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Atlantic Ocean Couldn’t Separate the Excitement for Hot Wheels 2020 Tour

New looks and new continent welcome Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live in 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: Danny Maass, Maass Media

In 2019, the idea of having the small toys that started the love of cars as kids become full-scale as adults became a reality.  Hot Wheels decided to gamble and take their monster truck line on tour, literally, with six of their small toys suddenly becoming 11,000-pound beasts that will hammer cars, vans, spin donuts, and launch like rockets.

After hitting many events from the east coast to the south, it was clear the tour was not only successful, but begging to have more stops, and new locations.

For 2020, Hot Wheels not only obliged, but went one step further.  For the first official weekend of the 2020 season, Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live would make not one stop over the weekend, but two.  However, that second stop wasn’t another venue in the U.S.

Instead, the tour decided to make it an international deal.

Here in America, the first official stop for the new season came in the heartland, making a two-day stop at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Missouri.  The lineup, very similar to last year, just with some minor tweaks.  The Heavy Hitter team came back for another year of competition with Derick Anson again in Demo Derby, while Steven Snellen took the wheel of the V8 Bomber, now carrying a military green color compared to the silver from 2019.  The Holman duo of Bobby and Cody returned again, still riding in the Tiger Shark and Bone Shaker.

The final two trucks, a familiar stable, but with some very distinct changes.  The namesake truck, Hot Wheels Racing 1, was still piloted by Christian Norman, but gone was the white design from last season and now the Raptor body was carrying a deep navy tone with yellow accents, a very sharp design.

Where Norman went, it was clear the Bigfoot camp was following, but it was not only a new driver for the U.S. tour, but a different chassis, and a returning body.  Rodney Tweedy got the honor of joining the tour for 2020, driving a Bigfoot chassis that is now 26 years old.  But, the 2020 season for Bigfoot is also a big one, the 45th anniversary of the team, and the monster truck industry.  In honor of that, the Bigfoot team brought back possibly the most popular body it has ever ran, debuting in 2010 when they celebrated 35 years in the industry.  A replica 1979 Ford F150, similar to what the original Bigfoot #1 runs to this day, was bolted on, meaning “Hot Rod” got to be the pilot of the classic, all-blue “Retro Foot” as it has been called.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, the same six trucks were getting set to make their debut in Europe at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom.  To ensure the same six trucks were making a great showing in Europe, Hot Wheels made sure some top teams got the honor of spending time with their new venture.

Carrying the Demo Derby and V8 Bomber colors in Europe were the Team KCM group of Kreg Christensen, who is known for being at the wheel of Dragon Slayer, and teammate Corey Clark takes the wheel of the V8 Bomber, which is being run on the chassis that normally carries his Wicked body.

The Holman team wanted to make sure they got to run in Europe, and are doing so thanks to Josh Holman, who was debuting an entirely new chassis with his Bone Shaker machine.

For Tiger Shark, Rick Steffens was tabbed as the pilot.  Many may not recognize the name, but he is the man who took over piloting Samson, a truck made famous for over three decades thanks to hall of fame inductee Dan Patrick.  Now, this machine has become an aquatic cat.

The Bigfoot team wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to run overseas, and sent a duo that is teamed up in more ways than one.  Sure, Darron Schnell is at the wheel of Bigfoot with the classic blue colors, but his teammate in Hot Wheels Racing 1, that’s someone he knows extremely well.

Why…his teammate also was his crew chief, and still is, but…it’s also his wife.  For the first time, Rebecca Schnell gets to be at the wheel of a Bigfoot truck, the #15 chassis in particular, and actually compete against her husband on the same tour.  It certainly gives a very unique dynamic to the competition over in Europe, and it was the Europe tour that got to kick things off for 2020 with the first Crash Zone and event on Friday night.

The UK crowds were treated to a pair of shows that brought in a packed venue each night, giving them something they have not seen in a long while with the car crushing action.  Over the weekend, Christensen took home the first Titan Cup of the season, but the pair of shows on Saturday saw the Bigfoot team dig in hard, and take home a pair to start off the 2020 season.

TITAN CUP CHAMPIONS-Manchester, UK

  • Friday-Kreg Christensen, Demo Derby
  • Saturday Afternoon-Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
  • Saturday Night-Darron Schnell, Bigfoot

 

Back at home, the Saturday afternoon performance belonged to the Bone Shaker, as Cody Holman would go into the first show of 2020 taking home wheelies and racing to claim the first Titan Cup of the U.S. tour.  Not to be outdone, Snellen continued his run of donut victories thanks to a cyclone that included him hanging the steering wheel out the window.

