The Allen Report: Off Road Racing & Monster Trucks – Chandler, AZ 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a short trip to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona, the former Firebird Raceway, which for over thirty years answered the call to fans of nearly every motorsport from drag racing on asphalt and water to off road racing and yes, monster trucks. Two of the biggest monster truck names in the state were on hand to provide exciting intermission entertainment between races at the sixth round of the Lucas Oil Regional Off-Road Racing Series of Arizona. Sam Sturges came with his classic green and black 1940s Panel Wagon Unnamed & Untamed and right behind him was former Team 2Xtreme and Bad Habit Racing crew member Ben “Bobo” Winslow driving the famous blue and yellow of Nasty Boy.

With the freestyle track consisting of only two construction barriers, one of which was on top of the front straightaway, race track jumps and two junked vans, the drivers had the rare challenge of giving a good show with very little to work with. However, the monster pilots stepped up and had the fans cheering every time.

The first of three rounds of freestyle was essentially a game of “Follow the Leader”, with both trucks hitting every obstacle right after the other. Nasty Boy pulled off wheelies that have made the truck famous in the state of Arizona, much to the crowd’s delight. The man known as “Wildman Sam” often went perfectly vertical going down the frontstretch jump after hitting the construction barriers. In the second round, both monster vehicles went their separate ways, both getting excellent wheelstands and Unnamed even did some donuts to keep the crowd excited. Not to be outdone, Nasty Boy used the lane divider of the Off Road course as a wheelie bump. In the third and final round, both beasts had the crowd cheering on and on as both kept trying to upstage each other any way they could. Both gave great attempts at crushing the two side by side vans, but thanks to internal roll cages the vans held up surprisingly well despite the ten thousand pounds rolling over them. Still, even that couldn’t stop the crowd from cheering on and on as the drivers parked their machines nose to nose as a farewell to the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park fans.

When not enjoying the monster action, the big crowd on hand witnessed a variety of feature races of various off road classes from side-by-sides to trophy karts, many of which showcased heavy contact, multiple intense attempts to overtake and, in one case, a finish decided by a matter of inches. Also, the American Thunder monster ride truck was on the grounds ready to give the ride of a lifetime to any who wanted. Well, we at “The Allen Report” are about to settle down for a time before packing up again on the 4th of July weekend, bound for the always fun San Diego County Fair on the shores of Del Mar, California. That being said, thank you for reading, an sincere thanks to Ron Leach for giving us another good show close to home, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

Photo Gallery

All content copyright 2015.

The Allen Report: NAPA Final Event Spectacular – Chandler, AZ 2013

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

After 30 years of offering a vast variety of motorsports to auto racing fans in the Valley of the Sun, Firebird Raceway in Chandler, AZ, will close. It was decided, however, to put on one more huge show and what better way to close things out on the Saturday before Easter than to do it with monster trucks, jet cars and Robosaurus. The NAPA Auto Parts Final Event Spectacular was a Saturday night only event. The featured monster trucks included: Jimmy Creten in the new Bounty Hunter Silver and wife Dawn Creten, as always, in Scarlet Bandit. Steven Thompson drove Iron Outlaw and Darren Migues flew the Red Baron. Team Bigfoot was in the house courtesy of Dan Runte in Summit Bigfoot #18. Finally, World Finals Young Guns Shootout competitor JR McNeal was in the driver’s seat of Razin Kane and TJ Tripp had Ice Cream Man at the ready.

Before the night’s mayhem began, a tremendous crowd piled in and stood in line to get autographs from their favorite drivers. The sun set and the action on the quarter-mile drag strip heated up. Jet cars versus funny cars started the action with passes down the strip of over 250 mph. This was followed by the finals of the drag racing whose heat races were run earlier in the day. The fans were then treated to Ed “the Outlaw” Jones in his wheel-standing horseless carriage who made a full quarter mile pass in 12 seconds only on his rear wheels.

Then it was time for the Monsters! The competition was to be freestyle and it got bigger and better with each truck. JR McNeal threw down the gauntlet early with a score of 27. Red Baron and Ice Cream Man also gave great efforts, but could only tie the current best score of 27. Scarlet Bandit and Iron Outlaw also excited the crowd with car crushing action but failed to wrestle the lead from the trio holding on to the high score. Dan Runte’s farewell freestyle to one of his favorite places to perform came to an end sooner than expected thanks to a flat tire after hitting the drag strip’s concrete wall. But for years, Jim Creten and The Bounty Hunter had had a lock on the Firebird Champion’s trophy. Over the years, many had tried to take the title from him, but all had failed. This year was no exception as two tremendous jumps threw away the key to that lock. The first jump had bright blue fireworks on either side of him as he entered the drag arena and the second was completely over Iron Outlaw and Red Baron parked side by side. He nailed a perfect 30, making him the Final Champion of Firebird Raceway. An incredible fireworks show followed the Monster Truck action then the stage was set for the car eating, fire breathing madness only Robosaurus can bring.

