The Allen Report: All Star Monster Truck Tour – Phoenix, AZ 2017 Part 2

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we return to the Arizona State Fairgrounds, where just two weeks earlier a thrill show co-starring a flame throwing jet car and the kid captivating Transaurus took place alongside the monster trucks. All Star Motorsport Productions, promoter of the thrill shows, also came back for this weekend. But unlike the events of earlier in October, this was a tried and true, full on monster truck show with six five ton, high horsepower mechanical beasts having the spotlight all to themselves on the fair’s final weekend for the year.

Throughout each show, the monsters would participate in Best Trick competition, single run obstacle course racing against the clock and no time limit, no holding back freestyle. Points were on the line for each competition and the truck with the highest number of points at the end of the show would be crowned the Overall Event Champion. As the weekend would go by, result trackers would count the number of Overall wins per monster with the competitor who had obtained the most Overall wins receiving the distinction of Arizona State Fair Champion.

Representing the home state was Marana’s El Perro Loco (translation – The Crazy Dog) with Murph McCrorey behind the wheel. Murph is the stepson of team owner Rod Wood and his tendency to drive like a madman in night shows garnered him the nickname “Werewolf”, a moniker he would live up to equally under the sun and after dark over the days this weekend. To make the truck sound as different as possible from McGruff two weeks earlier, the event announcers billed the truck from Ensenada, Baja, Mexico and had spent years dominating the Mexican circuit before crossing into the USA.

The rest of the field consisted of the entire Straight Up Racing team. Team co-founder and leader Bill Payne took the wheel of his trusty Rock Star. Gabe Montoya was ready to attack the track as the pilot of Reverse Racer, where the body is turned around one hundred and eighty degrees to make it look like the truck is always going the wrong way. Next in line was the vicious looking 10,000 Pound Hound to be driven by Nick Jones. Not far behind was Ezra Wilson in the Identity Theft. The fifth and final truck in the stable was the monster hot rod California Kid, controlled by Dallas Glen Rogers.

In the first of three shows on Saturday, Identity Theft got the show off to a splendid start with a one-two punch of great air and a sweet sky wheelie to get a score of 14 of a possible 20 for Best Trick. When El Perro Loco fell short by just one single point despite sick air and a great sky wheelie, the crowd openly voiced their disappointment. But next out was Bill Payne, who has performed as far away as Europe and Asia in years past. Bill followed up a great sky wheelie off the crush car with a wicked slap wheelie from one end of the floor to the other, taking the Best Trick win and Overall points lead.

Identity Theft set the standard for those coming after by completing the course in just under 23 seconds. The very next pass by 10K Pound Hound proved how tough the competition was by edging out his predecessor in the order by less than one tenth of a second. The colossal canine monster held the lead until Rock Star stormed past him on the stopwatch, reaching the finish line a whole two seconds faster with only freestyle to go.

The freestyle track consisted of a jammer stack for air, a wheelie bump and the time trial finish line crush car for wheelies and the obstacle course track second straightaway offering a distance jump ramp on one side and sideways tires for wheelies on the other. Identity Theft took advantage of his final shot for a trophy to get huge air and cross threaded the jump used as the obstacle course halfway point to stay in the hunt. Ten Thousand Pound Hound gave admirable efforts, including decent air. But Rock Star gave more incredible slap wheelies and hit the kicker obstacle the wrong way to get the early afternoon Overall Championship.

As the weekend progressed, the competition got tighter and tighter across the board. The second obstacle course competition of the day was decided by only half a second between winner Rock Star and runner-up Identity Theft. A few hours later in the evening show obstacle course race, Bill Payne finally pushed his truck too hard, breaking a steering line in the final turn of the course, causing his truck to do a complete 360 and rendering him unable to cross the finish line. This DNF would go on to end Rock Star’s perfect streak of Overall Titles, the final Saturday win eventually going to Identity Theft.

In the second to last show of the weekend, El Perro Loco was in the midst of a high intensity freestyle when an awkward landing from a sky wheelie sent him into the only rollover of the weekend. Murph was okay and the crowd roared when it was announced that El Perro had taken the freestyle lead. This, on top of a Best Trick win and runner-up placing in the obstacle course was enough for Murph and The Crazy Dog to finally take an Overall Championship.

