It has been nearly three months since some of the top drivers in Monster Jam were even sitting in their trucks at an event. Some got a taste of action at some speedways and local dirt tracks, but many would have time off to be with family, and enjoy other activities that make them happy.
But then came the two-week Monster Jam "Path of Destruction" tour, a field full of World Finals caliber drivers and trucks descending on two big stadiums in successive weeks brought back the top guns in the sport.
At the end of the night, it would be the two reigning champions taking trophies home.
The night started off with some issues that plagued everyone in Las Vegas. Ryan Anderson and his father, Dennis, both experienced electrical issues to start the night. In Vegas, the Remote Ignition Interrupter kept getting shut off, but not by the officials. It turned out that an outside frequency was using the same channels as event officials, so in theory there was hope that the issue would be resolved in the time between major events.
But, both Andersons had electrical issues. Ryan would get his fixed to race in the first round, but missed qualifying. Unfortunately for his dad, he would miss the first round as the crew would continue to chase the issue. He would have to make his return for freestyle.
The third Anderson, Adam, took the momentum from his World Finals win and put his Grave Digger the Legend machine atop the bracket. He would then work his way though each round of racing, and would face his younger brother in the finals. It would be a rematch of Round 1 since Ryan lost that race, but because of Grave Digger and El Diablo having issues, would return in round 2 and made his case to take victory.
But, the older brother reigned supreme, as Adam Anderson would follow up his championship with yet another trophy on his mantle.
The track got set up for freestyle, and for the first time there was a change in scoring. There were still three judges for the standard 90-second freestyle that could give a combined maximum score of 30. What is different is that in the 30-second bonus time, should a driver reach that point, the bonus judge can now award up to 10 points for that part of the performance, unlike the previous five points for that time frame.
No doubt, the early highlight of the night was Scott Buetow taking his Hot Wheels Firestorm machine and landing a perfect backflip, his second one ever done. His overall run would keep him in the leader's chair for a majority of the night. Not to be outdone, Linsey Weenk also pulled off the feat in his Lucas Oil Crusader.
When it came down to the final three, it would be both bonus points and regulation points that made a big difference.
Lupe Soza had a stellar run in the Advance Auto Parts Grinder, and he was followed up by yet another spectacular performance by Dennis Anderson in the Grave Digger, enough to give him the lead. But, there was still one man left...the new World Freestyle Champion, Tom Meents in Max-D.
In what can only be considered the "wow" freestyle of the night, Meents went off in typical style, but he got into a tough spot and got the truck on the sidewalls of the tires. Meents, as if he wasn't crazy enough already, nailed the throttle, and with the motor at full RPM, the truck did cyclones on the sidewalls for five revolutions before the truck went on the roof, and then bounced back up. He tore right through all the dirt and actually was burning rubber, and the fans lost it.
Meents barely made it into bonus time, but had enough left to go for the backflip. His truck launched skyward, landing sideways, and bouncing onto the roof. Meents emerged from the truck to see that his run would be enough to take home the victory.
Now, the real fun begins. Crews only have seven days to get the machines ready for the second stop on the P.O.D. Tour, which will be in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It's the second big event held at the venue since April, when it played host to WWE's Wrestlemania XXIX.
Tickets and pit party passes are available on Ticketmaster. Visit MonsterJam.com for all the event info, including displays, leading up to the big event.