Up next for us at “The Allen Report” will be a demonstration car crush of the all electric Bigfoot #20 and the unveiling of the Autism Awareness Bigfoot #18 on Tuesday, April 2, which is World Autism Awareness day. Autism is very near to the heart for us at “The Allen Report” and we are very proud to be able to cover this very special event.

We will also be attending the first ever Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks race just down the road from us in University of Phoenix Stadium. There will be a full field of Monster Trucks providing racing action in addition to the Super Trucks. We will have a report.

Until then, thank you for reading, a very special thanks to Firebird Raceway for 30 years of motorsports action and hosting this great event one more time, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

Photo Gallery

All content copyright 2013.

The Allen Report: NAPA Monster Truck Nationals – Chandler, AZ 2012

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona has something for just about any racing fan. Throughout the year, the track hosts the opening and closing races for off-road racing, one round of hydroplane racing, the second race of the year in NHRA pro drag racing and every April, one of the biggest monster truck shows the Grand Canyon State has to offer: the NAPA Auto Parts Monster Truck Nationals. This year’s competitors were: Jim Koehler in Avenger and Chris Bergeron in Brutus from Team Scream, Jimmy Creten driving Bounty Hunter was back to defend his crown from the past several years along with Ben Winslow in Iron Outlaw from 2Xtreme Racing, and rounding out the field were Dan Runte in Summit Bigfoot #18 and home state favorite Sam Sturges in Unnamed & Untamed.

Saturday night saw the wheelie, donut and freestyle contest each with a total score of 30 for each contest, with whoever getting the closest to an overall perfect score of 90 taking the trophy. Sam and Unnamed & Untamed nearly repeated his incredible move from this show 5 years ago, but did not end up on all fours, suffering a hard rollover. Sam was okay. As it had been the past two years, all eyes were on Team Scream and 2Xtreme Racing. Both Brutus and Avenger gave applause worthy runs and they also impressed the judges. But Bounty Hunter got the highest scores of all three competitions, two of which were perfect 30’s and the freestyle attempt, which included a jump over Iron Outlaw, gave the Tonganoxie, Kansas based team the Saturday night victory with a nearly perfect score of 86.

Sunday saw only two of those same competitions as the wheelie contest was cancelled thus bringing a perfect combined score down to 60. Bounty Hunter was off to a great start in the donut contest when his motor blew. This eliminated any chances of a Sunday donut win. Bigfoot had problems of his own, breaking a rear axle part called the third member bringing the end of his day a little sooner. The win went to Brutus, despite great efforts from teammate Avenger. When the points race was won and the smoke plume cleared Chris had combined his donut efforts with a wicked freestyle to execute an almost perfect 56 point effort, claiming the Sunday win. Still, Bounty Hunter’s combined winning number from the night before was the higher of the two, ensuring that the new Firebird champion was the same as the old champion, Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter.

Also in the show was Robosaurus, a 40 foot tall, 60,000 pound car eating, fire breathing transforming dinosaur that thrilled kids and adults alike with his car eating, breaking and burning. Jelly Belly Ed Jones also performed with his wheel standing stage coach and bags of Jelly Bellies. He went 100+ mph in the quarter mile all on his back wheels. Finally, Ronnie Sturges, Sam’s nephew, drove the “Boogie Monster” ride truck all afternoon on both days.

For us at The Allen Report, we’re now off to Springfield, Missouri for our first ever 4 Wheel Jamboree; where it all began for monster trucks just under 40 years ago. In the meantime, thank you for reading and a special thanks to a great sponsor of Firebird Raceway, Loud Pedal Motorsports, for their hospitality under the blazing Arizona sun. Enjoy the photos and cheer on!

All content copyright 2012.

Video of the Week – 04/21/12

Week Ending: April 21st, 2012
Truck(s) Featured: Unnamed & Untamed (Sam Sturges)
Video Type: Fan Video

Description: Five years later, Sam Sturges nearly duplicates his incredible wheelie/donut move from Firebird International Raceway back in 2007, but this time the wild move ends in a nasty rollover.

