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WF XVIII Prediction Thread

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steiale    364
1 hour ago, John Dough said:

It's been about a month since the NFL season ended, and after reading a bazillion different articles ranking teams or players, I figured I'd try to make my own rankings based on my opinion of who has a shot to win this year. The drivers listed below are either expected or potential competitors in this year's World Finals, and not all of them will be in the field of 32. The list only includes drivers who have competed on the track in at least one form and it is based on a combination of both racing and freestyle skills (sort of a composite score of both).

Curious why none of the Triple Threat Series Central drivers are on your list. Justin Sipes in Megalodon has held onto that championship trophy all season with the points lead. And Camden Murphy with Pirate's Curse has also been consistent in his rookie year, not to mention Armando Castro (El Toro Loco) and Ami Houde (Zombie) have also been impressive. Sure they have no stadium experience which does hinder some drivers in Vegas, but some drivers have had breakout performances when they've been unleashed on a big floor. I think that most if not all of those drivers will be in the Double Down Showdown field.  

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bkelly    178

I like the post John made, and I'm going to try something a little similar. However, I'm going to go off of drivers likely/unlikely for Vegas and look at more than just previous Vegas performances. Note this post comes a bit before the final tour results are in, but I think they are pretty accurate. It's a long list, so be prepared.

IN

These drivers have either qualified for Vegas or make a very strong case.

Todd LeDuc (Monster Energy | FS1 West) - LeDuc won the FS1 West, giving him an automatic bid for Vegas. LeDuc is a sure bet to win any event in either racing or freestyle, as he is one of the most threatening dual-skill drivers since Damon Bradshaw or Tom Meents. If LeDuc can avoid the injuries before Vegas, expect him to qualify and to possibly take home a third World Championship.

Adam Anderson (Grave Digger | FS1 West) - Over the last four years, Adam Anderson has improved, especially in Vegas (taking home three championships in four years). He has been a top competitor in the FS1 West, one of the toughest series out of the four. Adam is a dual threat driver, always giving his best in racing or freestyle. While his last freestyle in Vegas came with controversy, it was not a bad showing. Adam will make Vegas and it's tempting to say he will win another championship.

Linsey Weenk (Lucas Oil Crusader | FS1 East) - Linsey has always stayed at the top, yet never finished at the very top. This year, he has finally exploded and won the FS1 East. Linsey will make Vegas for the 12th year in a row, and this might be the year he takes a championship. While Weenk was previously a better racer, he has started making a lot of noise in freestyle at Vegas, showing off some unbelievable and underscored performances since 2013. I think Weenk will be a runner-up if he does not a win a championship in Vegas this year, as mechanical issues have also not plagued Weenk very much in 2017. 

Morgan Kane (Grave Digger | FS1 East) - Morgan stunned the monster truck world last year by winning the Racing Championship, and he was moved to a stadium series to prove that he could also be a top-notch competitor in more than arenas. Kane currently sits third in the FS1 East and he has a good shot at overtaking Meents/Eichelberger. I don't think Kane will be able to win another championship this year, but he will not have a bad Vegas performance.

Ryan Anderson (Son-Uva Digger | Stadium Tour 3)  - Ryan has been incredible since 2010 and continues the excellence by leading Stadium Tour 3 by 22 points. Anderson has come up just short of winning a championship in the last few years, and I think this is the year he finally wins the biggest event in monster truck racing. All year Ryan has been a model of excellence, and he is about to prove that he can win a Championship.

Justin Sipes (Megladon | TTS Central) - Justin has not under performed in the slightest sense in his rookie year, as he has a sizable lead over Camden Murphy right now. Sipes will make Vegas, although this will be his first stadium event. He will either finish strong as he will get the chance to fly higher and go faster or he could struggle with the larger obstacles and pressure of Las Vegas.

Cole Vernard (Grave Digger | TTS West) - Cole is the most dangerous driver among the other leaders in the TTS, because he has experience in Vegas. He did not have a bad showing in Vegas last year and leads his series for the second year in a row. Expect Vernard to perform well in Vegas.

Charlie Pauken (Grave Digger | Stadium Tour 4) - Charlie has had a strong showing in his series this year and has been on of the best freestylers in Vegas. He won Stadium Tour 4 and has a good chance at getting the Freestyle Championship, usually turning in solid performances in Vegas every year.

Tyler Meninga (Grave Digger | TTS East) - Tyler has some experience at the World Finals, but he is yet to compete in the main event. I think he will do well in Vegas but might go too-big-too-fast in freestyle.

LIKELY

While these drivers are a bit behind in points, they should make Vegas.

