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Monster trucks at Speedway this weekend

July 14, 1999

Grave diggerBy MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer




Car-crushing monster trucks 11 feet tall and 12 feet wide, bearing menacing names like Grave Digger, Bulldozer and Liquidator, will take racing to new heights this weekend at Hagerstown Speedway.

Their tires are more than 5 feet tall.

[cont. from lifestyle]

The speedway is hosting the U.S. Hot Rod Monster Truck Nationals Friday, July 16, and Saturday, July 17, at 8 p.m.

Also competing will be Wild Thang, Carolina Crusher and Gun Slinger.

The show also will feature Quad Wars, in which all-terrain vehicles race, and Cycle Wars, featuring dirt bikes.

"It's always a heckuva show," says Glenn Presgraves, announcer at the Speedway.

Multiple, identical versions of the bigger name trucks travel the country for shows, says Angie Frey, marketing manager for Pace Motor Sports in Aurora, Ill. Many of the truck bodies are made by Ford and Chevy, but custom-made vehicles are becoming more common, she says.

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BulldozerOne of them is Bulldozer, which is making its first Hagerstown appearance. The back end of the truck resembles a pickup bed, but the front half features a bull face and horns above the windows.

Fans come to know the vehicles by their intricate artwork and special features.

With Bulldozer, for instance, the squeeze of a trigger causes smoke - actually flour - to spew out of its "nostrils," taunting the competition, says driver Tom Meents.

Grave Digger is perhaps best known for its red headlights and the "spooky green flames" on its hood, says driver Paul Huffaker.

"They become almost like a character," Frey says.

Since many children start playing with trucks at an early age, it's a thrill to see these larger-than-life vehicles perform.

"The tires are taller than the kids," Presgraves says.

Toy versions of the big-name monster trucks are sold, as are remote control replicas and one-person go-carts.

Frey says most drivers like the Speedway because it's outside, it's faster and there's more room to drive. And crush.

At shows, the four-wheeled beasts flatten between 10 and 25 cars.

This weekend's event is part of a series of races in which drivers accrue points, Frey says. Two trucks will race against each other to the finish line, crawling over anything in their paths.

As long as the gargantuan vehicles and their drivers meet United States Hot Rod Association standards and they stay in their lanes, the basic goal is to finish first.

"It's the fastest person to the line. The best driver prevails," Frey says.




  • What: U.S. Hot Rod Monster Truck Nationals
  • When: Friday and Saturday, July 16 and 17, 8 p.m. Rain date, Sunday, July 18, 4 p.m.
  • Where: Hagerstown Speedway, 6 miles west of Hagerstown on U.S. 40
  • Tickets: $5 for ages 2 to 12, $12 in advance, $14 day of show. Available at the Speedway, TicketMaster outlets and Big A Auto Parts stores.
  • Pit party: Saturday, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Drivers will sign autographs and pose for pictures. Free passes available in advance at Hagerstown Ford, 1714 Massey Blvd., Hagerstown. Passes are $5 the day of the event.
  • For information: Call the Speedway at 301-582-0640 or TicketMaster at 1-202-432-SEAT.


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