Video of the Week – 05/07/11

Week Ending: May 7th, 2011
Truck(s) Featured: Avenger (Jim Koehler), Bounty Hunter (Darren Migues), Brutus (Chris Bergeron), Nasty Boy (Ronnie Sturges), Summit Bigfoot 16 (Dan Runte), Unnamed & Untamed (Travis Sturges)
Video Type: Fan Video

Description: Highlights from this year’s NAPA Monster Truck Nationals & Jet Car Meltdown featuring Robosaurus.

The Allen Report: NAPA Monster Truck Nationals – Chandler, AZ 2011

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Six of the top monster trucks in the world arrived at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona for the annual NAPA Monster Truck Nationals and Night of Fire, held on Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1st, 2011. Participants included current Monster Jam World Finals Freestyle Champion Jim Koehler in Avenger, with last year’s Firebird runner-up Chris Bergeron in Brutus right behind him. Darren Migues would be filling in for perennial Firebird Champ Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter, Dan Runte would be back in Summit Bigfoot 16 and Travis and Ronnie Sturges would be piloting Unnamed & Untamed and Nasty Boy from just down the road in Tucson. Nasty Boy was even sporting the great looking TMB flag for the weekend’s events. The grand finale would be the return of the 40-foot tall, 60,000 pound car-eating, fire-breathing monstrosity Robosaurus.

Opening each show was a wheelie and donut competition with the brothers Sturges giving wheelies that set the stage for what was to come. Brutus not only surprised the Firebird fans with a 45 degree angle wheelie attempt, but gave cyclones that had yours truly thinking back to Wrecking Crew at the 2010 Monster Jam World Finals encore. Even better, Chris put the wreck from last year behind him with a perfect score of 30, followed it up with an outstanding freestyle, taking the Saturday night championship.

Sunday saw the encore performance for the fans that could not make it the first night. At one of his favorite places to perform, Dan and Bigfoot got the crowd pumped up with his shots at the wheelie and donut win. But it was déjà vu for Chris Bergeron, who found himself tied with Bounty Hunter with just freestyle left to go for the weekend. The judging was close, but Darren kept the Bounty Hunter Firebird legacy alive with a score tallied over wheelies and donuts combined with his freestyle number to oust Brutus for the second year in a row.

To close each show, Shawn Pacheco and Robosaurus fascinated the kids in the crowd by eating, breaking and burning a junk car or, in the case of the big show on Saturday, no less than three. In addition, Sam Sturges gave rides to fans young and old in his team’s “Boogie Monster” ride truck. Will Team Scream ever be able to defeat Bounty Hunter at Firebird? Find out next year. Until then, thank you for reading, thanks to everyone with Firebird Raceway for their hospitality, enjoy Jim’s great photos and cheer on!

All content copyright 2011.

Newly Crowned Freestyle Champ Jim Koehler & Avenger Bring Winning Moves to Firebird

(Chandler, AZ – Firebird International Raceway PR) – He’s always been a Firebird International Raceway crowd favorite with his daring style and reckless antics. Now he’s a two-time world champion as well!

On March 26th, Jim Koehler and the Avenger lit up the always bright Las Vegas skies with an epic run to capture the second Monster Jam World Finals freestyle championship of his career. Just weeks removed from reaching the pinnacle of the sport, Koehler plans to thrill Firebird International Raceway fans once again during the 2011 NAPA Auto Parts Monster Truck Nationals & Night of Fire, set for April 30th and May 1st.

2011 World Finals Freestyle Champion Jim Koehler will return to Firebird riding one of the hottest streaks of his career.

While many would consider the recently crowned world champ to be the favorite to win this April, Koehler faces a field stacked with some of the sport’s top drivers, including Dan Runte, the driver of BIGFOOT, and Jimmy Creten, piloting the Bounty Hunter.

Known as the “most daring driver” on the BIGFOOT team, Runte’s willingness to put it all on the line – literally – has earned him the love of Firebird fans, and the feeling is mutual. On the BIGFOOT team website, Runte calls Firebird International Raceway one of his three favorite places to perform.

Jimmy Creten has been nearly unbeatable over the last several years at Firebird.

And while Koehler is bringing his recently won world championship to the late-April showdown, Creten and the Bounty Hunter have some impressive hardware in their garage as well! Creten recently was named the winningest driver in Monster Trucks for 2010 by, compiling an impressive 68 victories in the 118 events Bounty Hunter entered.

In other words, this Bounty Hunter doesn’t plan on finishing second to anyone.

