March usually means an Irish holiday, the talk about college basketball tournament brackets, and closing in on the start of the spring equinox. It also means the final month of the Monster Jam season has arrived, and with very few major stadiums left, the focus by all teams is to win and gain that extra edge heading into Las Vegas.
Two major events encompassed the first weekend of March, with the sport's biggest names headlining both cities.
Up north, the Motor City of Detroit hosted it's second event of the year, and to make sure it was their biggest, the heavy hitters came to play. The Andersons, Dennis and Ryan, stepped into Ford Field alongside Tom Meents and his Max-D machine, hoping to gain that extra edge where American auto makers call home. Also in attendance, the driver that has won the most racing titles this season, Jimmy Creten in the Bounty Hunter.
The racing bracket ironically would come down to a father vs. son matchup, something that even the most diehard fans had trouble picking. On one end, Dennis has not been winning racing titles like crazy as in previous years, but on the other his son has not lost a stadium round of racing all season.
On this night, one streak ended as it was Dennis piloting his Grave Digger to victory over his son's 1950 Willys, Son-Uva Digger, for his second racing victory of the year. It was a close win, to the point officials reviewed tape to be sure, but it was confirmed that daddy was on top on this night.
With freestyle approaching, both Andersons were hoping for a victory, as Dennis prepared to give fans a performance that would take home three trophies on this night.
But, unfortunately, Dennis would not be able to even score on this night. An issue was discovered by his crew and he was unable to take home another Double Down in front of his Detroit fans.
Not wanting the Anderson name to go unrecognized, Ryan set out to take home another freestyle win, something he's done often this year. With former Digger driver Rod Schmidt, now driving the Monster Mutt Rottweiler, in the hot seat for majority of the night, Ryan went off on the track, putting in a run that even his dad could be proud of.
Anderson topped Schmidt by just one point, enough to take home the freestyle win and also making it a sweep for the Andersons in the Motor City.
Meanwhile, down in El Paso, Texas, the elder son, Adam, brought in Grave Digger the Legend to perform not on one night, but two, as El Paso hosts two stadium events this weekend, the only such event of it's kind. Adam started the night by being top qualifier, out-running Neil Elliott in Max-D by just over a second.
He would work his way through the bracket and ironically in the end would face Elliott in the finals. Despite a hard effort, it was the Legend reigning supreme on this night as Adam would win his second straight racing event. Unfortunately he too was unable to Double Down, as he would end up short in his freestyle, with Elliott taking that crown.
Charlie Pauken was in attendance with his Grave Digger, but in a surprising move Pauken did not want to compete for points. He was still going to run, but it would be just for the fans.
It was clear why he decided to do so, as when he came out on the track to perform, another engine began roaring to life. Suddenly, out of the tunnel came a second Grave Digger. Team driver Carl Van Horn had a weekend off from competing, so he was in attendance helping his teammate in the Sun Bowl.
But, the opportunity was too sweet to pass up, so both Pauken and CVH hit the floor to perform a tandem freestyle in front of the sold-out El Paso crowd, which meant much more than any trophy.
El Paso hosts one more stadium event today, a 2 p.m. matinee, which is also sold out. After that, one more major stadium event is left before the World Finals. Next Saturday it is a trip to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York, the football home of Syracuse University.
Dennis will be in attendance, along with Tom Meents, as the two have one more face-to-face run before they take a week off to prepare for Las Vegas.
Results from El Paso will be posted later today or tomorrow morning. Be sure to visit MonsterJam.com for photos of this past weekend's performances and also all the up-to-date information in Las Vegas for World Finals XIV.
An afternoon of Monster Jam action saw the Anderson name on top once again, this time in the other competition. Adam Anderson didn't make qualifying due to issues, and didn't have repairs finished in time to make racing. On this day, it was Damon Bradshaw that took his Monster Energy machine to victory, which would mark the one year anniversary of him getting his new Cohen-designed chassis.
The freestyle afternoon would be one of high jumps, big air, and massive destruction. Bradshaw didn't make it to bonus time for his run, but the fans were still happy.
Neil Elliott couldn't get the victory in his spiked Max-D machine, and for the second straight day, Charlie Pauken opted to only show off for the fans, not for points, as once more he and fellow Grave Digger driver Carl Van Horn put on a dual freestyle for the El Paso fans, hoping to follow up last night's performance that saw Van Horn perform a donut on the sidewalls of his monster tires.
In the end, it was Anderson filling the clock, filling bonus, and keeping the fans screaming as he would bring home a fourth trophy for the Anderson household to enjoy on this weekend of action.