In the last Obstacle Course contest of the weekend, Identity Theft just narrowly slipped past Rock Star with less than half a second being the difference. To end the weekend on a high note, Rock Star joined Identity Theft not long into the latter’s freestyle, causing All Star Productions officials to decree the two co-champions. This brought the crowd’s noise level very high, marking the ideal end to both the 2017 Arizona State Fair and the last weekend of monster trucks. Even so, with three sole titles and one shared win across a total of six shows over three days, Rock Star handily took the Arizona State Fair Championship.

At that, the monster truck action season for us at “The Allen Report” has come to a close. But we also begin to finalize plans for our trip to Auburn, Indiana, for one of our favorite annual events, the International Monster Truck Hall of Fame Ceremony. As of this writing, the number of overall display monster vehicles, weekend and full time sponsors and returning past inductees all look high, which is great news for us, as we are just as much fans of the early days of the sport as we are fans of its current state. With that behind us, a special thanks to Bryan Wagner and every member of All Star Productions for allowing us to cover his events, thank you, our readers, for following our show coverage, enjoy the photos and until next year, cheer on!

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All content copyright 2017.

The Allen Report: All Star Monster Truck Tour – Phoenix, AZ 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we return to one of our hometown venues, the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Bryan Wagner and his company All Star Productions have put together stadium motorsports events here several times before, but this show was different. Billed as a “thrill show”, three earth shaking monsters would be paired with plenty of great motorsports action. The main event of each show, monster truck single run freestyle, would be decided by fan applause, so every move would count. When a huge crowd piled in for every show, it truly was all or nothing for the drivers.

Representing the home state was McGruff. In the opening performance on Friday night, Rod Wood was the man behind the monster for the first time since shoulder surgery sidelined him a few months ago. Step-son Murph “Werewolf” McCrorey would take the wheel for the remaining shows throughout the weekend. Proudly performing for the Navajo Nation was second generation driver Derek Edd piloting the Fanatic. This truck is a southwestern monster finally coming back to this venue after an extended retirement. Finally, former World Champion Jimmy Creten arrived in Bounty Hunter. With each show featuring a single round of freestyle decided by crowd applause, every last move would count.

All shows got off to a roaring start as the monsters turned in a donut or a few during introductions, wasting no time in hyping up the crowd. In the only show on Friday night, Rod Wood looked like his old self with big air and excellent sky wheelies. Derek Edd fought steering issues, a problem that would plague him on and off throughout the weekend, but still gave the fans a nice performance. But Jimmy Creten wasn’t fazed by the show count in front of him, sending Bounty Hunter high into the night sky and digging up the dirt with his back bumper in beautiful wheelies. When the fate of the first championship of the weekend was on the line, there was no question about it when it came to crowd noise. Bounty Hunter took the first title no bones about it.

The monster action wasn’t over after freestyle, however, as the grand finale showcased all monsters returning to the track at once in a “monster train”, each five ton machine following each other over the obstacles before facing the grandstand to bring the curtain down on another great show.

Over the weekend, all drivers pushed their machines to the limit. Derek Edd and Fanatic turned the steering malfunctions in his favor, often upping the crowd noise with long and cheer-inducing donuts. Murph McCrorey seized every chance he got to bring the front tires in the air, succeeding more often than not. But Jimmy Creten refused to hold back, going progressively harder and harder each show.

Then, on the last show of the weekend Sunday evening, Derek Edd threw caution to the wind, executing a spectacular save and continuing to push his truck over the obstacles, smoke billowing from the engine, until it finally gave out. Still, Derek had done more than enough to earn thunderous applause from the spectators. Then, in the last run, Jimmy Creten finally pushed Bounty Hunter too hard as the truck broke a front and a rear axle, but the former World Champion still soldiered on, refusing to let the truck quit before he was satisfied. With the weekend sweep on the line, the crowd was suddenly the most divided it had been all weekend, so a second and final cheer off was decided upon. And the decision went to Fanatic, ending Bounty Hunter’s perfect win streak.

While the monsters were getting maintenance between runs, the crowd was treated to some fiery and noisy fun courtesy of a jet powered Smart Car, the audience often literally feeling the heat as the car belched flames from its afterburner. Finally, young and old alike were fascinated by the car eating, fire breathing antics of the half tank, half dinosaur known as Transaurus. Even when he’d had his fill for each show, the mechanical beast stopped by the grandstand to wave his metallic claws at the fans before departing.

