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

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Allen Report: 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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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: 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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TMB TV: Monster Sights & Sounds 2.3 – All Star Monster Truck Tour – Duchesne, UT 2015

tmbtv_mss_header

Episode Information

Event: All Star Monster Truck Tour
Venue: Duchesne County Fair
Location: Duchesne, Utah
Date: August 4th, 2015
Videographer: Lynette Bonar

Featured Monster Trucks

Double Trouble – Tyler Groth
Iron Outlaw – Brian Maes
Knucklehead – Trent Montgomery
Odyssey Battery Bigfoot #19 (Darron Schnell)

Featured Links

www.2XtremeRacing.com
www.AllStarMonster.com
www.Bigfoot4x4.com
www.MirrorImageRacing.com

[Read more…]

Monster Photos: Extreme Monster Truck Nationals – Dayton, OH 2016

Event Information

Event: Extreme Monster Truck Nationals
Venue: Hara Arena
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Date: January 9th, 2016
Photographer: Paul M. Harry

Truck Lineup

Bounty Hunter (Jimmy Creten), Knucklehead (Trent Montgomery), Iron Outlaw (Mikeal Christensen), Scarlet Bandit (Dawn Creten) [Read more…]

The Allen Report: Maverik Clash of the Titans – West Valley City, UT 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we travel to West Valley City, Utah, just a stone’s throw from Salt Lake City, for the sixth year in a row. It’s a city known for snowy mountains and home of hockey’s Utah Grizzlies and basketball’s Utah Jazz. But on this day, ten huge names in monster trucks were going full bore outdoors in the nineteenth annual Maverik Clash of the Titans at the motor race facility Rocky Mountain Raceways. Jimmy Creten was back again, ready to defend the clean sweep he got a year ago in his sleek Bounty Hunter Black n’ Yellow. Wife Dawn Creten was ready to give it all in her usual Scarlet Bandit. Trent Montgomery was in the house in Knucklehead, the official monster vehicle of metal band Five Finger Death Punch. Newcomer Brian Maes rounded out Team 2Xtreme Racing in Iron Outlaw. Larry Swim was looking to take the title back to St. Louis as the pilot of Firestone Bigfoot #18, with rookie Josh Gibson right behind in the classic bodied Retro Bigfoot #14. It was sophomore season at RMR for Doug Charles and his radical looking Wild Thang, complete with an emotional tribute to original owner, Tony Farrell on the side. Travis Groth was gearing up for the show in his bright orange Trouble Maker while twin brother Tyler was doing the same in his green Double Trouble. Finally, hometown driver Ron Duncombe was ready to give the fans a show in his Maverik Monster Trakker.

RMR is the only monster truck venue where figure-8 racing is the course on hand and it proved difficult for Tyler Groth, Josh Gibson and Jimmy Creten, all penalizing themselves for knocking down cones at some point in their qualifying runs. Larry Swim and Firestone Bigfoot didn’t have that problem though, taking the number one qualifying spot and handily dispensing Wild Thang in the first race of the night. The second heat in the first round saw the Groth twins race each other. Trouble Maker had the lead for the first three of the four corners, but a complete one-eighty coming out of the last one gave the win to his brother and Double Trouble. Josh Gibson had been fastest loser in both the first two rounds, but his luck finally ran out in the first semi-final round against veteran teammate Larry Swim. Bounty Hunter’s chances of a second clean sweep in back to back years came to a grinding halt in the other semi-final when teammate and protégé Trent Montgomery upset the former World Champion to meet Firestone Bigfoot in the 2 lap super final. Trent held nothing back, but Larry was unstoppable, taking the racing victory on Saturday night.

The first night of competition was closed with a customary wheelie contest. Wild Thang kicked things off with two great efforts that were rewarded with a score of 4.5 out of 10.0. Truck after truck came after him only to fall short until Retro Bigfoot came in and rode a wheelie perfectly vertical the length of half the main straightaway to garner an excellent score of 8.5. But the very next truck was a master of wheelies. Jim Creten rode out two straight up and down wheelstands that went on and on to get the crowd on its feet. The judges were impressed too, as Bounty Hunter was the new leader with a score of 9.7. Despite the best efforts of Knucklehead and Firestone Bigfoot, Jimmy Creten walked away with yet another wheelie contest victory.

