrorey was on another roll with McGruff before the head gasket in the transmission snapped, ending his weekend. Gary Ely gave an admirable effort in Nasty Boy with very good hang time and decent attempts at slap wheelies. Much to the delight of the fans, both Rick and Eric Swanson entered the floor right behind the other and started a game of follow the leader. The fans were on their feet for the father and son pair as they stepped out of their monsters to end the afternoon show.

In the fair closing evening show, Obsessed got a bye run with only five trucks. But in the semi final round against Rat Attack, Eric never got going, giving an easy win to the sleek hot rod monster and with it a berth in the finals. Rick Swanson ended Unnamed and Untamed’s racing night to advance to the finals and one last shot at a racing win. Rick poured on the gas in the straightaways and took the win to evenly split the racing glory between his son and himself.

In the last monster competition of the weekend, Sam Sturges gave excellent slap wheelies, continued to reach for the sky and turned in an overall exciting run. Cesar Nunez refused to be upstaged and turned in some great air off the double jump and some fast donuts to put himself in the hunt for the win. But the fans got on their feet once more when again Eric and Rick Swanson took to the floor in their monsters at the same time. Both went the wrong way up the rarely used step up behind the double, and turned in some dizzying donuts to end the monster entertainment at the fair.

In other action, the crowd was treated to smash n bash, all or nothing democross racing, a combination of off road racing and demolition derby. Fans cheered on and on as intentional spinouts, heavy contact and all around vehicular assault played out in front of them. Well, next we at “The Allen Report” seek to return to Turlock, California, for the popular annual Budweiser Monster Truck Spring Nationals, featuring eight big monster trucks, two mini monsters, ride trucks and freestyle motocross. Look for more coverage coming then. Well, thank you for reading, a special thanks to Zack McKinley and all the Grand Canyon State Promotions crew for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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Monster Photos: Monster Jam – Columbus, OH 2016

Event Information

Event: Monster Jam
Venue: Value City Arena at The Jerome Schottenstein Center
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Date: April 2nd, 2016
Photographer: Paul M. Harry

Truck Lineup

El Toro Loco (Mark List), Grave Digger (Cole Venard), Maximum Destruction (Jared Eichelberger), Monster Mutt Dalmation (Cynthia Gauthier), Monster Mutt Rottweiler (Daron Basl), NEA (Aaron Basl), Scooby Doo (Brianna Mahon), Zombie (Bari Musawwir) [Read more…]