As the winter season draws to a close the anticipation builds for the annual journey to Las Vegas, Nevada’s Sam Boyd Stadium for the Advanced Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals Presented by NGK Spark Plugs. For the sixth year in a row Steve Sims and the Stone Crusher were invited to compete in the star studded event, but he wasn’t alone. Team mate Morgan Kane would join Sims this year as he was invited to compete in a new competition, the Young Guns Shootout, to showcase the sports rising new talents. Thursday night opened up the on track activities as the drivers took to the track for practice. The infamous racing course in Las Vegas is known as one of the most challenging in the sport. Steve Sims battled the course in his Stone Crusher on his first pass down the track for a time of 24.257. His second pass was considerably faster as he turned in a 17.426 to finish his practice runs for the night. Young Morgan Kane was turning heads and catching everyone’s attention in practice as he put in three great passes behind the wheel of his Stone Crusher. The fastest pass of 17.102 was the fastest amongst the Young Gun Shootout competitors by .4 seconds and among the fastest overall passes of the night.
Friday’s festivities started off with the Double Down pit party as Kane and Sims signed autographs for the legion’s of Monster Jam fans who made the trip to Vegas. With Kane and Stone Crusher’s fast practice times, they were the favorites coming into the Young Gun Shootout and they got started with a strong round one performance, knocking out Joey Parnell and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. The semi-finals matched Kane against Bari Musawwir and Spiderman. Musawwir jumped out to an early lead with the hole-shot. Kane battled back and pushed the Stone Crusher to the limit down the straightaway and put in a near perfect turn but was unable to make up the difference. Despite the disappointing loss, Kane was in good spirits following the race and just thrilled to be included in the competition. Following the Young Guns Shootout was qualifying for the main event. Steve Sims couldn’t improve on his practice times but still turned in a respectable 17.753 for his qualifying effort.
Saturday night was what the whole weekend was building to. After signing autographs for thousands of fans all afternoon it was time for the Monster Jam World Finals to get underway. The action opened up with racing where Sims drew a tough first round opponent in his good friend Dennis Anderson and the Grave Digger. Unfortunately the racing competition ended early for the Stone Crusher with a first round loss but their night wasn’t over yet.
The World Finals have been the site for some of Steve Sims and the Stone Crusher’s most incredible freestyle runs and this run was set to join the others. Sims came out determined and pushed the Stone Crusher to it’s limits with the potential freestyle title on the line. The opening 30 seconds of the run saw some nice leaps over the massive jumps on the floor to get off to a strong start. The Sims skied out the Stone Crusher over the backside of the center hill with huge jump. The back tires clipped the back of the hill on the landing, cartwheeling the truck end over end and back onto all four wheels. The impact sent body panels flying but the truck was still running and Sims wasn’t going to end there. From there it was more big leaps out of the Stone Crusher to finish out regulation time. Bonus time saw some wild crossthreads across the floor, crossing up the truck with some more great air before finishing up the run with a salute to the crowd. When the scores were in the run put up a score of 30 which was good enough for third place. When the dust settled, that’s where the Stone Crusher remained, with a few others crowding the spot in a four way tie with Neil Elliott, Adam Anderson, and Ryan Anderson.
After the intense competition Saturday night, the team visited the Monster Jam Awards banquet Sunday Night. Morgan Kane was honored with the Monster Jam Rising Star Award after a sensational sophomore year with the Monster Trucks Unlimited team. The award was a great ending to another spectacular first quarter and World Finals.