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Jimmy Creten is back into the Top 5 for the first time since February 19th. The Bounty Hunter won his 11th event of the season in Grain Valley, Missouri, which is the fourth most overall. Travis Groth (+6), Rick Steffens (+6), Ricky Fowler (+5), Rick Swanson (+5), Austin Minton (+5), and Lindsey Rettew (+4) also made sizeable improvements to their rankings.
Bigfoot’s Darron Schnell is back in action tonight as the Toughest Monster Truck Tour races on Wednesday and Thursday nights at the Washington Jaycees Fair. Next weekend, Roger Gauger in USA-1 will try to a 10-race final round streak alive in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. The CFP No Limits tour rolls into Lewistown, Montana with the usual suspects but then gets a roster change in Mitchell, Nebraska. Monster X Tour is in Oskaloosa, Iowa with Team Throttle Monster headlining the event. The Extreme Nationals move to Pooler, Georgia while the Insanity Tour head way out west to Worland, Wyoming. Plus, MAP is in Springfield, Missouri!
===== CONNERSVILLE, INDIANA =====
After a frustrating 2019 that saw him finish runner-up to the Gunslinger, Roger Gauger finally raced his USA-1 Chevrolet past Scott Hartsock in the finals of the Full Throttle event in Indiana. Gauger has had USA-1 in the final round of his last 10 consecutive races over the past two seasons.
===== GRAIN VALLEY, MISSOURI =====
Jimmy Creten won on a big, complex track that used all the space available at Valley Speedway. After a strong qualifying pass, he beat out Dawn in Scarlet Bandit and Austin Minton in Jekyll & Hyde. The win earned Creten 218 points and moved him up into the Top 5 in the standings. Minton gained 5 spots with his runner-up finish.
===== JENNERSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA =====
It was another rough year on equipment at the historic Jennerstown Speedway. The All Star tour brought a bigger line-up this year, but two trucks—Dirt Crew and Toxic—broke before racing. Lindsey Rettew won her first round race against rookie Michael Hicks in Quad Chaos, while her husband Zane Rettew won his opening round match over Rick Steffens. However, Zane’s Stinger suffered damage while performing a Steel Wall stunt and was unable to return. That put Steffens in the finals against Lindsey which he won. It’s his 3rd win of the summer in only 4 races and 4th win in his last 5 events overall. Those extra points now have him up to 31st in the standings.
===== REXBURG, IDAHO =====
The CFP No Limits tour had another existing two-jump drag in store for the drivers in Rexburg. Rick Swanson won the afternoon event and Travis Groth claimed the win in the evening. The big points-getter was Ricky Fowler in Zilla who advanced to the final round both events, earning 226 points and rising up 5 spots in the standings.
===== SHELBYVILLE, TENNESSEE =====
Racing under the roof in Shelbyville, Dale Mitchell in Pouncer picked up the Chicago-style win over Allen Pezo in Predator. Mitchell was fast in his first round battle with Mark Cole in the new Bearfoot truck, but spun out in the final turn. He returned as fast loser and defeated Richie Yatsko in the new Outlaw. Pezo was gifted a first round win when Steven Thompson’s Hurricane Force broke on the line, and then received another free pass when Bearfoot could not return for the semis. Whether they come easy or hard, though, those rounds earned the veteran points and brought him up 2 spots in the standings.
===== TWIN FALLS, IDAHO =====
Kreg Christensen returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since the Hot Wheels tour event in Glasgow, Scotland back in February. It was his 4th win of the season and 11th final round to that point. On Saturday night, Christensen was runner-up to Wally Turner in Sniper. It was Turner’s first win of the season.
===== NON POINTS EVENTS =====
There was no side-by-side racing in Elkhorn, Wisconsin; Keosauqua, Iowa; or Woodward, Oklahoma.
There were heat races at the two Monster X events in Mason City, Iowa, with Dawson Rayas and David Olfert each winning once. However, there were only three trucks participating in the event and we require a minimum of 4 trucks to award points, so unfortunately these two events are being counted as non-points events.
JULY 20 - Eric Swanson picked up his 8th win of the season over Ricky Fowler on Saturday night in Billings. Swanson has competed in 7 CFP No Limits events since the pandemic, winning 3 and competing in the final round for the past 6 consecutive races. Overall, the Obsessed driver has a 10-race points streak dating back to his semi-final appearance with Monster Jam in Arlington, Texas on February 29th. The streak has earned him 1,219 points and now has him sitting in the Top 20. For Fowler in Zilla, it was his 8th final of the year and moved him up 5 spots in the standings.
