All photos by MSA Staff:
A capacity crowd set the stage for an incredible event here in Atlanta, as tonight we took yet another step on the Road to the Monster Jam World Finals 15.
Monster Jam Qualifying on the red Georgia clay got us off to a fast start, with the best qualifying time coming in only the second pairing. The unique track material also took an early toll with Avenger, and created the first “wow” moment of the night.
Koehler’s tires hooked up, and sent Avenger up onto two wheels. Jim tried to save it, but in the process went into the opposite race lane and flipped over as he struck Toro broadside. Avenger‘s damage was extensive, and he’d have to spend the next hour wrenching not racing.
The Monster Jam Racing bracket was set with the times from qualifying. On the bottom half of the bracket, the favorite had to be Spiderman. Bari’s credentials include a Young Guns Shootout Championship in 2012, and a Semi Final Round appearance in the Monster Jam Word Finals last year.
Bari met all expectations with near-perfect passes in every round. In the top half, we could look ahead and see the matchup that would have everyone on their feet. Two Andersons were in the bracket, Dennis and Ryan.
Dennis came into the night, with his brand new Grave Digger XXX, riding a perfect 5-0 racing record for 2014 – including a Championship Round victory against Ryan. It was a hard road, but both made it to the Semi Final round. They were even from the start line to the final turn. The difference came with a single mistake on the final ramp.
The dramatic photo-finish was reviewed, and it was clear that one of the front tires on Son-uva Digger® missed the ramp. The penalty secured the win for Dennis. In the final race of the night, Bari kept his runs clean with tight turns, but it wouldn’t be enough to stop the streak. Dennis is now a perfect 9-0 in racing for 2014.
Fast Qualifier: Grave Digger® 19.509
Monster Jam Racing Round 1
Grave Digger® def Wrecking Crew, Max-D℠ def Scooby-Doo™, Son-uva Digger® def River Rat, War Wizard def Monster Energy, Gunslinger def El Toro Loco®, Spider-Man™ def Heavy Hitter, Monster Mutt℠ Rottweiler Bye (Instigator out)
Monster Jam Racing Round 2
Grave Digger® def Heavy Hitter (Fast Loser), Son-uva Digger® def Max-D℠ , Gunslinger def War Wizard, Spider-Man™ def, Monster Mutt℠ Rottweiler
Monster Jam Racing Semi Finals
Grave Digger® def Son-uva Digger® (:05 Penalty), Spider-Man™ def War Wizard (Gunslinger unable to return)
Championship Round of Monster Jam Racing
Grave Digger® def Spider-Man™
In tonight’s Monster Jam Fox Sports 1 Freestyle Competition, Wrecking Crew led off with a score that would stand alone until Instigator tied him up. The two would share the Hot Seat until Chuck filled the clock before flipping the bull over on its head. Werner held the lead until his own teammate grabbed the Hot Seat. Neil rolled and saved Max-D twice before finally turning it over for good to complete the run. The score earned Elliot the lead, while his Monster Jam Truck was left on the track.
Incredibly, four Monster Jam trucks were left as carnage on the track over the course of the competition. Jim Koehler’s efforts paid off the get Avenger fixed and ready for the competition.
When “Mr. Exciting” blasted out of the pits, the crowd knew they were in for something special. And it was just what you’d expect. The high flying action earned Jim the new high score. Dennis came into tonight with two consecutive Double Downs here in Atlanta. With the racing Championship earlier in the night, all eyes were on the track to see if he could make it three in a row. The run was incredible and ended in spectacular fashion, but he would end up short without the points from a bonus period.
The final truck of the night took the competition to the next level. Instead of avoiding the four Monster Jam trucks on the track, Ryan came out and immediately jumped clean over the top of two of them. After completing regulation, Ryan then targeted the other two. To complete the run, Ryan throttled down and took aim at the Monster Energy truck that was wedged at the top of the 10ft jump. After hitting it head on at full speed, Ryan flipped his ride over on to its lid. The dramatic assault of every obstacle on the track earned him the Championship.
Wrecking Crew 17+1=18
Heavy Hitter 16+1=17
River Rat 11
El Toro Loco® 21+3=24
War Wizard 18+3=21
Monster Energy 15
Monster Mutt℠ Rottweiler 19
Grave Digger® 25
Son-uva Digger® 27+3=30