For the Hooked Monster Truck team the start to the Monster Jam Fox Sports 1 Championship Series had some ups and downs in the first two rounds, but round three would be breakthrough performance and a career milestone for Steven Sims as he picked up his first career Monster Jam stadium event freestyle victory!
Coming into Tampa Sims and the Hooked Monster Truck crew were bouncing back from two weeks of bad breaks and bad luck where breakage and rollovers hampered their efforts in Houston and Atlanta. Crew chief Tommy Powers worked hard all week long on the Hooked machine to have it back to 100% for the third event of the points series, and his efforts would pay off big time. A beautiful Saturday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium saw thousands of fans file into the Party of the Pits to meet and greet with the drivers, and as the sun set a sold out crowd packed the stands for a night of action. The team were in a mad scramble during introductions, as the truck initially didn’t fire but some quick thinking from the crew got the truck up and running for qualifying. Sims was on his way to a strong pass in qualifying but a slick spot in the final turn spun the truck around, eliminating his chances to get into the racing bracket. There was still an opportunity to score points in the Obstacle Course challenge, and Sims gave it his all with the most aggressive approach on the track. A bad bounce over the second to last jump would cost him just enough time to keep him from winning, finishing in second place.
After last week’s freestyle cut short by an early rollover fresh in his mind, Steven Sims was determined to make his presence known in Hooked, and he did just that last night. As the sixth truck out in freestyle it was going to take a stellar performance to hold up against the final ten trucks in the field but Sims wouldn’t be denied. Right out of the gate, Sims unleashed Hooked with some big air and set the tone for his freestyle run. The 90 seconds of regulation time saw some big jumps and some spectacular slap wheelies. One of the final regulation jumps saw the left front wheel start to break off but he wasn’t stopping. With a huge save halfway into bonus time Sims lined up for one more jump and aired out the truck with another massive leap. The rear end bounced hard on the landing and the truck clipped another obstacle, sending the truck onto it’s nose and over onto the roof as the left front wheel finally broke off. The massive crowd at Raymond James Stadium roared as Sims emerged from the truck and the judges rewarded him with a score of 35! Sims would watch the remainder of freestyle from the hot seat as one by one, his competitors couldn’t top his score. As the scores went up for last week’s winner Lucas Oil Crusader, it was official, Steven Sims and Hooked had won! It would be Sims’ career first major stadium event victory and his post event interview he was quick to thank his family and crew for all their years of support.
It was a milestone performance from the young Sims as they defeated some of the sport’s best drivers and trucks alike. His efforts would also earn him two points on the Monster Jam Fox Sports 1 Championship series, putting him in a three-way tie for third place in the standings with Grave Digger and Monster Energy. There’s plenty of work to be done this week with plenty of damage to the truck before the team heads to Indianapolis next weekend but the victory makes the damage sting a little less. Be sure to catch this event on Fox Sports 1 Sunday February 1st at 11:00am EST/8:00am PST and watch Hooked bring home the hardware!
(Photo By: Andrew Fitzpatrick)