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There are only two weekends left in the 2020 Open Championship season but some big events still remain. The MAP O’Reilly Nationals are in the midst of their two biggest events of the season, with Zack Garner and Devin Jones having claimed wins in Springfield this past weekend, and Miami coming up in just a couple days. Plus Monster Truck Throwdown has big fields in Swedesboro and North Dinwiddie.
In the standings, Jimmy Creten got back into 4th place and now has a great shot at breaking back into the Top 3. Zack Garner had a win and runner-up finish to move himself surprisingly into 10th place overall! Rick Steffens in Samson has been red hot this summer and won the toughest bracket of the weekend in Spring City. And Mikeal Christensen is only 1 win away from that high bar of 21 set by Cody Holman earlier in the season.
===== ATWOOD, TENNESSEE =====
Darron Schnell in Bigfoot and Aaron Basl in Xtermigator traded wins on the MTRL tour in Tennessee. Both gained a spot in the standings, with Schnell moving up to 19th with 11 wins on the season, and Basl now in 43rd after winning his 3rd.
===== BROWNSTOWN, INDIANA =====
Zane Rettew was finally able to snap Cory Snyder’s undefeated streak on the Renegades Tour, although not without some controversy. Rettew got the early jump on Snyder and held the lead through the finish despite a gargantuan leap by Toxic over the finish line. There was some debate on whether Rettew negotiated the final jump properly, but officials deemed the run legal and his win stood. It should be noted that Snyder himself also had trouble with an obstacle during his first round race at Penn-Cam Speedway, so it appears that tour officials are being consistent with their calls.
Snyder is still 2 events shy of the 14 needed to make the rankings, but he should get those two this weekend in Swedesboro. Unofficially, he would be ranked about 37th. Rettew gains 3 spots with his 8th win of the season to rejoin the Top 30.
===== HUMBOLDT, KANSAS =====
Jimmy Creten picked up a pair of wins on the All Star tour in front of his home state fans. On Friday, he knocked off wife Dawn and then beat out Austin Minton in the Saturday night finale. Creten has 15 wins in 31 races and has been in the finals of his last 8 races. He currently has 5,165 points which is second best and a mere 289 points behind Tyler Menninga’s 5,454. With events still remaining in Beatrice, Nebraska and Cochran, Georgia, he may has as much as 1,000 points still available, so it very likely that he will pass Menninga in the Total Points rankings which should then give Creten 3rd place overall.
===== LAWRENCEBURG, INDIANA =====
The Night of Destruction at the Lawrenceburg Speedway featured four great trucks but—unfortunately for us—no racing.
===== MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA =====
Mikeal Christensen continued his winning ways in Minot with a victory on Saturday afternoon over Darren Migues. It was his 4th win in a row and also his 20th overall this season, which is just 1 behind Cody Holman’s 21. He gained an extra spot in the rankings and now is up into 9th place. If he can find 448 more points in the next two weekends, he could also have a chance to leap ahead of Colton Eichelberger and Adam Anderson for 7th.
===== NORFOLK, NEBRASKA =====
David Olfert was undefeated in racing in Norfolk, but unfortunately there was not a full bracket of racing and so we could not award points. Olfert in Rockwell RED beat Dawson Rayas in Kamikaze on Friday and Travis Groth in Trouble Maker on Saturday. Olfert is one of only 10 drivers to have 10 wins this season.
===== PHENIX CITY, ALABAMA =====
The reports tell us that the racing in Phenix City was solo runs against the clock which do not count towards the Open Championship. We do know that Anne Streatch won one of the timed racing events. In side-by-side racing, she has 4 wins this season.
===== SPRING CITY, TENNESSEE =====
This was the highest ranked event of the weekend coming in at 1.070 and it was Rick Steffens in Samson picking up the 273 points. Five trucks competed on the incredibly dusty Chicago-style track. A few drivers seemed to lose their way on the final lap due to the dust, but Steffens was able to stay fast and on-course with wins over Brandon Budd in Buckshot, Nick Pagliarulo in Kraken, and Matt Pagliarulo with Jester in the finals. This was Samson’s 3rd consecutive win and 5th in his last 6. He has risen up to 23rd in the Open Championship and 5th in the Independents standings.
===== SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI =====
Last but not least was the O’Reilly Nationals in Springfield. Main Attractions had another stellar field on hand for fast and exciting drag racing.
On Friday night, Zack Garner in Wild Side knocked off Cole Venard in Black Pearl to earn the 213 points. That win also moved Garner officially into the Top 10 in the Open Championship in his first full year of competition. He does not have many active drivers near him to challenge for that spot, either, so there is a good chance that he’ll maintain that position into the final rankings.
On Saturday night, Garner was again in the finals but this time veteran Devin Jones in Barbarian came out on top. It was the 7th win for Jones who remains steady in 26th.
The O’Reilly Nationals continue next weekend with an even bigger event in Miami, Oklahoma!
Mikeal Christensen won his 19th of the season and edged out Zack Garner by 64 points to take over tenth place in the standings. David Olfert continues his strong summer showing with two more wins and a gain of 14 spots in the standings. Cory Snyder is still undefeated on the Renegades tour after pulling out come-from-behind victories in Pennsylvania. There’s plenty more that happened over the past two weeks, so keep reading to learn more.
Remember, the Open Championship season ends the final weekend in September, so we’re down to only 3 weeks remaining for drivers to earn points! In the Open Championship, there’s no off-season, however. Our 2021 season will begin the first weekend in October, but we won’t be posting weekly updates until January.
===== BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS =====
Austin Minton won his second race of the year. After a bye in the first round, the Bounty Hunter driver beat Tim Jones in the semis and Devin Jones in the finals of the Saint Louis-style course. He gained 4 spots with his win. Runner-up Devin Jones remained steady in 26th.
===== BRANDON, SOUTH DAKOTA =====
Driving Kamikaze for Team Throttle Monster, David Olfert scored a big win at the Throwdown races in Brandon. He eliminated Dawn Creten in the first round, then defeated fast loser Dawson Rayas in the semis, before outpacing A-lister Jimmy Creten in the final. Olfert would continue his winning streak the next weekend in Cheyenne. Several weeks of strong finishes has Olfert rising up the standings, and he gained 14 spots with this latest update, now ranking in 43rd. Creten earned runner-up points in Brandon, but was still passed up in total points by Mikeal Christensen in Vendetta, which resulted in Creten slipping down to 6th overall on tie breakers.
===== CHEYENNE, WYOMING =====
David Olfert extended his winning streak to three with a Friday night win over Paul Jensen in Rockwell R.E.D. With local dirt trackers in competition on Saturday, Jensen had a full day off to gear up for his rematch on Sunday. Jensen won his 7th of the season on Sunday, taking down Olfert in the finals. Jensen gained 4 spots in the Open Championship with those two final round appearances.
===== COLUMBIA, TENNESSEE =====
Points were not awarded for this event because the trucks competed in timed racing rather than racing side-by-side.
===== FRANKLIN, PENNSYLVANIA =====
Cory Snyder remained undefeated on the Renegades tour despite some strong challenges. At Tri City Raceway Park, Snyder defeated Virginia Giant in the first round and Stinger in the finals for his 7th win in only 11 events. He currently has 1,432 points but is still below the 14-race minimum for inclusion in the rankings. Fortunately, Toxic has several events left to run this month and we expect him to join the rankings before the season ends.
===== IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO =====
Mikeal Christensen picked up his 18th and 19th wins of the season in Idaho. On Friday, he won over Zach Jensen in Kamikaze and on Saturday, he bested Ron Duncombe in the Maverick Monster Trakker. Christensen now leads the world in final round appearances with 28, surpassing Cody Holman’s 27. He is second in most wins with 19 to Holman’s 21. Perhaps more importantly, his two wins gave him the 4th most points of all drivers which bumped him up into the Top Ten for the first time this season. He leads 11th place Zack Garner by 64 points.
===== KALISPELL, MONTANA =====
We only have half of the results from the CFP No Limits event in Kalispell. Eric Swanson extended his lead in the CFP points series with another win over father Rick Swanson on Saturday night. It was his 9th win of the season and put Obsessed into the Top 20.