Sunday was even more competitive, with the top three qualifiers separated by less than a second. In the second race of the night, Maverik Monster Trakker just barely squeaked past Iron Outlaw in a photo finish. In a rematch from the night before, Dawn Creten raced her husband in the middle quarter final. Also like Saturday night, Dawn was coming on strong but she ran out of racetrack, giving Bounty Hunter the win. Scarlet Bandit would still advance to the semis, however, as the fastest loser. The second semi-final was practically a final in itself. In one lane was the former World Champion Bounty Hunter. In the other was perennial favorite Larry Swim and Firestone Bigfoot. Jimmy Creten pushed as hard as he could, but just fell short to the member of the original monster truck team by less than a truck length. Larry and Bigfoot advanced to the super final, where Trent Montgomery and Knucklehead were there waiting. Unfortunately, on the first jump of the first lap, the rising star for 2Xtreme Racing suffered a broken right front planetary, leaving the track and surrendering the win and racing clean sweep to Firestone Bigfoot. It was later announced to the fans that this was the first time in the history of the event that a breakdown after the first of the super finals’ five jumps had ever happened.

Freestyle got off to a strong start when Travis Groth and Trouble Maker had good speed, nice sky wheelies and good donuts just before time ran out for a score of 31.25 out of 40.0. Double Trouble raised the bar even higher with wheelies, donuts, and hitting the car pyramid at the back straightaway of the oval to receive a 34.0. Jim Creten was only a few trucks later, and was on a roll with long wheelies, huge air, and smoke blowing donuts when his RPM’s went too high and his transmission let go with time still on the clock. Still, his score was good enough to take the lead at 34.75, less than a one point ahead of Double Trouble. But the very next run was by Trent Montgomery. A tough loss in the final round had the Knucklehead driver on a mission. The young gun showed he’s learning from the best in the business, with high speed, continuously hitting every obstacle and riding the limit without going over it to finish his time. The crowd roared when his score of 37.25 came over the loudspeaker, taking the lead with only one truck left to go. Larry Swim gave an honorable effort, but it wasn’t good enough to overtake the three year newcomer. Trent Montgomery got his first career win at Rocky Mountain Raceways in freestyle, bringing the win back to Tonganoxie, Kansas.

Next for us at “The Allen Report”, we will be coming to you from the WGAS productions at the Southern California Fair in Perris, CA. Look for more monster truck action in October. On that note, thank you for reading, a sincere thanks to the Rocky Mountain Raceway staff for their superb hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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Monster Photos: O’Reilly Outlaw Nationals – Springfield, MO 2015

Event Information

Event: O’Reilly Outlaw Nationals
Venue: Ozark Empire Fairgrounds
Location: Springfield, Missouri
Date: August 1st, 2015
Photographer: Danny Maass (Check out Maass Media on Facebook)

Truck Lineup

Barbarian (Devin Jones), Bounty Hunter (Trent Montgomery), Iron Outlaw (Brian Maes), Smashosaurus (Dale Gerding), Tail Gator (Doug Noelke) [Read more…]

Monster Photos: Winter Nationals Monster Truck Spectacular – Harrisburg, PA 2015

Event Information

Event: Winter Nationals Monster Truck Spectacular
Venue: Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex
Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Date: March 21st, 2015
Photographer: Katelin White (Check out Katelin White Photography on Facebook)

Truck Lineup

Bounty Hunter (Trent Montgomery), Equalizer (Mike Hawkins), Iron Outlaw (Dave Radzierez), Monster Medic (Rich Blackburne), Red Solo Truck (Brandon Budd), Stinger (Zane Rettew) [Read more…]

Monster Photos: Monster Jam – Detroit, MI 2015

Event Information

Event: Monster Jam
Venue: Ford Field
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Date: January 10th, 2015
Photographer: Paul M. Harry

Truck Lineup

Backwards Bob (Bryan Wright), Bounty Hunter (Trent Montgomery), Crushstation (Greg Winchenbach), El Toro Loco (Marc MacDonald), Grave Digger (Pablo Huffaker), Hotsy (Dale Benear), Hurricane Force (Steven Thompson), Incinerator (Ryan Rice), Iron Outlaw (Todd Morey), Maximum Destruction (Tom Meents), Mechanical Mischief (Jim Burns), Mohawk Warrior (George Balhan), Monster Mutt Dalmation (Cynthia Gauthier), Northern Nightmare (Cam McQueen), Saigon Shaker (Ryan Disharoon), Shell Camino (Shelley Kujat), Storm Damage (Tim Mente) [Read more…]