Mar 26 - Ten-Race Minimum In Effect
“Ah! Why isn’t my favorite driver in the rankings anymore?” is a cry that a few people may be shouting this week. To keep things fair with the Average Points ranking, we have increased the minimum number of events required for inclusion in the rankings up to 10. This was a planned change as we incrementally increase the minimum up to 20 for the year. A 20-event minimum over 12 months is achievable for professional drivers and provides a sizeable amount of data for use in the rankings. This is necessary to avoid having a driver perform really well for only a few events and end up rated highly in the Average Points category.
There were 136 drivers ranked last week and we’re down to an even 100 this week, so 36 drivers have been dropped. But don’t worry, they have not been forgotten. All of their stats are still intact and when their race total reaches the new minimum they will be added back into the rankings.
The next increase will be to 15 events, which I’m tentatively expecting to happen sometime in May. The date for the change is a moving target that is dictated by the approximate time when 100 drivers meet the minimum requirement. The 20 race minimum will be reached no later than August 1st. Any driver who currently has 20 or more events on record will not be dropped for the rest of the year.
Since the MTROC rankings are relational, and since we use an average for half of the standings, the loss of 36 drivers from the standings has resulted in a bit more shuffling than usual, even for drivers who did not compete. One example is that Brandon Vinson is now ranked in 2nd and Adam Anderson is down in 3rd. The reason is that Brandon gained a few spots in the Average Points when other drivers were dropped, and also because Austin Minton’s strong performance let him pass Adam in Total Points this week.
Team Bigfoot suffered a lot with the new minimum, as Dan Runte, Rodney Tweedy, Christian Norman, Darron Schnell, and Michael Miller all fell below the cut-off and were dropped from the rankings. Larry Swim’s two-race sweep in Lafayette put him right at 10 events and kept him as Bigfoot’s lone representative on the table this week. The loss of Bigfoot trucks—who generally have high Average Points placings—also gave an unintentional boost to Tyler Menninga who gained some spots in that category and increased his overall lead.
With all the changes from the new minimum, it’s a bit harder to find the drivers who made big jumps in the standings this week. However, there are some key performances to note. Austin Minton gained another 16 spots on top of the 13 he gained last week and is now ranked in the Top 25. Zane Rettew and Linsey Read moved up 4 and 17 spots respectively thanks to their pair of final round races. Aaron Basl’s two wins gained him 41 spots and put him within arm’s reach of the Top 50. Tom Herzog is up into the Top 60 after his win in Fredericksburg, and Ryan Anderson’s big win in Las Vegas has him up to his highest ranking of the season.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A RACE OUTCOME IS CALLED INCORRECTLY?
A quick note about MTROC policy on disputed calls. Occasionally, officials err in determining the winner of a race. This is true in any sport, of course. When awarding points for the MTROC, we go by the outcome reported by the official, which is also how other sporting leagues handle these decisions. While we always strive to record the true and accurate results from any race, our jobs are to record those results and not to decide them. If an official later reverses a decision or a report, we will change our points and standings accordingly.
MONSTER TRUCK WARS
In Fredericksburg, Tom Herzog won his second event of the year on a choppy straight-line track at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds. Clint Watson was runner-up while campaigning the Outlaw name this week. Michael Harper’s truck was apparently too damaged from his freestyle crash in Tooele, Utah last week and he was not able to compete in this event.
MONSTER JAM ARENAS
Aaron Basl had his best weekend of the year, winning the final 2 events in Hidalgo, Texas behind the wheel of Devastator along with a runner-up. Basl beat out both Kaylyn and Darren Migues in the finals on Sunday and was runner-up to Devin Jones in Barbarian on Saturday afternoon. Zane Rettew in Stinger Unleashed won the remaining two night events, both times against Linsey Read in Scooby Doo! Read continued her strong showings from last week in Albuquerque and is now ranked 39th. Rettew’s 6th and 7th wins of the season have him in 14th.
In Reno, Nevada it was world number-one Tyler Menninga and Austin Minton battling it out all weekend. Austin won all 3 night events and Tyler won both afternoon events. The weekend ended with the two drivers meeting in the final round on Sunday with Minton taking the win in Jekyll & Hyde. He has won 5 times in the past 2 weeks which has more-than-doubled his season win total. Menninga, meanwhile, is already atop the Total Points standings so he made no improvement there, but his continued strong performance has helped him to maintain a high Average Points value and extend his lead in the overall standings.
