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The Fight Goes to a Draw In Round 2 of the Monster Nationals

Bigfoot finally broke into the win column in both racing and freestyle.

It’s no secret that waiting around for the next event in any sport can sometimes be rather agonizing.  When a team, or an individual, has momentum they want it to continue and ride that wave as long as they can.

The Monster Nationals doesn’t hold events each weekend of the first quarter, like some other promoters, but the way the teams keep the momentum is knowing that they are already victorious to start the season.  Two weeks ago, the fight began for the championship in Iowa.  Fast forward, it was time to head a state over to a rival of the Hawkeyes, as the Monster Nationals went to the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

The field of trucks remained exactly the same for this event, as Doug Noelke brought his Tail Gator machine to chomp, Vinny Venom had the retro Snake Bite ready to bite, the Hall Brothers brought out Raminator and Rammunition, and with a brand new racing stripes body in place, Darron Schnell was set to go in Bigfoot.

Fans piled in for the first event of the weekend, seeing freshly painted metal on the floor.  Up first, reaching for the sky, as the wheelie competition kicked off activities.

Each truck, with two hits, tried to get the crowd approval.  The one that got the best results was one that constantly wore a mask, with no one knowing the true identity of the man underneath.  Venom powered the Snake to victory to kick off the night.

Not to be outdone, he continued that momentum when it was time to qualify, as for the fourth consecutive show, he would get the fastest time, giving him the bye into the semi-finals.

Once the trucks had a chance to cool down, it was now an opportunity to create some smoke, because when it comes to shows on concrete, the donut contest never disappoints.

That was certainly the case when Mark Hall brought out the 2016 Ram Limited and hit the floor spinning.  The smoke billowed from the Firestone tires and it got the crowd roaring.  That was more than enough to get the victory, and put the Halls on the board for the first time on the night.

Next on the list of competitions:  the long jump.

The floor of the Coliseum was larger than the previous event in Sioux City, which gave each truck a chance for more air, and more distance.  The one that measured the farthest was Dale Benear, launching the Rammunition Ram Rebel beyond the final car to take his first win of the weekend.

Vinny Venom is making finals, but not closing the deal just yet.
Vinny Venom is making finals, but not closing the deal just yet.

Finally, it was time to get the big hardware out, as up next was the racing bracket.  With Snake Bite already into the semi-finals, it was clear that the battle would be tight to knock the red machine off.  That was not happening as Venom made it into the finals.  On the opposite side of the bracket, Schnell moved the Bigfoot Raptor into the finals, marking the first time this season that the rivalry that defined the 1990’s would be the one to determine the winner of the event.  Flashbacks of seeing Colt Cobra against Andy Brass began flashing into the minds of those in attendance, as the trucks carried the same schemes as they did in 1992.

Venom was ready to bite, but Schnell was determined to put the Foot in victory lane.  The lights went green, and all the fans could see was blue.  Schnell put the big Ford in victory lane for the first time all year.  Meanwhile, Venom made it to all four finals to start the season, only to lose each one.

He was out for redemption as it was time to show off.  Freestyle would conclude the night, and Venom had one of the best runs on the night.  It was to the point where the bedsides and tailgate of the Super Snake came lose for the second time, the first coming in the wheelie contest.  The duck tape, ironically colored red, held as long as it could, but it wasn’t enough to keep it from dancing around at the end of the run.

The truck that was dancing the most had already taken one big trophy home, and now he took home a second.  Schnell made Bigfoot #19 talk, and to conclude the first night of action he would take home the sweep of the big hardware in Madison.

With two days of action remaining, it was time for teams to make adjustments, and also repairs, to get set for the next show on Saturday night.

FRIDAY RESULTS

  • Wheelie Competition:  Vinny Venom, Snake Bite
  • Fast Qualifier:  Vinny Venom, Snake Bite
  • Donut Contest:  Mark Hall, Raminator
  • Long Jump:  Dale Benear, Rammunition
  • Racing Finals:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot, def. Vinny Venom, Snake Bite
  • Freestyle:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot

 

One major advantage this weekend for the tour is the fact that there is more turnaround time in between the first and second shows.  Unlike two weeks ago, there is no “double dip” in competitions in one day, and that meant more time for the track crews to get things ready for the second night.

