PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Luckey, Luckey Photo
One day ago, it was Dan Runte in his retro painted, voted on by the fans, Bigfoot machine that would open the 2015 4-Wheel Jamboree season on top, winning the opening racing event. His team was ecstatic and eager to get ready for the second day of festivities.
The other seven drivers in the field, two of them being his teammates, were ready to knock him down. The monster field was ready to get everything rolling on the second day of the jamboree at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio.
Yesterday’s action was not without consequences, however.
After racing, the XDP team of Dave Radzierez needed to do repairs. The wiring harness for the truck failed, and would not let the truck run. So, it was off to the hauler to get things ready to go for another day of action. At the same time, the crew of Team Scream had work to do to Steve Koehler’s General Tire Chevrolet, as they had to fix a broken right rear spindle so that the tire could stay on the axle instead of make a trip down towards the outer wall.
The Foot team wasn’t without part failures, as Runte’s team needed to also do some work. After a strong final launch over the van stack near turn 1, his truck landed hard on the front end, breaking the tie rod in the steering and causing the front tires to face one another instead of facing straight ahead.
Every team pitched in to help their fellow drivers, and by the time the afternoon rolled around, they were ready to take to the S-course in the infield.
Yet, someone else had another idea of what the afternoon and evening would entail. That would be Mother Nature. One thing that is always consistent with the Family Events Promotion Company when it comes to their outdoor shows is that they will have an event, no matter what the weather. The track crew already had laid water down to keep the dust down starting in the day. But then, the skies decided to lend an unexpected hand in making sure no dust would be flying at any point.
It began raining, and raining, and raining even more.
The infield suddenly went from being tacky with grip, to sloppy and slick. It would rain so hard that track officials began getting concerned that running the afternoon event could cause problems for the trucks, mainly water getting into the electrical system and causing the trucks to shut off early or cause harm to the engines. So, with more rain coming down and pelting the infield and all the participants, it was decided for the afternoon program to be postponed, with a possibility of having the evening show still have racing.
So as the day progressed, more rain fell. The participants in the mud bog had their fun as their pit became almost mud soup, and those that had open-topped vehicles got just as muddy as their trucks and jeeps.
As the evening show approached, the infield was still a quagmire. The outside track alone saw the dirt have standing water, and mud was sticking everywhere.
So, the 4-Wheel Jamboree folks decided that the fans who braved the rain all day would still get to see the monsters see action. However, like they did a few years ago when the conditions were similar in Springfield, Illinois, they elected to hold a freestyle-only event to cap off the Saturday festivities.
What the eight trucks got were runs that saw a lot of brown muck make it’s way onto the tires, the chassis, body and depending on where it hit, even the drivers. Josh Gibson kicked it off with his Retro Bigfoot, and then Mat Dishman got a little dirty in Rammunition. The General Tire crew got the repairs done to the rear of the truck, and Koehler came out just as he did the day prior, and put everything down he could to have a good run. In the end, he had a flashback to the night before, but in a different way. Once again, the crew would need to do some repairs to the rear of the truck, this time to the left rear as the tire broke away from the truck. Unlike last night, the team will have to clean the equipment before repairing it.
Larry Swim then made the Lucas Oil colors stand tall, and then Mark Hall made his solid run in the Raminator, to the point that the champion flag was gone from the truck. Runte then came out and made his #21 chassis talk as he would thrill the crowd in the new piece.
Finally, after not being able to perform the previous day, Radzierez brought out the XDP Ford and started throwing mud and blowing smoke. He would have a spectacular run, even if it cost him some parts. However, the man known as “Diesel Dave” was assuring that he would be back for the final day’s performance.
To end the evening, it was the 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air of Jim Koehler that would make the crowd roar it’s approval as he would sling mud all over the infield and even pull a bit of a slap wheelie in the muck. Koehler, unlike some other drivers, decided to cut part of the windshield out so that his field of view was unobstructed. It certainly helped, and at the end of the evening he would bring the truck around to salute the people that stayed out all day in the wet weather to see him show off.
One final day remains for the folks in Lima, as Sunday will close out the opening weekend of the jamboree season. The final monster truck show, rain or shine, will begin at 3:30 p.m.