The last day of any 4-Wheel Jamboree is bittersweet for every individual. It’s the last day to interact with the fans, to push their products to the public for sale, and to entertain those that spend hard-earned money to come to the show. At the same time, at least for those that have come to the Allen County Fairgrounds this season, it is a relief.
The hopes of moving the date ahead nearly a month to avoid the rain that has plagued the show unfortunately went to soggy disappointment. What has been ironic, however, is that when the actual shows took place throughout the weekend, the rain had already stopped. The infield was reduced from dirt and grass into a quagmire of mud, and it got worse with every downpour that followed despite the track crew’s best efforts.
An overnight rain on Saturday night again put the conditions into the realm of muck and grime, and it meant no grip at any point during racing and freestyle.
Everyone was racing the rain on the final day, as a heavy batch was off to the west and was heading right toward Ohio. Officials moved some events up from later in the day to compensate for the potential saturation, but somehow, the skies began to show peaks of blue, and even the sun came out. When the call to start the final show of the weekend came about, the sun was in the sky, the trucks were tightened down, and the fans came out ready to see who would take the final win of the General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags weekend.
The one thing everyone noticed right away was the fact attrition began to take a lead. Right away, the very first race of the afternoon saw trouble. Christian Norman came off the line a bit slow in the Lucas Oil Bigfoot, losing to Mat Dishman in the Rammunition. He didn’t make it back to the pit area, and instead went to the hauler, and his brother Philip was not far behind on the team four wheeler ready to see what was happening, and hope to fix it.
What everyone was hoping was the momentum of Mike Vaters Jr. came to an end. After his phenomenal Saturday performances that included a racing win, a freestyle win, and a freestyle splash victory, all the mojo was in the hands of Overkill Evolution.
It certainly didn’t end in the first round when he took down his dad in Black Stallion. He then went right through the second round by beating Dishman, and one more time he went face-to-face with Mark Hall once again in Raminator. They each had the same lanes as the day prior, but it was Vaters with the advantage.
The left lane was the place to be all weekend because of the grime, and Vaters Jr. went for it. On the gas, he managed to find a little grip on the line thanks to his Ukraine tires, while Hall slipped slightly on the line but still kept digging. It turned out to be not enough, as Vaters cruised to victory for the second straight day, and immediately waved to the crowd before returning to the pits.
He had a good reason to as he stated during the interview post-race that his transmission was beginning to slip, and he was losing fluid. But, they were heading to top it off and he was ready to “burn it down” in freestyle.
- Round 1: Rammunition def. Lucas Oil Bigfoot; Overkill Evolution def. Black Stallion; Raminator def. General Tire.
- Semi Finals: Overkill Evolution def. Rammunition; Raminator def. Black Stallion (Fast Loser).
- Finals: Overkill Evolution def. Raminator
Meanwhile, during a break in the action, Norman rolled the Bigfoot Raptor back onto the track, and he was the first to freestyle. Unfortunately, his run was three hits and over, as the engine was misfiring horribly and eventually shut off. Afterwards he stated the mud and grime of the weekend clogged the air filter and also caused the mag to cause the engine to misfire as if the engine had lost cylinders.
He got towed off the track, and later the truck fired up well, but it’s clear when Norman returns to the shop in Missouri there will be a lot of work to be done to not only clean the truck, but also diagnose the engine woes.
Meanwhile, the sloppy track made it even harder for the trucks to get anything going. Drivers almost had to be full-throttle all the time to get through the wet infield.
The man at the wheel of the Black Stallion made it work, including a little ride through the makeshift pond at the end of the track, and Dishman soon followed suit with a solid run that included some muddy donuts. Hall then put on a strong run that had every RAM fan in the crowd happy, even though it meant a long night of cleaning ahead for the team.
But, one man remained, and he already had the weekend won based on what he did the night before. He was on house money at this point, and the Overkill Evolution Ford was on it right from the first hit.
Vaters II crossed the entire track, hitting the sides of the tough truck hills, then sped through the fourth turn, hammering the plateau on the front stretch. He then decided to give fans that may not have gotten enough of it the night before an encore performance. He blasted the tabletop in the first turn, and just like the night before he landed in the water, making a splash that was even larger than the previous night. This time, it not only cleaned the body, but it shut the truck off because a huge plume of steam came from the engine area.
The crowd was roaring it’s approval, and Vaters II emerged from the truck to salute the crowd, but then decided to have a little fun. After taking the helmet off and his neck restraint, he channeled his inner Jim Koehler, driver of the Avenger monster truck, and jumped into the water.
It wasn’t a hat trick like he experienced the night before, but the Overkill Evolution team achieved a double down and now holds the points lead heading into the next jamboree weekend.
There is less time between the first two jamborees this year, but it means the anticipation is greater to get back to action. Up next on the docket is what many consider the biggest outdoor show of the year that includes more than just monsters. Many of the teams make the trip east for this one, while some only make a short trip north. It is the biggest show on the east coast of the season, and many of the people that came to Lima are willing to make the trip to get a second helping.
From July 13-15, it’s the A&A Auto Stores 4-Wheel Jamboree Summer Nationals at the large Bloomsburg Fairgrounds in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Be ready for another incredible four show weekend, with hopefully no rain but even more wild action.
Get your tickets now at 4WheelJamboree.com, or register your vehicle to get even more access.
Photos of mine from the entire weekend can be found here.
40 Points for each round, 40 for victory. Racing wins in brackets, freestyle wins in italics.
- Overkill Evolution – 400  3
- Rammunition – 320 
- Raminator – 320 1
- Lucas Oil Bigfoot – 240
- Black Stallion – 160
- General Tire – 120
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
WHR Motorsports and Family Events
Allen County Fairgrounds
Michael Vaters-Vaters Motorsports
Mike Vaters II-Overkill Evolution
Hall Brothers Racing
Bigfoot 4×4 Inc.