Neil Elliot (Max-D | FS1 West) - Neil had a strong run in the FS1 West even holding 1st for a while. Ever since Neil got back to Vegas in 2012, he has always had a strong performance. While not the fastest racer in Vegas, he always puts on freestyles that could win any event. Neil is a threat to win freestyle at any event, and he should not be looked down upon in racing. Expect him to make Vegas for the third year in a row.

Coty Saucier (Monster Energy | Stadium Tour 3)  - Coty is another driver that picked up the reins and proved himself quickly. Ever since his first Vegas performance in 2015 he has turned into a threatening driver. While he could not edge out Anderson in Stadium Tour 3, he should still make Vegas and give it a shot. Expect Saucier to finish in the top half at Vegas.

Lee O'Donnel (Mad Scientist | Stadium Tour 4) - Lee is a strong competitor, and he has came close to wins in Las Vegas before. He has not had a bad 2017 season and should qualify.

Jon Zimmer (Dragon | Stadium Tour 4) -  Jon Zimmer is one of the most underrated monster truck drivers, and he proves himself this year by nearly dominating Stadium Tour 4. Zimmer is a threat in either racing or freestyle and hopefully he has a good chance at qualifying for Vegas.

Marc McDonald (El Toro Loco | FS1 West) - Marc is coming off a strong year and he is usually a strong competitor in Las Vegas. I'd expect him to qualify for Vegas this year. There is the possibility though that he does not get in, but seeing as how he drives one of the most popular monster trucks and is very consistent in either racing or freestyle, his chances for Vegas are high, in my opinion.

Colton Eichelberger (Max-D | TTS East/FS1 East) - Colton has had a strong year, and he led in the TTS East before he had to take over for his dad in the FS1 East. While he has struggled more in the larger stadium tour, he hasn't faltered, maintaining a strong second place spot (although Kane is right behind him, with 7 less points). I think Colton will qualify.

Scott Buetow (Team Hot Wheels | FS1 West) - Scott has struggled a bit, as he currently sits 6th in the FS1 West, and his lack in racing wins accounts for this. However, he dominated freestyle competitions between World Finals 17 and this past December. I doubt he will be left out of World Finals 18 and I think he will qualify.

Jim Koehler (Avenger | FS1 East) - Koehler finished in the top half of the FS1 East and he has always been a staple competitor in freestyle if his truck lasts for the full two minutes. Considering Jim's past history in Vegas, and his strong finish in the FS1 East, his chances for Vegas are definitely up. 

Cam McQueen (Northern Nightmare | Arena Tour 4) - McQueen was surprisingly put in an arena tour, yet he has performed well and has a strong lead over the rest of the field. He has fallen short of taking the series from Randy Brown, but Cam's recent history in Vegas and his tour finish will most likely qualify him in.

Colt Stephens (Cleatus | FS1 West) - Colt has been a strong competitor and finished in the top half in the FS1 West. He will most likely get his first shot at Vegas.

Mikey Vaters (Overkill Evolution | Stadium Tour 3) - While Overkill Evo. finished 7th in Stadium Tour 3, do not be deceived. Mikey has missed a good part of 2017 (not due to injury) and I think he gets a qualification for Vegas. With his 2016 Freestyle Championship still being a recent championship, he should get a spot.

Brianna Mahon (Scooby Doo | FS1 East) - Mahon got a shot at Vegas last year but did not finish very strong. This year, she has a 5th place spot in the FS1 East and I think she gets into Vegas for the second year in a row.

Candice Jolly (Monster Mutt Dalmatian | Stadium Tour 4) - Jolly has certainly improved over the last two years and currently sits at 4th in Stadium Tour 4. She will most likely qualify.

Chad Fortune (Soldier Fortune | Stadium Tour 4) - Chad is a strong competitor and will finish in the top half of his series. He is a fan favorite and will most likely qualify for Vegas.

Jim Creten (Bounty Hunter | FS1 West) - Creten led the indies in the FS1 West this year and is usually a tough competitor to beat in Vegas. While he has faltered a bit over the last few years in the World Finals, I think his chances are very good at qualifying.

Bari Mussawir (Zombie | TTS East) - Bari has always been a strong competitor and his chances for Vegas should be high. He usually performs well in the big event and has not had a bad season this year. He will most likely get in.

Alex Blackwell (Megladon | Arena Tour 6) - Alex usually makes Vegas, although he has struggled in recent years. A second place spot in Arena Tour 6 should give him consideration. I think he qualifies.

BJ Johnson (Gas Monkey Garage | FS1 East) - BJ is always a strong competitor. He fell a bit short this year, but he has qualified for Vegas before. I'd expect him to make it back this year.

POSSIBLY

These drivers had a strong season, yet their attendance in this years main event in Las Vegas can go either way.

