May 15 - Creten wins World Finals XX
The whole monster truck world celebrated this past weekend as veteran driver and perennial runner-up Jimmy Creten finally earned a well-deserved Monster Jam World Final Racing Championship. After a difficult time in qualifying, Creten was put in the bad lane during the first round, but still managed to beat Dave Sparks in BroDozer. He moved over to the red lane for the remainder of the event and used it to his advantage, picking up a second round win over Tristan England in Earthshaker. In the quarter finals, Creten knocked off Ryan Anderson in Son Uva Digger and then beat his brother Adam in the semi-finals. In the championship race, Creten made his first bad turn of the night and was beat to the finish line by Bari Musawwir in Zombie, but ultimately was declared the winner due to a red light infraction on the part of Musawwir.
The win in the 24-truck Orlando race earned Creten 480 points and moved him up five spots to be ranked 4th overall in the world. This is his highest ranking this year and he has only been ranked outside the Top Ten for 1 week when he was ranked 11th.
Jimmy Creten has been winning monster truck races for decades now, including 15 years ago when the WMTRL (the pre-cursor to the MTROC) was in operation. During the WMTRL’s inaugural year of 2004, Creten finished the year ranked 2nd in the world, a mere 86 points behind world champion Gary Porter. Creten had won 31 of his 61 events that year. He dropped to 13th in 2005 with 9 wins in only 25 races, but returned to the Top Ten in 2006 with a 7th place finished. During the final year of the WMTRL, Creten had the 2nd highest Average Points and was ranked 4th in the world.
15-RACE MINIMUM TO BE PUT INTO EFFECT
As we approach the summer months, we will take another step towards reaching the 20-race minimum for the year. Currently, drivers need 10 races to be ranked. Beginning next week, the minimum will be increased to 15. There are currently 93 drivers with at least 15 events who will remain in the rankings. Allen Pezo, Darron Schnell, Ryan Disharoon, Dillon Fenley, Preston Perez, and JR McNeal all have 14 races recorded and will need one more event this weekend to remain ranked. There are 20 other ranked drivers who are below the 15-race cut off, including Rodney Tweedy, Clint Watson, Michael Vaters II, and Tyler Groth. Drivers do not lose their statistics if they become unranked, but are no longer included in the ranking process. Once a driver reaches the minimum number of events, they will be returned to the rankings.
MONSTER JAM WORLD FINALS XX
The new venue for the World Finals offered a new track to challenge the drivers. Rather than the Thunder Alley of Las Vegas, the trucks began on top of the stadium concourse and raced down through the lower seating bowl into the arena, negotiated a chicane, and then J-hooked back to the finish line. The track appeared slick through the night and the red lane held a distinct advantage, with 17 of the 23 wins coming from that lane. In particular, drivers appeared to gain a small advantage at the top lip of the ramp right off the start which gave them an advantage into the chicane.
This led to some big upsets in racing, most prominently the first-round upset by Linsey Read over Jon Zimmer. Read had earlier won the 8-truck Showdown to qualify for the event and then took out Top Ten driver Zimmer for her first pairing in the big show. Unfortunately, breakage forced Read out of the competition. Zimmer returned and beat Tom Meents in the quarter finals when Meents had trouble in the turn, but lost to Camden Murphy in the semis.
Bari Musawwir was fast all night during racing and was one of the few drivers to win out of the blue lane when he beat Justin Sipes in the second round. Musawwir then beat Open Championship World #1 Tyler Menninga in the quarter-finals but rolled over (along with Menninga) in the shut-down area. Musawwir and his ailing truck then benefitted from Camden Murphy’s red light in the semi-finals. In the finals, Musawwir put down a fast run, even managing to beat Jimmy Creten down the hill while in the bad blue lane. Creten overshot the turn which let Musawwir get to the finish line first, but a deep-staging red-light infraction at the starting line led to Bari’s disqualification.
At 24 trucks and 480 points, the World Finals were the largest event of the year. Jimmy Creten’s win moved him up 5 spots in the Open Championship and Bari Musawwir jumped up 6 spots into 32nd. Linsey Read’s win in the Showdown earned her 3 spots and she now is ranked 43rd in the world.