Joining Koehler, Runte and Creten in the star-studded field are Koehler’s teammate Chris Bergeron, the driver of Brutus; and Arizona’s own Sturges Monster Trucks team with Unnamed and Untamed and Nasty Boy.

While the Monster Truck stars will definitely shine during the 2011 NAPA Auto Parts Monster Truck Nationals & Night of Fire, they won’t be the only motorized mayhem rocking the Gila River Indian Community track that weekend. The 40-foot-tall, 30-ton mechanical monstrosity known as Robosaurus makes his triumphant Firebird return during the event, as well.

The event features something for everyone including:

– JET DRAGSTERS – Have a need for speed? Watch as airplane engine + car + track combine for speeds nearing 300 MPH
– TRUCK SHOW N’ SHINE – See some of the most tricked out trucks from across the Southwest
– BIG SHOW SATURDAY NIGHT – Includes massive fireworks display!
– MANUFACTURERS’ MIDWAY – Truck fans’ favorite products will be on-display and available for purchase
– KIDS ZONE – When they’re not marveling at the awesome Monster Trucks, there’s plenty of fun waiting for Firebird’s younger fans in the Kids Zone

To ensure this family friendly show is accessible to EVERYONE, including parents with younger children, in addition to Firebird’s awesome Saturday night performance, a Sunday-afternoon encore is also being offered. Gates open at noon both days, with the Saturday night show beginning at 7 pm, and Sunday’s encore show starting at 3:30 pm.

General Admission tickets are $25 for Saturday and $20 for Sunday, with reserved seats starting at $30 and suite tickets starting at $50. Kids 12 and under receive free general admission seating with a paying adult. To learn more or purchase tickets, please call 602-268-0200, or visit

About Firebird International Raceway

Since its inception in 1983, Firebird International Raceway has grown into one of the most versatile and diversified motorsport venues in the world. A staple of Metropolitan Phoenix’s sports and entertainment scene, Firebird’s annual attendance regularly eclipses the 600,000 mark.

The Gila River Indian Community-based facility features a prominent calendar of championship-series events including annual stops by the National Hot Rod Association Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series as well as its popular Monster Truck Nationals. Firebird also hosts dozens of smaller public and private events each year, as well as professional race team testing, ride-and-drives for major automobile manufacturers, concerts, and corporate meetings. To learn more about Firebird International Raceway, please visit

Firebird Raceway NAPA Monster Truck Nationals Coverage

TMB coverage has been a staple at Firebird International Raceway over the last 5 years and this year is no different as we present to you coverage from this past April’s NAPA Monster Truck Nationals!! Our awesome contributors Jim and Chris Allen were on hand to provide the great write-ups and amazing photos from each show. In addition, our own Lauren & Lynette Bonar attended the Saturday event to bring you more great video coverage from one of the southwest’s biggest events. So read on below to enjoy Christopher Allen’s great recap from the events:

“There once was a time in the monster truck racing sport when if you broke, you did not bother to try and fix it in time for the next round. Once that happened, you could just load your truck on the trailer and go on home. The fans would have known you with the dreaded words “out for the night”. Then came freestyle and this was less often the case. But, as we will see, the words “out for the night” are not in the dictionary of “Team Scream”, especially when they are competing at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona for the annual NAPA Auto Parts Monster Truck Nationals.

The participants, along with Avenger and Brutus driven by Jim Koehler and Chris Bergeron, were Dan Runte and Bigfoot #16, Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter, Firebird regulars Travis Sturges filling in for Uncle Sam Sturges in Unnamed and Untamed, brother Ronnie driving Nasty Boy, and returning to Firebird were Mike Hawkins in Equalizer after a couple years away, along with teammate Isaiah Morales in Hot Tamale.

Following some 300 mph jet car action, exciting introductions and an Independence Day rivaling fireworks show, was the long jump competition. Hot Tamale was the opener and made a nice jump, slightly tagging the freestyle van stack just off the landing. Nasty Boy, more known for wheelies, didn’t quite make the distance. Then came Brutus. He just didn’t make it in the actual jump, but then tried to make up for it by attacking the tire pyramid, but when he did, disaster struck. To find out how, check out the video coverage and photos! Following Brutus’ clearing of the track, Unnamed & Untamed, Equalizer, Avenger and Bigfoot each tried and failed to beat Hot Tamale, but then came Bounty Hunter. He easily made the distance, then ran into the van stack but saved it to take the win.