If you have results from the Saturday afternoon races, please send them in so we can award points!
===== KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI =====
Darren Migues knocked off Austin Minton in the Chicago-style finals in Kansas City. Jimmy Creten sat out racing and missed an opportunity to earn points to stay in the Top 5. Migues gained 3 spots with his 6th win of the season.
===== LOGAN, UTAH =====
Unfortunately, we do not have any results from the two MTE Nitro Tour events in Logan. If you have the results, please let us know! With only 4 trucks in competition, the minimum info we need to award points is winner and runner-up.
===== MAPLE PARK, ILLINOIS =====
The Monster Truck Throwdown crew made great use of the big, fast track at Sycamore Speedway. The large Chicago-style track let drivers stay full throttle through the turns and treat the fans to some great racing.
On Saturday night, underdog Jeremy Hosman in Reckless Drivin’ won against a top-notch field for his first win of the season. He upset 11th ranked Zack Garner in Wild Side in the first round, then knocked out veteran Jim Koehler in the semi-finals. Finally, he defeated Jamey Garner in Over Bored.
On Sunday, Hosman advanced to the semis but lost to Chris Koehler in Brutus due to a disqualification. On the other side of the bracket, Zack Garner defeated Jon Zimmer, Jr. in Terminal Velocity—who had traveled overnight from Brandon, South Dakota to fill in for Over Bored—and then beat out Brutus in the final. Garner is now only 64 points out of tenth place.
===== MINERSVILLE, UTAH =====
There were only 3 trucks scheduled for this event, so it did not count for points since we need a minimum of 4 trucks for a valid bracket.
===== POPLAR BLUFF, MISSOURI =====
After getting in some practice in Columbia, Tennessee on Thursday, the crew from Razin Kane Monster Trucks paried up for two nights of racing in Missouri. Buddy Tompkins in Razin’ Kane won on Friday over Kristen Hope in Wolf’s Head. Tompkins then lost the finals on Saturday to Aaron Basl in Xtermigator.
===== PORT COLBORNE, ONTARIO =====
It was a very busy weekend for Kevin Lubsen’s team as they performed 6 shows in 2 days for the folks of Port Colborne. With only 2 trucks in attendance, however, the events did not qualify for points in the Open Championship.
===== SUSQUEHANNA, PENNSYLVANIA =====
Cory Snyder kept his winning streak going in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania with wins over Lindsey Rettew in Pretty Wicked and Joe Lockhart in Bearly Tame. The Renegades Tour leaves Pennsylvania and heads to Brownstown, Indiana next weekend where Snyder will try to win his 5th consecutive race.
===== WAUSAU, WISCONSIN =====
Brandan Tulachka gained 3 spots in the standings thanks to a pair of wins over Paul Breaud in Backdraft. The Get’Er Done Second Generation driver negotiated some very large racing obstacles to pick up his 7th and 8th wins of the season. For Breaud, it was his 11th and 12th trips to the final round this season.
It was a light weekend for action in the monster truck world with only four events on the schedule. Nate Kirchner won his first race of the season in Jim Falls. David Olfert posted the biggest improvement with a gain of 6 spots. Ed Eckert outraced Allen Pezo for a win in Union City, and Cory Snyder continues to be the man to beat on the Renegades tour.
===== JIM FALLS, WISCONSIN =====
Drivers battled through a muddy mess and steep obstacles at the MTE races in Jim Falls, Wisconsin. On Saturday afternoon, Nate Kirchner in Equalizer picked up the win over David Olfert in Kamikaze. It was both his first race and first win of the season. Kirchner had beaten Olfert in the semis, as well, but the Kamikaze driver was called back for the finals when Jacob Ladwig was unable to get Hang Loose to the line. Kirchner was unable to compete in the evening due to engine damage, so it was Olfert taking the night cap with his final round win over Ladwig.
Olfert jumped up 6 spots in the rankings to 57th with his two final round appearance, and Ladwig qualified for the rankings for the first time with his 14th event in the books. He joins the table in 68th with 4 wins in 14 events this season.
