Cole Venard went two-for-two at historic Dixie Speedway, climbing 7 spots and falling a mere 26 points shy of a Top Ten ranking. Bill Payne slipped a few spots with only 1 race on his schedule this past weekend, but should have a chance to make up the lost ground with a 10-truck field in Stockton this weekend. Mat Dishman and Michael Vaters II had a great rivalry moment in Indianapolis this weekend and both moved up in the standings as a result, with Vaters now in 18th and Dishman back up to 7th. Tyler Menninga is just 2 wins away from 40 for this season and will look to reach that milestone in Rosemont this weekend. Keep reading for a full recap of the monster truck racing action from this weekend!
Final Weekend of Inaugural Season
The Open Championship runs from the beginning of October until the end of September, and so this weekend is the final weekend for the inaugural 2018-2019 championship. We will post unofficial final standings next week, but the final standings are not expected to be posted until around October 13th. This is to allow time for any late reports to arrive and be counted.
We will soon be posting a big list of unscored events. If you have information on any of the events on that list, please let us know so we can award points for the winners!
Cottage Grove, Oregon (Malicious)
Bill Payne won his 22nd race of the season on Saturday night by defeating Dawson Rayas in the finals. The Malicious Tour did not run racing on Friday night, so despite the win, Payne lost a few spots in the standings as a result of Mat Dishman and Mikeal Christensen moving ahead of him in total points.
Indianapolis, Indiana (Jamboree)
Mat Dishman kicked off his retirement party with a racing win on Friday night over Michael Miller in Bigfoot. Miller did not return to the finals on Saturday because drivetrain damage slowed the Original down and eventually sidelined him for Sunday’s competition. Dishman, however, did advance to Saturday’s final where he was eliminated by Michael Vaters II in Overkill Evolution.
On Sunday, Dishman had the opportunity to become the first driver in Jamboree history to qualify for every final round in a single season. However, Vaters II was able to knock off Dishman in the first round and then raced past him again in the semi-finals to bring the Raminator’s 8-race finals streak to an end.
With Bigfoot out of the competition Saturday night, RJ Turner in War Wizard made the trek down from his event in Marne, Michigan to substitute as the sixth truck in the field. After a disappointing first round loss in Marne, Turner came out smoking on Sunday and eliminated Brandon Derrow and Michael Vaters I to advance to the final round. The crowd was on War Wizard’s side, but series regular Michael Vaters II played double-spoiler and brought that storyline to an end as well by picking up his 2nd win of the weekend.
For Dishman, the 552 points from this weekend were enough to gain him 3 spots in the standings and put the Hall Brothers Racing Team into 7th place in the world. Brandon Derrow in Bad News Travels Fast struggled with only one semi-final berth and dropped 3 spots to 10th. Michael Vaters II stayed in the top 30 through July but put together two impressive months and has risen into the Top 20 as we close out the season.
Louisville, Kentucky (Monster Jam)
Tyler Menninga’s only requirement now for winning the inaugural Open Championship is to avoid early loses and maintain his high Average. The Grave Digger did that with room to spare at historic Freedom Hall this weekend as he swept the two-race event with wins over Matt Pagliarulo and Devin Jones. They bring Menninga’s season win total to 38 out of 76 races! Not only is that a solid 50% win rate, but it also beats the nearest competitors (Jimmy Creten and Bill Payne) but 16 wins. With a 5-race weekend still in store in Rosemont, Menninga has a chance to finish the season with 40 wins.
