Du Quoin, IL
March 3-4, 2006
Southern Illinois Center
Paul Shafer Motorsports returned to the beautiful Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, IL for three days of monster truck, FMX and tuff truck action! Last year, I was only able to attend 1 of the 3 events and I was not going to let that happen this year. I headed down to Du Quoin and stayed for the entire weekend to capture all three shows. For 2006, the track was different, the lineup changed a lot, but the action across all three shows was very solid. Let's take a look at all the results and tons of pictures!
Kevin Harvick/Kid Rock #29 -- Charlie Miller
Larry Swim left Shafer Motorsports after winning the PSM 2005 World Finals Racing event with this truck, but, Swim was also driving double-duty that weekend for the also departing Amber Sky Walker. Miller got the nod to fill the open seat and should be a great fit for the truck.
Bearfoot -- James Tigue II
As mentioned, Swim was out, which opened another seat, this time for James Tigue whom won the PSM World Freestyle Championship at the 2005 event while driving Carolina Crusher.
Captain USA -- Brian Harwood
The truck/driver shuffling continues as Harwood jumps from Wild Thang to Captain USA. It was a switch that surprised me and one I really was skeptical about. Harwood is a very skilled driver and adapting to any truck won't slow him down much.
Rampage -- JR Adams
Rampage was back on a full-time schedule with rookie driver JR Adams behind the wheel. Adams was a dedicated PSM crew member for several years and finally got his chance to shine as a driver.
Extreme Overkill 2 -- Wayne Tigue
The mysterious truck formerly known as "The ORI truck" made its racing debut at the PSM Finals with Doug Charles driving. The truck did not perform well due to a lack of maintenance and fell apart after just one run. Now, the truck is a mainstay of the fleet with another rookie driver at the helm, this time its James' brother Wayne making his monster truck driving debut!
Kirk Dabney -- Monster Patrol
The old man of the bunch and the guy with more experience and skill than everyone else combined. Dabney was the heavy favorite to win everything and his Monster Patrol is always a crowd favorite.
Wild Thang -- Doug Charles
The final driver switch of the season placed 2005 rookie Doug Charles into the seat of Wild Thang. Charles made his debut at the World Finals in the ORI truck but obviously did not get much experience from that. He has adapted well to Wild Thang in the early going of 2006 and could be a dark horse winner during the weekend.
Carolina Crusher Ride Truck
Doug Charles' Mummy ride truck had another new look to it with a sharp, new Carolina Crusher scheme. At the time of this event, Tim Tesmer's Carolina Crusher was nearing the end of its history and was soon transformed into Bad Habit, now owned by Joe Sylvester. That left this ride truck as the only Carolina Crusher left in the country. Towards the end of 2006, Doug Charles left Shafer Motorsports and kept his ride truck and left behind the Crusher name. Currently there no trucks running the name.
:: Friday 8:00 Recap ::
The truck/driver introductions had a cool new feature added to it. The truck's name was blasted up onto a screen from lazers set across the track. They also provided several lazer light demonstrations throughout the weekend.
:: QUALIFYING ::
All 5 trucks took a run across the short 5-car drag course to set the racing brackets. Kirk Dabney came away with the fastest clocking.
:: RACING ROUND 1 ::
Wild Thang beat Captain USA, which was definitely an upset.
Kid Rock/Kevin Harvick #29 dove past Extreme Overkill 2.
Bearfoot disposed of Rampage easily.
Monster Patrol took a Bye Run for the #1 Qualifying spot.
:: RACING ROUND 2 ::
Wild Thang continued to roll and upset Monster Patrol.
Extreme Overkill 2 returned as the Fast Loser and took the brother vs. brother race by inches! Incredible!
:: RACING FINALS ::
Doug Charles again showed poise and dominace behind the wheel of Wild Thang and smoked the upstart Wayne Tigue to take the Racing Victory!
:: ECX FMX ::
East Coast Xtreme Team Freestyle Motocross riders Seth Elliott and Rudy Waller, undoubtably two of the best FMX riders in the world, showcased their ability with an incredible aerial assault of tricks and thrills.
Two kids were picked out of the crowd to have an off-road tricycle race and each had a monster truck driver to help and cheer them on. The drivers enjoyed it and it was apparent the kids did as well. Good fun for everyone.
:: FREESTYLE ::
:: MONSTER PATROL ::
Kirk Dabney put together a very solid run to kick off Freestyle. Nice air over both car sets and a good hit on the fresh car-van-van center pyramid. He tried to pull a slap wheelie on the near set of cars but just couldn't get the front end vertical. Score: 6.
:: WILD THANG ::
Doug Charles shocked the field with his Racing victory and looked to take the double win. He made a heck of a case for it even with 5 trucks yet to run. Fast, high-flying runs over the cars with great momentum back and forth on the track. He stuffed the skull into the van and had Wild Thang pointed straight up and down and walked it all the way off the set. The crowd instantly had a favorite run hands down. Score: 8.
:: RAMPAGE ::
JR Adams had a rough go of it in Rampage. That truck is notorious for being a poor freestyle truck and there wasn't much Adams could do with it on this track. He avoid the pyramid and tried to get some nice long jumps off the cars. He's still learning and made a good effort. Score: 4.
:: Kid Rock/Kevin Harvick #29 ::
Miller but the #29 truck through its paces and attacked everything he could from every direction. Good air off the cars and pyramid, but even he couldn't match the air put up by Doug Charles. Miller was looking for the slap wheelie off the pyramid, but couldn't get the right bounce. Score: 6.
:: CAPTAIN USA ::
Brian Harwood roared Captain USA onto the track for what looked to be the start of a great freestyle. He grabbed some sweet air over the pyramid, but the truck hook hard to the right in the air and something was noticeably wrong with the truck. The way the truck jerked to the right usually meant axle failure or breakage as the left rear wheel was not spinning nearly as much as the right tire wheel. Harwood continued on and made a couple more jumps despite having a bum wheel. He ended the run early to check out the damage, which turned out to be something I had never seen before, but that story will come later on. Score: 4.
:: EXTREME OVERKILL 2 ::
Wayne Tigue did well in Racing for his first time ever and now had his first ever freestyle performance. I don't think there could've been a tougher truck to drive for his first time out as even a seasoned pro would be set back a bit with this radical machine. Tigue made the best of it and hit some long jumps over the cars a few times and called it good. Score: 3.
:: BEARFOOT ::
The PSM Freestyle Champion needed to live up to his title if he wanted to top Wild Thang. Tigue put down a long, great run with several hits off every obstacle. He tried and tried to get a slap wheelie off the pyramid, but the front of the truck would not respond well on the landings. On his last attempt, he smacked the front end down so hard it had no other choice but to rebound into a wheelie! Lots of long jumps clearing the 5 cars and some crazy landings to go with them. Score: 8.
The fans voted Doug Charles in Wild Thang the Freestyle winner for the first show! Heck of a way to start of the weekend by sweeping the first evening. Congratulations, Doug!
We're only 1/3 of the way through this lite-coverage of Du Quoin 2006, click below to check out the Saturday 2:00 show!!