Historically, the biggest day of any 4-Wheel Jamboree is the second day. The amount of activities that take place over the course of a near 12-hour day are vast, and the options for every fan coming through the gate is as big as their imagination. It means the most amount of fans, the most participation, and the most epic time.
No place is it bigger than at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, as the enormous facility draws in thousands of vehicles for the weekend, but the fans look forward to Saturday as they can come as an entire family without having to worry about school, jobs, or time. They just come, and enjoy the day.
Whether young or old, the one thing that brings all the fans together is the monster trucks.
After a successful Friday, every team was itching to get ready to hit the infield for the second day, especially with two events on the docket. Most importantly, the momentum of victory has gone into the hands of Hall Brothers Racing. On Friday, Mat Dishman earned his second win of the season with the Rammunition machine, and at the same time, his teammate and boss, Mark Hall, expanded his point lead on the field.
With Hall recovered from his small layover on Friday in freestyle, everyone was ready to go for the afternoon event, and in an ironic twist, Hall and Dishman drew numbers that meant they were facing one another in the opening round. Hall took the win, and in the next matchup, his closest competition fell in a loss. Mike Vaters II lost his opening round matchup to Christian Norman in Bigfoot, meaning that Hall already had another 40 points on his competition.
Sadly, Hall did fall to Foot in the second round, but that added round gave him one big advantage to use heading into Sunday (more on that later).
Dishman, meanwhile, made his way back as the fast loser and took out the third HBR truck in the field, Kurt Kraehmer in General Tire, to make it into the finals against Foot, a rematch of the previous night.
Both line up in the exact same lane, but in this case, the finish was so close, neither driver knew exactly who crossed the line off the second jump ahead of the other. Both ran well into the shutdown area not knowing who took the victory, and each were coming back to the pit still unsure of exactly who won. Officials had to look at still images and video to determine who crossed the line first, exactly like they had to do in this same race a few years ago when it was Dan Runte at the wheel.
Officials finally made the call, and this time, it was Norman crossing the line first, avenging his loss from the day before, and scoring his second victory on the season.
When it came to freestyle, only one truck couldn’t make the call. The Raminator was sidelined with front-end issues after his second-round loss to Foot, meaning it was a five-truck run to finish out the afternoon.
Everyone expected to see Vaters II have a solid performance, and by all accounts he did have one of the best runs of the afternoon. However it ended just a bit short by official standards, as the truck didn’t make a full run.
The truck that did surprise everyone on this afternoon to ultimately win the competition was the man that placed runner up in racing, Dishman. Not really known for his freestyle, Dishman can surprise many when he gets behind the wheel of his Ram Heavy Duty. On this particular occasion, he managed to do something that many have not been able to accomplish thus far in Indy…a pair of slap wheelies.
Those moves allowed him to make a major impression on the crowd and the track team, as they gave Dishman the surprising, but deserving, victory in freestyle to close out the afternoon session.
- Round 1: Raminator def. Rammunition; Lucas Oil Bigfoot def. Overkill Evolution; General Tire def. Black Stallion.
- Semi-Finals: Lucas Oil Bigfoot def. Raminator; Rammunition (Fast Loser) def. General Tire
- Finals: Lucas Oil Bigfoot def. Rammunition
In between the two monster shows, one of the big highlights in the industry was the reveal of the newest class of inductees into the International Monster Truck Hall of Fame. In a class that has included so many different eras, drivers, announcers, and builders, the list of who should go in was one that was difficult to narrow down. However, after months of votes were totaled, four names officially would get enshrined in Auburn, Indiana, this November.
For 2018, the individuals getting to enter into the class of greats are…
- Jack Koberna-Owner/Driver of Cyborg, the industry’s only full-time rear-wheel drive monster truck, long-time builder of trucks on the west coast.
- Gary Bauer-Known for operating the Lon Ranger monster in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.
- Mike Nickell-Original owner and driver of Excaliber.
- Marty Garza-Owner/Driver of Overkill, responsible for many innovations in suspension for mosnters. Current owner of Overkill Evolution.
As the evening began to draw close, the Indiana sun began to set and give the infield of the Hoosier Mile a nice orange hue, it was almost time to bring the field back for another round of freestyle action.
All trucks were repaired and running like a top as they paraded to the infield for the fans to see, and each got a chance to run hard to put on the performance deserving of a victory. Kraehmer had a solid run to kick things off, although his General rubber was not getting the grip on the asphalt that he expected. The Black Stallion was bucking hard on this night, and Rammunition then put together one of his best runs on the season.
Hall had a great run end when his right-rear tire decided it would come off the rim, and with the asphalt there was a major risk of the rim being damaged from running on the hard ground without the tire to protect the bead of the rim. Norman then had another solid performance as he drifted the Ford Raptor across the entire infield.
However, nothing was stopping the Overkill Evolution team on Saturday. Sure, it was not a full clean sweep, but taking 2 of 3 wins overall on one weekend certainly was worth it. Vaters II was not stopping until the truck was unable to go any longer, and in doing so he continued his great run of freestyle wins continued.
It came at a cost as on the final hit, he crossed up in the air and came down hard on the left side of the truck. It was hard enough, he ultimately was towed off the track by the backhoe.
In the pits, the analysis was not good, and the Sunday performance in limbo from the team. Two of the BKT tires were destroyed with major cuts in the sidewall, a pair of shocks blown, a bent four-link bar, an axle shaft, and a planetary sun gear. The team already had the transport tires on late into the evening, almost giving the indication their weekend is done. But, the team was still welding and repairing, so anything is possible.
Entering Sunday, it is a three-truck race for the championship. Hall stands at the top with a two-round lead on Norman, with Vaters II a full event behind and needing a major miracle to achieve a sweep.
For Hall to win the title, he needs to remain consistent, and just worry about what he’s doing, because he can control his own destiny. For Norman, it’s a bit more complicated. For Vaters II, it’s even more complicated, especially now with the work needing done to the truck to just make it to the program.
Here’s a look at the clinching scenarios for the top three trucks:
- Raminator-Make the final round, make a legal pass.
- Bigfoot-Win final round so long as Hall loses in semi-finals. Should Hall lose in first round, make final round and make legal pass (tie-breaker rule would apply).
- Overkill Evolution-Win final round, Norman loses in first or second round, and Hall does not make first round due to truck issues.
That final race of the season happens on Sunday at 3 p.m, and is a not-miss moment of 2018.
40 Points for each round, 40 for victory. Racing wins in brackets, freestyle wins in italics.
- Raminator – 880  1
- Lucas Oil Bigfoot – 800  1
- Overkill Evolution – 720  7
- Rammunition – 600  1
- General Tire – 520
- Black Stallion – 440
- Storm Damage – 160 1