In our last article, we talked about crush cars, the excitement they induce, and also their departure from the monster truck competition & show industry. Flying pieces of metal and shrapnel that come from these cars are serious safety hazards and can really do some damage. That being said, monster truck drivers are used to seeing destruction and lots of dirt. So how do these drivers and other personnel involved with the production of monster truck shows protect their own vehicles from the many hazards that present themselves around the monster truck show/competition terrain?
Protect Your Vehicle With A Ceramic Coating
Many monster truck drivers know the importance of protecting their vehicles when taking them to the monster truck arena. After all, they don’t drive monster trucks like The Grave Digger on open highways. Instead, their trucks get towed or brought to the shows and they drive their personal vehicle. Many of these drivers know how dirty their rides can get and also the exposure they have to various elements. That being said, many drivers have a ceramic coating applied to their personal vehicles. What is a ceramic coating exactly? We spoke with Concours Auto Salon out of San Antonio, Texas. Phil, one of their ceramic coating installation experts gave us the low down. A ceramic coating is a type of nano-ceramic technology that involves applying a clear liquid polymer to the surface of your vehicle. Ceramic coatings bond to your vehicle’s surface creating the ultimate glass-like protective barrier. While factory topcoats are generally thought to be strong, ceramic coatings bond to the porous surface of your vehicle and dry with a level of hardness that surpasses any topcoat. In fact, a ceramic coating offers 3 times the hardness than that of a regular factory topcoat.
Crush cars, you have probably heard this term numerous times when it comes to Monster Trucks and their shows & competitions. So what exactly are crush cars for those of you who aren’t sure? Crush cars are the cars crushed in monster truck shows/competitions. And they have actually been around as long as monster trucks themselves.
The thing about crush cars is that they don’t actually have to be a car! Crush cars also refer to trucks, vans, buses, and other objects used in the Freestyle competition of monster truck shows. Vans and buses are used as a type of stepping stool for monster trucks when performing stunts and tricks within the obstacles. But while crush cars are loved by many monster truck vans, Monster Jam, the world’s biggest and most well-known monster truck show has started to lean away from using crush cars in their shows and instead of using tracks compiled of dirt & tire ramps. And because of doing this, they are facing a lot of controversy. The main reason that Moster Jam decided to steer away from the use of crush cars in competitions & shows is for safety reasons and also to help save money.
Are Crush Cars A Saftey Hazard?
Crush Cars while fun to watch being crushed and dominated by the monster trucks are also a well-known safety hazard. Sharpnel pieces and other metal pieces often come dislodged and can fly 40-50ft into the stands potentially hurting audience members and other bystanders. But it’s not just the Monster Jam authorities themselves who dislike the use of crush cars and would prefer to stick to dirt and tire tracks. Monster truck drivers themselves seem to prefer mostly dirt tracks. A lot of drivers feel that the first drivers & trucks to hit the Freestyle course during the show miss out on the destruction of the course terrain. During the Freestyle competition trucks and drivers are doing their best stunts and lots of metal and crush car pieces are scattered about the obstacles making driving harder and more dangerous for the last drivers to hit the course.
While we can all appreciate the safety of ourselves and the drivers involved in monster truck races, we do know that crush cars help to make a pretty good show. And because they have been around since the origin of monster trucks its a hard part to see leave the show. But like we mentioned before the overall safety of all those involved is much more important than watching cars get crushed. With dirt & tire racks becoming the new norm we just may be in for a new kind of monster truck competition.
If you are a Monster Truck fan you probably know what the Freestyle part of the Monster Truck competition is. For those that are newer to the motocross sport, we have all the details for you. Freestyle is the competition that takes place at the end of most monster truck competitions or shows. It is when the trucks are given the time period of 90-120s seconds, where they can hit any obstacles and perform any tricks on the stadium/arena floor. Many times trucks will utilize crush cars such as vans, buses & dirt ramps to complete stunts and rally more points. This “free” time also gives the trucks the opportunity to perform special tricks like slap wheelies and donuts.
Adding Freestyle To Monster Truck Competitions & Shows
A lot of the credit regarding the addition of the freestyle competition to monster truck shows & competitions can be given to Dennis Anderson. Anderson is well known for being the driver of The Grave Digger. He came up with the idea to bring the trucks back out as an encore to the audience. It also gave trucks that were eliminated early in the competition or those that were less well known to showcase themselves and their stunts & tricks a little bit more. While many audience members and some monster truck drivers enjoy being a part of the Freestyle competition, implementing the proper judging protocol seems to be more of an issue than expected.
