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Crowd roars approval as monster trucks soar

July 20, 2002|by DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

dank@herald-mail.com

Engines roaring, monster trucks soared over a row of cars just out of the junkyard.

The massive trucks kicked up dirt and dust as they sped around a short course at Hagerstown Speedway on Friday during the U.S. Hot Rod Monster Jam.

Thousands of fans hollered and stomped their feet for the loud, high-flying show, which is scheduled for repeat performances 8 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday at the speedway along U.S. 40 between Hagerstown and Clear Spring.

The Monster Jam features the popular monster trucks plus Street Warriors, in which modified pickup trucks and Subarus race around the jump-filled course, and freestyle motocross performances with jumps that send the riders and their bikes 20 to 30 feet high.

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Allen Seville, 11, of McConnellsburg, Pa., got his first trip to the Monster Jam for his birthday and was anxious to see his favorite truck, Team Meents, formerly called Goldberg.

"I like him whenever he jumps the ramps and stuff," Allen said.

Allen's brother, Jeremy, 10, carried a homemade sign he used to root for the Little Tiger and Grave Digger monster trucks.

"I like to see them jumping cars," Jeremy said.

"I just like the racing and watching them crash," said Steven Richardson, 11, of Hagerstown, one of the first in line for monster truck driver autographs.

Steven said he likes Grave Digger best because "he likes to crash his trucks."

Tim Cline, 28, of Hagerstown said his 4-year-old son, Kobe, usually is a Grave Digger fan, "but since the Spider-Man movie came out he's pulling for Spider-Man (the monster truck)."

"He loves it. He likes the noise and the dirt," Cline said.

For monster truck Black Stallion driver Mike Vaters, coming to the speedway is a chance to race in front of family and friends.

Vaters, who lives in Hagerstown when not on tour, said a little pressure comes with racing in front of the home crowd "because I don't want to break (the truck)."

"I spend a lot of miles on the road, but once I get the people cheering it's an adrenaline rush and it makes it worth it," he said. "I let it all hang out when I'm in Hagerstown."

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