TUSCON MONSTER JAM

MARCH 4TH, 2005 - TUSCON CIVIC CENTER

My parents are really cranking out the Coverages!!  Yet another from them now with the Tuscon Monster Jam!!  As always, they did a fantastic job, and I would again like to publicly thank them for all their hard work to bring us Monster Truck coverage from out west, and for their support of The Monster Blog!!  Enough from me, enjoy the Tuscon Monster Jam Coverage!!

- Ross Z. Bonar - The Monster Blogger

 

There were four shows at the Tucson Civic Center this weekend, but unfortunately we were only able to cover one of them.  However, it was definitely a very good one!!  Lynette and I arrived at the Civic Center right after the first Saturday event had ended.  After getting passed security and checking in with LiveNation's Jason Huggler, event director of this weekend's events, we could see that the Monsters had already been put through some very tough runs.
 

 

 

McGruff had two tires off and the crew was working on the rear end.  Tropical Thunder had a
flat tire and the crew was working diligently trying to replace another tire on the wheel. Grave Digger was also having troubles, working with a tire off.  McGruff was in the worst shape as the crew and staff was worried it might not be ready by show time.  These were just the things I could see wrong, as everyone was so busy, I did not want to interrupt or get in the way with stupid questions.  The most impressive part of all this, was, all the crews, drivers were working together to get all the trucks going.  It was great to see how everyone was getting along and working together towards one goal: A great show for the fans.

We were very early for the evening event, so we left to look around the arena and go get something to eat.  We were driving around the downtown area when we were stopped at a light, and what did we see?? A semi turned right on the street we were on, just as our light turned green.  We found this kind of funny as the semi was already hauling away the crushed cars from the first event that day.

 

 

Lynette and I arrived back at about 6:15PM and we were hoping to meet the drivers as the only one we had met was Rod Wood, back in Phoenix earlier this year.  I remember the first time meeting Rod; he had told me his son Murph was going to start driving Monster Trucks as soon as he got his driver's license as Murph is only 15.  The other five drivers we had not met.

 

Walking back in, it was obvious that we would not be able to chat or introduce ourselves as they were all still working on three of the trucks.  I was able to talk to Chuck Russell for just a few minutes, as he was very busy also.  Chuck is a Track Official for LiveNation, a very cool guy that Lynette and I had met in Albuquerque, NM a few weeks earlier.

We had very good seats, but with all the traffic of people going for food and drinks up and down the stairs, I could not take pictures from my seat.  I tried taking pictures from above the seats, but as you will see, fans were waving their flags and cheering for their favorite drivers right in front of the camera.  I moved toward the end of the stadium, behind a wall that came up to my shoulders.  I was clear from distractions, but I had a hard time taking shots on my tip-toes and leaning over the wall, lol.  I say all this to explain why some of my pictures did not turn out as well as I would have liked.

 

Well, without further delay, let's meet the stars of the USHRA Monster Jam series that would be competing tonight!!

 

THE LINEUP OF TRUCKS

 

DEL SCORCHO - FRANK KRMEL

 

 

GRAVE DIGGER - CHARLIE PAUKEN

 

 

MCGRUFF - ROD WOOD

 

 

OBSESSION - RICK SWANSON

 

 

THE PATRIOT - DAN RODONI

 

 

TROPICAL THUNDER - PHIL FOSTER

 

 

Five of the trucks came out and were introduced.  There was no McGruff, but thankfully he came driving out at the end of Introductions, just in time for the start of the show.  I was afraid the truck would not be repaired on time, but they accomplished the mission and got it out on the track.  It was a great job and unbelievable that they got it back together that quick.

 

WHEELIE COMPETITION

 

The Wheelie Contest would start off the evening's action, and it was a very competitive contest.  The first two trucks out, Phil Foster in Tropical Thunder and Rod Wood in McGruff, both did an awesome job, with McGruff's attempt really standing out.  Their runs received scores of 25 for Tropical Thunder, and, unbelievably, only a 22 for McGruff.  Unfortunately, I did not get any shots of the first two's attempts.

 

Obsession, Del Scorcho, and The Patriot all had only ok attempts, and would not contend for the win.  I was already a bit annoyed with the judges when Grave Digger came out, and while he pulled off a very solid wheelie, I didn't think it was good enough for the win.  Nonetheless, the scores went up for a 29, and the win goes to Charlie Pauken and Grave Digger!!

 

 

 

 

 

Next up was the Racing portion of the show!!

 

RACING COMPETITION

 

Round 1

 

The First Round of Racing would feature some great races, with Charlie Pauken in Grave Digger taking out Rod Wood in McGruff, and then two VERY close races that made me glad I didn't have to call the winner.  Phil Foster in Tropical Thunder edged out Rick Swanson in Obsession in one of the races, and the other looked nearly too close to call.  The winner was called Dan Rodoni in The Patriot, but it was a moot point, as Frank Krmel in Del Scorcho would move on as the fast loser anyway.

 

MCGRUFF VS. GRAVE DIGGER

 

 

TROPICAL THUNDER VS. OBSESSION

 

 

 

THE PATRIOT VS. DEL SCORCHO

 

 

 

Semi-Final Round

 

More great racing in the Semi-Finals as Charlie Pauken in Grave Digger just barely edged out Frank Krmel in Del Scorcho to earn a berth in the Finals.  Next it was a battle of teammates, as Dan Rodoni in The Patriot and Phil Foster in Tropical Thunder faced off against each other.  Another very close race, but it was Phil Foster beating the boss, and Tropical Thunder would be going up against Digger in the Finals!!

 

DEL SCORCHO VS. GRAVE DIGGER

 

 

 

THE PATRIOT VS. TROPICAL THUNDER

 

 

 

Final Round

 

With Grave Digger's black & green, and Tropical Thunder's bright orange & yellow, this had to be the most colorful race of the evening!!  The trucks launched off the line, and while Grave Digger had a wilder run, Phil Foster stayed low and fast, and took the big Racing victory!!  Congratulations to Phil Foster and the whole Tropical Thunder team!!

 

DEL SCORCHO VS. GRAVE DIGGER

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up the six trucks would go for the Freestyle win, click below to see the action!!

 

CLICK HERE FOR FREESTYLE!!