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: Monster Trucks & FMX – Phoenix, AZ 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we go to the Arizona State Fairgrounds, a venue that has pretty much seen it all for the past one-hundred and thirty years, from the pre-war capital of motor racing in the city of Phoenix to a premier rodeo venue. And, of course, the Sanderson Ford Arena has seen no shortage of monster truck action, as it did over the fair closing weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Six gear grinding, ground pounding monster trucks arrived to do battle in six shows throughout the weekend. The shows consisted of wheelie contest and freestyle over Friday and Saturday before the High Jump and freestyle competitions on Sunday.

The shows featured Lake Havasu City, Arizona’s Mark Schroeder and his Felon truck. From just a few hours south of Phoenix was Rod Wood and his McGruff monster, ready to take a bite out of the competition. There also was Mexico’s Cesar Nunez driving the sleek 1963 split window Corvette Rat Attack. There also was the California based father and son team of Rick and Eric Swanson. Rick, as usual, piloted his bright yellow trophy truck Obsession and twenty year old Eric took the helm of his blue pickup truck bodied Obsessed. Rounding out the field was Tucson’s Sam Sturges in his 1942 Dodge Panel Wagon Unnamed & Untamed.

The heads-up competition only got hotter as the weekend went on. In wheelie contest on Friday evening, all trucks gave great efforts, each driver pushing his truck to the limit to get the best wheelie possible. Things quickly boiled down to a showdown between McGruff and Rat Attack, both going vertical with regularity, often to good response from the huge crowd. In freestyle, the two wheelie bumps, a set of crush cars and a huge center ramp were all fair game to win over the audience. Both Rat Attack and McGruff got huge air over the center ramp while Felon worked his signature wheelies and did some cyclones that truly were dirt slinging to end the opening show on Friday.

On Saturday, the veteran Sam Sturges and Unnamed & Untamed got off to a fast start in the wheelie contest, going straight up and down to push way ahead of father and son Swanson. But in doing so, Unnamed broke an axle. The California team caught up quickly in freestyle, however, as both Rick and Eric smashed the crush cars and soared over the arena floor thanks to the big ramp in the middle, plus some great cross thread moves, all attempting to win over the fans. Because of Sam Sturges’ breakage, Cesar Nunez in Rat Attack stepped up to take his place. Not resting on his laurels from the first two shows, the corvette monster had an excellent power wheelie while the Obsession trucks struggled to do the same. But when it came to freestyle, Rick and Eric did not back down, getting increasingly big air into the night sky and crushing the cars multiple times to thunderous applause from the capacity crowd.

In the third show of the weekend midway through Saturday, McGruff was in a class all his own, breaking away from the competition. He did so with a great forty-five degree angle wheelie and changing things up with a terrific sky wheelie off the crush cars. And the fans ate it up. In freestyle, the end of Felon’s weekend came a little premature when the motor broke and the damage was not repairable. This left a shootout between Rat Attack and McGruff. But ignition problems plagued Rat Attack from the very start, giving the best run to the Tucson native behind the wheel of McGruff.

On the final day of the fair, show organizers changed things up for the crowd by having McGruff take the place of Obsessed. This led to a battle in wheelie contest for the ages. Both the Tucson representatives in McGruff and Unnamed & Untamed stood straight up and down with no clear winner between the two.

In the final show of the weekend, the High Jump competition had the crowd cheering on and the drivers continued to push their machines. Each monster got two jumps each to outperform the others. No official winner was announced to the enormous number of spectators in the stands, but Obsessed and Rat Attack clearly went the highest of all. In the fair closing freestyle, both Rat Attack and Unnamed & Untamed went for broke with superb slap wheelies, but McGruff put together an exciting run that had the fans cheering practically from start to finish by smashing the crush cars, and great sky wheelies to wrap things up for the monsters at the fair for 2015.

