Maximum Destruction and Team Grave Digger Take Center Stage in Toronto
Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam began its Canadian trip with two shows at the Rogers Center in Toronto, Ontario Jan. 22 and 23.
The Jan. 22 racing was won by eight-time champion Tom Meents, driving ‘Maximum Destruction', while 2008 Freestyle Champion Adam Anderson won Freestyle, driving ‘Grave Digger: The Legend’. Anderson got a score of 34 while Meents took second with a score of 33.
The Jan. 23 racing was jam-packed full of action from one end to the other.
The pit party was jam-packed full of fans as some found themselves waiting 30-40 minutes to meet Meents, who was making his first-ever appearance during his career in Toronto.
Right away, action took the track by storm when the show started as the racing was close in each round. In the end, though, it came down to a classic battle for the fans, as Meents and Anderson met in the finals for the win after Meents beat Anderson’s teammate Charlie Pauken, who was driving Grave Digger, in the semifinals.
Claiming round one of the Anderson-Meents rivalry for day two was Meents as he took the win to sweep both racing victories.
“I had pizza across the street Friday night—set the tone for the whole weekend,” Meents told the crowd afterwards. “Tough to win out there, big track layout, truck's running awesome—Brandon Lambert is doing a great job. Thanks to the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam fans in Toronto for getting me jacked up to run it like that.
"It's all about Toronto—never been here before, thanks for having me. Woo!”
During the half-time break, Robosaurus, the car-eating dinosaur, made his first appearance in Toronto in 10 years as he attacked two cars, chopping them both in half. He was followed by the Jet Engine Quads, who stormed the building with their noise as they blasted from one end of the arena to the other.
Freestyle action then opened up, which proved to be an amazing show.
Starting out in her first year, Becky McDonough wowed the crowd in her Dragon’s Breath truck as she soared to high heights, taking the early lead. Looking to overtake her early was Scott Beutow, driving Iron Man, as he came out strong, soaring even higher, though a flip early in the run resulted in a low score.
The honor of taking the lead went to Anderson, as he soared to heights that other drivers had not yet hit and found tricks in the bag that had yet to be tried. With a score of 35, he was crowned the new leader.
Next up was Meents, who was trying to double-down, though he was bit by the mechanical bug. Forty seconds into the run, Meents went after the bus stack but hit it the wrong way, resulting in a major frontend mechanical failure.
He wanted to continue his run and try to still beat Anderson’s score, though officials wouldn’t allow him for safety reasons.
“Tom was upset he couldn't keep going for you guys,” Anderson said afterwards. “He can't stand it; it's burning him up inside so bad right now. Heck, the next time I meet with that guy I know I better watch out.”
Taking the final shot at Anderson was set to be Pauken, driving Grave Digger. Pauken drove straight out of his parked spot over the first small jump. He then went after the bus stack, where he soared over, making a save that could very well be considered for best save of the year.
After saving it and despite the truck not being too damaged, Pauken drove off the track through the tunnel, leaving the arena. Everybody thought it was over for Team Grave Digger, though that wasn’t to be.
Seconds later, two Grave Digger trucks came flying out of the tunnel, with Pauken leading the other truck. Pauken made one final jump and parked his truck while the other truck completed the run, completing classic Grave Digger moves that have won the team multiple wins.
At the end of the run, it was discovered that driving the second Grave Digger truck was team driver Randy Brown.
"He didn't have a show,” Pauken said. “I figured to help him out here."
To qualify for the World Finals in Las Vegas in March, each driver needs to have a certain amount of points in comparison to his rivals. Pauken is already set to go as defending champion after taking the Freestyle championship last year with Monster Mutt.
Three-time champion and series veteran Dennis Anderson is set qualified, and was running the Tampa show on the same weekend. Brown is the only driver yet qualified into World Finals and was set to run Minneapolis, however, with the roof caving on that arena, the show was canceled. As a team, the call was made to help out Brown with qualifying.
"I thank him a lot for the opportunity,” Brown said. “When the show got canceled in Minneapolis, he said to me, 'Hey, if you're not doing anything, why don't you come run Toronto?' I double-downed here twice last year, I figured I'd come raise the roof a little bit more."
With making the driver switch midway through the run, Grave Digger’s score wasn’t allowed to be submitted, so second-generation driver Adam Anderson took the win in Freestyle competition to sweep the Freestyle rounds for the weekend.
“It doesn't get any better than this,” Anderson said. “First time in Toronto—to take the win with a new team here."
“We're working hard here, and both of these wins get credit to that guy,” he continued while pointing to his crew chief. “He worked on that truck and did it for all of you guys here so we could put on a show just like that."
Monster Jam has always appealed to kids and adults alike by the type of destruction that is possible, the stunts that the drivers make them capable of and the noise and horsepower under the trucks.
If you haven’t seen a Monster Jam show, then you’re definitely missing out on something, as it is a totally different experience everybody should go for.
Check out http://www.monsterjam.com for more information and to find a show near you.
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