Event Coverage – RC Monster Jam World Finals 2018 – Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

About this time every year, the Monster Truck World Finals takes place at Sam Boyd stadium in Las Vegas for a weekend full of high-flying action and complete mayhem. This is the final stop on their yearly tour, so you can be sure that the drivers are not going to hold anything back when the lights go green!

Before the full-size trucks hit the field in the evening, though, there is a day-long pit party where spectators have a chance to get up close with their favorite Monster Trucks, talk to their favorite drivers and even get some autographs!

The Monster Jam World Finals, however, isn’t just for the full-size trucks. A group of RC Monster Truck enthusiasts are given a chance to take center stage and compete in both side-by-side racing and a freestyle competition, both trials modeled after the 1:1 truck event. The racing was amazingly close but, as you can imagine, the freestyle competition was simply off the hook! Like their full-size counterparts, the RC drivers put it all out there – no holds barred!

Before we get to the meat of the action, let’s check out the drivers and the trucks they raced!

Drivers:

All of the World Finalists were hand picked by Bari Musawwir, driver of the wicked-looking Zombie Monster Truck. Here’s a list of the lucky group of drivers selected for this event (in alphabetical order):

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Trever Adamo
Trucks: Northern Nightmare, Wildflower
From: Huntington Beach, California
Years in the Hobby: 33

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Clyde Delisle
Trucks: Mad Scientist, Lucas Oil Crusader
From: Clermont, Florida
Years in the Hobby: 34

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Noah Dale
Trucks: Earth Shaker, Dragon
From: Selma, North Carolina
Years in the Hobby: 4

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Tad Goad
Trucks: Zombie, Son Uva Digger
From: Scottsville, Kentucky
Years in the Hobby:31

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Gerardo Gonzalez
Trucks: Black Pearl, Mutant SUV
From: Indio, California
Years in the Hobby: 32

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Michael & Steffanie Iacono
Trucks (Michael): El Toro Loco, Scooby Doo
Trucks (Steffanie): Monster Mutt, Wonder Woman
From: Aliso Viejo, California
Years in the Hobby: 27 (combined)

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Fred Reep
Trucks: Retro Grave Digger, Mutant Pickup
From: Brunswick, Georgia
Years in the Hobby: 39

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Ronnie Santucci
Trucks: Grave Digger
From: Baltimore, Maryland
Years in the Hobby: 31

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Shannon Santucci
Trucks: Whiplash
From: Baltimore, Maryland
Years in the Hobby: 7

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Sonny Santucci
Trucks: Megalodon, Gas Monkey Garage
From: Baltimore, Maryland
Years in the Hobby: 13

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
John Schultz
Trucks: BKT Tire, Maximum Destruction
From: Victorville, California
Years in the Hobby: 34

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Jonathan Schultz
Trucks: Alien Invasion, Grave Digger
From: Victorville, California
Years in the Hobby: 14

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Brandon Scott
Trucks: Bounty Hunger, Cleatus
From: Warrentown, Missouri
Years in the Hobby: 10

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Larry Turner
Trucks: Monster Mutt Dalmation, Mohawk Warrior
From: Torrance, California
Years in the Hobby: 25

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
Dan Wyatt
Trucks: Blue Thunder, Avenger
From: Detroit, Michigan
Years in the Hobby: 30

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
James Zimmerman
Trucks: Hot Wheels, Overkill Evolution
From: Rosamond, California
Years in the Hobby: 28

The Track:

The Monster Jam crew cleared an area near the back of the pit party for the RC guys to get crazy. A large, dirt area was set with the actual track replicating the full size venue inside Sam Boyd Stadium. Each side had its own starting gate complete with official banners and light tree. White lines were laid out to form the lanes and wooden jumps fabricated to send the RC Monster Trucks flying. Elevated driver’s stands were on each side of the course and a huge seating area arranged for spectators to relax while taking in all the action.

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

Monster Truck Racing:

Monster Truck Racing is a pretty simple concept; two trucks start off on opposite sides of the track and, after the lights turn green, they blaze off to the other end of the track, complete a tight hairpin turn and then launch over a jump to the finish line. The full scale trucks can finish the course in roughly 17 seconds, the RC equivalents in about 7. It really is all about power and control, however when you’re a bit behind, you tend to use more power than control. This made for some excellent side-by-side racing, but also included a lot of entertaining crashes.

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

Freestyle Competition:

This was by far the most exciting part of the show. Basically, drivers have a specified time limit to head out onto the track and strut their driving skills. Every part of the track is available for use; big jumps, small jumps, backflip ramps – it’s all there to take advantage of. Some drivers tried to protect their equipment and get a full run, others sent their rigs high into the air right off the bat. At the end of the day, though, it’s all about the entertainment value for the fans. Let me tell you – the fans got what they came for!

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

Bari Musawwir:

The man, the myth, the legend – Bari Musawwir. Bari is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. My wife and I had the pleasure of sitting next to him at the East Coast 1:5 Scale Nationals some years ago at Digger’s Dungeon in North Carolina. While I was out racing and working on my car, he spent a lot of the time chatting with my wife. We learned quite a bit about him – and now he’s a major deal with the Monster Jam! Incredibly cool guy! But what you may not know is that he’s a big RC geek as well! The RC Monster Jam World Finals is his baby and, not only does he set most of it up, he’s also the one that designs and fabricates almost all the bodies used at the event!

RC Monster Jam World Finals - Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

Encore Event:

One of the highlights during the Friday night 1:1 Monster Jam show was an Encore run by Maximum Destruction. Five Max-D trucks rolled out onto the field and, after a brief exercise in power, proceeded to launch off the jumps! This, of course, resulted in maximum destruction of all five Max-D rigs! Keeping in tune with that, all of the RC Monster Jam World Finalists were given an Axial Racing Maximum Destruction body to put on their trucks after all the normal festivities were done on Saturday. A short musical intro was played followed by all the Max-D trucks launching onto the RC playground. Carnage ensued, with trucks losing arms and tires – it was absolutely awesome! What was even better, though, is that all of the bodies were then removed from the trucks and handed out to the crowd! It doesn’t get much better than that!

Final Thoughts:

This was my first time at the RC Monster Jam World Finals and I have to say that this was a fantastic event! Because it’s based off the 1:1 scale event, it’s easy for spectators to follow – and easy for the fans to route for their favorites! The atmosphere is electric (no pun intended) and the energy is extremely high the entire time. The best part, though, is that it gets our hobby in front of thousands of fans that maybe didn’t know about RC – and THAT is something I can certainly back! We’re all about Eat. Sleep. RC., and I’ve already discussed RCMJWF with the wife for next year! Maybe we’ll see you there!

Photo Gallery:

About Tony Phalen

Tony Phalen - As an avid RC enthusiast, Tony has been building, bashing and racing RC Cars for over 25 years. He has raced everything from 1:18th scale trucks to 1:5 scale motorcycles and everything in-between. He's also worked on both sides of the industry fence; working at and with many major manufacturers (as well as being a sponsored driver) to working for a high-profile industry magazine. During this time he has learned many tricks, tips and techniques and has transferred that knowledge to CompetitionX - the most informative RC website on the internet! More articles by Tony Phalen

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