In other action, four daredevil freestyle motocross riders including a member of the famous Metal Mulisha wowed both the young and young at heart alike with spectacular tricks high above the arena floor. Well, we at “The Allen Report” are almost ready to catch a plane to Auburn, Indiana, home of the fifth Annual International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reunion, where four legendary monster truck personalities will become enshrined into the Hall of Fame. Thank you for reading, a sincere thanks to Zack McKinley and Grand Canyon State Promotions for having us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Monster Truck Show – Globe, AZ 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make a short trip over to Globe, Arizona, a small town where mining, copper and quaint little shops are a natural part of life. But on this night at the Gila County Fairgrounds, four gear grinding, dirt slinging monster trucks made their debut at the county fair to a packed and enthusiastic house. From just down the road in Marana, Arizona was Rod Wood driving McGruff, ready to take a bite out of the competition. From the polar opposite side of the state in Parker, Arizona were Mark Schroeder and his truck convicted of mass devastation, the Felon. Finally, New Mexico’s Jack Koberna brought two of his trucks to the show. Jack himself drove the Rislone sponsored Tuff-E-Nuff while friend “T-Bone” took the reins of the world’s only two wheel drive monster truck, Cyborg. A standing room only crowd took to the grandstand to watch wheelie contest, Chicago style racing and car munching, high flying freestyle.

By hitting the cars the wrong way, wheelie contest was sure to be interesting. Cyborg was first out and gave very good efforts. Felon set the bar for both trucks to come with a pair of very good forty-five degree angle wheelies. McGruff, police LED lights flashing brightly, gave excellent attempts hoping to win over the fans. The monster truck legend from New Mexico Jack Koberna only continued the game of top this with a good sky wheelie then followed it up with an amazing slap wheelie that put the crowd on its feet. No official winner was crowned, but the fans cheered on for all competitors.

On to side by side racing, where only two jumps as opposed to the regular three were needed to achieve victory. In the first heat Felon defeated Cyborg in a clean cut, straight up manner to advance to the finals. The second heat was one to remember. Going through the one and only turn, Tuff-E-Nuff went wide and smacked the freestyle van stack with one tire. Not wanting to lose, Jack stood on the throttle to barely beat opponent McGruff. However, his rear tires had not centered up from the turn. This sent the Chevy trophy truck into a nasty sideways rollover and it continued rolling until it was back on its wheels, causing the crowd to erupt. Despite the good show, McGruff was kept on the floor and officials sent Felon out to get the finals in the books. The final race was too close to call and with no official line judges or designated finish line, the fate of the race was put in the hands of the fans, whose loud applause was in McGruff’s favor.

With that, we were on to the main event of freestyle where Rod Wood put together an unbelievable run by smashing both the motor home at one end of the floor and the van on the other, big jumps over the cars and dusty cyclones to ongoing cheers from the crowd. Cyborg had a good hit over the van and decent sky wheelies going when driveline issues forced the monster’s pilot to end his run early. Mark Schroeder and Felon only raised the bar higher still with wheelies, donuts, and even a couple jumps using the floor boundary construction barrier as the ramp. Finally, Tuff-E-Nuff fought a broken sway bar by doing some excellent cross thread moves over the cars and van, destroying what was left of the motor home and culminating in donuts that went on and on until you couldn’t see the monster. Despite the lack of freestyle winner, the beyond capacity crowd, well used to demolition derbies were extremely approving of the first monster truck outing at the fair.

In between monster action was one at a time, vehicle versus clock mud bog racing. After a slow start, many of the vehicles made it to the other end of the pit, often with increasingly faster times. As dirty as it was, the fans loved it. As for us at “The Allen Report”, you will next hear from us at some of the biggest shows our friends at WGAS Motorsports put together all year, the Southern California Fair in Perris. Till then, thank you for reading, a special thank-you to the Gila County Fairgrounds for hosting us, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Monster Truck Show – Phoenix, AZ 2015

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on the Allen Report, we make our way to the Maricopa County Fair, which each year caters to a huge crowd with good food, thrilling rides and
excellent entertainment. On Friday and Sunday of the fair, the big crowd was in the Sanderson Ford Arena for high flying, super fast monster truck action. Tonight’s action would be provided through wheelie contest, roundy-round racing and freestyle. Friday featured Ben “Bobo” Winslow representing Sturges Motorsports in Nasty Boy. Fellow Tucson representatives Rod Wood and McGruff were in the house as well. The father and son team of Rick and Eric Swanson made the trip from California ready to give a show. On Sunday, these four were joined by the other two Sturges monster vehicles, Unnamed & Untamed with “Wildman Sam” Sturges at the controls and good friend Cesar Nunez at the helm of the ’63 Corvette Rat Attack.

On Friday, Nasty Boy and McGruff gave preview freestyle runs to get the crowd pumped up for later action. When the show officially began with wheelie contest, admirable efforts were given by all, but Rod Wood carried a beautiful slap wheelie most of the length of the floor despite little traction to the loudest applause from the crowd.

