Tom Meents promises maximum destruction. Whether it ends up positively or negatively, now that’s the million-dollar dilemma.
For the first time in Tampa, Meents will mark the 10th anniversary of his truck, Maximum Destruction, at the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam on Saturday by attempting a back flip at Raymond James Stadium. Driving a truck that stands approximately 12 feet tall and weighs about 15,000 pounds, the 20-year veteran is well aware of the risk involved.
“There’s a 50-50 chance I’ll make it, either upside down or up the right way, so fans will get a whole dose of excitement either way,” Meents said via telephone this week. “It’s all about rotation, rotation, rotation. You have to get the RPMs up at a high rate of speed quickly, you have to hit the ramp at the right acceleration and you have to rotate (the truck) correctly. Sure, I think about (the consequences), but once I hit the dirt and I’m in the truck, I’m amped. All I’m thinking about is thrilling the crowd.”
For a man who first started riding dirt bikes at 5 and was raised by a former mud racing champion, Meents highlights a group living on the edge and dedicated to high intensity action. These riders use monster trucks that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower with the capability of reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour and flying up to 35 feet in the air and 130 feet in distance.
This will be the first of two shows in Tampa with the other run occurring on Feb. 2. Meents will be making his only appearance this Saturday, though.
“Fans don’t want to miss the mayhem,” said Meents, who will use his other truck, Max-Out, in the freestyle competition.
The event begins at 7 p.m. and will feature 16 of the most popular riders at a venue described as “one of the most elite in the nation” because of the sightlines of Raymond James Stadium and the weather in the Tampa Bay region (despite the rain on Thursday).
The Party in the Pits, which runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the day of the event, will give fans an opportunity to view the trucks up close and meet the drivers. Free Pit Passes are available at participating Southern Ford Dealers.
Fans can also check out the trucks and meet the drivers at several locations on Friday. For information on where the trucks will be and how to purchase tickets, visit http://www.monsterjam.com/Events/2013/01/19/Tampa,_FL/.
Drivers and trucks involved include:
Monster Jam® Trucks: Grave Digger® driven by Dennis Anderson, Max-D℠ driven by Tom Meents, Son-Uva Digger® driven by Ryan Anderson, El Toro Loco® (Black) driven by Marc McDonald, Advance Auto Parts Grinder℠ driven by Frank Krmel, Monster Mutt® Rottweiler driven by Rod Schmidt, Iron Man™ driven by Morgan Kane, Stone Crusher driven by Steve Sims, Hooked driven by Bryan Wright, Razin' Kane driven by JR McNeil, Ice Cream Man driven by TJ Tripp, War Wizard driven by Randy Moore, Gunslinger driven by Scott Hartsock, Wolverine driven by Dustin Brown, Bad News Travels Fast driven by Brandon Derrow and Zombie℠ driven by Sean Duhon.