Tweedy got in on the action by sailing the classic-body Foot to the long jump win, while also finishing runner-up in racing.  Anson, however, would make it a strong finish to the afternoon with his freestyle victory.  As the autographs got signed, the Bigfoot team went to work on the Foot, as the truck seemed to be having issues of getting into gear, so the team was doing their best to swap out the transmission before show time, even having the area of the truck roped off, while the fans began filing in for the second show.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON RESULTS-St. Charles, MO:

  • Wheelies:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
  • Donuts:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Long Jump:  Rodney Tweedy, Bigfoot
  • Racing Finals:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker, def. Rodney Tweedy, Bigfoot
  • Freestyle:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • TITAN CUP CHAMPION:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker

 

As the evening performance came around, the Foot crew managed to get the transmission back in the chassis, and the bedside put back on in time for introductions, and for the wheelie competition.

The wheelies went off exactly as the first show, with Holman taking the title.  Donuts went the exact same way, with Snellen going to great lengths again with no steering wheel to control the V8 Bomber.  However, it was Tweedy’s cyclone that seemed to do really well, but suddenly the truck pulled into the pits very slow, while still under power.  Tweedy and his son, Logan, went back to the driveline area, and began looking at the engine area.

It turns out, when they pulled the oil filter and went into the element, discovering the presence of metal shavings in the oil.  The diagnosis was not good because the shavings meant something was not functioning internally.  Rather than take any risks, at that point Tweedy announced to the crowd the 1979 Ford was done for the night due to engine damage.

That meant Norman had to pick up the slack for the home-state team, and he did just that later in the evening by making it to the finals of racing.  Holman, though, went 2-for-2 on the night as he took down the Hot Wheels Raptor.

Anson took his name to the top once again in taking both the long jump and freestyle competitions, which made it a challenge to determine the second Titan Cup champion.  Holman did win two events, as did Anson.  But, the overall rankings in each competition saw Norman being the most consistent, as he finished near the top in every category.  In doing so, he made up for the loss of one team truck by taking home the Cup for the second show.

SATURDAY EVENING RESULTS-St. Charles, MO:

  • Wheelies:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
  • Donuts:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Long Jump:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • Racing Finals:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker, def. Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racing 1
  • Freestyle:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • TITAN CUP CHAMPION:  Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racing 1

 

As Sunday rolled in, the Bigfoot team was already making plans on what to do for the final show.  With Tweedy down, they needed to bring in an alternate so that the team could still compete.  The lucky thing, the show was not far from the Bigfoot headquarters in Pacific, Missouri.  One remaining truck was still at the shop, having a week off but also needing some testing time before it’s first official event next weekend.

In rolled the Bigfoot team with their #21 chassis, with shop crewman and fill-in driver A.J. Straatmann at the wheel to give the fans a show.  It would be the first time in over a year that A.J. would be at the wheel, but more importantly this would be his first time at the wheel of the #21 truck.

Although he didn’t win any of the events in the final day, he not only showed that the truck is still one of the meanest builds in the last decade of the industry.  Straatmann finished runner-up in freestyle, and made a strong showing in both donuts and racing.

But, the final show in Missouri belonged to the Bone Shaker once again, as Holman went on a tear to sweep the wheelie competition, then take home another racing victory, and finally a final freestyle championship as he took home a second Titan Cup to start the new season.

SUNDAY RESULTS-St. Charles, MO:

  • Wheelies:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
  • Donuts:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Long Jump:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • Racing Finals:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker, def. Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racing 1
  • Freestyle:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
  • TITAN CUP CHAMPION:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker

 

Week two of the Hot Wheels tour has a pair of stops both in the U.S. and Europe.  Across the Atlantic, the tour will make a four-show stop between January 10-12 at Lodz, Poland, making their home in the Atlas Arena.

Here at home, the tour goes from Missouri down to Texas, making a stop at the Bert Ogden Arena on January 11 and 12 for three events.  Tickets for all events are available, with the Crash Zone added as a bonus for he U.S. performance while it is available at an additional cost for Europe.  Catch all the results, and fan pictures/videos at HotWheelsMonsterTrucksLive.com.

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