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Vaters Jr Won’t Be Denied as Evo Hat Tricks at Indy’s Day Two

Michael Vaters II walked all over the field on the second day at Indy

The midway point of the jamboree draws in every fan since Saturdays are the biggest draw, have the most events, and also the most opportunity to see competition.  The Indianapolis 4-Wheel Jamboree draws in the most fans simply because of the amount of space there is for all the show vehicles and the people.  Set up outside the famed “Hoosier Mile” dirt track, there’s a lot of space to park and walk, or even cruise around to see what all is happening.

Although the dirt track isn’t used for the competition, the infield of the dirt is the perfect setting for the General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags.

One advantage the track crew has in this venue is the dirt is built on top of the asphalt parking lot, making it easier to determine the starting line and finish line for the competition.  After the high-powered action from Friday, it was clear this was going to be a weekend of trying to knock off the Ram team.

Seven events, seven final round appearances for the Raminator of Mat Dishman, a record that has not been matched in any season of the jamborees, even by his teammate Mark Hall.

Mat Dishman had the championship locked up the minute he left the line on Saturday.
Mat Dishman had the championship locked up the minute he left the line on Saturday.  PHOTO CREDIT:  Jeff Luckey

Of those final rounds, he’s only lost two, and entering Saturday his points lead on the competition was beyond reachable.

That victory on Friday all but clinched the theoretical championship for Dishman, so entering the afternoon competition, there was not much he needed to do.  The closest his challengers could come, namely Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution, is tying him, and that is if he sat out the other two events.  But, Dishman was not having any of that, because the Raminator rolled to the pavement and greeted the fans.  The only thing he needed to do at that point was pull to the line and make a legal pass in the opening round, and he was the champion.

He did just that when he defeated Brandon Derrow in the Bad News Travels Fast Chevrolet, moving into the semi-finals.  The upset of the first round came when Mike Vaters pushed the Black Stallion past the Lucas Oil Bigfoot of Mike Miller, while Overkill Evolution moved past the General Tire Ram of Kurt Kraehmer.

But Dishman was on a roll, and never let up, as he moved into the finals.  At the same time, Vaters II came out and rolled past Miller, who entered into the semi-finals as the fastest loser.

It was a rematch of the finals from Saturday in Bloomsburg, Ford vs. Ram, and two fierce drivers going after a victory.

Eight finals for Dishman, however this time he found himself trailing behind a Roush-Yates engine, as Vaters II pushed his way to victory.  At the same time, the outing for Dishman was worth it as he has gone 5-for-8 in final round appearances, and is setting up to do something no other driver has done in jamboree history.  Should he make the finals on the final day, he will be the first to make it to the title round in all events of the season.  Quite a feat for someone stepping aside from the seat on a full-time basis.

When it came to freestyle, the biggest news wasn’t about how hard the teams were running, but what happened from running too hard.

Midway through freestyle, Miller brought the Bigfoot Raptor out and had a strong performance going, but as the run progressed something did not seem right, nor did it sound right.  As the run came to a close, rather than head to the pits, Miller pulled near the stage and did not move the truck.  Although the truck was out of the way of the competition area, he seemed to be upset that his run came to a stop prematurely.

He would watch the rest of the event from the stage, and got to have a first-hand look at Vaters II rolling onto the jammer pad, the reverse way, and pop the truck onto the front tires, and walk all the way down the pavement.

After that, he made the 2019 Super Duty talk as he was clearing the entire competition track from the sides of the hills, and drifting the truck to the gravel, kicking up a lot of dust in the process.  It was enough to gain yet another victory in freestyle on the season.


  • Round 1:  Black Stallion def. Lucas Oil Bigfoot; Overkill Evolution def. General Tire; Raminator def. Bad News Travels Fast
  • Semi-Finals:  Overkill Evolution def. Black Stallion; Raminator def. Lucas Oil Bigfoot-FL
  • Title Round:  Overkill Evolution def. Raminator


While some of the teams were busy in the pits doing some minor repairs and preparing for the next show, another major moment for the monsters was coming on the main stage.  Jeff Cook, former driver of War Wagon and president of the International Monster Truck Hall of Fame, came to the forefront as the Indianapolis 4-Wheel Jamboree was the perfect backdrop to reveal the newest inductees.

