As a bitter cold wind began engulfing the northern tier of the United States, many were looking for a way to warm up. For those in Illinois, an area that is used to having a cold experience outside at Soldier Field, many decided to descend on a familiar venue for a little monster truck action.
However, this time, it was a familiar venue, but the newest tour, deciding to make a stop on the “sticky slick” floor of the Sears Centre Arena at Hoffman Estates.
The term “sticky slick” is a good way to call the floor, especially for those that have competed in the building before. A couple of the drivers that are part of the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live season have been here as part of the Monster Truck Nationals. The reason: the floor is a bit tricky to get a handle on. Some spots the trucks will slide like a sprint car riding the cushion, but at others the tires will grip really quick, like a dragster launching off the line. The latter is often seen on the later shows, after some rubber is laid down on the surface.
So some of the drivers came in not sure what to expect when the show began, especially with things starting on a Saturday afternoon that saw the stands packed with fans wanting a taste of toys becoming real.
What they got to start things off was a new winner on the circuit.
All season long, the Holman group that pilots the Bone Shaker and Tiger Shark had been shut out of competition. Bobby Holman finally found a building that he was familiar with, and knew he could make a statement to the Chicago faithful. He did just that when he soared the Tiger Shark to the ceiling both times on the cars, and the fans decided it was a strong enough performance to give him the team’s first official victory on the season.
After a cool down period where the fans got to become part of the show thanks to some interaction from the hosts, that sticky yet slick floor was about ready to get a taste of rubber. The donut contest was ready for action, and another familiar face that has seen this venue decided to roar to life.
The original monster laid down a smoke show worthy of a victory, and Darron Schnell settled down his retro-looking Bigfoot Raptor in order gain his first win on the night.
One week prior, the Hot Wheels Tour officially added the long jump competition to their show, hoping to break a possible tie at the end of the night. It has proven beneficial, but the first show of the weekend also meant a third different winner. Derick Anson fired off the Demo Derby Cadillac to the sky, and launched it hard across the floor. His distance was better than any of the other participants, and he then took his first victory on the weekend.
Intermission allowed the teams to make adjustments, and also entertain the fans with some freestyle motocross. But when it came to racing, each team was locked in.
But, once again, a new face wound up victorious, although familiar with winning this season. Wearing his new firesuit, Christian Norman worked his way through the field to take home the racing victory in the Hot Wheels Racing 1 Raptor, much to the delight of many of the Foot fans in attendance. Four competitions, four different winners. At that moment, barring a fifth truck and driver winning the final competition, whomever secured the freestyle on the afternoon was taking home the Titan Cup.
Someone took that to heart because Schnell was ready to achieve the big trophy. He would power his way across the rather large floor at Hoffman Estates, hammering the car sets and the van stack in the center of the floor. Nothing was coming between he and an event title on this afternoon, as he would capture the freestyle title, and then held up the big title for all the fans to see.
SATURDAY MATINEE RESULTS:
Wheelie Competition: Bobby Holman, Tiger Shark
Donut Competition: Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
Long Jump: Derick Anson, Demo Derby
Racing Finals: Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racing 1, def. Derick Anson, Demo Derby
Freestyle: Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
Titan Cup Champion: Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
The four-hour gap between the end of the first show on Saturday and the second show allowed the drivers to interact with their fans in the autograph line, while their crews went to work tightening up the bolts that may have worked loose. It also gave the concrete crew a chance to move out the crushed metal and move in some new pieces so that the second audience gets the same expectation as the first.
It meant there was no Crash Zone for the fans to attend, but that didn’t seem to detour anyone from making their way into the stands for the second helping of the weekend.
After seeing Norman follow up his racing win from earlier in the day with the opening wheelie victory, it was then time for another new face to achieve victory. But, in doing so on this night was not just about winning one competition. Instead, it was a quest for a Cup.