With that behind us, we at “The Allen Report” set our sights on our final shows of the year, same venue and same town. But this show will be a full-on, true to the bone monster truck show where it’s all up to one single local favorite to fend off an entire multi-truck team. Well then, thanks for reading, a special thanks to Bryan Wagner and the entire All Star Productions team for granting us admittance to the shows and wonderful hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Gila County Fair Monster Trucks – Globe, AZ 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make it to a one-night-only show at the Gila County Fair in Globe, Arizona, in the eastern part of the state. Globe hosted a monster truck show at its County Fairgrounds for the very first time two years ago to great positive feedback and we made it back after a year off to see two southwestern household names and a legendary monster make short work of two sets of crush cars and a motor home in exhibition only freestyle.

Making a short trip from Marana, AZ, was Murph McCrorey at the controls of El Perro Loco, meaning “The Crazy Dog”. This was to be a night show, so time would tell if Murph lived up to his nickname, “Werewolf”. From right across the way in New Mexico was multi-time Monster Truck Hall of Fame nominee Jack Koberna driving the beautiful retro yellow painted Tuff-E-Nuff. Finally, having stayed over the week after Tucson Speedway was Mike Phelps in the iconic police themed Monster Patrol. Once again, an enormous crowd showed up for high flying car smashing action.

In the opening round of freestyle, the drivers wasted no time in delivering great action. El Perro Loco made his mark by clearing the entire set of cars on his final hit. Tuff E Nuff, not to be outdone, also smashed the cars before giving an admirable attempt at a slap wheelie. Monster Patrol continued the big air assault, also making jumps without touching a single car. In the second round, all monsters stepped up their game, while El Perro Loco attempted slap wheelies and Tuff-E-Nuff pleased the crowd by nailing some cross-thread moves. Monster Patrol got even bigger air, hyping the crowd for the finale.

In the third and final round, Rod Wood’s stepson driving El Perro Loco got huge air to start the run. The “The Crazy Dog” then attacked the motor home, smashing it to much approval from the fans. Tuff E Nuff hit the cars before nailing another cross thread and finishing off what little remained of the motor home. Monster Patrol finished the show on a high note by doing cross threads of his own, clearing the cars with room to spare and jumping right through the gap where the motor home had been minutes earlier.

While the monsters were resting between rounds of freestyle, the fans were treated to hard hitting, car slamming demolition derby action. With that, we at “The Allen Report” make our final California trek of the year to Turlock, CA, in order to attend the season’s final motorsports production by our friends at WGAS Motorsports. This past spring, Bounty Hunter either shared or solely took the Overall Championship trophy and Jim Creten will settle for nothing less than again taking the title all to himself.

Well then, we sincerely thank the Gila County Fairgrounds for having us again, thanks for reading, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Tucson Speedway Fall Monster Truck Show 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we return to Tucson Speedway for the final time in 2017. This track is a 3/8 mile paved oval that hosts numerous forms of mainstream auto racing, headlined by a lower tier NASCAR series titled “The Whelen Championship”. However, this weekend was headlined by the rumble of ground shaking, car smashing monster trucks ready to fight it out in a preview freestyle, a half-lap “roundy-round” style race on the asphalt oval and the anything goes, all or nothing insanity of freestyle.

The field was headlined by the hometown truck El Perro Loco piloted by Murph McCrorey, stepson of Rod Wood and known for his hard charging driving style in night shows under the nickname “Werewolf”. Hailing from New Mexico was multi-time Monster Truck Hall of Fame nominee Jack Koberna in the sweet looking Tuff-E-Nuff, performing publicly with a retro paint scheme for the very first time. The other two names in the house were both making their debut appearances at Tucson Speedway. First was Mike Phelps at the controls of the black and green Monster Patrol. The other was Canton, Texas’s own Chris Trussell behind the wheel of his trophy truck bodied Big Chief machine, named for his mother’s Cherokee ancestry.

The show opened with the continuation of a popular tradition. Together, Monster Patrol and Big Chief jumped over the barriers onto the front straightaway to get the crowd hooked early. In the preview freestyle, Tuff-E-Nuff got the crowd into the action early with an incredible save coming down from the van stack. However, doing so also popped two tires and bent one four link bar. El Perro Loco put together two excellent wheelies, but the run was cut short due to electrical problems.

