|Date of birth:
||December 10, 1980
A funnyman by day and Monster Jam® competitor by night, Aaron Basl has been frequenting the Monster Jam scene for many years, alongside his twin brother and prankster counterpart, Daron. Growing up, Aaron and his family enjoyed restoring old pickup trucks and turning them into massive two-wheel drive, alcohol burning pullers.
The Basls affinity for Monster Jam trucks came from family friend Brent Warstler, driver of the popular Monster Patrol Monster Jam truck. At local events, Aaron would help crew for the team.
Basl eventually traveled across the country with the Monster Patrol team, which positioned him closer to his dream of one day piloting his own Monster Jam truck. Basl ultimately worked his way into the Crew Chief position for the Bounty Hunter/Scarlet Bandit team.
The long-awaited opportunity to drive a Monster Jam truck presented itself when an opening with the Black Smith Monster Jam truck was offered to Basl. Since his driving debut, Basl has driven for several race teams including Captain’s Curse®, Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesTM (TMNT), El Toro Loco® and Wolverine. Basl will now be piloting the NEA PoliceSM Monster Jam truck and has his sights set on claiming the throne.
with Aaron Basl
How did you get started competing on the Monster Jam circuit?
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 Jam 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 Jam trucks
then got hooked up with Jeff Bainter, driver of 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
Jam 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 Monster Jam trucks. He needed somebody to drive an old Bearfoot Monster Jam
truck that he had and he needed somebody to crew for his Bounty Hunter team.
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 Monster Jam truck to see
if I liked it. I did, and the rest is history!
At a show, how do you balance being a driver while also having to work on
Pablo’s Grave Digger?
I respect Pablo’s business and the way he likes to run his Monster Jam 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 Monster Jam 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.
What do you enjoy doing while on the road with Monster Jam?
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 Monster Jam truck to their town, that’s pretty cool.
What do you do with your free time?
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.
What is your greatest memory as a Monster Jam truck driver?
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 Monster Jam trucks, that’s a pretty good memory.
Do you have any pre-show rituals that you run through?
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 Monster Jam trucks
and I make sure they 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 Monster Jam truck, try to relax and do my thing.
If you were not competing on the Monster Jam tour, what career path would you
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.
What’s your favorite food?
What’s your favorite movie?
Aaron Basl: Tombstone
What’s your favorite television show?
King of Queens
What’s your favorite color?
White and green