Monster Jam brings thousands to Hagerstown Speedway

July 22, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Monster truck Gunslinger clears several cars Sunday during The Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam at the Hagerstown Speedway.
By Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

George Thorogood and the Destroyers’ hit “Bad to the Bone” blared from speakers as the hulking machine roared past the crowd.

It spun around in the dirt track in a deafening roar, all to the joy of throngs of spectators yelling from the stands.

The monster truck Grave Digger — a longtime favorite of monster truck fans — was one of seven of the massive rigs that competed at the Hagerstown Speedway on Sunday.

The Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam was also held at the speedway Saturday night and attracted about 6,000 people, said Ashley Johnson, marketing manager for Feld Motor Sports, which owns Monster Jam.

A Friday show was scheduled at the speedway but was canceled because of the wet weather. Friday ticket holders could use their tickets Saturday or Sunday.


The event’s popularity was evident again Sunday as vehicles coming off U.S. 40 slowly made their way into a packed lot for the 2 p.m. show.

Trucks like Gunslinger, El Toro Loco, Wolverine, Grinder and Maximum Destruction started off the event by jumping over cars on the track. Also competing was Grave Digger The Legend, the next evolution of Grave Digger that is made from a 1951 Ford panel truck.

In addition to Advance Auto Parts, the event was sponsored by a group of local Ford dealerships, and The Home Depot store on Garland Groh Boulevard in Hagerstown donated lumber to help prepare the track for the event, Johnson said.

The trucks are part of a tour in which they compete at various venues, Johnson said. The drivers compete for points as they move toward a world finals competition in Las Vegas, she said.

After Hagerstown, Monster Jam was scheduled to go to Stafford Springs, Ct., next weekend before crossing through Florida and Texas, according to the event’s online schedule.

The monster trucks competing Sunday use engines as large as 1,500 horsepower, causing a spectacle that can be a bit intimidating.

Jed Imbraguglio of Mercersburg, Pa., brought his nephew Donnie to his first show, and Imbraguglio said the small boy was a bit frightened of the show. Imbraguglio advised adults bringing children to their first show to bring a set of earplugs.

Imbraguglio’s nephew was flipping a toy version of Grave Digger through his hands as Imbraguglio talked about the event.

“I’m just passing that excitement down to him,” Imbraguglio said.

Heather Lapole of Williamsport brought her two sons, Steven, 4, and Matthew, 2.

Lapole said after the boys discovered monster trucks, they became fascinated with them, keeping up with the machines through online videos and commercials.

So are they largely a fascination among children?

“That’s what they (adults) say, but adults like it, too. I love it,” said Mike Cooper of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., a fan of Grave Digger.

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