The Indianapolis Jamboree for 2012 is all focused on the monster truck team that started the industry. But, who would have ever anticipated that the weekend would become one of pure domination, on the track and off.
On Friday, team driver Darron Schnell picked up his first ever win outdoors in the Vi-Cor Bigfoot "Bessie", defeating points leader Mark Hall in the Raminator. Saturday, he was looking to continue the success as two racing events took center stage at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
However, before the action on the track took place, a special event was also happening outside the race course. The second class of inductees into the International Monster Truck Museum and Hall of Fame. The first name on the list was long-time Bigfoot driver and current Vice President of Operations at Bigfoot 4x4, Jim Kramer. Quite possibly the most infamous name in the history of the Bigfoot organization, aside from creator Bob Chandler, was appropriately the first name on the list of inductees.
Kramer's greatest moments are too vast to list, but they include being the first driver of the revolutionary Stage 2 Bigfoot 4, which utilized an all-new design at the time of a straight-rail frame from an industrail truck, becoming the true "work horse" of the team.
Kramer soon became the driver of many new trucks on the fleet, including Bigfoots 6 and 7, plus testing on their first tube-frame truck #8, before officially retiring as a driver after 1992 and becoming a crew chief.
He has since become a mentor to young drivers in the field and still tours with the trucks, providing assistance wherever needed.
Other inductees into this year's Hall of Fame are Mike Welch, former driver of the Super Pete Peterbuilt truck, known for being one of the first freestyle trucks in the hopes of pleasing the fans. George Carpenter is also going in, one of the best promoters of monster trucks in it's vast history. Fourth on the list is current Grave Digger driver Pablo Huffaker, who back in his early days drove his own truck, Just Showin Off, before getting the opportunity to join the Digger team.
Pablo is still a well respected man in the industry, and is one of the top chassis builders in the sport, and a leader among shock technology.
The final inductee this year needs no introduction, as his legacy has been cemented for 30 years. Dennis Anderson, the creator of the Grave Digger phenomenon, is the last inductee into the Hall of Fame. Countless wins, four world championships, and his throng of fans are sure to be happy that the "Icon" has his name amongst greatness.
But, the focus soon switched to the infield as two rounds of racing were on tap for Saturday at the fairgrounds.
The afternoon session came down to the same trucks that competed in the finals the day prior, as Hall and Schnell once again met in the final round. Both drivers were on kill on the unique "S-and-U" style course, but for the second straight event, it was Schnell pushing the cow to victory.
Not all went right for Team Bigfoot, as Schnell and fellow Bigfoot driver Larry Swim performed a dual freestyle to end the afternoon portion of the show. However, when Swim went for a classic Bigfoot wheelstand, he clipped the center tough truck jump, sending the E3 Spark Plug sponsored truck into a roll. When the truck was towed to the pits, aside from a badly damaged body, there was also a cracked rim, but also a badly bent roll cage.
The cage was damaged enough to where safety was a concern, and Swim's weekend of driving was done. But, with a full fleet of race vehicles at the event, a backup truck was pulled in. So, for the evening show, the Odyssey Batteries Bigfoot #15 was added to the line-up, with Rick Long getting the nod to return to the drivers' seat after retiring earlier this year.
Surprisingly, for the third straight event, the final round was once again between the same two trucks, as Bigfoot Bessie once again faced off against Raminator. If there was ever a case of domination, it became evident as for the third straight event, it was Schnell piloting Bigfoot Bessie #11 to the victory, a truck that has won two past championships at this venue.
Still, Hall was able to extend his points lead in the standings, and with a total of six victories on the season, has all but clinched the General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags championship. As long as he starts the event on Sunday, it's a lock for the Raminator.
Sunday is the finale of the Jamboree season, but it is a day that ultimately is all about one team, one driver, one truck and one record. The Bigfoot family will participate in a parade to the infield, with all the trucks, minus #16, making their tour of the fairgrounds before coming to the infield.
The final Thunder Drags event occurs at 3:30 p.m. to decide the final winner of the Jamboree tour and the overall champion. But, a half hour before that session, the focus turns to Dan Runte.
That is the time when he will climb aboard the E3 Spark Plugs Bigfoot #18, not to race or freestyle, but to attempt to take back a world record. Set up on the back part of the infield is the launch ramp for Runte to take his radical truck into orbit trying to take back the long jump record in a monster truck.
Since the announcement that he was going after the record, fans have been waiting for this day to arrive, and it has finally come. One shot, with no retakes. Runte is going after a record he wants back, and has the truck capable of doing it.
Any fans that are close to the fairgrounds can still get tickets to the show, as the finale of the jamboree season will be unlike any other.