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

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Allen Report: Monster Flip Fest – Pomona, CA 2014

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we headed to the Fairplex in Pomona, California for the Los Angeles County Fair opening “Flip Fest”. Mark Schroeder arrived to pilot Devastator. For fans of Mark’s Felon, I’m happy to report that he’s bringing it back for first quarter next year. Also in the house was Marana, Arizona’s own Rod Wood driving McGruff. The father and daughter team of Kelvin and Rosalee Ramer came to town with Time Flys and Wild Flower. The incredibly talented seventeen year old was extremely popular with the audience. Crowd favorite Jimmy Creten stepped out of his usual Bounty Hunter and into Iron Outlaw, built especially for a huge, never before seen stunt to round out the night. Finally, making its world performance debut was the Knucklehead monster truck driven by rock band Five Finger Death Punch lead guitarist Zoltan Bathory.

To start the night’s insanity, Jim Fitzpatrick of the famous Metal Mulisha lead the charge in sky high, high danger freestyle motocross. When the initial competition ended in a two way tie, “Taco” Bell and Fitzpatrick were given one more jump each to win the crowd over. A huge Backflip Superman gave Fitzpatrick another mark in the win column.

In monster truck freestyle, vertical wheelies and good momentum put McGruff the Crime Dog in the lead early. Zoltan Bathory, despite having driven Knucklehead only once before, put the crowd on its feet with an exciting run. Rosalee Ramer got the fans pumped up with the biggest air of the night to this point followed by a rollover. The Devastator had some wheelies of his own, a big jump and even better speed to give him tens across the board from the judges. Living up to the event’s name, the epic finale showcased Time Flys and Iron Outlaw backflipping in unison just moments after a pair of FMX riders did the same right between them. The ensuing cheers from the capacity crowd were long and loud!

With another great show from WGAS Motorsports in the books, we at “The Allen Report” shall very soon jump on a plane bound for Indianapolis to attend the final and biggest 4 Wheel Jamboree of the season. Well, thank you for reading, a sincere thank you to our friend John Borba and the WGAS crew for their gracious hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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Monster Photos: Monster Jam – Phoenix, AZ 2014

Event Information

Event: Monster Jam
Venue: Chase Field
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Date: January 25th, 2014
Photographer: Jim Allen

Truck Lineup

Bad Habit (Joe Sylvester), Blue Thunder (Dan Evans), Bounty Hunter (Jimmy Creten), Captain USA (Travis Groth), Devastator (Mark Schroeder), Double Trouble (Tyler Groth), El Toro Loco (Lupe Soza), Geter Done (Mitch Tulachka), Grave Digger (Carl Van Horn), Madusa (Debra Miceli), McGruff (Rod Wood), Metal Mulisha (Todd Leduc), New Earth Authority (Norm Miller), The Patriot (Dan Rodoni), RoboMachine (Shane Phreed), Tropical Thunder (Andrew Peckham) [Read more…]

The Allen Report: Monster Jam – Phoenix, AZ 2013

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, the biggest field in the history of Monster Jam in the “Valley of the Sun” played their game to a sold-out crowd at Chase Field. The field of 16: Charlie Pauken represented Team Grave Digger. Familiar faces Batman with Norm Miller at the helm and Devastator driven by Mark Schroeder were also in the house. West Coaster Daron Basl drove King Krunch while sharing the seat of team truck Nitro Hornet with former Bigfoot and FELD driver Sky Hartley. Rookie Shane England rounded out the camp in Big Kahuna. Todd Leduc was back driving Metal Mulisha. Scott Buetow came piloting Team Hot Wheels Firestorm. Steven Hill took the wheel of Ground Pounder. Right behind him in the teammate Amsoil Shock Therapy was Dave Radzierez. Damon Bradshaw was present in Monster Energy. Hometown driver Rod Wood was there as always in McGruff. Mitch Tulachka and Shane Phreed returned in Jus’ Geter Done and Robo Machine. Pat Gerber and Shocker appeared and rounding out the field was first year driver J.P. Ruggiero in El Diablo.

From the first green light of the So-Cal style of racing, the monster from the Mulisha compound and the black and green wrecking machine were on a collision course with each other. Just four-tenths of a second separated them in qualifications. From there, the two bulldozed down the opposition. However, as Grave Digger came back to the pits after defeating Monster Energy in the semi-finals, there was smoke pouring from GD’s motor area. Unable to get fixed in time, Monster Energy took Digger’s place at the starting line where Metal Mulisha was there waiting. Halfway home at the “jammer” obstacle, Todd, a former short course off road racer, drifted a little too far out. From there, the win was Monster Energy’s. But the night’s action was far from over.

Nitro Hornet stung the field early with a score of 23. The Oregon native would remain the “hot seat” for a large part of the night. Then came the truck conceived by “the General” Brian Deegan and the other straight from the top secret Hot Wheels test facility. They both scored a 27 with the “coolest” monster truck around having a hair-thin edge of a single bonus point. Then on came the “Bad to the Bone” music. With the crowd roaring and the engine running on only seven cylinders, the 2010 Freestyle World Champion nailed huge air and had incredible speed followed by dizzying three-wheeled cyclones to take the winning score of 31, twenty-seven in regulation and no less than four bonus points for the win.

In other action, Team USA defeated Team Mexico in fast and furious quad war action. In addition, Tom Cunningham won the “off road truck-cross” main. From here, we at “The Allen Report” head out to Firebird Raceway for the last ever two day monster truck marathon on the merciless drag strip in Chandler, AZ. Till then, thank you for reading, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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