OUTLAWS OF MOTORSPORTS
(Medicine Hat, Alberta)
Bill Payne continued his streak of final round berths at the Canalta Centre in Alberta but he finished as runner-up both times. Dwight Mathews in Spitfire took the holeshot racing win on Friday night and Marvin Anderson in Identity Theft was the winner on Saturday. This pair of events gave both Payne and Mathews the minimum number of events to be included in the rankings this week. Payne comes in at 36th and Mathews at 41st. Unfortunately with the new minimum set to take effect next week, we will likely lose the Straight Up Racing team from the standings for a couple weeks until they reach the 15 race minimum. Fortunately, the Malicious Monster Truck Tour has a full schedule of events left this season, so it shouldn’t be long before they return to the list.
MONSTER TRUCK INSANITY TOUR
Wally Turner was also a double runner-up at his events in Tremonton. After advancing past Jon Morris in Wicked in the first round each night, he lost out to Kreg Christensen in Dragon Slayer on Friday and then to Jeff Bainter in Captain USA on Saturday.
MONSTER TRUCK SPRING NATIONALS
The WGAS Motorsports tour brought the same 8 trucks from Santa Rosa to Turlock for a rematch. This time, it was Rick Swanson in Obsession taking home both wins with Allen Pezo in Predator taking second both nights. The trucks raced on a reverse Chicago-style track. Team Throttle Monster teammates Paul Jensen and Mikeal Christensen suffered rare first round loses and lost some ground in the Open Championship, but Pezo’s two final round appearances moved the Hall of Famer up to 34th in the world rankings.
MONSTER TRUCK SUMMER HEAT
With only three trucks—Barbarian, Bearfoot, and Monster Patrol—in competition at the event in McAlester, we could not award points for this event.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The big event this weekend will be on Virginia Beach as eight top independent drivers take to the sands for a 4-event showdown. Bigfoot’s Larry Swim will be trying to reclaim a spot in the Top 5 as he battled Toughest Monster Truck tourmates Aaron Cain and Tim Missentzis. Monster Jam’s 2019 Rookie of the Year Nick Pagliarulo will be showing off the new Kraken truck along with teammate Matt Pagliarulo in Jester and fellow Monster Jam regulars John Gordon, Steve Sims, and Bryan Wright.
Each 8-truck bracket will be worth 300 points which means that a maximum of 1200 points are available this weekend. If a driver like Larry Swim could win all four events, he could move into 2nd place in the Open Championship. Bryan Wright is only 243 points out of a Top 50 ranking. A pair of wins from Matt Pagliarulo could move him into the Top 40. The math for determining the points is fairly easy, but with this line-up and a challenging sandy track, winning those points will be much more difficult.
There is only one Monster Jam event this weekend as 10 trucks will be competing in Cardiff in the United Kingdom. Neil Elliot is the highest ranked driver in the field, but will have plenty of tough competition from Top 30 drivers Mark List, Morgan Kane, and Mike Vaters II. World Finals Showdown winner Linsey Read will look to continue her climb in the Open Championship. Veterans Todd LeDuc and Alex Blackwell will also make the trip overseas and join international drivers Peter Nyman and Alx Danielsson. Haley Gauley is also scheduled to make her first appearance of the year driving Wonder Woman.
Also ahead this week, Utah’s Team Throttle Monster will look to get back on track with a pair of All Star events in Bakersfield, but they’ve got stiff competition from Team KCM and Bigfoot.
The Endless Mountains Maple Fest in Troy, PA has been rescheduled for this weekend. In Brookville, PA, JM Motorsports will have 4 top trucks at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds including world champion Bounty Hunter.
The AMMP Monster Mash will be in Hot Springs, Arkansas; Summer Heat is in Decatur, Texas; Monster Truck Insanity continues in Idaho Falls, Idaho; the Monster Spectacular will be in Quebec City; Monster X returns from Hawaii with events in Ridgecrest, California; the Tournament of Destruction will run a pair of events in Tucson, Arizona; the Malicious Monster Trucks will be in Yakima, Washington for the Central Washington State Fair; and four top trucks—Bigfoot, Avenger, Brutus, and War Wizard—will try to tame the wooden ramps at the Buck Motorsports Park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.