In side by side racing, officials decreed that not one but two laps would be required to achieve victory. In the heats, Rick Swanson had no trouble against Nasty Boy, punching his ticket to the finals. Son Eric did the same when Rod Wood gave a good race but was just unable to overtake the nineteen year old before the finish line jump. Before the finals, the two runners-up were bound for a third place race. But when mechanical issues prevented McGruff from firing up, the veteran Ben Winslow conserved his truck to make sure he got to the final jump and took third place. In the father and son racing finals, Rick had the lead halfway home but Eric was picking up speed. At the final jump of the bracket, nineteen year old Eric barely pulled out the victory, much to the delight of the audience.

In Freestyle, Nasty Boy soared through the Arizona sky and finally got the wheelies he had been seeking to much positive response from the crowd. Rod Wood was a man on a mission about not being able to race for third place and carried high speed, big air and superb cyclone donuts to put himself in the hunt for the freestyle win. Rick Swanson had had cross thread moves, huge air and great sky wheelies off the construction barriers, attempting to win over the fans. But Eric Swanson shot for the moon, duplicated his father’s sideways moves and put his truck into the spin cycle to the loudest cheers of all to sweep racing and freestyle the first night. With two shows to go on Sunday, the game was far from over.

On the first show Sunday, every driver gave good attempts, but Rod Wood did not rest on his laurels from two nights earlier, taking the second straight wheelie win, going straight up and down and riding it out for most of the arena floor. It wasn’t an easy win though, as Nasty Boy, Rat Attack and Unnamed & Untamed all gave the Tucson native a run for his money.

On to racing, where only one lap, not two, was needed to win. Rick Swanson buried the throttle to the floor to beat Nasty Boy coming to the finish line jump in the first round. He got the biggest air of the weekend, but a slap wheelie sent him into the concrete barriers at the the end of the track, heavily damaging the front differential. When only two trucks remained, Eric Swanson was looking to defend his Racing win streak, but Sam Sturges in Unnamed & Untamed had other ideas. When the checkered flag flew, Eric’s trophy truck monster was was just ahead of his veteran opponent, going two for two in Racing. In freestyle, every driver threw caution to the wind, hoping to get the loudest response from the spectators possible. But once more, the second generation driver Eric Swanson put big air, high speed and dusty cyclones all into the mix to a clapping and cheering crowd, clearly sweeping the Racing and Freestyle again.

In the fair closing show late Sunday, Racing was cut from the program to make room for the filler acts. For freestyle, some of the losing democross cars were made into a seven car jump and two vans were put in place as well to be crushed. In the final wheelie contest, the man behind McGruff picked up where he left off with perfect verticality and superb distance in two of his three tries to sweep wheelies for the weekend. In the final freestyle competition of the Maricopa County Fair, every driver gave it all. Nasty Boy was first to hit the two vans which gave way underneath him, sending him on his side. Driver and former bullfighter Ben Winslow was just fine. Cesar Nunez performed well in the Rat Attack vehicle, hitting every jump with gusto before a blown front tire ended his run early. But the driver behind the wheel of Obsessed was a kid on a mission. Big air over the cars, dirt slinging cyclones and high speed all through the run erased any doubt who the winner was.

The other acts alongside monster trucks were side by side tuff truck racing, which was won by John Davis in vehicle number 1495, an off road style pickup truck. John was actually behind until the final lap, where his opponent started to celebrate his victory one lap too early. And the last man standing democross had the audience both cheering and laughing with intentional spinning out, thunderous contact and vehicles coming down from the jumps on top of opposing cars’ trunks. A timed event, this race went on and on until one car was still running. That car was number 86 with Tim Randall at the wheel.

Well, monster truck fans, we at “The Allen Report” are just getting started with a busy summer and autumn schedule coming up fast and we look forward to keeping you updated from throughout the west coast, among other places. Thank you for reading, a sincere thanks to Zack and Grand Canyon State Promotions 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 Truck Show – Phoenix, AZ 2013

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, five regional favorites are pushed to the limit in two shows in a single day, the last day of the Maricopa County Fair. It was here, one year ago, where Grand Canyon State Promotions ventured into the world of monster trucks for the very first time. With the big crowd that followed last year, it made sense the monster trucks came back this year. The lineup looked like this: Tucson’s Rod Wood was in McGruff and Ronnie Sturges, as always, piloted Nasty Boy. His brother Travis filled in for their Uncle Sam in Unnamed & Untamed and a friend of the Sturges’ from just across the border in Mexico named Cesar Nunez took the helm of the sleek ’63 Corvette named Rat Attack. Finally, Jack Koberna, as always, drove Tuff-E-Nuff.