Steven Snellen had figured out the setup on the V8 Bomber over the first three weeks, and it was becoming clear he was not taking things lightly in the evening show. The four-week old EcoWork tires were lit up when the donut contest commenced, enough to give the classic looking Chevrolet the first win of the night, and of the weekend. Snellen then figured out how to get the airplane-painted machine to literally fly, as he went on and won the long jump contest as well.
Another pair of teammates took home Titan Cups in Illinois. Anson is used to the trophy, but his teammate finally got his.
Another pair of teammates took home Titan Cups in Illinois. Anson is used to the trophy, but his teammate finally got his. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Bimmerle
Although falling short of a racing win, which was taken by the afternoon Titan Cup champion, Schnell, somehow Snellen had a whole new attitude on this night.
He already had the Titan Cup lead for the night, but needed a way to ensure he was going home with his first big trophy. When it came time to freestyle, the silver and green machine was roaring, and the V8 Bomber decided to drop an explosion, although not literally, on the competition. The freestyle triumph on the night was the cherry on top of a spectacular night for Snellen, as he took home his first Titan Cup of the season to the delight of many fans, and even his fellow drivers. Quite the night for the pilot of the Bomber.
SATURDAY EVENING RESULTS:
Wheelie Competition: Christian Norman, Hot Wheels Racing 1
Donut Competition: Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
Long Jump: Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
Racing Finals: Darron Schnell, Bigfoot, def. Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
Freestyle: Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
Titan Cup Champion: Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
A good night of rest and a night of very little breakage meant that when the final show of the weekend came about, each team had the green light to let loose. With no shows until the following weekend, why not go full-tilt and roar for another great crowd.
Holman took that to heart because after being shut out on the evening show, he stepped up big on the lone Sunday performance, taking home his second wheelie contest of the weekend.
Snellen then decided he wasn’t done yet, and one Titan Cup wasn’t enough.
Just like the previous evening, the V8 Bomber was performing flawlessly, and Snellen once again took home both the donut contest and the long jump. He was on his way to making it an easy ride to the championship, but it appeared his teammate wanted in on the action.
Anson had been shut out since Saturday afternoon, and he was tired of seeing his teammate take home wins, although he was happy to see the second truck in his fleet victorious.
He pushed the Demo Derby machine to a racing win on the afternoon, which then made it more of a challenge for Snellen to officially win the Titan Cup. At the same time, any other driver still had potential to steal it away with a freestyle victory. That could make it a challenge since if Anson or Holman took home that win, a tie-breaker would be needed.
Sure enough, Anson was the guy putting on a clinic on the sticky slick floor to close out the weekend, as he was hitting the stacks so hard even the paint on the tires decided it had enough and smeared across the rubber as if it was a Darlington Stripe.
But, with Anson winning freestyle, it was a matter of the tie-breaker to determine who among the teammates was the Titan Cup champion. Thanks to his racing win, Anson was given the crown as Snellen was eliminated in the semi-finals. Three events, three Titan Cup champions, and three shows with some very satisfied fans.
Wheelie Competition: Bobby Holman, Tiger Shark
Donut Competiton: Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
Long Jump: Steven Snellen, V8 Bomber
Racing Finals: Derick Anson, Demo Derby, def. Darron Schnell, Bigfoot
Freestyle: Derick Anson, Demo Derby
Titan Cup Champion: Derick Anson, Demo Derby
Next weekend is another first for the Hot Wheels Tour. The next stop is familiar for the Bigfoot camp, as it’s a trip to their home state of Missouri. Cape Girardeau will play host to the tour at the Show Me Center.
What makes this weekend a first is the fact it will be the longest of every stop.
It’s not a three show weekend…it’s a FOUR show weekend. One show on Friday night, Feb. 1, then a pair of shows on Saturday after Punxsutawney Phil makes his prediction. Finally, prior to seeing the Patriots and the Rams hit the gridiron to decide the winner of the Lombardi Trophy, an afternoon delight will be ready for the fans.
A Crash Zone will happen prior to Friday, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday, so get those tickets to see the toy trucks come to life.