Monster truck racing is one of the most popular motorsports in the world. It’s not just an automobile race being supported by car enthusiasts, but a show that is being watched by the whole family. In this type of motorsport, monster trucks do timed races, however, that is not the main attraction when you watch one.
Monster truck racing events are scored like a college bar “battle of the bands”, because each truck has a persona, a theme song, and a character. You will be able to witness in this event lots of enormous trucks in a big dusty pit full of sacrificial cars. It’s not a simple race because some monster trucks do different tricks such as back flips and slides, making the audience more thrilled to watch.
Monster truck shows usually have two main events which are the race and the freestyle competition. In monster truck racing, two trucks race to the finish line on separate tracks in each round. These are usually symmetrical dirt tracks that have hairpin turns and a jump over a row of cars. It is conducted as a single elimination tournament and the winner in each round advances to the next bracket.
Freestyle events on the other hand is where each driver puts on a performance consisting of stunts such as backflips, wheelies, and jumping over obstacles. It has a time limit and only one truck is allowed on the track at a time. Even if the truck crashes or burn within the time limit, it can still win if it’s amazing enough. This sport rewards showmanship unlike any other automotive events.
Monster truck racing is governed by the Monster Truck Racing Association or MTRA. They are responsible in creating and maintaining a healthy environment for all the people involved in monster truck related events.
History of Monster Trucks
Trucks and the sports of mud bogging and truck pulling were popular in the late 1970’s. Some of the truck owners that time have created lifted trucks to compete in the said events. After that, the competition to hold the title of biggest truck was developed. The trucks that garnered the most national attention during those times were Bob Chandler’s Big Foot, Everett Jasmer’s USA-1, Fred Shafer, and Jack Willman Sr.’s Bear Foot. The largest tires that the trucks were running at those times were 48 inches in diameter.
In April 1981, Bob Chandler’s Big Foot was believed to be the first monster truck to crash cars because he drove it over a pair of cars in a field to test the trucks ability. He also filmed that test and used it as a promotional tool in his four-wheel drive performance shop. When an event promotor saw his video, he asked Chandler to do the stunt in front of a crowd. He did some small shows but in 1982, he performed in the Pontiac Silverdome. This started other enthusiasts to join truck shows which are primarily exhibitions.
In 1985, monster truck racing began through major promoters such as USHRA and TNT Motorsports. In 1988, Brad Chandler together with Braden and George Carpenter formed the Monster Truck Racing Association or MTRA to standardize the rules for truck construction and safety. Through the years, there are lots of new ways that emerged on how the trucks could be built.
Racing was dominant as a competition but as early as 1993, freestyle exhibitions were developed and in 2000, USHRA began holding freestyle as a judged competition at events. In the present time, aside from monster truck racing, the freestyle championship is also being awarded.
Monster Truck Styling and Safety Features
A pickup truck that was modified with a larger suspension and larger tires was the first monster truck ever built. In the present time, monster trucks have customized built tubular chassis, with four-link suspension to provide up to four feet of clearance. They also have fiberglass bodies that go on the chassis separately which are designed to be removed easily and be replaced when damaged.
Monster trucks today also have many safety features such as the three shut-off switches or also called as Remote Ignition Interrupt (RII). It is within reach of the driver for him to shut off all electrical power in the event of a rollover. Another safety feature is the Lexan which shields and protects the drivers from track debris. It also allows for increased visibility.
The most famous and currently the largest premier monster truck event is the Monster Jam. It tours through the United States, Canada, and some regions in Europe. There are many promoters of monster truck racing all over the world and some of them are, Field Motor Sports, Monster Nation, O-Reilly Outlaw Nationals, MEGA Monster Truck Tour, Performance Motorsports Inc., Monster Truck Challenge, and Special Events 4 Wheel & Off Road Jamboree.
Monster truck racing is indeed an amazing motorsport that is supported by a lot of people. Other than watching breathtaking races and freestyle shows, you can also have an opportunity to meet the drivers and see the trucks up close before the show. It is a type of automobile racing enjoyed by people of all ages.