St. Louis, MO 2005
Numbers are all around us. From the simplest facts of having 2 eyes
and 10 fingers, to knowing which number combo you want at Taco Bell, to the complex binary
code of 0s and 1s that make up the computer you're looking at now. Some numbers are common
place and do not affect your life from day to day or any decisions you make. But sometimes
there are numbers so big they are impossible to look away from. They make you stop, think
twice and wonder just how it is possible.
3, 6, 10, 70000...all numbers you will see in this coverage...will you ignore them? Or become part of them? One thing is for certain, the St. Louis Monster Jam shall no longer be over looked and left out. Forget the Florida shows, forget Texas and say good-bye to California. St. Louis will no longer be left out, it will forever stand out.
The festivities leading up to show time kicked off for me early in the day around 1:30 when Dane Loch and I arrived at the dome well in advance to take care of some World Monster Truck Racing League business. 3 of the drivers in the night's lineup finished in the 2004 Top 10 of the standings and therefore would be getting some trophies. Clear Channel was very helpful in allowing us pre-show access to distribute the awards and I thank them for their help again!
Dennis Anderson finished 7th in Grave Digger for 2004 and received one of the WMTRL Top Ten Plaques. Anderson was surprised to be given an award out of no where (as were all the drivers) but appreciated the notion and was already reading over the info papers with it.
Tom Meents in Maximum Destruction finished 3rd in the standings and picked up one of the bigger trophies for his placement. Tom seemed a bit confused at first but as soon as he had his hands around the hardware, he was all smiles and very appreciative of the award.
Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter was the highest ranking of the drivers in St. Louis and picked up the 2nd place trophy. Creten had been given some hints he was going to be getting an award of some kind prior to the show and was genuinely pleased with the award and was very excited about the WMTRL. Congrats to all three drivers! For more on the WMTRL visit the Monster Mayhem Discussion Board.
After that semi-nerve racking business was taken care of, Dane and I used some time to prowl the pit area and hang around with members of the Gateway R/C team. Dane and I didn't tag along with them this year as we actually bought seats to the show this time. Doc was still his usual insane self :-)
We went to check out the track and discovered a Chicago Style layout as compared to the standard (and what should have been obvious) St. Louis style course. Also in the mix was a giant car-van-bus-van-car pyramid built into a hill and a Hot Wheels High Jump down the center of the dome.
During the Pit Party I spent a lot of time shooting some black & while film for my photography class so no more pit party pictures here. Besides that, I chatted with Matt Steele, Robby Haught, Brian Manson and Ryan Seddon periodically throughout the pit party and also tried to not get smashed in the tight walking spaces around the track. Once we packed up from the pit party, it was time to just hang out a bit and I used the time to catch up with Jason Witte of Wild Hair. This event would be Witte's second to last show as driver of Wild Hair before the operation was turned over to the new owner, Ray Mowry. Witte stated he would push the truck as hard as he could but would be looking to put it back on the trailer all in one piece. I kind of chuckled at the thought but told him to do what made him happy. I wished Jason luck and Dane and I headed up to our seats where we were joined by Doug Welker and his group of friends making a 6-pack of fanatics ready for Monster Jam! But we weren't the only ones. A completely sold out Edward Jones Dome crowd of over 70,000 people were ready to rock. The first time the Dome sells out for monster trucks.
Grave Digger 19--Dennis Anderson
Maximum Destruction--Tom Meents
Blue Thunder--Tony Farrell
El Toro Loco--Lupe Soza
Bounty Hunter--Jimmy Creten
Scarlet Bandit--Dawn Creten
Wild Hair--Jason Witte
Hot Wheels--Guy Wood
As part of the crazy introductions that CCE does for all the monster trucks, the final two, Maximum Destruction and Grave Digger, do a lap around the track at full speed flying over the cars in tandem. Meents cleared the far side first as Anderson was on his way out.
Then Anderson hit the far set and started chasing Meents around the Chicago-Style track. Anderson went after the near set from the back side of cars, clearing the set but catching the rear wheels off to the side of the ramp. The truck bounced up on the nose a bit and the back end was flying from side to side as Anderson tried to gain control. Up on right side, then the left, then the right again and finally over on its lid.
No need to wait until Freestyle for Digger roll, might as well start the show with it. Anderson was visibly upset with the rollover and was not enjoying the interview right afterwards. Despite the twist and torque of the suspension in the roll, nothing besides body damage seemed to be apparent and Grave Digger would continue on to Qualifying.
No pics of qualifying as I was also shooting this with the b&w
film. Meents took the number 1 spot but the real drama was the turns and the breakage. The
sharp corners were not easy to tackle and several trucks rocked up on two wheels and had
trouble getting around the poles. Jimmy Creten had the worst luck as he had to make an
incredible save around the second turn. Bounty Hunter rocked up on the left wheels then
Creten turned into the roll and it went up on the other side, hit some quad hills and he
was finally able to bring it down. Damage was done to the front steering, sway bars and
tie rod to an extent that Bounty Hunter would be forced to sit out racing. That would open
up the field a bit more for other trucks to take it with one of the heavy favorites
Another truck unable to make it back for racing would be El Toro Loco. A smashed 4-link bar would be the bull's undoing after a rough landing on his final jump. After his roll in the intros, Anderson in Digger was able to make a complete pass and finished near the top of the field. Never during racing were we even told why those two trucks sat out, I had to go hunt down the info myself. Lots of fans were left confused.
