Trucks: USHRA monster trucks including: Grave Digger (Dennis Anderson), Maximum Destruction (Tom Meents), Blue Thunder (Linsey Weenk), Batman (John Seasock), Air Force Afterburner (Damon Bradshaw), Escalade (George Balhan), Captain’s Curse (Alex Blackwell), Suzuki (Bobby Parr), Avenger (Jim Koehler), Brutus (Chris Bergeron).
Weekend Race Recap
Saturday December 6, 2008, 7:30 p.m. – An emotional Tom Meents drove Maximum Destruction to victory over reigning and two-time defending World Racing Champion John Seasock and Batman in the Championship, then Jim Koehler made his brand new Avenger piece a winner by taking the freestyle competition to launch the new Speed TV Monster Jam season Saturday night at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The night started with Alex Blackwell surprising the all-star line-up by posting the fastest qualifying time in Captain’s Curse. Blackwell would get a first round bye due to big mechanical problems for the Grave Digger team. First Dennis Anderson flipped his Digger in introductions, then the truck suffered drive shaft and wheel damage in qualifying, putting Crew Chief Dustin Brown and his team into full thrash mode to get the truck ready for freestyle. Blackwell advanced to the semifinals on the cyclone style course before falling to Batman in the final four.
Meents dominated the bottom half of the bracket and rolled into the Championship Race, with an extra lap added to the Max-D vs Batman showdown. Meents was up to the challenge and grabbed an impressive win, an emotional on that he dedicated to a young friend in his Paxton, IL, hometown whose funeral was held earlier in the day. Freestyle opened in spectacular fashion with Bobby Parr setting the bar high, posting an impressive run in Suzuki. Several trucks rolled over taking on the biggest obstacles ever in the Metrodome, including a huge double decker bus obstacle called the “step up”. George Balhan did step up and moved into the hot seat with a wicked run that earned 31 points in a new scoring system that featured 8 judges, 4 on each side of the dome. The high and low scores from each side were thrown out so each truck had two scores count from each group of judges, with a possible high score in regulation of 40.
Balhan stayed in the hot seat until the 2003 World Freestyle Champion showed Minneapolis why he remains among the best in the business. Pushing his brand new Avenger to the limit, Koehler’s score of 36 held on for the win as both Grave Digger and Max-D were phenomenal, but neither was able to fill the clock, and with the appreciative crowd loving every minute of the wild freestyle action Mr. Excitement took the huge win the start the new season in style.