Feld Entertainment Inc

Charlie Pauken, Camden Murphy rocket up Monster Jam Rankings

Leave a comment

Charlie Pauken wasn’t even on the Monster Jam Power Rankings chart three weeks ago but with three consecutive wins in Texas, he rocketed to No. 3 on the list in his Grave Digger truck.

Pauken’s Arlington, Texas win on March 1 at AT&T Stadium elevated him to 10th in last week’s Power Rankings. A sweep of two Stadium Series Yellow events in El Paso, Texas at the UTEP Sun Bowl moved him into the top five. Pauken banked 37 points each night. The highlights of his weekend included his second freestyle win of the season and a second-place finish to Camden Murphy (Bakugan Draganoid) in the Sunday afternoon show.

Murphy moved up the grid with Pauken. Sitting ninth on the charts last week, Murphy swept the racing events to give him his fifth consecutive racing championship. In addition to beating Pauken on Sunday, he defeated Coty Saucier (Monster Energy) Saturday night. Murphy also took the skills championship on Sunday.

Neill Elliott (Max-D) and Todd LeDuc (Monster Energy) retained their positions at the top of the standings with the Stadium Series Red and Stadium Series Green taking the weekend off.

Elliott will get an opportunity to defend his top spot in the championship at Detroit on March 14. LeDuc will try to climb up from second March 21 at Las Vegas.

Charlie Pauken‘s second freestyle win of the season helped propel him to third in the Monster Jam Power Rankings. Feld Entertainment Inc.

Pauken’s and Murphy’s ascension meant Ryan Anderson (Son-Uva Digger) fell two spots to fifth.

Brandon Vinson (Grave Digger) was another casualty of Pauken and Murphy. He fell three spots this week to eighth, but it was not for a lack of power. Vinson swept all four shows at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. with session wins in the racing competition, two-wheel skills, the donut competition, speedster obstacle course and freestyle.

At Raleigh, N.C. Tyler Menninga wrapped up his fourth series championship in the Triple Threat East with a pair of event wins.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–same
3. Charlie Pauken–up 7
4. Camden Murphy–up 5
5. Ryan Anderson–down 2
6. Colton Eichelberger–down 2
7. Tom Meents–same
8. Brandon Vinson–down 3
9. Morgan Kane–down 3
10. Tyler Menninga–down 2

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

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.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 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 Finals Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.

April 9 in Motorsports History: Al Unser Jr. gets sixth Long Beach win

Leave a comment

The list of winners in the Grand Prix of Long Beach is a ‘who’s who’ of open-wheel racing.

Mario Andretti won at the famed street course four times. His son Michael won there twice.

Paul Tracy is also a four-time winner at the beach. Alex Zanardi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sebastien Bourdais, and Alexander Rossi also have won at the famed course multiple times.

But there is only one “King of the Beach”: Al Unser Jr.

The winningest driver in the race’s history, Unser won at Long Beach four consecutive times from 1988-91. He won again in 1994 and entered the 1995 edition as the race’s defending champion and the defending CART champion as well.

Starting fourth, Unser made slight contact with Gil de Ferran when he passed the Brazilian on Lap 3. He then continued to move up to the front, taking the race lead from Teo Fabi on Lap 30.

Once he had the lead, Unser ran away from the field, winning by more than 23 seconds over Scott Pruett.

Unser’s victory was such a familiar scene that after the race, CART news manager John Procida began the winner’s news conference with the following statement: “Well, we have a very familiar face on the top rung of the podium. As we listed on the prerace press release, this seems to be the Al Unser Invitational.”

Indeed it was. Unser’s victory was his sixth at Long Beach, and the 28th of his career. overall. While it would be his last win there, Unser continued to race at Long Beach through 1998 before missing 1999 with a broken leg and moving to the Indy Racing Leauge in 2000.

In 2009, Unser was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame, which honors significant contributors to the race and California motorsports community.

“It truly is just an honor to be mentioned with the names and the legends that have already been put into the sidewalk,” Unser said during the induction ceremony. “To have Brian (Redman, the inaugural winner of the race) and Parnelli (Jones) is really an honor and just to be in their company is very, very special.”

Also on this date:

1971: Jacques Villeneuve was born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada. The second-generation driver was one of the best in open-wheel racing during the 1990s, winning the Indianapolis 500 and CART championship in ’95 and becoming a Formula One champion two years later.

1989: Rick Mears dominated CART’s Checker Autoworks 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, leading every lap from the pole and lapping the field.

2011: Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park, their sixth consecutive victory in Grand Am competition. Their lengthy win streak, which started on Aug. 7, 2010 at Watkins Glen, prompted Grand Am to offer a $25,000 bounty for any Daytona Prototype team that could beat the dominant duo. The Action Express trio of Joao Barbosa, J.C. France, and Terry Borcheller finally unseated Pruett and Rojas in the series’ next round at Virginia International Raceway.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter @michaele1994