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THE PENNZOIL - DODGE TRUCKS
U.S. HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
THUNDER NATIONALS
THE ROUNDHOUSE
CHATTANOOGA, TN
FEBRUARY 9, 2002

Every time we see a Thunder Nationals event, we become bigger fans of this unique competition.  The Roundhouse (McKenzie Arena) in Chattanooga is a small track for the Monsters.  It is perfectly round, with not much room to maneuver a huge Monster truck in a straight line, much less perform donuts and wheelies.  It was just one more challenge for the hardy drivers on the Thunder Nationals circuit.  None of them let up even a little on the short track.  It was wide open competition - all night long!  The field included the defending Thunder Nationals points champion from 2000 and 2001, Mike Nitchke and Rambo.  The challengers were Diehl Wilson in Virginia Giant, Guy Wood in Bulldozer, John Seasock in Sudden Impact, and Jason Witte in Wild Hair.  It was a wild night in River City! 

DONUT COMPETITION

There ain't no easin' into a Thunder Nationals show.  It's wall to wall excitement from beginning to end.   It starts off with a rockin' donut competition, moves into a wheelie contest, freestyle, and wraps up with side-by-side racing.  Throw in some Quad Wars and transformers in the middle, and you've got an awesome night of motor sports entertainment.   The Monster Jam and Motor Spectacular events are great, but if you haven't taken in a Thunder Nationals event, do yourself a favor.  See one soon!  All of the trucks competed in all of the competition events this time (instead of just 2 in donuts and 2 in wheelies).

  

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It's tough to get a good donut started at the Roundhouse, but it can be done.  Mike Nitchke demonstrated how he won the Thunder Nationals the past 2 years.  He dominated the donut competition with arguably the best we've ever seen.  He spun the Chevy into a tight circle, locked all four wheels in position, and burned a rubber circle into the Roundhouse floor while he laid down donuts for what seemed like a solid minute as he held the steering wheel triumphantly out the window.  You could smell the burning rubber as it drifted into the seats along with a blanket of smoke.  There was no question who won, but it took a toll on Rambo.  Mechanical problems would plague Mike for the rest of the night, causing him to miss freestyle.

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TO THE WHEELIES