In doing so, they decided to start things fresh.  A new line of cars in each lane was ready to be crushed, and some of the used metal from Friday night found its way under a new, taller pyramid in the center.

This would make for a big night of action, and all five trucks were set to go, kicking things off with the wheelie competition.

The fresh cars on each lane provided a major opportunity for everyone to launch to the roof of the Alliant Energy Center, an opportunity that Schnell took advantage of.  The last time he won a wheelie competition, his truck over rotated and landed on the cars, but on the roof, and destroyed the beautiful body that fans fell in love with when it debuted last year.  Luckily for him, that did not happen this time, but he still took home the opening night win.

When it was time to set the fast qualifier, everyone was shooting for Vinny Venom, as he was on a roll by claiming the pole position in all four events run this year.

That streak came to a massive halt because for the first time this year, it was horsepower that made the difference, because Hall put the Raminator at the top of the heap, giving him the opening bye in the racing brackets.

The next two competitions, both the donut contest and the long jump, all belonged to the other character truck in attendance.  For the first time all weekend, Noelke would get the nod by both smoking up the arena, and launching the Tail Gator across the floor like a rocket.

With the two big trophies on the line, it seemed inevitable that another occurrence was on the horizon.  Once again, Venom was able to put the Snake Bite machine into the finals, his fifth consecutive event in doing so.  In the opposite lane, a familiar opponent from the previous night, as Schnell would put the Bigfoot Raptor in the finals once more.  The classic rivalry was renewed a second time.  Schnell was looking for his second straight, while Venom was trying to finally put a stop to the streak.  On this night, the only thing that was stopping Venom was breakage, and instead he broke through in the biggest way he could.

Finally, after four straight times of playing second fiddle to the Hall Brothers and Bigfoot, the Snake was holding a racing trophy, and showed off the fangs for the fans.

To close out Saturday night, it was time to show off in freestyle, and after having won two events on the night, Noelke decided it was time to get the fans to chomp, because he would donut, wheelie, launch and slide his way to yet another title on the night, meaning he was the top dog, or in this case top gator, on this night.

Through two events, the Hall Brothers have won two events, Snake Bite has a pair, then both Noelke and Schnell have three a piece.  With one event left over the weekend, each team knew that they had to go full-tilt in order to be the best in Wisconsin.

SATURDAY RESULTS

  • Wheelie Competition:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
  • Fast Qualifier:  Mark Hall, Raminator
  • Donut Contest:  Doug Noelke, Tail Gator
  • Long Jump:  Doug Noelke, Tail Gator
  • Racing Finals:  Vinny Venom, Snake Bite, def. Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
  • Freestyle:  Doug Noelke, Tail Gator

 

When things switched to Sunday’s program, things had a similar look to Saturday, at least when it came to the look of the floor.  A few fresh cars were brought in to give the initial hits exactly what the fans deserved.

What they also got on the night was a dominant performance, so long as you drove something that had a close resemblance to a blue oval product.

The wheelie contest kicked the night off with a bang as each truck knew that with the final show, there was nothing left to do except take each hit to the limit.  After having a great run on Saturday, Noelke was able to find a way to make his racing reptile be the one that stood up tall the best in the fans eyes.  First win of the night was in the favor of Tail Gator.

Everyone was shocked one night earlier when the Snake Bite machine somehow was knocked out of the fast qualifying spot.  That ended a four-show run as being the truck that got a bye into the second round.

On Saturday, Colt Cobra himself made an appearance to give the team a bit of spirit, and to ensure the fangs would sink their teeth into the competition.  It may not have led to being the fastest to the line when they were racing the clock, but it did give him his first win on the season, coming after making it to the finals of each show to that point.  This time, Venom wanted to be the one to take the lead right from the get-go, and did just that by once again claiming the top qualifying spot  After winning the night prior, it was clear that the only way one was winning the racing trophy was somehow getting past the fangs.