Marne, Michigan (Berlin Raceway)
Brandan Tulachka was recently announced as a series regular on the 2020 Monster Jam Arena Championship tour. The Get-Er-Done team took that big news into Berlin Speedway this past weekend and set the tone for 2020 by winning the 8-truck bracket. As the third-quickest qualifier, Tulachka knocked off War Wizard in the opening round and Toxic in the semi-finals before eliminated Rick Steffens in Samson in the championship round. It was his 2nd win of the season and also his 20th reported event which qualified him for the Open Championship rankings. The final round berth for Steffens was his 11th of the season and gained him 5 spots in the standings up to 55th.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Hot Wheels)
Bob Holman’s streak of final rounds continued on Saturday afternoon as the veteran driver defeated Darron Schnell and Cody Holman. Schnell finally broke the streak later that evening with a win over Holman in the first round and finished it off by eliminated Cody Holman in the finals. The Hot Wheels Live tour next moves to Roanoke, Virginia to give their crew one last chance at earning points this season.
Santa Maria, California (All Star)
Jeff Souza took the wheel of Kamikaze this weekend and picked up both racing wins at Stadium 805, his second and third of the season. On Friday, he defeated Kreg Christensen in Dragon Slayer in the finals, and on Saturday he won over Mikeal Christensen in Vendetta. Since Souza only has 13 events reported this season, he is not eligible for the Open Championship rankings. Kreg Christensen has 47 events reports including 29 final rounds and moved up another spot into 16th. Mikeal has 44 events and 25 final rounds and currently sits in 21st.
Woodstock, Georgia (Dixie Speedway)
The Fall Nationals at Dixie Speedway had six fast trucks on hand but no one was as fast as Cole Venard in Black Pearl who took home both racing trophies and jumped up 7 spots into 11th place in the Open Championship! His 5086 points for the season has him a mere 26 points out of the Top Ten. We don’t see any more events for Venard this weekend, so it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to get himself into the Top Ten. Since the rankings are relational, though, it may be possible for him to slip up into the Top Ten depending on the outcome of races this weekend.
On Friday night, Venard beat out Scott Hartsock in Gun Slinger who was in his 12th final of the year and who will stay put at 33rd in the rankings. On Saturday, John Gordon got past fast qualifier Cory Rummell in the semi-finals to meet Venard in the final race. It was Gordon’s 7th final of the season and gained him 5 spots in the standings.
No Points Events
The event in Bakersfield, California at the Kern County Fairgrounds did not include racing and so points were not awarded.
The event in Dover, Ohio at the Tuscarawas County Fair did not include racing and so points were not awarded.
The event in Pottsville, Pennsylvania at the Big Diamond Speedway was cancelled.
The event in Redcliffe, Australia did not include racing and so points were not awarded.
Final Weekend Preview
World #1 Tyler Menninga will look to close out the inaugural Open Championship season with a strong showing at the 5-race extravaganza inside the Rosemont Horizon. He needs to win 2 of the 5 races to reach 40 wins on the season. While Menninga can’t move up any higher in the standings, Colton Eichelberger is chasing a Top Ten spot. The Max-D driver needs approximately 705 points to have a chance at the Top Ten, which is about 8 heat wins through the 5 events.
There are 10 trucks scheduled for the Stockton Speedway in California this weekend, and if they compete in racing, that could mean some big points for the drivers. Bill Payne in Rock Star is chasing a Top Ten spot but will have to fight through more than just his Straight Up teammates this weekend, as Rick Swanson, Eric Swanson, Donald Epidendio, and Larry and Shannon Quick are all scheduled to be in attendance. The Total Points standings are very tight in front of Payne and winning a single round of racing can gain him 4 positions which would move him into a tie for 10th.
The monsters are on the beach again this weekend as 8 trucks take to the sand in Wildwood, New Jersey, including Top 50 drivers Matt Pagliarulo (40th), Jim Koehler (43rd), and Cory Rummel (48th). The three-race event will have 900 points on the line which would be plenty to move any of these drivers up in the standings.
The All Star Monster Truck Tour heads to Bangor, Maine for a trio of shows with a solid 6-truck field including Top 30 drivers Steve Thompson and Zane Rettew.
The Hot Wheels Live Tour will be in Roanoke, Virginia which will give Team Bigfoot drivers Christian Norman (23rd) and Darron Schnell (36th) a final chance to move up in the standings.