Mikeal Christensen won his 15th race of the year on Friday night over teammate Jeff Souza in Rockwell Red. He has competed in 24 final rounds this year which is second-most of any driver, trailing only Cody Holman’s 27. He has won 5 of 6 events since returning from the COVID lockdown. Unfortunately for Christensen, Zack Garner had two final round appearances of his own this weekend and that let the Wild Side driver leap frog ahead of Christensen for 11th. Both Christensen and Garner are chasing Bari Musawwir for his 10th place spot, with Garner 117 points back and Christensen approximately 138 points back.
Zack Garner and Zane Rettew traded wins with the All Star Tour at the Appalachian Fairgrounds. Garner won the afternoon Chicago-style racing over Rettew before Rettew returned the favor in the evening. Garner now has a 7-race final-round streak going back to his win in Wichita, Kansas on February 22nd. The 273 points he earned this weekend bumped him up to 11th place overall and a mere 117 points out of the Top Ten. For Rettew, the weekend helped get him back on track after difficult weekends in Brookfield and Lake Erie saw him with 3 first round loses and a DNC. Prior to the pandemic, he had advanced to the final round in 8 of 13 Monster Jam Arena events, collecting 4 wins.
HammerDown Motorsports gave the monsters a big, fast Chicago-style track to run on at the Riverside Adventure Park in New Hampshire. All that space let the 2Xtreme team put their big motors to good use as both Jimmy and Dawn Creten advanced to the final round where Jimmy narrowly defeated Dawn by inches. That win has Creten breathing down Brandon Vinson’s neck for 5th place with only 31 points separating the two. For Dawn, it was her second final round in a row. She has earned 483 points in the past 3 races, which is her best 3-race total of the season.
Darren Migues had a very strong 2019 season, but struggled through the first quarter with Monster Jam this season. Since his return to action last weekend, however, the Nitro Menace has been nearly unstoppable. He has scored 761 points in the past two weeks including 3 wins. His two-race sweep this past weekend in Hays moved him up 10 spots into 55th. On Friday night, he defeated Dillon Fenley in King Krunch in the final round, and then followed that up on Saturday with a final round win over Tim Jones in Twisted Addiction.
Austin Minton gave Team Bounty Hunter its second win of the weekend by defeating David Olfert in Kamikaze. As with Migues, Minton struggled through the first quarter on the Monster Jam West series, posting only one final round appearance. In the summer, however, he has been in the final in all 3 races and his win on Saturday afternoon was his first of the year.
JULY 14 - David Olfert picked up a win for Team Throttle Monster at the Bolivar Speedway. After eliminating Tyler Senger driving Jekyll & Hyde in the first round, Olfert got an easy bye-run victory in the finals when Austin Minton’s Bounty Hunter was unable to return. For Olfert, it is his 7th win of the season and 2nd for Team Throttle Monster. His previous 5 came while driving for 2Xtreme Racing with Bounty Hunter and Iron Outlaw and also once driving Megalodon.
The final late report from the open session of the Outlaw Monster Truck Drags saw host Joe Sylvester pick up the win and prevent Rick Steffen and the Samson team from sweeping the three-race event. That win was Sylvester’s 7th of the season and helped him leapfrog ahead of Steffens in the standings. Currently, Sylvester and Steffens are in a 5-way tie with Cory Snyder, Justin Sipes, and Blake Granger for 37th.
The Summer Smash at the Vanderburgh Fair expanded to an impressive 10-truck field this year, including the return of last year’s winner Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter. Creten advanced to the semi-finals on Friday but lost to Jim Koehler in Avenger who showed great speed on the choppy 2-jump track. Doug Noelke lost to Bounty Hunter in the quarter-finals, but returned as fast loser to eliminated Dawn Creten in the semis and then drove past Koehler in the finals to earn his 2nd win of the season. Allen Pezo missed the Friday bracket due to damage suffered in the two-wheel skills contest, but he returned in full force on Saturday to win the bracket with his Lone Eagle truck. Dawn Creten eliminated her husband in the first round for the second year in a row and used the fast loser position to return in the semi-finals, where she knocked off Noelke who got out of shape over the first jump. The final round was a re-match of the quarter finals and with the same outcome, as Pezo defeated Creten for his 6th win of the season.
