“What a muddy mess!” This was the first thought that came to mind when I arrived to check out the Miami Monster Jam, and it ended up being the theme of the night. The Monster Jam dirt crews worked feverishly to give the drivers the best conditions possible, but ultimately, Mother Nature always wins. The drivers rose to the challenge and still turned out a tremendous show, but it was not without some controversy at the end.
First, a tip of the cap is in order to Jimmy Creten in the Bounty Hunter. I would not want to be lined up against him in a race this season. He has looked phenomenal racing in Orlando, Tampa, and of course, taking victories the past two weekends in St. Louis and Miami. Let’s not forget the big win in January in Detroit, either. Creten is on a serious roll, and if he walks away with his ever-coveted racing title in Vegas at the Monster Jam World Finals, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit. Creten told the crowd after winning that he was willing to screw the truck into the ground in freestyle “just like Dennis says” for a Double Down to win freestyle, and he lived up to his word, putting on a clinic in freestyle that I believe was good enough for the victory. Herein lies the problem.
How does one judge freestyle in the mud? With so many trucks being hampered by the conditions, momentum, big moves, and anything involving traction are mostly thrown out the window. The standards aren’t quite the same, but by any standard, I felt that both Creten and Marc McDonald (El Toro Loco) could have had arguments made for a win in freestyle. It is not an easy task to judge a muddy freestyle, and I felt for the judges on this one. Nevertheless, this is the first time all season that I felt there was some true controversy to the freestyle results. It’s just more motivation for Creten though, and that can be a dangerous thing. I’d keep an eye on him heading into Knoxville this weekend–something tells me Creten will have more victories under his belt before that event is over.
I’d also like to mention Jon Zimmer and Amsoil Shock Therapy, who really raised the bar of the whole freestyle event as the eighth truck out in a field of 16. Zimmer blasted over, around, and through everything on the track, using his background in snowmobile racing to his advantage and proving once again that he is a force to be reckoned with. He also made the semifinals in racing and built up some needed momentum in his quest for another appearance in Vegas.
We also saw Ryan Anderson’s six-stadium freestyle win streak come to a close, and mainly due to truck failure. Try as he may, Anderson couldn’t keep Son-Uva Digger from shutting off throughout his run, and it took away any chance at a win in an otherwise edgy performance. The rain and mud can tear trucks up and make a lot of things malfunction, so it was simply tough luck for Ryan.
Finally, Marc Mcdonald can flat out drive a monster truck. He made one mistake in racing, but other than that, was looking very good there, then followed it up with a high-energy freestyle that carried great momentum and had several spectacular moments. McDonald’s experience riding everything with an engine, particularly quads, in his native Oklahoma, had to play a part. McDonald knows how to make a truck work for him, and demonstrated once again that he was deserving of the World Finals flag he earned.
I have a few weeks before my next event in Jacksonville, but I’ll be checking in next week with another column on a topic I find interesting in monster trucks. What will that be? Read next week to find out. Thank you for your support of AllMonster.com and Starting Line; I’ll see you then!