Freestyle is often the “Main Event” of monster truck shows, and tonight was no different. Each driver put his truck’s major horsepower to the ground to out-perform the next guy. Mr. Runte is always a potential winner at Firebird and got a near-perfect score of 29. Then the shocker of the night came with the return of Brutus, having been fixed just in the nick of time. Showing no mercy, the other half of the loudest interviewees in the sport hit literally every obstacle the track threw at him. With a perfect score of 30, all Mr. Creten could do was tie. And that is exactly what he did.

The announcer then got word that since there cannot be co-winners in the race to get a highest total score for the weekend to become the year’s undisputed champion, it was decided that the showdown Firebird fans long deserved would occur the next day. With one wild, rabid dog in one corner and a hard to beat old west tracker in the other, Sunday might very well see the greatest throw-down in Firebird history.

The NAPA Monster Truck Nationals employs an interesting championship crowning system each year. The distance in the long jump is calculated with the scores in freestyle and whoever has the highest distance-score combination wins, and that driver has been Jimmy Creten and Bounty Hunter several times as of recent memory. But there was another driver, Chris Bergeron and Brutus, who also scored a perfect 30 on Saturday night, making this war arguably Jimmy’s greatest Firebird challenge yet.

Unique to Firebird Raceway is the challenge of having to watch out for swarms of bees around the facility. A slight bee attack delayed the show about half an hour, making the monster truck drivers’ job even harder, but they did not disappoint. Bounty Hunter made the first jump in the jump off contest look easy. Truck after truck came after him only to fall short. Then came a fired up Jim Kohler with Avenger that had two things on his mind: slowing down Brutus and beating Bounty Hunter. After he made the jump that looked almost identical to Jim Creten’s, the fans knew this was going to be close heading into the finale, the winner take all freestyle.

The first freestyle is always a challenge but the Bounty Hunter driver showed he did not fear anyone who followed, if his freestyle, which was worth a 28 point score, said anything. The remaining headliners, Avenger and Bigfoot must have been paying attention, because they showed no mercy, either. But when it was all said and done, Jimmy and Bounty Hunter, with three wins and one tie, overall never finishing out of the top two all weekend, was declared the undisputed monster truck champion of the 2010 NAPA Monster Truck Nationals.

Hopefully, Firebird Raceway fans went away with some new memories and even some new fans of the monster truck racing sport were made. The bee attack notwithstanding, another great show at the historic race track is in the books.” – Coverage By Chris Allen

Thanks again to Christopher for the great write-up of this year’s event. Now click the links below to see Jim Allen’s incredible photos from the event and also Lynette Bonar’s great video coverage. Thanks to all our TMB’ers for the great job out in Firebird this year.



Video Highlights – Chandler, AZ – 04/24-25/10

Event:  NAPA Monster Truck Nationals
Venue:  Firebird International Raceway
Location:  Chandler, Arizona
Date:  April 24-25th, 2010
Videographer:  Lynette Bonar

Lineup: Avenger (Jim Koehler), Bounty Hunter (Jimmy Creten), Brutus (Chris Bergeron), Equalizer (Mike Hawkins), Hot Tamale (Isaiah Morales), Nasty Boy (Ronnie Sturges), Summit Bigfoot #16 (Dan Runte), Unnamed & Untamed (Sam Sturges) [Read more…]

NAPA Monster Truck Nationals – Chandler, AZ – 04/24-25/10

Event:  NAPA Monster Truck Nationals
Venue:  Firebird International Raceway
Location:  Chandler, Arizona
Date:  April 24-25th, 2010
Photographer:  Jim Allen

Lineup: Avenger (Jim Koehler), Bounty Hunter (Jimmy Creten), Brutus (Chris Bergeron), Equalizer (Mike Hawkins), Hot Tamale (Isaiah Morales), Nasty Boy (Ronnie Sturges), Summit Bigfoot #16 (Dan Runte), Unnamed & Untamed (Sam Sturges) [Read more…]

TMB TV Episode 2.6 – Chandler, AZ

Event:  NAPA Monster Truck Nationals
Venue:  Firebird International Raceway
Location:  Chandler, Arizona
Date:  April 25th-26th, 2009
Host: Ross Z. Bonar
Videographers:  Shane Skinner, Lynette Bonar

Lineup:  1/2 Pint (Ronnie Sturges), Avenger (Jim Koehler), Bigfoot #15 (Rick Long), Bounty Hunter (Jimmy Creten), Brutus (Chris Bergeron), Nasty Boy (Ronnie Sturges), Summit Bigfoot #16 (Dan Runte), Unnamed & Untamed (Sam Sturges) [Read more…]