Dawn Creten and Doug Noelke were the fast losers on both nights and were undefeated in that role, with the fast loser posting a 4-0 record over the two nights. Dawn moved up 7 spots with her final and semi-final finishes while Pezo’s win moved him up 16 spots. Although Jimmy Creten’s weekend was a bit less than expected, the points he earned on Friday were enough to move him up to 6th place. He currently sits about 230 points out of the Top 5, however his event in Groverton, New Hampshire this weekend is expected to be worth 198 points, so it will still be at least two weeks before he can reach it.
Kevin Lubsen brought the Bucking Bronco across the border for the Monster X Tour in South Dakota and left with his first two racing wins of the season. He beat out Zach Jensen in Kamikaze both nights on the Chicago-style track. Jensen appeared headed for the win on Saturday night, but he turned the truck over in the final turn and handed the win to Lubsen.
The afternoon event in Tremonton is now the highest-rated event of the season based on driver rankings. With Sniper and Maverik Monster Trakker out of competition due to breakage, it left a four-truck field of Darren Migues, Kreg Christensen, Paul Jensen, and Mikeal Christensen. Those four drivers all finished the 2019 season in the Top 25 (21st, 15th, 13th, and 18th respectively) which gave the event a Rating of 1.363 out of 1.500! That meant that each round was worth 136 points. Since there were only 4 trucks, of course, the winner of the event maxed out at 272 points, but that’s still a massive amount of points. Darren Migues was the eventual winner with Kreg Christensen (who was driving Migues’ Jailbird truck) taking second.
In the evening, Wally Sniper returned from a broken axle in the afternoon event to advance all the way to the finals. There he met and lost to Mikeal Christensen in Vendetta, who moved closer to a Top Ten spot in the standings. Christensen sits in 11th but has a tough road to get much higher. Advancing up the overall rankings means either improve your Total Points ranking, Average Points ranking, or both. Christensen is already 4th in Total Points, so he can only gain 3 more spots there. Gaining even 1 spot, however, will require 897 points to better Bari Musawwir’s 4934 points. For perspective, Christensen has earned 889 points since returning from the COVID lockdown. In the Average Points category, Christensen is ranked 20th and has room to gain ground, but increasing one’s average gets harder and harder as the number of events rises.
North central Pennsylvania saw some great monster truck action this weekend with events in Bloomsburg and Burlington, but both of these events were freestyle-only and so points could not be awarded.
JULY 8 - Brian Christensen picked up his first win of the season on Saturday night in Plains, Montana over Eric Swanson in Obsessed. Swanson had won earlier in the day for his 7th win of the season with his father Rick taking second. Eric moves up another 5 spots with that win and now sits in 21st and is 401 points out of 20th.
Allen Pezo drove double-duty in both Lone Eagle and Pouncer at the Full Throttle event in Rushville, Indiana. Drivers who race two trucks are scored based on their best finish, and Allen's best this evening was first place in Pouncer. Roger Gauger in USA-1 was the runner-up. Pezo also competed in heat races the night before in South Bend, Indiana, but since there were only three driver in competition, the event did not count for Open Championship points.
Lastly, Rick Steffens is up another 4 spots with his second consecutive win on the Outlaws Drags tour. The event actually took place back in June, but the results are now available following the Monday night PPV broadcast on Fite.TV. Joe Sylvester was the runner-up in an exciting final round. The long, three-jump track let the drivers jockey for position, with Steffens leading after the first, but Sylvester catching him over the second. In the end, the big Hemi under Samson made the difference as Steffens pulled away after the final jump for his 9th win of the season.
The bad news of the week came from the Bloomsburg Jamboree website, where it was officially announced that there would be no side-by-side monster truck racing at this year's event. In addition to the general disappointed of losing racing from this event, it is specifically frustrating because third place Coty Saucier will be driving. If they were to run the traditional three race schedule, and considering the stellar line-up of competition, Saucier would have had a chance to claim the #1 spot in the Open Championship this weekend. Instead, defending champion Tyler Menninga will retain his top spot for the foreseeable future.
