Different than past years, Monster Jam has added a “points element” to their competition, where drivers accumulate points each week towards a overall champion by the end of the season. Last year saw the television tour, as well as a pair of younggun tours. However, it was further expanded this year with each of the drivers being as part of a separate tour.
This weekend, the stars of Monster Jam make their way to the Rogers Centre in Toronto for the first Canadian date of the 2017 campaign. With a wide floor allowing for big obstacles and high-flying stunts, Toronto was placed as part of the Stadium 3 tour. The Stadium 3 tour kicked off in Tampa, Florida on January 14, followed by a trip to Orlando, Florida last weekend. Following Toronto, the series will travel to St. Louis, MO (Feb. 4); Anaheim, CA (Feb. 11), and Oakland, CA (Feb. 18).
With a pair of events in the books, Coty Saucier (Monster Energy) enters this weekend with a single point lead over Ryan Anderson (Sonuva-Digger).
Making his first appearance in Toronto, Saucier will look to back up his racing victory from Orlando, while possibly adding a second freestyle victory after picking up the win in Tampa to kick off the tour. The success for Saucier is not a surprise as he’s been full throttle ever since stepping behind the wheel of Monster Energy in 2014. He won the Young Guns Shootout in 2015, and finished third in the West More Monster Jam points last year.
Anderson hopes to get his name back at the top of the board as he only made it to the semi-finals in racing in Orlando after picking up the win in Tampa to start off the tour. He has made two previous appearances in Toronto, both resulting in victories for the second generation star. In his first trip to Toronto in 2014, he left a lasting impression on the fans with a racing victory during the Saturday show, followed by the victory in freestyle on Sunday. Through his run, he attacked every end of the course, gaining height off of many of the obstacles, while attacking them every angle possible. Add in a top-notch cyclone, Anderson scored 28 points for the win. Last year making his second trip to Toronto, he came up short in racing on Saturday, but showed fans why he’s a favourite in freestyle. He got some of the biggest air the fans had seen all night, crossing jumps at all different directions, and getting air with ease. Even with a rear tire going flat with 30 seconds left on the clock, he didn’t let it slow him down as he continued to get air, and cause damage to the dirt mounds across the floor. With 37 points, he took home the win. Then on Sunday, he’d once again come on short in racing, but backed it up with a solid performance in freestyle which included his signature air and bicycling across the track despite a transmission problem. He’d be awarded the victory, but handed it over to Cam McQueen and Northern Nightmare, feeling it was a stronger run.
Team Grave Digger currently sits third in the standings, six points behind Monster Energy. Dennis Anderson kicked off the tour behind the wheel of Grave Digger for Tampa, but was unfortunately hurt during freestyle and is still recovering from his injuries. As a result, Carl Van Horn stepped behind the wheel of Grave Digger in Orlando, and will do the same this weekend. Van Horn is no stranger to the city of Toronto, having visited many times in the past. With experience behind the wheel dating all the way back to 2002, the experienced veteran has been recognized by the industry for his talent with three appearances at the Monster Jam World Finals. That experience also has led him to score six previous victories in Toronto, including a sweep of both the Saturday and Sunday show in 2005. His most recent appearance at the Rogers Centre came last season, actually, behind the wheel of Grave Digger. He made the most of it, picking up the racing victory on both nights. After losing out in the racing finals to Saucier last week, perhaps he can kick it up an extra step this weekend.
Team Scream Racing driver Cory Rummel currently sits fourth in the standings, nine points behind Monster Energy. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares this weekend as this isn’t the first appearance in Toronto for Rummel, as he drove Rage on the Canadian soil last year. After running into motor problems in the Saturday show, he came back on the Sunday to put together an impressive freestyle performance with some high-air moments to place sixth on the score board.
Everybody’s favourite red head, Becky McDonough, currently sits fifth in the standings, 11 points behind Monster Energy. Since jumping behind the wheel of a monster truck for the first time in 2010, she has continued to grow as a driver, and everything notably came together for her in December as she was able to pick up her first career Stadium Freestyle victory.
Overkill Evolution, driven by Mike Vaters II, is sixth in the standings, following a freestyle victory last weekend in Orlando. Vaters II burst on the scene by winning the 2014 Young Guns Shootout. He then backed it up a year later in 2015, taking home the Monster Jam Freestyle Championship. Now in his first appearance on Canadian soil, he will hope to leave a lasting impression on the Toronto crowd.
Mike Christensen and Iron Outlaw sit seventh in the standings, followed by Over Bored (Jamey Garner), Wrecking Crew (Mike Thompson) and Black Stallion (Mike Vaters). Notably, while Thompson has missed the top-eight in racing qualifying for both events to start the campaign, he’s made up for it in Wheelie Competition, scoring the victory in both Tampa and Orlando.
The rest of the standings goes as follows: Jester (Matt Pagliarulo), Xtermigator (JR McNeal), Bounty Hunter (Todd Morey) and Barbarian (Devin Jones).
Even though the standings is shaping up one way, you never know what can happen and that is why you should make sure to be in attendance this weekend at the Roger’s Centre for the action.
Ticket prices start at $15, with Pit Party Passes are available for purchase for $10. Tickets and Pit Passes are available at the Rogers Centre Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.ca, and at (855) 985-5000.
The Pit Party will be held from 2:30pm to 5:30pm on Saturday, January 28 and 10:30am to 12:30pm on Sunday, January 29. The pre-show pit party gives fans the chance to see the massive Monster Jam trucks up close, meet drivers, take pictures and get autographs. To access the Pit Party, event ticket and Pit Party Pass must be presented upon entry.