Racing Round 1
Grave Digger vs. Destroyer-- With the very long track setup and the position of my seat, I would be unable to get any decent shots of the finish line or with both trucks in the picture. Anderson qualified well while Evans had problems with his stiff, short wheel-base truck around the unusually sharp Chicago-Style turns. Digger blasted off the line like a rocket and sailed over the cars easily before bouncing into the turn. Evans tried to make up some ground but was having to take the turns much slower than Anderson and Digger opened up a bigger lead as they crossed the second set. Into the final turn, Destroyer rocked up on two wheels and handed the win to Grave Digger. Winner: Grave Digger. I did not expect Destroyer to be the only truck having trouble with bicycling in the turns as this dirt was more like a giant sponge. My shoes were sinking in and getting stuck during the pit party. There would be no dirt tracking of the corners on this night.
Hot Wheels vs. Scarlet Bandit-- Guy Wood makes his St. Louis return after stepping away from the reigns of Bulldozer. Wood has had luck so far in his new ride in 2005, but what about a hometown jinx? Dawn Creten has also had a great year, probably her best ever in racing and certainly will push Wood to the limit. Pretty even off the line but a bigger jump over the cars gave Guy Wood a slight lead in Hot Wheels. Over the first set and Wood opens up a two-truck lead on Creten as they enter the final turn. Wood continued to pour it on and even with getting a bit crossed up hitting the final jump, managed to stay well ahead of Scarlet Bandit to take the win. Winner: Hot Wheels.
Devastator vs. Wild Hair-- Of course the two indys I'm rooting for get stuck paired against each other in Round 1. Dead even start with Schroeder in Devastator just getting ahead of Witte as they crossed the center stripe. Both trucks make decent turns and head down the straights and this time it's Jason Witte in Wild Hair taking a lead over the cars and into the final turn. Witte fails to keep Wild Hair on all 4s but so does Schroeder and by the time they're both back under control, its a mad dash to the finish line with Devastator coming back and snatching a 1/2 truck length victory. Winner: Devastator.
Maximum Destruction vs. Blue Thunder-- Meents left Farrell sleeping at the line and jumped out to a quick truck length lead and once you give that advantage to Meents, it will be hard to make up. Farrell had to slow up in the turns while Meents took them faster than anyone had all night and opened up the lead even more at the half way mark. Around the final turn, Farrell couldn't hang onto Blue Thunder and the truck met the same fate as many already have. Max D blasted down the front stretch to take the win, leaving Blue Thunder a good 10 truck lengths behind. Winner: Maximum Destruction.
After some ProQuads and whatever other filler was tossed our way, it was on to more monster trucks!
Grave Digger vs. Scarlet Bandit-- Hot Wheels was suppose to be up against Grave Digger but when the time came to fire, Wood's truck just wouldn't go. After some quick thrashing, there was still no fire in the engine and Scarlet Bandit was called to the line to replace Hot Wheels. Creten did not get off the line well at all while Anderson blasted out of the hole and nosed over hard on the landing nearly ripping the hood off the truck. Anderson had a 1/4 lap lead as they went for the final turn. Creten got out of shape before the turn, cut it too short, rocked up on two wheels and completely missed the turn and just stopped. Grave Digger moves on. Winner: Grave Digger.
Maximum Destruction vs. Devastator-- With the way Meents was looking in Round 1, Schroeder would need a perfect race to keep the pressure on Max D and possibly force either a screw up on Meents' part or flat out beat him. Hole shot actually went to Schroeder in the far lane but it was erased very quickly as Meents caught up to him in the air over the center line. Into the turns, neither of them made a mistake and headed towards the cars. Meents pulled away across the jump as Schroeder would need some luck in the last turn. Perfect turn from Schroeder but there was no slowing Meents this time around as he unloaded with a huge jump across the line to take the win. Good, solid race from both trucks, best on the night. Winner: Maximum Destruction.
Grave Digger vs. Maximum Destruction-- Easily the two fastest trucks on the night and "the match we all wanted to see"--Scott Douglass. By the way, I hate cotton candy on a pole idiots that stand right in the way of EVERYBODY right during the FINALS! Pure moronic. Fast launch out of the blocks by both trucks and over the center line, Max D has a slim lead going into the turn. Meents goes too wide and opens the door for Anderson to catch up and take himself a small lead as they hit the final turn. Anderson over drives the turn in the same fashion he did last year and hands a gift to Max D. Meents never let up and sailed over the finish line and was already spinning victory donuts as Anderson finally made it across the finish line. Winner: Maximum Destruction.
The poor racing track layout, the tacky dirt, bad turns and breakage all really hindered the competition and only produced one good race which was Max D vs. Devastator. Every driver would need to step it up in freestyle and hopefully get this capacity crowd really jumping. Track preparations would be done to make more and bigger obstacles and I'll cover all the freestyle excitement in one click away!
St. Louis Freestyle