With two of the four monsters being repaired, Tucson Speedway officials decreed to go straight to the racing finals between Big Chief and Monster Patrol. With one truck starting at the track’s start/finish line and the other halfway down the back straightaway, this race was different as only half a lap with one sweeping turn had to be completed, not a full lap with two turns. There was no clear leader off the line, but Big Chief took control of the race going through the only turn which he held to the finish, taking the racing championship. In order to excite the fans about the upcoming freestyle, the two racing finals participants did a brief dual freestyle before heading back to the pits.

Finally, it was time for freestyle. With a van stack, two busses and four cars to crush, plus two different wheelie barricades meant that taking the freestyle championship would not be easy. In the meantime, Tuff-E-Nuff and El Perro Loco had been fixed from earlier breakage and were ready for a better shot at taking a win in front of the home region crowd.

At one point, it looked like El Perro Loco was ready to flop on its side, but Murph McCrorey used his veteran driving skills to bring the crazy dog back onto its sixty-six inch paws. Frustrated by the earlier abrupt ending to his run, Jack Koberna attacked the track with full force, hitting the bus stack several times in each direction and turning in some smoke-causing donuts. Monster Patrol cleared the crush cars several times and got huge air over the busses to remain in the championship hunt.

Unable to choose between the hometown dog and the world’s only winged monster, Tucson Speedway officials declared El Perro Loco and Monster Patrol freestyle co-champions.
When the monsters were resting, there were several classes of regular car oval racing on the race card and some had very exciting finishes. There was also many stock car three lap ride-a-longs and some Shriner minicars.

Now, with Tucson Speedway in the rearview mirror, we at “The Allen Report” look towards the final events of the year for our friends at WGAS Motorsports. First up is the final show of the year at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock. More coverage will arrive soon from there. Well then, thank you for reading, a special thank you to Dave Track Guy and Tucson Speedway for allowing us to cover his show and great hospitality, enjoy the photos, don’t forget to follow us on “Monster Truckin’ with Jim and Chris” on Facebook and Instagram, and cheer on!

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The Allen Report: Monster Truck Show – Phoenix, AZ 2012

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Believe it or not, some promoters put together automotive entertainment shows without monster trucks. Arizona’s own Grand Canyon State Promotions has done demo derby shows and freestyle motocross shows, but never monster trucks. That is, until now. On April 15th, the last day of the 2012 Maricopa County Fair, the young promoter ventured into monster trucks. The lineup included: Travis Sturges in 1/2 Pint, brother Ronnie in Nasty Boy and their Uncle Sam in Unnamed & Untamed. There was also Murphy McCorey driving El Perro Loco and New Mexico’s own Jack Koberna in Tuff Enuff.

Both shows saw Chicago style racing. To open the afternoon show, Nasty Boy defeated 1/2 Pint in Round 1. Due to a lack of available fast loser, the 1940 Willys got a bye into the finals. El Perro Loco, who had had a bye run the round before, faced Tuff Enuff for the right to face Nasty Boy in the finals. The 30 year veteran Jack Koberna crossed the line first, but lost due to failing to get both front tires up the ramp on the final jump. In the finale, it was neck and neck until the crazy dog’s tail washed out on him, giving Nasty Boy the win. Freestyle saw great runs from all. Sadly, Tuff Enuff was finished for the weekend only two jumps in due to a blown motor. After several tries at a cheer off, it was Sturges walking away with the win, Sam and Unnamed, that is.

The evening show saw Nasty Boy chain El Perro Loco to advance into the finals again, this time facing teammate 1/2 Pint in a rematch from the afternoon. This time around, Travis put Nasty Boy in the naughty corner with a win to close racing for the weekend. But the night’s action was far from over. Having been plagued by ignition problems all day, Sam still impressed his home state fans with wheelies and fine air. But 1/2 Pint had the biggest air of the day on several of the big jumps on the floor, long wheelies and plenty of speed. All of those moves were more than enough to become the only double winner of the weekend. It was truly an amazing weekend for the home state team; as every member of the team took home at least one trophy. With a nearly full crowd, a good field of competitors and a well built track, the future looks promising for Grand Canyon State Promotions.

Throughout the weekend, there had been an exhibition showcasing tough trucks racing special off road vehicles called tom cars, all supplied by a local Ford dealer. And the Boogie Monster ride truck gave rides to all who wanted one before and after every performance. Next stop for us at “The Allen Report” is Firebird International Raceway where some of the biggest names who play the game will throw down to see which one of them can freestyle best on the unforgiving drag strip. Until then, thank you for reading, thanks to everyone at Grand Canyon State Promotions for their hospitality, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

All content copyright 2012.