A native of the northwest United States, Aaron and his twin brother Daron are both top-level drivers for Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam. Motorsports has always been a family affair for Aaron and Daron, dating back to their days of two-wheel-drive truck pulling. For several years now, Aaron has driven the companion truck to Huffaker’s Grave Digger and Daron has been the driver of El Matador.
Aaron has pulled off his share of big wins in his rapidly growing career and is known as one of the hardest working stars in the game, often finishing a thrilling run. The soft-spoken Basl has gained tremendous respect throughout the sport for his ability to run his truck hard as well as for his ability with a wrench.
Q&A with Aaron Basl
MonsterJam.com: How did you get started competing on the Monster Jam circuit?
Aaron Basl: I started out truck and tractor pulling with my family: my twin brother Daron, my older brother Ryan, and my dad Gary. We all had two-wheel-drive truck pullers. We built them up to be able to drive on the street and then we’d take them out on the weekends to go truck pulling. We were trying to eventually restore them and work them up into the big two-wheel-drive, alcohol-wheel-stand pullers, but we got sidetracked into monster trucks. Those two-wheel drives went on the back burner, but we still have them. We’ll drive them around every once in a while. You could say, our family started truck and tractor pulling first and then moved into monster trucks.
We then got hooked up with Jeff Bainter, Captain USA, in 2000 and crewed for him for a year. I actually drove his Hot Stuff Jeep once or twice. It was an old leaf-spring truck but I decided that I didn’t like that. Too rough! But we crewed for him for a year to get our feet wet, and then went back to the farm for a year. Jimmy Creten would always come to our hometown and bring his monster truck to the truck and tractor pull. We’d always hang out and help him. He had a four-truck team at the time and he was looking for two guys to run one of his trucks. He needed somebody to drive an old Bearfoot truck that he had and he needed somebody to crew for his Bounty Hunter team.
Daron went to work for Jimmy driving Bearfoot, so he got the first driving job. I got the first crew job, working on Bounty Hunter for about two-and-a-half years. Then we decided that we wanted to see if we could move up a little in the ranks by both getting driving jobs. Pablo Huffaker was looking for a driver to put in his Black Smith truck at the time. When Pablo found out I wasn’t working for Jimmy anymore, he called to see if I wanted to try out his truck to see if I liked it. I did, and the rest is history!
MonsterJam.com: At a show, how do you balance being a driver while also having to work on Pablo’s Grave Digger?
Aaron Basl: I respect Pablo’s business and the way he likes to run his trucks. I don’t own them, so I do feel bad if I go out and tear it up. I want to go out and do a good job and make him happy that he picked me to run his truck. I want to run it as hard as I can and I’m not afraid to do so because I know it’s going to hold up. I know he’s going to go out, being the Grave Digger driver that he is, and run it into the ground; no matter what happens, we are both going to be there putting it back together. I respect the equipment.
MonsterJam.com: What do you enjoy doing while on the road with Monster Jam?
Aaron Basl: Just getting to travel around and seeing all the different parts of the world. If I wasn’t doing this I probably wouldn’t have seen half of the things I’ve gotten to see. I enjoy seeing all of the people that come to the shows and getting to perform for them. When they come up and tell me that they’ve seen me on SPEED, a cable and satellite television network, and they’ve been waiting for us to bring the truck to their town, that’s pretty cool.
MonsterJam.com: What do you do with your free time?
Aaron Basl: Hang out with my brother. We do pretty much everything together. From landscaping to mowing the yard on the weekend, I like yard work. Rebuilding old pick-up trucks. We’ve got a ’75 GMC that we’re working on, trying to restore it. Fishing, hiking, mountain bike riding, things like that.
MonsterJam.com: What is your greatest memory as a monster truck driver?
Aaron Basl: There are so many of them, but I’d have to say probably every time that I get to run against my brother. One year we were both out in Salinas, California, and they sent us out one after another in freestyle. He went out before me and the second hit, he rolled it over backwards on a big obstacle so I figured that I’d go show him how it’s done, but then I went out and did the same exact thing. So we both had torn-up trucks, that’s a pretty good memory.
MonsterJam.com: Do you have any pre-show rituals that you run through?
Aaron Basl: Not really. I work pretty much all the way up to the show time, so I stay pretty busy. I just go around checking nuts and bolts on the trucks and I make sure the trucks are full of fuel and ready to go. I do get a little nervous, and I don’t think that I’ll ever get over that, with all of the people watching. So I just get in the truck, try to relax and do my thing.
MonsterJam.com: If you were not competing on the Monster Jam tour, what career path would you follow?
Aaron Basl: I’ve grown up doing farm work. I like plowing fields, getting dirty, planting seeds, stuff like that. So, I’d probably be working on a farm and I’d probably have a little off-road business or a body shop business with my dad. We’re eventually going to have a family-owned, hot-rod shop, somewhere down the line.
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite food?
Aaron Basl: Lasagna
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite movie?
Aaron Basl: Tombstone
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite television show?
Aaron Basl: King of Queens
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite color?
Aaron Basl: White and green
Truck Name: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Body: Custom Concept
Engine size: 540 CI Midgette Motor
Transmission: Powerglide 2-speed
Shocks: RaceSource Stage Three