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Neil Elliott ascends to top of Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Stadium Series Green is packed with talent, accounting for three positions in the Monster Jam Power Rankings. Ryan Anderson recorded one of the most difficult combinations in the freestyle competition and advanced to eighth. Morgan Kane held onto a top-two spot on the chart. But it was Neil Elliott in the Max-D monster truck that ran away with the lead.

With 37 points earned, Elliott tied Anderson and Son-Uva Digger for the most at Anaheim last week, which was just enough to give him the No. 1 ranking this week. Elliott won the racing portion of the night over Megalodon and Cory Rummell. It was the first time for both drivers that they reached the final round.

The racing victory gave Elliott the confidence needed to win his fifth skills challenge of the year. And so far, he’s been nearly perfect in that session. Elliott failed to win the skills challenge only once in 2020.

More importantly, Elliott took the points lead in the series with 206 to Kane’s 200.

Kane and Grave Digger had a comparatively bad evening. He was unable to stage his truck for Round 2 in the racing competition and earned minimal points for the session. When the points were tallied at the end of the night, he was 10 below Elliott and Anderson.

Colton Eichelberger held onto the third spot in the rankings with a nearly perfect weekend in another Max-D truck. In the Triple Threat Central division, he scored the most event points in three of four races with 43 of 44 pocketed Saturday afternoon. Eichelberger won three of the four racing competitions at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena in addition to winning eight additional competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run
MORE: Adam Anderson and Grave Digger are a family affair for Monster Jam

Stadium Series Red’s Todd Leduc had the biggest gain of the week. He advanced three positions to land fourth in the Power Rankings. To see exactly how he accomplished the feat tune into the Indianapolis event, which airs Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming).

Leduc advanced with consistency and excellence. Earning 35 points and taking the overall win Saturday evening, he returned Sunday to put another 33 in the bank. That placed second to Cole Venard and Black Pearl for the afternoon and tied him with Monster Energy’s Linsey Weenk. Venard did not make the Power Rankings, but he had one of the sickest moves of the week when his pirate-themed truck walked the plank (backflipping to walking a wheelie across the stadium floor).

Coty Saucier rounds out the top five with a racing win Sunday afternoon in Houston and a second-place finish Saturday evening in Stadium Series Yellow.

Also of note this week was freestyle run of Ryan Anderson. In the Son-Uva Digger truck in Stadium Series Green, Anderson earned 9.619 in the freestyle competition – his best score to date. It is his third freestyle win of the season.

Power Rankings

1 – Neil Elliott–up 1
2 – Morgan Kane–down 1
3 – Colton Eichelberger–same
4 – Todd LeDuc–up 3
5 – Coty Saucier–same
6 – Brandon Vinson–up 2
7 – Tyler Menninga–down 1
8 – Ryan Anderson–up 1
9 – Justin Sipes–returning
10 – Linsey Read–new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on NBCSN)

Indianapolis: February 18 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?