For now, there are 3 ways you can go about judging Freestyle competitions:
Cheer Off Method – This type of judging is generally used in smaller shows and is where the fans scream and cheer for the truck they like the most when introduced. A lot of fans tend not to approve of this method because they think that is unfair to the lesser-known trucks
Judges By The Numbers – This method is usually adopted for larger shows & audiences and entails using a number of judges to score each truck’s performance on a scale of 1-10, with .5 increments allowable. 1 is the lowest score that can be given with 10 being the highest.
Mobile Votes – The most modern and fair way to judge Fresstye competitions utilizing your mobile phone to participate in live voting. This technique was first used atThe Monster Jam World Finals 18’ and is currently what is used in all Monster Jam events. The crowd enters the score for each truck by going to JudgesZone.com and casting their votes for each monster truck.
So what exactly is the judging based on? There are a number of different criteria that judges used to decide on the vote for each truck, which include:
Use of specific tricks (donuts, slap wheelies)
Maintain speed & momentum through the entire allotted time
We have looked at Monster trucks extensively over the years, to see how they are built, what goes into the build of each truck, and of course at all those fancy gadgets and levers within the truck. But what better way to look at a monster truck than through mechanics eyes!
JnJ Auto Service, owner/mechanic Jim, has been interested in Monster Trucks since he was a kid. Growing up alongside this passion he also found he had a love for working on and fixing cars. His ultimate dream was to work on these crazy Monser Trucks he saw at the shows he went to and in the books he read, but when things didn’t pan out in the monster truck world he got serious in the automotive mechanic world. But that didn’t dampen his love for these monster machines. Still an avid monster truck fan, Jim also finds a hobby in understanding their engines and the issues that can go wrong. I mean when you have a 10,000 pound truck with tires as big as your house, the mechanics of them have to be pretty interesting!
3 Key Monster Truck Mechanics
Frame- The frame of your monster truck vehicle is responsible for a lot. It has to be built well enough so that it withstands the rumble and tumble associated with monster truck flips and stunts. These frames are going to suffer a lot of damage and they need to withstand it to keep its driver as safe as possible.
Suspension- Jim knows suspension on standard automobiles but Monster Truck suspension is own beast. As he started to look into the suspension of these trucks he realized that they need at least 28 inches of suspension travel. With all of the other factors and key elements to take into consideration, the suspension on a monster truck can make or break its driving capabilities. Literally!
Axles, Wheels, Tires, Brakes- These key components all collectively work together. If there is a problem with one of them it could lead to or be caused by a problem with another one of these parts. With tires that are 66 in high and 43 in wide and the amount of weight and pressure constantly being put on these machines these parts are likely to break or snap. And you need to be able to fix them quickly & effectively.
While Jim still aspires to at least work on monster trucks part-time at some point in his life he said that there is still a lot to learn. He is a pretty great mechanic but you need to be precise and really know your monster truck mechanics. The safety and well being of the drivers and audience both depend on it.
If your a true monster truck fan than you have most definitely been to Monster Jam! In fact, you don’t even really have to be that big of a fan to enjoy Monster Jam, it is one of the best, if not the BEST monster truck show around! For all of your monster truck and Monster Jam lovers, we have all the fun facts you need to know on this great show!
Did You Know?… Monster Jam Facts
The trucks must weigh AT LEAST 10,000 pounds in order to compete in the showMonster Trucks have up to 2,000 horsepower and can drive up to 100 miles per hour
Monster Trucks on average are 12ft tall & 12 ft wide
One tire for a Monster Truck costs an average of 2,600( that’s per tire remember!)
Monster Jam trucks can roughly sail through the air for about 14 car lengths or 130 feet!
Most Monster Trucks cost about $250,000 on average
Each Monster Jam show drivers leave with about $10,000 in parts damage with only a short time to repair everything
Monster Jam shows are held on 6 different continents
There are radio operators throughout the crowds at these shows so that they made send a signal to shut off any trucks engine should there be an issue
The visibility in a monster truck is very limited, which makes driving them an even bigger feat.
Monster Trucks were built to sustain short powerful bursts of energy.
These are just some of the MANY cool facts there are to learn about Monster Jam and monster Trucks in general. While monster trucks are definitely cool to look at and watch perform their crazy stunts, they are a lot more dangerous and harder to operate and , maneuver than you may think. We appreciate all you skilled monster truck drivers out there, our hats are off to you!
When you first thought of possible careers that you wanted to grow up to do, jobs of astronaut, professional athlete, and monster truck driver come to mind. The former two require incredible will and physical gifts that aren’t possible to be done by 99% of the population. Monster truck driving is far less physically involving, Not that it requires no physical skill its just that these physical skills can be developed whereas it is much harder for someone to train to have a vertical of 40”, run a 4.2 second 40 yard time, or deal with the oxygen deprived depths of space and outer atmosphere. However, it’s not as easy as just buying a monster truck. So here’s some advice on how to work your way up to have this dream job.
