It always seems that when a special day rolls around, things get better and there's a little more pep in one's step. When that special day is a birthday, the focus is on one individual: the one being celebrated.
Monster Jam descended on two big stadiums to mark the unofficial midway point of the season, and in Miami, Florida, it was more than just a big event for one individual. February 9 marked the birthday for Monster Jam's "Queen of Carnage," the two-time World Champion, Debra "Madusa" Miceli.
Prior to the start of the event, a huge downpour saturated the field at Sun Life Stadium, but cleared up enough for the show, despite puddles on the track.
Madusa herself surprised everyone, having an excellent qualifying run, making it into the top-five. After that she would take out Young Guns Shootout qualifier Razin Kane, then barely edged teammate Lupe Soza in the Advance Auto Parts Grinder, and finally Iron Man to reach her first final round of the season. On the opposite side of the bracket, Jimmy Creten in Bounty Hunter used his top qualifying spot to make his own path to the final round.
This is where things started to get interesting, and a bit controversial. In the final round, the two trucks left even, took the first and second jumps at the same time. Heading into the final turn, the two were deadlocked.
Suddenly, Creten's truck lost power, shutting down, and Madusa went across the line the winner...or did she?
Officials suddenly were at a meeting and at a stand-still, wondering what took place, and what happened it turned out was that the R.I.I. switch was hit by an official working Creten's radio, in essence robbing him of power and victory. So, the call was made to have the race rerun, a decision that wasn't popular with the throngs of fans of the birthday girl. But, Madusa put on her big girl firesuit, and pulled her truck back to the line for another crack at the win.
Unfortunately, the birthday girl was not able to pull off the repeat, and Creten would be the one holding the hardware at the end of the night.
Still, Madusa went on to perform a great freestyle to end the night for her in front of her fans, who all made signs honoring her birthday. She may not have left with a trophy, but she had the most fan support on this night.
On the opposite side of the country, Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California, hosted it's final event for the season. A 16-truck field soon turned into a 15-truck race bracket as the man trying to go for a three-peat, Donald Epidendio in Titan, broke during introductions, as his transmission let go.
On this night though, victory had to go through Grave Digger, specifically the Digger of on Dennis Anderson. Right off the get-go, Anderson was the class of the field, out-qualifying his competition by two seconds on the So-Cal track.
He would then take out Candice Jolly in the Dalmatian after a bye in the first round, then outperformed Rick Swanson in Obsession, and finally took out Tropical Thunder to get his first big stadium win out west.
When it came time to freestyle, Anderson waited through many strong runs, but as the ground was cleared for him to run, he made sure everyone remembered that on this night, it was a Digger Double Down.
It was 90 seconds of high-speed thrills, then 30 seconds of bonus time that culminated in a major leap that sent the truck in a tumble onto the roof. With a final score of 29, it was enough to take home a freestyle trophy, as well as his first Double Down of the 2013 season.
This week it is expected to have the first drivers named to the World Finals field, marking the official midway point of the 2013 winter tour.
Next weekend there is only one major stadium on the schedule. Originally Dodgers Stadium was set to host an event, but with stadium renovations in full swing, their event was sadly canceled. At the same time, the other stadium event was moved ahead due to the NFL playoffs.
One of the most popular stops on the circuit will be the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where over 60,000 fans will sell out the stadium to see a full field run on the infamous red clay.
Watch for results next weekend here at AllAboutHorsepower.com.