Photo Credit: Danny Maass-Maass Media/TheMonsterBlog.com
After waiting over two months, the folks at Family Events finally got the opportunity to come back to their home state. For years, their event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds has been the one event that attracts the most attention, and the most participants. With it being the motorsports capital of the world, everyone wants to win at Indianapolis.
This year's 4-Wheel Jamboree at Indianapolis was not only going to be big, it was going to be better than the year prior.
For this year's event, a massive field of 13 trucks would take to the course. Added to the usual line-up for the show was a second Bigfoot truck, Bigfoot #19 sporting an all-new special edition Hubler Chevrolet body, and driven by Larry Swim. Added as well is a new truck to the circuit this year, based out of St. Louis, the Wicked Sickness Ford, with Mark Andrew at the wheel.
This year, once again, the focus was on the Hall Brothers, as Mark Hall held a major lead over teammate Mat Dishman, and practically had the title all but won. However, on Friday, he would not have the opportunity to race for that championship.
At the same time, neither did anyone else. Heavy rain leading into the weekend completely drenched the track, which created problems because a majority of the track was on asphalt, as the infield at the fairgrounds was paved over in 2007 after years of harsh rain tore up the grass. So, on Friday night, everyone if they wanted to would take to the track in dueling freestyles, with two trucks out at once.
The biggest highlight was the massive air that many were getting off the big center stacks, which included a 40-foot gap. Both Swim and teammate Dan Runte nearly endoed their respective Bigfoot trucks over the gap, while Dishman nearly put his Rammunition Ram on it's side. Derick Anson rolled his Heavy Hitter, but it came back on all fours, meaning the truck was still good for the rest of the weekend.
The thrash was on as many teams needed to make repairs for Saturday's event. Dave Radzierez of the XDP Diesel actually had to drive overnight to pick up a new transmission to put in his truck, but made it back in time to compete.
Weather finally cooperated and for the first time, teams could compete on the track in racing for points. This year's track at Indy, completely new. The track included a cross-over jump that forced drivers to swap lanes, similar to the old MLMT tracks that were long and contained a major cross, where one truck could leap over another at some point.
With part of the track on asphalt, some on dirt, and even a bit of gravel, lane choice was critical, and when the first event got under way, it was expected that the Hall Brothers would get the win, just like they have all year.
But in a surprise, although not by the biggest of stretches, it was Dan Runte putting his Bigfoot #18 in the winner's circle in the first race of the weekend. The shallow-cut tires, which had not been shaved, seemed to work on the slick track, and the Ford desert-race truck had the right combination to win.
Once again, freestyle was dominated by big air, including a major hit by Anson yet again, seeming to let the Heavy Hitter hit heavy on landing.
When the evening show came around, everyone again was gunning for the Hall Brothers, but now the Bigfoot team had yet another bulls eye on it's back. That made the rest of the competition hungry, and all wanting a win. But when this battle was done, with the sun setting in the background, it was a driver that no one had on the radar that would be praised at the evening's end.
With his dad competing and watching as well, young Cody Holman, the driver of the Star Marshall Cadillac, showed that he was able to hang with the big boys. In a stunning night, the young man that just started driving this year, would be the champion in racing. The smile on his face was clear, and it went on to show the future of this sport was extremely bright.
To conclude the night, it would be more dueling freestyle, with everyone eyeing the big stack in the center. Many trucks were already clearing the gap, but the problem that many drivers had was if they launched too far, what would occur.
On this night, one driver found out.
During the duel Bigfoot freestyle, Swim brought out the Hubler Chevrolet Bigfoot #19 and went full-tilt right to the big stack, launching the CRD-chassis like a jet plane. But the massive leap suddenly had a nose-dive, what teams in the industry have termed a "lawn dart", and Swim took the brunt of it. The truck landed square on the front axle, breaking the steering arm and flattening both front tires. By far, it was the most air any truck had gotten over the course of the weekend, and also the biggest hit anyone had seen, likely since last year when Swim took a hard roll in the now-retired Bigfoot #16.
The team went right to work to get the truck fixed. New steering ram, stabilizers, and not to mention repair the gear housing as fluid leaked everywhere were just part of the repairs. The team seemed to be working well as it appeared by the end of the night, most of the work was already done.
But now, one final monster event remains not only of the weekend, but of the season. Will Runte or Holman take another win, or will someone else be in victory lane? Will Hall officially clinch yet another Jamboree championship? And will someone else try to out-do Swim's air launch with something greater?
The final jamboree race of the year is at 3 p.m. ET. Fans in Indianapolis can still buy tickets at the gate. Visit 4WheelJamboree.com for the event info, and follow them on Twitter (@4WheelJamboree), and "Like" them on Facebook.
OTHER NOTES: Breakage among the monsters was not limited to just Heavy Hitter and the Hubler Bigfoot trucks. During the afternoon session, Mike Miller, driver of the Hotsy Raminator, took a hard landing on the rear of the truck, breaking the spindle. The truck sat on the track till the end of the duel freestyle before being taken to the pits for repairs.
Teammate Mark Hall blew out a tire in the afternoon session as during the evening show he had the spare tire on the truck, which had a different style rim than any other on the team trucks.
Joe Nichter had a strong run going on Saturday afternnon in The General but a hard landing blew a tie-rod on the rear of the truck, and also blew out a tire, damaging the rim.