Becky McDonough (El Toro Loco | Stadium Tour 3) - Becky finished 4th in Stadium Tour 4 and I think she finally gets a shot at the main event in this year's World Finals. With a few big stadium wins now under her belt, I think she will get a chance to compete in Vegas. A few factors may hold her back from qualifying, but if a spot is open she will most likely get it.

Chuck Werner (El Toro Loco | FS1 East) - Chuck performed well this year but did not quite finish at the top. He has been left out of Vegas the last few years, but I think his entrance will strongly be considered.

Gary Porter (Carolina Crusher | Arena Tour 6) - Porter has always been a strong performer yet has always been left out of Vegas. He has been a model of excellence this season and has a big lead in Arena Tour 6. If there is an opening, I'd expect his name to be considered.

Tristan England (Earth Shaker | TTS East) - Tristan has not had experience in Vegas yet, and he only sits at 4th in the TTS East. On the other hand, he has a few overall event wins and makes a strong case for himself. I would not be surprised to see him qualify for Vegas. If he does not get into Vegas, he should easily get into the Showdown. He could also win the Showdown and get into Vegas that way.

Matt Buyton (Metal Mulisha | Stadium Tour 4) - Matt is having a strong rookie season and sits in the top half of Stadium Tour 4. His chances for Vegas can go either way, and if he does get in he might not be the strongest competitor there. Expect a Showdown entrance for Buyton though if he misses the main event.

Camden Murphy (Pirate's Curse | TTS Central) - Camden has proven himself and is having a great rookie season. He might miss Vegas as the spots might close up before he will get considered. If the field was expanded, he could definitely get in. But, only 32 get in. On the flip side, Murphy could win the Showdown, which would not be a surprise. 

Carl Van Horn (Grave Digger | Stadium Tour 3) - Ever since Dennis Anderson suffered an injury in January, Van Horn left retirment and took over Grave Digger 30. Van Horn dominated and came close to winning Stadium Tour 3. I think he deserves a spot at Vegas, although his chances sit at around 50%, as Carl has missed out on Vegas the last few years.

QUESTIONABLE / UNLIKELY

The chances for these drivers to get Vegas are unlikely, but their chances are still there. 

Tom Meents (Max-D | FS1 East) - Meents is one of, if not the best at driving monster trucks. This is the first year he has been out of competition due to injuries, and, depending on the length of his recovery, a Vegas qualification might be out of reach. If he is healthy, though, he will be included in World Finals 18.

Dennis Anderson (Grave Digger | Stadium Tour 3) - Dennis is another driver that should be considered one of the best of all time. Injuries have plagued him before and have prevented him from performing in Las Vegas. While the severity of his injury has not been publicly expressed, it has left him sidelined for the majority of the season. If his injuries are severe, a Vegas qualification is doubtful. If he recovers though, I think he will perform, as he hates letting down his fans.

Randy Brown (Grave Digger | Arena Tour 4)  - Randy is like Porter, in the sense that he is a strong competitor yet is usually left out of Vegas. A lead in Arena Tour 4 will add consideration to his name and hopefully he gets a very deserving invitation, although Brown being left out for so long may continue this March.

Pablo Huffaker (Grave Digger | Arena Tour 5) - Pablo is a strong performer in arenas, and Vegas is certainly not an arena event. I'm not trying to take away from Pablo, he is a strong competitor in stadiums but he has been left out of bigger events in the last few years. He does hold a lead in Arena Tour 5 right now, and I think his chances are about 50-50.

Eric Swanson (Obsessed | FS1 West) - Eric had a good season, winning an event and finishing strong in the long run. I think he will miss Vegas yet secure a Showdown spot. He can definitely win that event.

Steve Sims (Stone Crusher | FS1 East) - Steve is a very consistent driver and he has experience in Vegas. I think he will miss it though, as he did not get in last year. He is deserving of a spot yet I think he gets overlooked and misses Vegas.

Devin Jones (Barbarian | Stadium Tour 3) - Devin is a top-notch driver and he should get into Vegas in my eyes. He has experience in Vegas and took home a racing win this year, not to mention Devin has always been a strong competitor. However, he finished surprisingly low in points and finished in the bottom half of Stadium Tour 3. We will have to wait until drivers are announced to see if he qualifies.

OUT

These drivers had strong 2017 seasons yet will not get into World Finals 18. I'm going to start compiling a few names here because this list is a bit lengthy and a lot of the drivers in this list are similar in terms of driving skill or series finishes. 

Blake Granger (Max-D | TTS East) - Blake had to fill in for Colton Eichelberger for the majority of 2017, yet he has responded well. He holds a close second place spot behind Tyler Meninga. Some of those points, though, were acquired by Colton. Blake might qualify for the Showdown.

Cory Rummel (Rage | Stadium Tour 3) - Cory proved himself in 2017 yet it will not be enough. A Showdown appearance is likely for Cory, though.

