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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All content copyright 2017.

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: Tournament of Destruction – Tuscon, AZ 2017

(Coverage By Christopher Allen, Photos By Jim Allen)

Weekend Recap

This time on “The Allen Report”, we make our way to the Tucson Rodeo Grounds for the very first time. It’s a venue that is no stranger to family entertainment as the host site of the annual Celebration of the Cowboys, but this time, the family entertainment was supplied by four dirt slinging, car clearing monster trucks scheduled to appear in drag racing, wheelie contest, roundy-round racing and freestyle.

Fresh off their performance at the Monster Jam World Finals were Jim Creten and the Chris Kyle Bounty Hunter. Not far behind was former Army medic Dawn Creten piloting Scarlet Bandit. In front of the hometown folks was Tucson’s own Rat Attack, driven by Jacob Ladwig and rounding out the field was Nasty Boy, driven by Gary Ely, as Sturges Motorsports team owner Sam Sturges sold the truck to Gary not long ago.

In the opening round of drag racing, Bounty Hunter was quicker out of the gate and beat Nasty Boy for the opportunity to face Scarlet Bandit in the finals. In the finals Scarlet Bandit was quicker off the line. Jim Creten tried to make up the ground in the air but it was too late. Dawn Creten took the drag racing win. Up next was the wheelie contest. The muddy track made wheelies difficult, but all drivers gave great efforts regardless. The win, not surprisingly, went to Bounty Hunter.

On to roundy-round racing, where Dawn Creten bested Nasty Boy to advance to the finals where she got the rematch she wanted with Bounty Hunter, who had defeated a hard charging Rat Attack to make the championship round. But the former World Champion was not going to go down twice. Jim Creten kept his truck low over the crush cars and mastered the mud in the turns to get his revenge from drag racing by taking the win.

Finally, it all came down to freestyle. With both sets of crush cars, a van stack and a wheelie bump all fair game, there was plenty of room for the monsters to show what they could do. Nasty Boy got nice air and carried a great deal of speed to stay in contention. Rat Attack crushed the van and carried good sky wheelies to great response from the crowd. Scarlet Bandit crushed the cars and put together great move combinations, showing that she was for just as for real as the boys. But Jim Creten held nothing back. He carried terrific slap wheelies across the floor, cleared the cars and assembled an all-around fantastic freestyle run to claim the freestyle win.

Throughout the second and final show the following night, the competition was hot and heavy. At the top of the show, the announcer asked the crowd who their favorite was thanks to applause, monitored by a decibel counter. After it came down to Scarlet and Nasty Boy, the numbers on the machine showed that the female spectators had pulled through for Dawn Creten and Scarlet Bandit. However, Jim Creten was not to be denied a second time as he won the drag racing final, again with Scarlet Bandit staged against him. The drier track was much more suited for wheelies and Bounty Hunter took full advantage, putting the front tires in the air most of the length of the floor to sweep wheelies.

In roundy-round racing, Rat Attack put up a good fight against Bounty Hunter in the finals, but Jim Creten was just too fast, taking the clean sweep of what promoter M80 Productions called “Chase racing”. Lastly, in freestyle, all drivers gave good efforts, but again Jim Creten threw down with an all around amazing freestyle to put the spectators on their feet one last time.

While the monsters were resting in other parts of the show, the fans were treated to figure-8 trailer racing. In this offbeat form of motorsport, the objective is to be the last vehicle standing by knocking the trailers towed by the other cars off. The crowd was very much entertained by this as well as both a car and truck demo derby at different points throughout each night.

With this behind us, we at “The Allen Report” turn to our own back yard and the Maricopa County Fair where monster trucks as well as a hybrid of off-road racing and demolition derby known as “Democross” await us. Well, thanks for reading, a sincere thanks to Dale Penn and M80 Productions for having back for the first time in several years, enjoy the photos and cheer on!

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Video of the Week – 04/07/12

Week Ending: April 7th, 2012
Truck(s) Featured: Avenger (Jim Koehler)
Video Type: Fan Video

Description: Jim Koehler lays down a great freestyle performance at the Tournament of Destruction in Tucson, Arizona.