So You Want To Drive Monster Trucks
Get the license
First, and most obviously, you need to get your drivers license. Not the normal drivers license but what’s called a commercial drivers license (CDL) which teaches you how to drive 18 wheelers and other big commercial vehicles. With this you can start your way to becoming a monster truck driver.
Get Noticed, Get Acquainted
In order to get your foot in the door, you need to get noticed by monster truck teams. There are often tailgates before the show to meet the teams and stay later and offer you assistance. Whether its just cleaning up or minor tasks like offering your assistance, this can help you institute a positive image with the monster truck teams. Most likely one of these teams will offer you a job as a crew member. With your job you will learn the flow and the day to day life of the monster truck world and life of a driver.
Working Your Way Up
You will most likely start as a mechanic for your respective team. From there you will make repairs to the monster trucks and do other tasks to make sure that the monster trucks are in the right order and place to race. If you are good there you will be able to drive in local events where you can build your skills. If you are good enough you will start getting more attention and will eventually be noticed to where you will start driving in a few professional events where the main driver isn’t able to make it. And finally, you will become the main driver for the monster truck team finally achieving your lifetime goal.
If you want to achieve your dream of becoming a monster truck driver start early and introduce yourself to the pros who will be able to get you a position to get your monster truck career started. And while this career takes patience it is more than worth it than when you send your giant truck feet in the air and land on cars to crush and entertain a whole audience of people who want to be just like you.
Monster Trucks have been around since the early 1980’s and continue to gain and hold their popularity throughout time. From Monster Truck Competitions to the famous Monster Jam, these trucks and their drivers are known throughout the world by many. With so many mazing monster trucks to choose from and watch it is hard to say which one is the overall best. We thought to start off our site and for our first post we would highlight some of the top Monster Trucks of all time. We are talking trucks first built and created in the 80’s to newer trucks that have been created and built in the last few years. Check out our list of amazing trucks and see if they stack up to what you deem as your top monster trucks!
Top Monster Trucks of all Time
BigFoot- this monster truck was first built in 1975 and didn’t actually make its public debut until 1979. It is known as the “original” monster truck and is perhaps the founding inspiration in the creation of these trucks. It is both owned and operated by Bob Chandler and as of today there are 21 different BigFoot replica trucks driven in competitions
BearFoot-this truck was created in 1979 and also one of the original competitors o the 1980 monster truck circuit. Still to this day it is also one of the most popular monster trucks of all time. It was first built and designed by Fred Shafer & Jack Wilman and went on to win the 1990,1992 and 1993 USHRA( United States Hot Rod Association Circuit) Camel Mud and Monsters Championship. Bearfoot is also known as one of BigFoot’s biggest rivals!
Grave Digger-built in 1981 by driver and creator Dennis Anderson he sold the monster truck to USA Motorsports in 1998, although he still drives the truck for them. The team itself currently has 32 monster trucks replicating and running under the Grave Digger name. The truck is also currently powered by a 555 cubic Merlin engine and has 1700 horsepower.
Towasaurus Wrex- this monster truck was created in 1988 and was the very first on the monster truck circuit to be based on a tow truck. The original truck used a 1946 Chevy Tow Truck model, yet is today joined by alter egos Tow Mater and Jethro Tow. The owner and driver is Jeff Bursey and the truck is currently powered by a 428 cubic Chevy engine and is still known as one of the most popular trucks on the monster truck circuit today.
El Toro Loco- this monster truck created in 2001 features a 3D body shell and is powered by a 540 Merlin Chevy engine with a Coan 2 speed transmission. It went through a huge truck makeover in 2003 and driver Lupe Soza won the World championships as the driver!
Max Destruction- this is perhaps one of the most popular and successful monster trucks in the world. The truck was originally named Goldberg because of the marketing collaboration with the WCW( World Championship Wrestling). It was later changed to Max Destruction when the marketing collaboration ended. The truck is known to land complete back flips and its biggest competitor is Gold Digger!
Batman- this truck was created in 2006 and was the USHRA world champion in 2008. It has also been in 3 Monster Jam finals and won the driving competition in the finals in both 2007 & 2008. The truck is licensed by DC Comics and owned by Field Entertainment. It is currently powered by a 540 cubic Merlin Chevy engine.
While there are definitely more outstanding monster trucks that deserve to be recognized, these are some of our top favorite. One thing that is great about Monster Trucks is that there is a trcuk that will appeal to mostly everyone’s interest!
Hello All! Welcome to our site on Monster Trucks! For all of you monster truck lovers near and far, we have created this site to share our love and passion for monster trucks and the monster truck world. Whether its an incredible show we talk about, or the building of custom monster trucks we hope to encompass all with our site! We also hope that all of you fellow readers enjoy our content and we encourage you to share our site with anyone who is a fan of monster truck mania!