Once the trucks got a chance to cool down, and give a chance for the fans to post their own selfie photos, it was time to create a bit of smoke with the donut contest.

Come Sunday afternoon, the Tail Gator was chomping down on everyone.
Come Sunday afternoon, the Tail Gator was chomping down on everyone.

Not surprisingly, the smoke show was one that was tough for the fans to pick, but on this afternoon the Gator was rolling, and would take his second victory of the night.

Up next on the docket was for each truck to get into launch mode because distance was now a factor with the long jump.

The voice of the fans wouldn’t determine the winner this time, but rather the rear tires of each machine would determine the distance they made from the initial hit on the cars.  After being shut out through the first two contests, Schnell finally was able to get his Raptor to get some hang time and would get the nod for victory.

Two big trophies were now on the line to close out the weekend, and the racing bracket would determine who would take home hardware.  Not surprisingly, Venom was really strong and looked like he was on his way to again getting into the finals and possibly getting another win on the weekend.  But yet another streak would come to a close for the new driver of the Snake as he would be shut down from final round appearances, ending his run of five straight events of making it to the championship.

This left the door open for Schnell to take home the overall win percentage in racing for the weekend, but in order to do so, he would have to keep back the Ram Rebel of Benear, who only had one win throughout the entire weekend in Wisconsin.  Try as he might, the red and grey Ram simply just could not make it to the line when it counted.  Schnell was on it from the hit of the throttle, making sure the racing stripes still held true to their great history from when they debuted back in 1990.

Schnell ensured another massive trophy was on its way to the new Pacific, Missouri, shop, as he would take home two of the three racing wins on the weekend.

Finally, with everything ready to go for one final event to show off for the crowd, the fans in Madison were ready to see the final freestyle of the weekend.

Each truck tried desperately to win over the crowd for the final time, but after already taking the win the night prior, Noelke was on a mission to show that this year’s tour wasn’t just a fight between the RAM teams and Bigfoot, nor just about the return of a snake.  Noelke was ensuring the people recognized that this Gator will chomp down on everyone when given the opportunity.

SUNDAY RESULTS

  • Wheelie Competition:  Doug Noelke, Tail Gator
  • Fast Qualifier:  Vinny Venom, Snake Bite
  • Donut Contest:  Doug Noelke, Tail Gator
  • Long Jump:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
  • Racing Finals:  Darron Schnell, Bigfoot, def. Dale Benear, Rammunition
  • Freestyle:  Doug Noelke, Tail Gator

 

Unlike following the opening weekend, there is very little time to recoup, repair, and get set for the next event.  It is just a six-day turnaround for all five teams as this Saturday, February 6, the Monster Nationals head out for round three of the season.  After being shut out in the final show in Madison, the Hall Brothers are going to feel a lot better because they return to their home state of Illinois, as up next is a one-night showcase at the Convocation Center in the city of Dekalb.

Fans can still get tickets to the show, which will kick off at 6:30 p.m. following the pit party, which begins two hours prior.

MonsterNationals.com has all the information on the event, as well as ticket prices.

 

Current Standings

Wheelies

  1. Tail Gator/Bigfoot-2 Wins
  2. Snake Bite/Raminator-1 Win

Donuts

  1. Tail Gator-4 Wins
  2. Snake Bite/Raminator-1 win

Long Jump

  1. Bigfoot-2 Wins
  2. Raminator/Rammunition/Tail Gator-1 Win

Racing (25 points for competing, 50 points as runner-up, 100 points for win)

  1. Bigfoot, Darron Schnell-325 points
  2. Snake Bite, Vinny Venom-325 points
  3. Raminator, Mark Hall-300 points
  4. Rammunition, Dale Benear-250 points
  5. Tail Gator, Doug Noelke-150 points

Freestyle

  1. Tail Gator-4 Wins
  2. Raminator-1 Win
  3. Bigfoot-1 Win

About Dustin Parks

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