Following that news, it means that the Summer Smash in Evansville, Indiana is now the definite marquee event of the weekend. They've expanded their field to 10 trucks, including reining World Finals Racing champion Jimmy Creten. We're expecting over 300-points to be awarded to the winner each night! Top independent driver Mike Christensen will lead a strong field into Tremonton, Utah for the Insanity Tour. There are also events in Bolivar, Missouri and North Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
JUNE 29 - It was a quiet weekend for racing. Jimmy Creten won the only bracket in Ada, Oklahoma. Austin Minton in the freshly-wrapped Jekyll & Hyde was the runner-up. While Creten did not gain any spots with his win, he had several more events coming up this summer, including two big 10-truck brackets in Evansville, Indiana in two weeks. All totaled, the Bounty Hunter's tentative schedule has the potential to net him over 1,300 points and a spot in the Top Five.
We also have late results in from the inaugural Outlaw Monster Truck Drags as shown via pay-per-view on Fite.tv. The grueling three-jump, 500-ft track resulted in a roll over, flat tires, and a broken tie rod with many heats ending with only one truck able to cross the finish line! Through all the carnage, it was Rick Steffens in Samson who emerged as the winner. It was his 8th win of the season and earned the Ohioan a +7 in the standings and a spot in the Top 50.
Next weekend will have the No Limits! tour running a pair of events in Plains, Montana and Full Throttle Monster Trucks making their post-COVID return with Freedom Smash in Rushville, Indiana. The second weekend in July will bring about the biggest set of racing this side of the pandemic, with events in Bolivar, Missouri; North Sioux City, South Dakota; Bedford, Indiana; and Tremonton, Utah. Plus, the big 10-truck event in Evansville, Indiana, and the surprisingly return of title-contender Coty Saucier driving Fast Metal at the jamboree in Bloomsburg!
JUNE 21 - Steve Thompson moves up 12 spots in the world standings following his two-race sweep at the Myrtle Beach Speeway. Thompson drove Hurricane Force past Brandon Budd on Buckshot on Saturday night. Budd sat out Sunday's racing with transmission damage, but Thompson continued his strong performance on the three-jump drag and finished the weekend with a win over Steve Sims in Stone Crusher. Those two wins earned Thompson 453 points and doubled his win total to 4 for this season.
In Lake Erie, Pennsylvania, Cory Snyder earned 204 points with back-to-back final round appearances. Triton Robbins brought Krazy Train to the Keystone State as a replacement for another team that could not attend and he made the best of the situation, using a fast loser berth to return to the bracket and eventually pick up the win over Snyder in the finals. Snyder himself was the fast loser on Saturday, but it was Utah's David Olfert in Wrecking Machine who took home the trophy. Olfert did not lose a heat all weekend, but was knocked out of the Friday bracket with breakage.
Snyder has now reached the current 10-race minimum and joins the world rankings in 36th with 7 final rounds in 10 races. Robbin's 5th win of the season earned him 7 spots in the standings, while Olfert rose 6 spots with his 6th win.
In Forsyth, Montana, Eric Swanson also posted two runner-up finishes to earn 179 points and is now only 91 points out of the Top 25. In the afternoon, Tyler Groth in COVID Crusher picked up the win--his 6th of the season--while veteran Rick Swanson in Wrong-Way Rick won in the evening and gained 7 places.
JUNE 15- Mikeal Christensen extended his winning streak to 3 after sweeping both events in Gillette, Wyoming. The wins moved him up into 14th in the world standings. Teammate Paul Jensen's two runner up finishes also saw him rise up a spot in the standings.
In Kalispell, Montana, the CFP No Limits tour held its first event since the lockdown. Tyler Groth was sporting a new Covid Crusher paint scheme for the event, but it was brother Travis Groth in Trouble Maker who earned the first win of the weekend and gained 6 spot in the standings as he defeated Hall of Famer Dan Runte in Bigfoot in the afternoon finals. In the evening showdown, Eric Swanson in Obsessed defeated his father Rick Swanson in Wrong Way Rick for his 6th win of the season. That moves Eric up three spots into 28th.
JUNE 9 - Racing action resumed following the COVID-19 lockdown with events in Waycross, Georgia and Rapid City, South Dakota. Brandon Derrow in Bad News Travels Fast won both events in Waycross over host Kevin King and moves into the Top 40. Mikeal Christensen won the only completed event in Rapid City and is now ranked 15th. He beat teammate Paul Jensen in the finals on Saturday afternoon. The Saturday night race was cancelled due to rain and the Sunday afternoon racing bracket was not completed so points were not awarded. There were no changes in the Top Ten. This weekend will see racing with Monster X Tour in Gillette, Wyoming and the CFP No Limits in Kalispell, Montana.