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Smashing success

September 07, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION

Any rumors that Michael Vaters was done with monster truck racing were put to rest Saturday when he destroyed five cars and one street sign behind Hagerstown Ford.

Vaters' 11-foot-high Black Stallion roared around in a cordoned-off area, then plowed over five cars parked side-by-side. Vaters ran over the cars several times during two performances at the dealership on Massey Boulevard.

During the 11 a.m. stunt, Vaters couldn't get his truck stopped after a wheelie, and the 10,028-pound vehicle ran over a yield sign.

About 30 people gathered to watch the afternoon performance.

"It's pretty impressive. I'm surprised they let you get this close to it," said Paul Johnson, of Hagerstown, who brought his family to see Vaters.

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Vaters, of Hagerstown, has been in monster truck racing for 15 years and has several wins to his credit.

The 34-year-old racer has been away from the sport for about a month to settle a divorce.

Vaters said there were rumors that he was not going to return to racing, and he wanted to make the appearances at Hagertown Ford to show fans he is not leaving the sport.

"I'm in it and I plan to stay in it for a long time," he said, leaning against the line of demolished cars following his afternoon stunt.

Vaters said he is excited about the future of the sport. Monster trucks are very versatile, and can be used in mud bog racing, drag racing and jumping feats, he said.

"I think it will be a lot like NASCAR," he said.

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