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Monster bash

Tall trucks roar at speedway

Tall trucks roar at speedway

July 15, 2006|by TARA REILLY

CONOCOCHEAGUE

The roar of monster engines?

They love it.

The smell?

They love it.

The jumping, dust-cloud donuts and crushing stuff?

Yep.

Monster trucks are back in Hagerstown.

The U.S. Hot Rod Monster Jam at Hagerstown Speedway kicked off Friday night and runs through Sunday.

Among the trucks making appearances were crowd favorite Grave Digger; the second crowd favorite, Maximum Destruction, driven by Tom Meents; Hot Wheels; Destroyer; Iron Warrior ;and Black Stallion, driven by Washington County's Michael Vaters.

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Dracko, a 35-foot tall, 45-foot long, 42,000-pound mechanical dragon that breaths fire and eats cars, also was expected to make an appearance, along with Quad Wars (four-wheelers) and Street Warriors, which are street-legal vehicles that race.

Although the show didn't start until 8 p.m., much of the reserved seating was packed by 7 p.m.

Fans continued to pile in through showtime.

Heidi Murray, promotions manager for Live Nation, which promoted the event, said 22,000 people were expected to turn out this weekend.

"I've been coming with my dad since I was 16," said Cassie Apple of Hagerstown.

Watching the monster trucks has become a family tradition, Apple said, because she now brings her children, Kylie, 2, and Seth, 7, to the shows.

Apple, who is a fan of Grave Digger, said she was waiting for her father, Chris, to join them.

The noise is one of her favorite parts of the event.

"The louder, the better," she said.

Ronnie Myers of Hagerstown brought his 3-year-old son, Brandon, to the show.

He said his son never had seen the trucks live before, but that his favorite was Hot Wheels.

"Oh my, yes," said Myers, when asked if his son was excited about the event.

The Jam's announcer stirred up suspense at the start of qualifying, which began with Destroyer jumping over junk cars as Metallica's "Master of Puppets" blasted in the background, by questioning whether Grave Digger could beat Maximum Destruction's speed of 5.91 seconds.

"You could see the air on that one," the announcer said of Maximum Destruction.

But then, the cheers grew louder and flags bearing Grave Digger's familiar skull-and-bones logo waved in the air as the truck pulled in a faster 5.38 seconds.

Before the show, lines for food, soda and beer were long.

Many fans walked around with Grave Digger flags and pennants. Others just showed up wearing comical T-shirts.

Spectators wore shirts bearing slogans such as "Friends don't let friends drive Chevys," "Redneck Woman" and "Beer Belly Under Construction."

It's all part of the atmosphere.

Ronnie Phillips of Hagerstown wouldn't want it any other way.

He loves the Jam.

"I've been watching them forever," Phillips said.

Phillips, who brings his 7-year-old nephew, Sammy Mayers, to the event, said his favorite truck is Grave Digger.

"I grew up at the racetrack," Phillips said. "I like the sound and the smell of fuel. That, and the beer's cold."




If you go...



What: U.S. Hot Rod Monster Jam

Where: Hagerstown Speedway

When:Today, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

Reserved seating is $18 in advance, and $20 day of show. General admission seating is $13 in advance, and $15 day of show. Children's tickets are $5.

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