The race course of choice was “Minneapolis Style”, with the trucks starting in the middle and working their way around with the third jump representing the finish line. After Nasty Boy put McGruff in the dog pound, Rat Attack took the place of Unnamed against Tuff-E-Nuff after the 1942 Panel Wagon locked up both axles on the way to the starting line. Rat Attack won the right to face Nasty Boy in the first semi final. In the consolation race, McGruff got his groove back and tamed Tuff-E-Nuff to get another shot at the main event where Nasty Boy, having beaten Rat Attack, was there waiting. But history repeated itself when McGruff spun out in the final corner, giving the racing title to Ronnie Sturges. In the exhibition only freestyle, McGruff had some great air and kept the speed up very well. But the highlight came when Rat Attack launched off a starting line jump and followed it up with a slap wheelie before a tuff truck jump sent him on his side, much to the delight of the fans.

The evening show would see only 4 vehicles as Rat Attack’s rollover broke his hub inside the axle and it could not get fixed in time. But Unnamed & Untamed was back in the game with both third members in the axles fixed. In racing, McGruff rolled the dice one more time with Unnamed and won to advance to the finals. Nasty Boy downed Tuff-E-Nuff in the other semi to face Rod Wood for the third time in the same day. But first, the dark cloud finally lifted off of U & U when Travis Sturges drove to victory over New Mexico’s Jack Koberna in the third place race. In the main event, Rod Wood just could not stop the domination of Team Sturges at the Maricopa County Fair. Nasty Boy swept racing. To finish the night, all 4 trucks gave it all in a wild exhibition only freestyle. Jack Koberna, the southwest monster truck legend from New Mexico, threw out some huge air, a near vertical slap wheelie and some dusty donuts, much to the delight of the fans.

The shows also featured some tuff truck racing, freestyle motocross action and hilarious side by side SUV racing on the tuff truck course. For us at “The Allen Report”, we are headed over to Los Angeles next to cover Robby Gordon’s SST race at the venue where stadium off road racing all began, the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. So, thank you for reading, a huge thanks to Grand Canyon State Promotions for their hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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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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The Allen Report: Monster Jam – Phoenix, AZ 2012

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Survival is crucial to success in monster truck racing. If you can’t keep your truck in one piece the whole night, someone else will walk onto the winner’s stage. And this year’s show at the Chase Field Monster Jam was a prime example of that. The show featured both Grave Digger and Son-Uva Digger with Carl Van Horn and Ryan Anderson driving. The “General” himself, Brian Deegan drove the Metal Mulisha for the first time in his career. Former World Finals fastest qualifier Marc McDonald brought El Toro Loco back. Linsey Weenk returned to Phoenix with the Lucas Oil Crusader. Former sprint car driver Taryn Laskey filled in for Nicole Johnson in Tasmanian Devil. The other teams were: Mitch Tulachka and Shane Phreed in Geter Done and Robo Machine. Allen Pezo and Ron Nelson drove Predator and Pouncer. Kelvin Ramer drove Time Flies and former California Kid driver Garrett Ladelle drove Detour. Rounding out the field were Mark Schroeder and Rod Wood driving the Felon and McGruff.

Grave Digger was ready to face the former Bustin’ Loose driver in Pouncer in the semi-finals when he lost oil pressure coming to the start line due to a rollover during introductions and had to be replaced by Felon, whom he had beaten the round before. Mark took advantage of the opportunity and won. In the other half of the semis with Son-Uva Digger taking on Crusader, Ryan spun out coming down the main straightaway of the so-cal style track only to get the win back when the former Canadian hit the jammer obstacle and flipped over. In the finals a broken ring and pinion in the back axle of Felon meant Predator, who had lost to him back in the opening round, had to take his place. In the final, it was neck and neck until the third member of the Anderson equation spun out again, giving Allen Pezo a huge win.

Brain Deegan set the bar early with a lead score of 20 and held the lead most of the night. El Toro Loco took the lead with only the two “Diggers” to go thanks to a score of 23. The man they call “CVH” saved his truck from another rollover, but was unable to fire back up and keep going with time still on the clock. When all was said and done, Ryan Anderson took the win by just one point, extending his perfect record of freestyle wins to five. But in true Anderson fashion, trophy or not, he came back out and unleashed his inner beast, giving the Digger-maniacs in the stands a wicked encore.