Ami Houde (Zombie | TTS Central) - Ami was strong in her rookie season and I think she misses Vegas. She will not miss the Showdown, however.

Ryan Disharoon (Saigon Shaker | FS1 East) - Ryan had a strong season, yet I think he falls short of Vegas. A Showdown appearance is likely for him, though.

Armando Castro (El Toro Loco | TTS Central) - Armando had a strong season yet I think he will miss Vegas. Would not be a surprise to see him in the Showdown, however.

Jared Eichelberger (Max-D | TTS West) - Jared had a strong season but he could miss Vegas. He should qualify for the Showdown.

Cynthia Guathier (Monster Mutt Dalmatian | TTS West) - Cynthia had a strong season as well, but I don't think it was enough to qualify her. I doubt she will miss the Showdown, however. She has great chances to win that event and get herself qualified that way.

Mark List (El Toro Loco | TTS West) - Mark was strong in 2017 yet I don't think he gets Vegas. It's possible yet highly unlikely. A Showdown ticket is also possible and very likely.

Buddy Thompkins (Razin Kane/Rod Ryan Show | FS1 West) - Buddy had a strong season, yet Vegas is unlikely. Expect him to qualify for the Showdown and be an underdog winner.

Rosalee Ramer (Wild Flower | FS1 West) - Rosalee has really proven herself over the last two years, yet she is not at the level of some other top competitors. I think she will get into the Showdown.

Matt Pagliarulo (Jester | Stadium Tour 3) - Matt had a strong season and finished in the top half of his tour. He should make the Showdown.

Jamey Garner (Over Bored | Stadium Tour 3) - Jamey went into Monster Jam this year and finished 2017 strong. I think he misses Vegas yet gets into the Showdown.

Bailey Shea (Scooby Doo | TTS East), Bryce Kenny (Mohawk Warrior | TTS West), Tyler Groth (Zombie | TTS West), Kayla Blood (El Toro Loco | TTS East), Zane Rettew (Stinger | Arena Tour 6), Steven Thompson (Hurricane Force | Stadium Tour 4) - These drivers were all strong and consistent this year and I think they get into the Showdown. Their chances for Vegas are very unlikely, however.

Mark Hall (Raminator | Stadium Tour 4) - While the argument that Hall has been consistent in Stadium Tour 4 and is currently 7th out of 22, I highly doubt he gets Vegas. It would be interesting to see Hall in Vegas but considering that he typically has not been as strong in freestyle and he is a veteran, he won't be considered for the Showdown.

I know this post was insanely long but I enjoyed compiling this list of drivers and I hope you enjoyed reading it!

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John Dough    2,761
1 hour ago, steiale said:

Curious why none of the Triple Threat Series Central drivers are on your list. Justin Sipes in Megalodon has held onto that championship trophy all season with the points lead. And Camden Murphy with Pirate's Curse has also been consistent in his rookie year, not to mention Armando Castro (El Toro Loco) and Ami Houde (Zombie) have also been impressive. Sure they have no stadium experience which does hinder some drivers in Vegas, but some drivers have had breakout performances when they've been unleashed on a big floor. I think that most if not all of those drivers will be in the Double Down Showdown field.  

You missed it but in the blurb I wrote at the beginning I said I was only including people who have previously competed on the Vegas track in some way

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steiale    364
46 minutes ago, John Dough said:

You missed it but in the blurb I wrote at the beginning I said I was only including people who have previously competed on the Vegas track in some way

Misinterpretation on my part. When you said the track I thought you were speaking generally in terms of driving this season to still count in Dennis and Tom because of their injuries. 

Either way, it will be interesting to see who all qualifies this year, especially since some drivers you'd typically see in Vegas did not compete this season due to preparations for the international tour. This includes Steven Sims, George Balhan, Chad Tingler, Nicole Johnson & reigning Young Guns champ Scott Liddycoat. Any thoughts on if they'll get invites considering none of them drove first quarter?

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bkelly    178
22 minutes ago, steiale said:

Misinterpretation on my part. When you said the track I thought you were speaking generally in terms of driving this season to still count in Dennis and Tom because of their injuries. 

Either way, it will be interesting to see who all qualifies this year, especially since some drivers you'd typically see in Vegas did not compete this season due to preparations for the international tour. This includes Steven Sims, George Balhan, Chad Tingler, Nicole Johnson & reigning Young Guns champ Scott Liddycoat. Any thoughts on if they'll get invites considering none of them drove first quarter?

I doubt it because if they'd get spots, the  other drivers (especially indies) wouldn't get in after they've sacrificed so much time and money to this first quarter. I understand if Liddycoat gets in since he won the YGS last year but I think the others shouldn't be invited. Don't understand why FELD put so many good drivers out of first quarter but it is what it is.

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