===== SELINSGROVE, PENNSYLVANIA =====
The Renegades Tour continued its Pennsylvania series at Selinsgrove Speedway. Last week’s winner Cory Snyder narrowly edged out Clint Vowell in Virginia Giant in the first round to advance to the finals. There he knocked off Joe Lockhart in Bearly Tame to keep his tour winning streak alive.
===== UNION CITY, TENNESSEE =====
Ed Eckert picked up his 2nd win of the season over Allen Pezo at the Obion County Fair. Eckert in Full Boar defeated Eric Wylie in Pouncer in the first round while Pezo looked fast against Roger Gauger in USA-1. Eckert has been in the final round of all 3 of his events this year. For Pezo, it was his 12th final.
Six more weekends remain in the 2020 Open Championship season and Tyler Menninga continues to hold a steady lead in defense of his title. Jimmy Creten picked up two more final round finishes this weekend, but the smaller fields are not offering enough points-per-race to get him much closer to Menninga.
Mikeal Christensen scored his 17th win of the season and could move into 10th place with another one. He is currently in a 3-way tie for 10th with Morgan Kane and Zack Garner but ends up in 12th on the Average Points tie breaker.
Be sure to read the race recaps below for updates on other top drivers.
You’ll notice that nearly every driver has moved up in the standings this week. While some of that is due to strong performances, most of it is because we finalized our Minimum Race criteria for the 2020 season. As discussed previously, we looked at the number of events this season compared to the previous year and found that we’re down by around 28%. We used that same ratio to adjust our minimum race criteria from 20 events to 14, which is now set and locked for the rest of the season.
That means that everyone currently ranked will remained ranked for the final standings. It also means that some drivers who are below the minimum have been dropped from the rankings. They can still return to the rankings if they reach the 14 race minimum prior to the end of the season on or about October 1st.
===== BURLEY, IDAHO =====
Team Throttle Monster swept the night at the Cassia County Fairgrounds. Mike Christensen in Vendetta won his 17th race of the season over brother Paul Jensen in Rockwell RED. Christensen has appeared in 26 final rounds, which is second only to Cody Holman’s 27.
===== CHICKASHA, OKLAHOMA =====
Vern House scored a big win on Friday night when he defeated reigning Monster Jam World Finals Racing Champion Jimmy Creten in the final round. House only has 10 events in the books this season, but has scored 851 points with 4 wins.
Jimmy won over House on Saturday night in the opening round and then bested his wife Dawn in the finals. Jimmy also won the Saturday afternoon event, but we could not award points because the racing was not structured in a bracket.
Dawn’s runner-up finish moved her up into 64th for the season, although she is a frustrating 0-7 in final rounds this year.
Jimmy has a chance to gain more spots in the Total Points ranking. He trails Bari Musawwir by 295 points and Brandon Vinson by 313, both of whom are finished for the season. While there seems to be no path for Bounty Hunter to win the Open this year, Creten does lead all drivers in the non-Monster Jam rankings. He and Mikeal Christensen are tied for the lead with Creten taking the top spot based on the Average Points tie breaker.
===== CLARKSVILLE, TENNESSEE =====
Roger Gauger had his 2-year final round streak broken in the opening round on Saturday afternoon when Austin Minton in Bounty Hunter put the USA-1 team on the trailer.
Rick Steffens, on the other hand, continued his final round appearance streak as he raced past Minton for his 5th win in 6 races. The Samson driver has earned 865 points this summer and has risen to 27th in the Open standings and 5th amongst independent teams. For Minton, it was his 5th final round of the summer
===== COOS BAY, OREGON =====
Dwight Mathews jumps up 20 spots in the standings after a win and runner-up finish in Coos Bay. On Thursday night, the Rock Star Bill Payne scored his 6th win of the season and moved into the top 40. Mathews was the runner-up that night during The Cali Kid. On Friday, Mathews began the racing during Identity Theft, but he suffered damage during his first round win over Tim Manchester in Spitfire, and so Mathews hopped back in The Cali Kid for the final round. His opponent was Myles Parker in the new Powerhouse, who advanced after beating Payne in the first round. Mathews would be the winner, marking his second trip to victory lane this season.
===== GREENSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA =====
Cory Snyder in Toxic kicked off the Renegades Tour with a win over Zane Rettew in Stinger. That’s Snyder’s 4th win in 9 races this season and Rettew’s 10th runner-up finish, which keeps him in the Top 30.
===== TOOWOOMBA, AUSTRALIA ====
This was a non-points event because there were only 3 drivers and we are not aware of any bracket racing. Events in Australia are still eligible for points in the Open Championship, of course, so if you attend any racing events down under, please be sure to send us the brackets so we can score points!
Even with the reduced schedule, the chase for the Open Championship remains hot as title contenders Jimmy Creten and Coty Saucier both picked up wins this weekend and inched closer to the top spot. Devin Jones was back with Barbarian and won twice while Tim Jones in Twisted Addiction extended his final-round streak to 5. Kristen Hope backed up her first win of the season last weekend with another one this week. Ezra Wilson won his first of the year in a weekend battle with Bill Payne. RJ Turner, Darron Schnell, Alex Bardin, and Darren Migues round out our winners for the weekend after a busy weekend of monster truck racing!
===== MINIMUM RACE CRITERIA =====
We expect to set the final minimum race criteria for this season at 14 races beginning next week. The minimum is usually 20 races for the season, but due to the significant loss of events caused by the pandemic, we are reducing the minimum. There were 888 events last season and we know of 619 events for this season (including events already run and events currently scheduled) which is 70% of last year’s total. We applied this same reduction to the 20 race minimum to reach the new 14 race minimum.
The reason for requiring drivers to compete in a minimum number of races is to ensure fairness in the rankings. Since half of the rankings are determined by an average, we want to make sure that each driver’s average represents many racing events and not just a handful. This rewards consistency rather than just having a few good weekends. Also, we want the driver who wins the world championship to have competed in a full, professional schedule and not just as a part-time competitor, while also not excluding smaller teams who do not have the ability to compete every single weekend. We believe that 20 races per year is the minimum to be considered as a full-time racing team.
There are currently 95 drivers who already meet this minimum, including every driver in the Top 25. There are currently 26 ranked drivers who are below the minimum requirement, including 5 drivers with 13 reported events and 9 drivers with 12 reported events. Any driver who falls below the minimum is excluded from the rankings, but will be reinstated if and when they reach the minimum number of events.
===== EAST MOLINE, ILLINOIS =====
Jimmy Creten won his 12th event of the season in East Moline and climbed up into 4th place. For Creten, it was his 3rd win in a row and 4th since returning to action this summer. For Dawn Creten, it was her 3rd final round appearance in 4 events. Jimmy has a chance to move into 3rd place but he will need help from other drivers like Zack Garner and Mikeal Christensen. Creten has more remaining on his schedule and can improve his Points ranking, but none of the events are expected to be large enough to significantly increase his Average ranking. If Garner and Christensen can earn points and bypass Camden Murphy, however, that could allow Creten to sneak into 3rd.
Jimmy and Dawn were recently announced as competitors for this weekend’s 3-race event in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Last year this event was a no-points freestyle-only affair, but if they change the format and including racing this year, there could be as many as 700 points available for the weekend.
===== FORT DODGE, IOWA =====
After a week campaigning the War Eagle colors, Devin Jones returned with Barbarian in Fort Dodge, Iowa and picked up a pair of wins over Michael Brister in Wrecking Machine and Jacob Ladwig in Hang Loose. Those wins were his first since driving Megalodon to a win in Biloxi in February. Jones jumped up 8 spots in the rankings to 27th.
===== POST FALLS, IDAHO =====
The Malicious Tour was back in action in Post Falls, Idaho and Ezra Wilson in Identity Theft scored the first win of the weekend over Bill Payne in Rock Star. It was also Wilson’s first race and first win of the season. Payne returned the favor the following night, knocking out Wilson in the finals. For Payne, it was his 5th win of the season and moved him up 3 spots in the standings.
