The official points standings have been released for the 2012 Toughest Monster Truck Tour indoor championship chase, and the winner of the inaugural title is Team BIGFOOT’s lead driver, Dan Runte, pilot of the all-new Summit Racing Equipment BIGFOOT monster truck.
From a numbers-only standpoint, this championship is one of the most impressive to date for the BIGFOOT team as well as Dan Runte himself. The 2012 TMT title stands as the 30th championship for Team BIGFOOT, and the 10th for Runte, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that Runte’s ride entered the 2012 season virtually unproven after having undergone only minimal testing in December 2011. But the numbers tell an even-deeper tale, and the main storyline through it all is just how dominant Runte was throughout the TMT indoor season.
Although the TMT tour offered its first championship ever in 2012, the makings of this series go back nearly five years, when the series first began to germinate and grow from a small string of independent events into what is now one of the most-competitive independent tours in the nation. TMT places an emphasis on overall success at any given event, as opposed to placing a premium on only one aspect of the event. Points are awarded based on how a truck finishes in each of three competitions: wheelie contest, racing/time trials, and freestyle. At the end of each event, the night’s “Toughest Monster Truck” is determined by adding up a driver and truck’s accumulated points. Out of 12 individual events, Runte’s BIGFOOT captured “Toughest Monster Truck” honors a whopping eight times, five times more than his nearest competitor. This included a night with zero points when the No. 18 truck’s engine blew. At season’s end, Runte’s 943 points had him head and shoulders above the competition, 73 points ahead of second-place finisher Doug Noelke in TailGator.
“What else can I say, other than I’m extremely happy with how it all worked out,” Runte said. “To take a truck that was not only unproven but dramatically different from the rest of our fleet, and go win a championship with it right off the bat is really just unbelievable. I don’t want to say that all of us didn’t have high hopes for the truck, but I’m not sure anybody thought the truck would be this competitive right out of the box. It races like its on rails and freestyle’s like it’s an airplane. I love it.”