With Hall of Fame drivers Jerry Richmond, Gene Patterson, and even Vaters, who took a break from fixing his broken axle in the Black Stallion, standing alongside him, he announced the four individuals that were going to be enshrined at the Hall of Fame and Museum this November, the highest honor anyone in this industry could be given.

2019 International Monster Truck Hall of Fame Induction Class:

  • Dan Runte:  Multi-time national champion driver of Bigfoot, 2x Guinness World Record holder for longest jump in monster truck, current VP of Operations at Bigfoot 4×4.
  • Jesse Birgy:  Creator and driver of Playin’ For Keeps
  • Aaron Polburn:  Creator of the Thunder Nationals promotion, and the modern “Pit Party” concept, current president at IHRA/Feld Entertainment
  • Cliff Starbird:  Designer of custom cars, driver of Monster Vette, Frankenstein, and Wild Stang


All this time, the teams were busy doing minor repairs to their trucks in the pit area, from Vaters II refilling his tires that he admits are constantly leaking, to his dad and crew repairing the broken axle.

One team, unfortunately, that wasn’t doing any repairs was the Bigfoot crew.  The tow company hired in case of necessity, pulled the #15 chassis to the pit area by the Bigfoot hauler, and the team went to work trying to figure out what was happening with the truck.  It turns out the problem was a lot bigger than what Miller and the team expected.  During the tear down to find the trouble, the 572 cu. in. Ford engine had broken the crankshaft, a major internal failure for the team.

When this was discovered this was the problem, the dejection and the sadness suddenly became apparent.  This failure meant the Bigfoot team was done for the weekend.  For the Saturday night event, only five trucks made the call for the freestyle frenzy that was to come.

Vaters got the axle repaired and started the evening with a decent run, covering the entire course with ease.  Kraehmer then came out and showed how much he’s advanced in the last couple seasons of driving, pulling a strong wheelstand and also spinning the General Tire Ram into a very smoky set of donuts on the pavement.

Derrow then rolled out and showed that his truck, although over a decade old, was still able to perform flawlessly.  It was shown when he pulled the black Chevrolet into a wheelstand that put the wheelie bar on the pavement and rubbed off the paint off, a badge of honor for a young driver.

Dishman then came out and showed that the HEMI was still roaring, as he too pulled a wheelie down the track, dancing it just enough to ensure the bar didn’t hit the pavement and upset the truck.  A pair of donuts after that, and the crowd was enjoying his near swan-song weekend.

But, this day was all about a black, blue, and silver Ford, because Vaters II rolled out and once again popped the truck onto the front tires, this time walking the nose wheelie the length of the track before getting close to the tough truck course hills.  At that point, he set the rear tires down, and proceeded to let the blue neon lights shine in the night as he would put the truck through it’s paces on the hillsides.  By the time the run was done, dust was in the air, dirt ended up by the stage area, and Vaters himself was wiping the sweat off his helmet, quite the finish for the second-generation driver.

It made for a clean sweep of the day, and meant he was the guy to beat entering the final event.

That final event is not just the final one of the weekend, but the final one for the season.  Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. will mark the final jamboree monster event for 2019, and it signals the true go-home performance of the season.  There is no holding back for that final event, as Dishman is trying to go to the finals for the ninth time this year, while Vaters is potentially putting on the biggest run of his season, knowing he’s got a break until he has to run the truck again.

The time has come to let it all hang out one final time.


POINT STANDINGS* (8 of 9 Events)-Wins in Brackets
*Points are unofficial

  1. Raminator – 1160 [5]
  2. Overkill Evolution – 880 [2]
  3. Lucas Oil Bigfoot – 800 [1]
  4. General Tire – 440
  5. Bad News Travels Fast – 360
  6. Black Stallion – 360
  7. Xtreme Diesel – 40


Overkill Evolution – 2

Bad News Travels Fast – 1

General Tire – 1


Overkill Evolution – 7

Lucas Oil Bigfoot – 4

About Dustin Parks

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