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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Monster Photos: Minnesota Monster Madness – Elk River, MN 2017

Event Information

Event: Minnesota Monster Madness
Venue: ERX Motor Park
Location: Elk River, Minnesota
Date: June 23rd, 2017
Photographer: Danny Maass (Check out Maass Media on Facebook)

Truck Lineup

Big Kahuna (Shane England), Black Stallion (Michael Vaters), Bounty Hunter (Christian Norman), Higher Education (Preston Perez), Incinerator (Ryan Rice), Iron Outlaw (Mikael Christensen), Iron Warrior (Matt Cody), Jailbird (Kaylyn Migues), Midnight Rider (Tom Herzog), Monster Patrol (Michael Phelps), Nitro Menace (Darren Migues), Overkill Evolution (Michael Vaters Jr.), Rat Nasty (James Trantina), Snake Bite (Vinny Venom), Summit Bigfoot #21 (Larry Swim), Twisted Addiction (Tim Jones) [Read more…]

Monster Photos: All Star Monster Truck Tour – Cresco, IA 2017

Event Information

Event: All Star Monster Truck Tour
Venue: Howard County Fairgrounds
Location: Cresco, Iowa
Date: June 21st, 2017
Photographer: Danny Maass (Check out Maass Media on Facebook)

Truck Lineup

Bounty Hunter (Christian Norman), Iron Outlaw (Mikael Christensen), Jailbird (Kaylyn Migues), Nitro Menace (Darren Migues) [Read more…]

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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