Monster Jam at Chase Field gets bigger every year this year’s show is one of the reasons why. For us at “The Allen Report”, Firebird Raceway is next on our schedule in April. Until then, thanks for reading, enjoy the great photos by Jim Allen and cheer on!

All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2011.

TMB TV: Highlights – All Star Monster Truck Tour – Primm, NV 2011

Event: All Star Monster Truck Tour
Venue: Star of the Desert Arena
Location: Primm, Nevada
Date: June 24th-25th, 2011
Videographer: Lynette Bonar

Lineup: Bounty Hunter (Darren Migues), Ground Pounder (Chris Ryan), Iron Outlaw (Gene Kinal), McGruff (Rod Wood), Michigan Ice Monster (Chris Lagana) [Read more…]

Monster Photos: All Star Monster Truck Tour – Primm, NV 2011

Event: All Star Monster Truck Tour
Venue: Star of the Desert Arena
Location: Primm, Nevada
Date: June 24th-25th, 2011
Photographer: Lauren Z. Bonar

Lineup: Bounty Hunter (Darren Migues), Ground Pounder (Chris Ryan), Iron Outlaw (Gene Kinal), McGruff (Rod Wood), Michigan Ice Monster (Chris Lagana) [Read more…]

The Allen Report: Monster Jam – Phoenix, AZ 2011

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Chase Field in downtown Phoenix once again played host to Monster Jam on Saturday, January 29th and it all kicked off as the most famous on-track rivalry in monster truck racing roared out of the tunnel. The most decorated lineup Phoenix has ever seen included Chad Tingler behind the wheel of Grave Digger, Kreg Christensen returning to Maximum Destruction, Madusa in her Phoenix debut, Norm Miller driving Batman, Alex Blackwell in Captain’s Curse, Todd Leduc in Blue Thunder, the “voice of Monster Jam on SPEED” Mark Schroeder in The Felon, all four members of Team Scream and local favorite Rod Wood driving McGruff. Throughout the night, both Norm Miller and Alex Blackwell were announced as Monster Jam World Finals qualifiers.

The style of course for UTI Racing was Southern California, or, so-cal style. The trucks start by racing each other off a large tabletop before turning away from each other, flying down a straightaway, making a u-turn and racing back the way they came. Max D would take the top spot in qualifying with a time of 25 seconds flat, but it proved useless as he fell to Grave Digger in the quarter finals. Also advancing to the semis were Captain’s Curse, Blue Thunder and Avenger as the fastest loser even after a mid-air collision with Madusa back in Round 1. Grave Digger and Blue Thunder were even through most of the finals, but then the slippery track finally bit Tingler and spun him out in the final turn, giving Todd Leduc his first ever racing victory!

For the third consecutive year, the 30 second bonus time rule was in place. Of the first six of the twelve truck field, Blue Thunder was one of only three drivers who could make it to bonus time with a score of 22. Chris Bergeron in Brutus tried to do a back flip of his own off the side of the tabletop, but the wheelie bar caught the dirt and Brutus went belly-up with a full minute left in the run. Avenger nailed cross threads, big air and did not roll until just moments before his time was up. But after falling short of a racing win, Chad Tingler clearly had blood in his eyes and gave the fans a vintage Grave Digger freestyle, never rolling over and flying long after his time was finished. With a score of 26, Grave Digger saw the Phoenix victory lane for the first time since 2008.

After what happened here in 2011, how can the monsters do better still next year?  They will try and we will be there for all of it. Until next time, check out some of Jim Allen’s great photos from the event and thanks for reading!

All content copyright TheMonsterBlog.com 2011.

Monster Photos – Monster Jam – Phoenix, AZ 2011

Event: Monster Jam
Venue: Chase Field
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Date: January 29th, 2011
Photographer: Ross Z. Bonar

Lineup: Avenger (Jim Koehler), Batman (Norm Miller), Blue Thunder (Todd Leduc), Brutus (Chris Bergeron), Captain’s Curse (Alex Blackwell), Grave Digger (Chad Tingler), Madusa (Debra Miceli), Maximum Destruction (Kreg Christensen), McGruff (Rod Wood), Spike (Rich Hilgendorf), The Felon (Mark Schroeder), Wrecking Crew (Steve Koehler) [Read more…]