===== SENOIA, GEORGIA =====
Coty Saucier kept his championship hopes alive with a win at Senoia Raceway on Saturday night. Driving the Overkill Evolution truck, Saucier beat Matt Cody in the finals for his 7th win of the season. Saucier was unable to compete on Sunday due to a flat tire, but the win was still enough to move him ahead of Camden Murphy for the #2 spot in the standings. Tyler Menninga still has a sizeable lead and looks likely to defend his championship, but if Saucier is able to find another ride before October, and with some help from other drivers in the standings, he still has an outside chance of catching Menninga.
RJ Turner in War Wizard closed out the weekend with a win over Scott Hartsock in Gunslinger on Sunday night. It was Turner’s 1st win of the season and moved him up 10 spots in the rankings.
===== WEST PLAINS, MISSOURI =====
Tim Jones advanced to his 5th consecutive final round with back-to-back runner-up showings in West Plains. He has earned points in 14 of his 18 events including 3 wins.
On Friday, it was Darron Schnell in Bigfoot taking the win on a fast and high-flying track. Schnell is ‘Foot’s top-ranked driver and sits in 20th. On Saturday, Kristen Hope won her second race of the year and second in two weeks. Hope is about 264 points outside the top 100 after facing an all-star line-up during her first quarter with the Monster Jam Stadium tour. With several events remaining on her schedule and drivers tightly bunched in front of her, she still has an opportunity to make big gains late in the summer.
===== WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS =====
Darren Migues in Nitro Menace won the final round against Alex Bardin in Carolina Crusher on Friday night, but we were unable to award points for this event because of irregularities in the bracket. Rather than having all the winners advance, officials elected to take the two fastest times into the final round instead. This left first round winner Mark Cole in Bearfoot out of the bracket, and removing his heat left only 3 trucks remaining, which is below the minimum requirement of 4.
On Sunday, there were also only 3 trucks in the bracket but this time it was within the rules since the field reduction was caused by breakage to Nitro Menace and Bearfoot, rather than by officiating. Alex Bardin was back in the finals and this time took the win over Nick Migues in Jailbird. For Bardin, it was his 5th win of the season and moved him into 75th. For Migues, it was his first race and first final round of the season.
===== NON-POINTS EVENTS =====
No points were awarded for Afton, Wyoming as breakage caused problems with the racing bracket.
No points were awarded for Jamestown, North Dakota and Mandan, North Dakota since both were freestyle only events.
No points were awarded for La Grange, Kentucky since only two trucks competed in racing.
Zack Garner’s win in Springfield has moved the Wild Side rookie into the Top Ten in the world. Jack Brown, Kristen Hope, and Hunter Souza all claimed their first wins of the season. Steven Thompson rebounded from transmission problems last week for a win in Tennessee; Tim Jones won in sloppy conditions in Jefferson City; Mike Christensen picked up win 16 on a fast track in Iowa; Michael Phelps put Monster Patrol on the podium with a win in Nebraska.
Plus, we recently found old racing results from February! That good news was offset by the fact that we did not find results for several big events this weekend, including the Toughest Monster Truck Tour in Jefferson City; the CFP No Limits in Lewistown; and Summer Heat in McDonald, Tennessee. If you have results from those events, it’s not too late to report them!
Next weekend has two top drivers back in action with Jimmy Creten and Coty Saucier on track and looking to pick up points. We’re down to the final two months of the season, and with the way this year has gone, I’m not even going to try and predict what will happen between now and October! What I can tell you, however, is what happened this past weekend, so let’s get into the results.
===== DICKINSON, NORTH DAKOTA =====
Kevin Kozala made a cameo appearance behind the wheel of Instigator, but neither he nor the other three drivers were able to earn any points because this was a freestyle-only event.
===== JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI =====
The Toughest Monster Truck Tour was also the Muddiest Tour on Wednesday and Thursday night at the Jaycees Fair. Tim Jones in Twisted Addiction lost to Darron Schnell in Bigfoot in the first round on Wednesday, but returned as a fast loser and beat ‘Foot in the finals. We are still missing first round results from Wednesday and we have no information on Thursday night, so there are still 177 points out there waiting to be claimed. Be sure to let us know if you have any info on these events!
