We had the opportunity to have an email Q&A with Ryan Anderson, the driver of Monster Jam truck Son-Uva Digger. Our readers had a lot of questions and Ryan answered them below.
Monster Jam will be at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Jan. 3-4, 2015. Tickets are available at the Bridgestone Arena box office or online at www.bridgestonearena.com and through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or (800) 745-3000. For more information on Monster Jam, log on to www.MonsterJam.com.
1) How fast can the trucks go when they aren’t restricted to an arena?
Even though the area is small, the trucks will still reach around 40-45 mph
2) When the driver does donuts, you can see red hot something under the trucks. What is that and why is red hot?
That is the brake rotor. We run a driveline brake to help braking performance they get red hot during the run because of the stress on the brakes. A Monster Jam truck stopping at 70 mph is equivalent to a regular car stopping at 200 mph
3) What’s the horse power on an average Monster Truck?
On average a Monster Jam truck has 1400hp
4) How does one break into the circuit? Are there lower circuits like in NASCAR with the different series?
Yes there are many smaller circuits, but to brake into Monster Jam is a 1 in a million chance and, if you do, you normally start out as a crew member and work your way up
5) Does the driver come with the truck? Or does the owner of the truck hire a driver like in NASCAR?
There are a few different scenarios – some people own and drive their trucks and some trucks are corporately owned and driven by a employee
6) How much does a Monster Truck cost?
A top of the line Monster Jam truck is $250,000
7) How do they transport the Monster Trucks? It’s not like you see them rolling down the highway and they seem a little big for a covered trailer.
We actually have to remove the big tires and put on what we call a toter-tire that is considerably smaller to make them fit inside our race trailers
8) How many days a year are the drivers on tour?
On average drivers will do around 25 weekends a year but some do as many as 40 weekends
9) Have you ever flipped and been hurt monster truck driving?
Yes I have actually broken my neck driving, but that was the first and only time something that severe has ever happened to the drivers and since then the Monster Jam trucks diver safety has grown leaps and bounds
10) Tell us your best story about driving a monster truck.
My best story has to be when I debuted my Monster Jam truck Son-Uva Digger at the Monster Jam World Finals doing my first ever backflip and kept going
11) Why are the trucks so loud? Do you wear ear protection when you are driving?
The trucks are so load due to the horse power. The motors run off methanol and have a super charger that creates a ton of compression and makes the combustion extremely loud
12) Why did you want to do this? Is this a full time gig? What did you do before this?
I was born into this so I never thought to do anything different and, yes, this is my full time job all year round. When I’m not doing shows, I’m in the shop or on the phone talking about Monster Jam
13) What do you drive as your personal vehicle?
I have a big lifted up Dodge pick up
14) How do they come up with the concept or “theme” of the trucks?
Tons of people in the industry are constantly thriving to better the sport and satisfy our fans
15) Does it make you dizzy when the truck spins around?
Sometimes we do but if you focus on something inside the truck it helps
16) What is the hardest part of your job?
Having to wait for the next show!
17) Who taught you how to drive a monster truck?
My dad did from the day I was born he was training me to drive and be a mad man like him
18) Have you set any records? How many cars have you jumped/crushed at one time?
No recorded records right now, but I’m dead set to brake the world record for the fastest mph and longest distance jumped in a Monster Jam truck at the same time
19) Because the trucks are all so tall, how do you keep them from tipping over?
Even though they are very tall, they also are very wide and the majority of the weight is down low keeping them super stable
20) How much time does it take to set up an arena for an event?
It depends on the venue a normal arena takes about 2-3 days to get everything ready but some bigger events, like the Monster Jam World Finals, takes over a week to get set up