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V8 Bomber Doubles Up as Hot Wheels Invades the Windy City

The army-green square body ruled twice in the shadow of Chicago. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Bimmerle

The Hot Wheels Tour in 2020 has been one that has expanded the fan base in ways that no one could anticipate.  Taking the risk of going overseas for nearly two months meant six teams were not able to see their families, while at the same time being able to experience sights and moments that most likely could never be duplicated.

One week ago, that tour in Europe saw the checkered flag wave on their six-city trip.  All the trucks, spare parts, and the haulers themselves then had to make port and get loaded on the ship, which has since left harbor and began the long trip back to the U.S.

For the teams that stayed home, and elected to take a ride on the U.S. Hot Wheels Tour, they have been going consistently week after week, no time to even breathe.  Each team has gotten time, or made the time, to get home and fix some needed parts, or overhaul after some costly breakage.  Somehow, each truck makes it’s way to the next venue.  Week seven was no exception, as it was a cold trip north, in the shadow of a city that was in the midst of the NBA All-Star Weekend.  With no Michael Jordan nor Scotty Pippen in sight, the trucks unloaded just outside Chicago, Illinois, at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates for a three-show program.

While some fans were busy taking in the three-point shootout and the dunk contest, a lot decided to make their way to the Crash Zone for the Saturday afternoon program.  After the floor was cleared, and inside the Sears Centre it was one of the biggest floors the tour had seen, it was time to bring the die-casts to life.

The opening wheelie contest was a welcome relief to one team that had been shut out for over two weeks from any victories.

Despite every effort from the field, the crowd roared to life when Rodney Tweedy soared the retro Bigfoot to the roof, each hit the headlights looking at the roof of the arena.  After being out of luck in what seemed forever, Bigfoot finally was victorious.

One guy not shy on victories decided to keep his streak intact, because Steven Snellen took his now very-worn in EcoWork Ukraine tires and smoked em on the concrete to keep his donut victories perfect.  At this point, unless the engine lets go, no one is holding a candle to what he is doing on the floor.

The track cleared for the long jump contest, and what really cleared was a truck for take-off.  In this instance, a graffiti-themed Cadillac, that being the Demo Derby of Derick Anson, that launched from the wall to the cars, and soared to another win on the season.  Three events in, and when intermission arrived, the Titan Cup still was not quite in the grasp of any team.

Snellen decided to change that and worked his way through the field to capture a strong victory in racing.  The large floor allowed a much greater run to the cars, and it meant more speed, and that meant managing height because being high in the air in this type of racing is not good.  Snellen played it well, giving him two wins on the night and a chance to sweep the biggest competition.

His teammate, Anson, decided to take that opportunity away because his freestyle went beyond any words one could describe.  Known to be an excellent freestyle runner, he lived up to it, meaning the teammates were left to see who achieved enough points to take the overall win.

This time, it was Snellen, edging out his teammate ever so slightly, but enough to carry that Cup back to Kentucky, or at least back to the hauler, since another show was yet to come.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON:

  • Wheelies:  Rodney Tweedy, Bigfoot
  • Donuts:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Long Jump:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • Racing Champion:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Freestyle:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • TITAN CUP CHAMPION:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber

 

Autographs were a plenty after the first show, and the track crew was working fast to get things reset for another round of action Saturday night.  As the fresh cars were placed on the junk tires to prevent sliding, the crowd was getting antsy for the evening show, as yet another nearly packed house was ready for the evening performance.

Teams made adjustments to their trucks, and by the time it was 7 p.m. show was ready to roll on, the crowd was in their seats and all set for the action ahead.

The first show of the weekend saw a team finally get back in the winning category after being shut out for over two weeks.  In an ironic case of deja vu, the evening show had the same experience.  Tweedy took the first wheelie win of the weekend, and then show two went to the title truck.  Just a few weeks prior, the Hot Wheels Racing 1 machine got a major suspension and front end overhaul in a matter of days before hitting the road again.  Seems those fixes worked because Christian Norman got back to his winning ways in his blue and white Raptor, getting the opening win on the night and getting the Chicago crowd on their feet.

Snellen spun his way into another donut victory, but for the second time in one day, the matinee show and the evening show had a different ending.  The long jump contest, unlike the first appearance, did not go to the resident Cadillac.  Instead, it was Bobby Holman in Tiger Shark soaring across the stack like Jaws coming out of the water.

Once again, three different winners meant the points were tight, and the Cup was not decided.

After intermission, things got even more complicated in deciding a champion.  In racing, Bobby’s son, Cody, roared through the field to make it four different winners on the night.  Points were so tight, it seemed that it would come down to the final truck in freestyle to determine a Titan Cup Champion.

But, Anson decided to complicate matters as he would roar to life and take home a second freestyle win on the weekend.  With five different winners, officials went back and calculated the points to see who was coming out with the big trophy.  As the points were tallied, officials made the call, and just by a slight margin, Snellen took home his second Cup of the night, and send the Chicago-based crowd home happy, knowing some just may come back for another matinee performance in less than 24 hours.

SATURDAY NIGHT:

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

 

Having a lot more time to get prepared for the final show of the weekend is a big advantage for many teams, as tweaked sway bars, shock troubles, and just overall maintenance is easier to do when there’s more hours in the day.  It also gave every driver a chance to work on a plan since the V8 Bomber was on the cusp of getting out the broom.

With the “go home” show ready to rock the arena, the fans filed in for the final time, ready to see the real-life diecasts take to the concrete.

After taking home the first two wheelie competitions of the weekend, Team Bigfoot was looking for it’s own sweep of the weekend.  But, the resident hot rod was not having it, as Cody Holman skied the Bone Shaker to the roof on both hits, stopping the Bigfoot team in it’s tracks, and taking the opening win.

Familiar winners followed with Snellen in donuts and Anson again in the long jump.  Fans were again in the midst of seeing a possible repeat of Saturday night, with already three separate winners locked in.  Points were going to be critical as after intermission there were two big events left, and it was still anyone’s Cup to win.

That was the case, until one man decided to end all the speculation.

Once racing began, the Bone Shaker was on a tear.  Round by round, Cody Holman worked his way up the rankings, and brought down his first racing win of the weekend.  But he was not done yet.  With the win, it meant he got a late run in freestyle, so he got to see everyone else make an effort to win, but then he got to close it out.

He did just that as the hot rod would rock the Sears Centre to go back-to-back in victories.  Adding in the wheelie triumph, and this show was crystal clear of who deserved the Titan Cup.  The Bone Shaker kept the sweep from occurring, and left the fans ride home knowing the hot rod was the hot ticket.

SUNDAY:

  • Wheelies:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
  • Donuts:  Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
  • Long Jump:  Derick Anson, Demo Derby
  • Racing Champion:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
  • Freestyle:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker
  • TITAN CUP CHAMPION:  Cody Holman, Bone Shaker

 

Is it time for a break…not in the least, although the upcoming weekend is not a long drive for the tour.  For some, it still means they won’t make it back to the shop for another week.

Up next for the Hot Wheels Tour is a three-show slate at the Bismark Events Center in Bismark, North Dakota.  With a Crash Zone prior to each event, and the fact monsters do not often come this far north, it is anticipated to be packed grandstands for every event.  Get those seats now, and see the Hot Wheels toys roar to life.

About Dustin Parks

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