===== LEWISTOWN, MONTANA =====
The No Limits crew put together another fast, challenging straight line drag track, and while the action was great and we found a few video clips online, we unfortunately have almost no information on the racing results from these two events, so we have not been able to award points. If you know any part of the racing brackets from either of these events, please let us know!
===== McDONALD, TENNESSEE =====
The five drivers at the Summer Heat event in McDonald put down some very fast racing passes inside the cozy confines of the Tri-State Exhibition Center. We’re told that Steven Thompson in Hurricane Force won both nights. That’s a much better result than last weekend when he suffered through transmission problems on the starting line. However, the Open Championship staff has been struggling on our end to find the brackets for these events. We’re pretty sure we pieced together the afternoon results thanks to some pictures and videos online, although the brackets were a tad unorthodox. If anyone has more information on the afternoon event, and especially if you have results from the evening, please let us know!
===== MITCHELL, NEBRASKA =====
Michael Phelps in Monster Patrol scored his third win of the season over teammate Clint Watson in Bearfoot. While that earned him points, Phelps currently only has 8 events scored in the books and so is not yet eligible for the rankings, but unofficially his 749 / 93.63 line would have him ranked about 72nd.
===== OSKALOOSA, IOWA =====
Michael Brister’s Wrecking Machine suffered breakage early in both events in Iowa, leaving a 3-truck Team Throttle Monster shootout including TWO Kamikazes! The drag racing track was incredibly fast and gave the trucks great hang time, so the action was intense even with a reduced field. Mikeal Christensen in Vendetta beat out both Kamikazes during the afternoon to pick up his 16th win and 25th final round of the season, both of which are 2nd best behind only Cody Holman. In the evening, Hunter Souza in Black Kamikaze knocked off Vendetta in the first round and then defeated David Olfert in White Kamikaze to win his first racing event of the season!
===== POOLER, GEORGIA =====
As with the McDonald event, there was some great racing in Pooler but also problems with the brackets. Unfortunately, this time is resulted in an event being disqualified from points.
Jack Brown driving Xtermigator won his first of the season on Friday night over Kristen Hope in Wolf’s Head. Brandon Budd was the unlucky recipient of a bye run in the first round. How is that unlucky? Well, it was the only racing pass he got to make. As a result, he was technically left out of the bracket and so this event will not count in his totals.
To compound his points problems, Budd also received a bye run on Saturday night and this time competed in the final round where he beat out Paul Breaud in Backdraft. However, the winner of the opening pair of trucks (Xtermigator over Muddy Girl) never returned, and so that heat is considered to be outside of the brackets. That leaves only 3 trucks in competition, which is less than the minimum 4 required, and so points were not awarded. We’ll explain this decision a bit more in a separate post.
To end the weekend, Kristen Hope in Wolf’s Head picked up her first racing win of the season by getting past Brown in the first round and Budd in the finals. Both Hope and Brown moved up 7 spots in the standings with their wins while Budd gained 2.
===== SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI =====
The biggest win of the weekend was Zack Garner in Wild Side’s victory with MAP in Missouri. After a bye in the first, he knocked off fast loser Devin Jones in War Eagle and then beat out Jamey Garner in the finals. He has won 5 of his last 8 and has scored points in 21 of his 26 events. After an impressive first quarter with Monster Jam, Garner has added 2 wins, 3 finals, and 477 points to his total this summer and now sits in 9th place overall. He could pass potentially pass Adam Anderson with another 400-points, but that will depend partly on how many events he has remaining on his schedule. On the plus side for Garner, there are not many active drivers within striking range, and so even if he does not compete again this season, he will still have a good chance of remaining in the Top Ten.
===== WORLAND, WYOMING =====
Kreg Christensen picked up the Chicago-style win in Wyoming over Jon Morris in American Soldier, but with only three trucks at the event, it did not meet our requirements for points.
===== SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN =====
A very very late report, but we got it! Thanks to a recent YouTube video of the RAM Spectacular held back in February, we were able to record Marvin Anderson’s win over John Bruce during the Sunday racing event. That ended up being a big deal for Bruce who gained 14 spots with that runner-up finished and is now inside the Top 100!
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.