The racing in Grand Rapids, Michigan was contested against the clock and not side-by-side, so those 5 events are not eligible for inclusion in the MTROC standings.
MONSTER JAM STADIUM
For the first time in 20 years, Las Vegas, Nevada is not the host to the Monster Jam World Finals, but there was still plenty of monster truck action taking place at Sam Boyd Stadium. Local fans got to see Saint Louis-style racing this year and the tight confines of the venue made things a bit more challenging for the drivers than in previous weeks. Jimmy Creten earned points in his 8th consecutive event, but fell prey to mechanical gremlins in the second round. Tom Meents has won many races and championships in Las Vegas over the years and he continued to do so this weekend despite the change in track style. Meents drove his Max-D truck all the way to the finals, but the winner this night was Ryan Anderson in Son Uva Digger who took home his first racing win of the calendar year and first since Houston, Texas back in October. The win moves him into 12th place overall.
TOUGHEST MONSTER TRUCK
Larry Swim remains unstoppable on the Toughest Monster Truck tour. He currently holds a 6-race winning streak on the Toughest Monster Truck tour, as well as a 6-race winning streak overall, and a 9-race final-round streak. He has earned points in each of his 10 events. He is currently 15th in the standings with the 2nd best Average Points total. Kreg Christensen rolled his Dragon Slayer Jeep in the semi-finals on Friday night which let Brandon Budd advance to his 5th final round appearance. Christensen had better luck on Saturday when he made the finals and moved to 41st in the standings.
TRAXXAS MONSTER TRUCK TOUR
There was a stellar line-up in Pasco, Washington this past weekend running on the bare concrete floor. Unfortunately, these events did not include racing and so we cannot award any points.
CFP NO LIMITS!
Four trucks took to the floor in the intimate Muhlenberg County Expo Arena in Powderly, Kentucky. Larry Quick won both events over wife Shannon. Larry has won 5 of his 13 events and has advanced to the final round in all but 1 event.
SC MONSTER TRUCK MADNESS
Melanie Gottwald scored her first win of the season in her first race of the season when she knocked off Denver Echternkamp in the finals on Saturday afternoon. Echternkamp was declared the winner on Sunday afternoon in his final round bout with RJ Turner in War Wizard, which was his first win of the season after three runner-up finishes.
THIS WEEK IN MONSTER TRUCK RACING
The Hot Wheels Live tour comes east for a trio of events in Norfolk, Virginia this weekend while Monster FMX has a trio down in Dothan, Alabama.
Larry Swim will try to race his way into the Top Ten this weekend with three events in Independence, Missouri as part of the Toughest Monster Truck Tour.
The No Limits Nationals will be running in Montrose, Colorado as they get closer to their series finale in Pocatello, Idaho. The Traxxas Tour has a pair of events in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Monster Truck Wars are in Hugo, Oklahoma. Monster Truck Thunder will be at the California Mid State Fair this Saturday for two events.
On the Monster Jam tour, Tyler Menninga will have his hands full this weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska as Colton Eichelberger, Austin Minton, Tony Ochs, Myranda Cozad, and three drivers from 2 Xtreme Racing—Jimmy Creten, Dawn Creten, and Tanner Root—will be looking to knock off the world #1.
Hall Brothers Racing makes their Monster Jam debut for the season down in Southaven, Mississippi. They’ll face series regulars Krysten Anderson, Blake Granger, Tristan England, Bernard Lyght, Jack Brown, and Kristen Hope.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Brandon Vinson and Coty Saucier will be hoping for opportunities to pick up some more points. There will be a rare 6-truck Monster Jam field in Lexington, Kentucky but what a line-up it is. Adam Anderson leads the field and will race against Candice Jolly, Ryan Disharoon, Scott Harsock, and Kelvin and Rosalee Ramer.
The Arena Championship tour rolls into Pensacola, Florida with Brandon Derrow in Bad News Travels Fast expected to rejoin the group. And the Stadium Championship Series III returns to form this weekend with one big event in New Orleans, Louisiana where Jon Zimmer will be going for his 6th Stadium win of the season.