|Date of birth:
||August 13, 1967
||1 son, Cole
One of the sport’s most recognized figures because of his years behind the wheel of the SupermanTM truck and then beginning in 2012 Captain America at Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam’s biggest events and because he is possibly the sport’s most imposing physical presence. The former football player and wrestler has found a home as a big man in a big truck, and he has become a mainstay at the top level of Monster Jam for more than a decade. Fortune debuted in the sport not as a competitor but rather as the “spokesman” for the nWo truck in 1999. It wasn’t long after that though that a truck was built large enough for his tall frame, Nitro Machine which he first drove in 2000. Fortune was then tabbed to drive Karl Malone’s Power Forward truck before he moved into the Superman ride in 2005, then taking over the new Captain America Monster Jam truck when it debuted in January of 2012. Fortune was a perfect fit for those super hero themed trucks from day one. Fortune is without question one of Monster Jam’s purest athletes. Chad wore number 81 as the starting tight end for University of Louisville Cardinal football team under legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger for four seasons from 1986 through 1989. He then played in the National Football League with Indianapolis and Miami in 1990, Philadelphia in 1992, then Washington and Chicago, and played in Europe in the World League between NFL seasons. Following his football days Fortune stayed in the world of physical careers with a stint in World Championship Wrestling and then found his true calling when he got the opportunity to compete in Monster Jam.
Q&A with Chad Fortune
MonsterJam.com: How did you get started competing on the Monster Jam circuit?
Chad Fortune: When I was wrestling I was also doing some promotions with WCW and doing PR for their pay-per-views as a character. For the Road Wild show I’d ride a Harley through the streets of Atlanta. Or if it was Bash at the Beach I’d be out there on a surfboard or something like that. Just a fun gig, promoting the pay-per-views as well as doing some wrestling. Then after my stint with wrestling was over one of the executives from WCW came to work with Pace Motor Sports and asked me if I wanted to get involved with Monster Jam and to develop a little more of a personality with the crowds. They gave me a shot. I went down to North Carolina for a driving test. I got in one of the old Grave Digger’s® and Dennis Anderson built a track out in a bean field and he really stacked the jumps up. I think that he was trying to get rid of me. I went out there and it just beat me up for three days. This was in February, there on the ocean, and I be out there driving the trucks all day. I had a neck collar that was about an inch thick, and I’d be so sore when I was done I would just walk out into the ocean just to have the waves hit my back. I’d come back the next day and do it all over again. But it was such an adrenalin rush the real pain didn’t hit me until after I stopped. It was great. So they said they’d build a truck for me, because nothing they had would fit me. So we started right after that, first in Nitro Machine that I started driving right after that, then I got the ride in Power Forward. From there it was on to Superman in 2005, and eventually into Captain America.
MonsterJam.com: What do you enjoy doing while on the road with Monster Jam?
Chad Fortune: We go to a lot of interesting places. All the cities in Florida, over to the west coast, north and south. Seeing all of the places that I used to play football in or where I had wrestled in. Hanging out with friends that I’ve made in this business and of course wowing the crowd. And of course seeing old friends again.
MonsterJam.com: What do you do with your free time?
Chad Fortune: When I’m home, then I’m home. I just try to keep the TV off and relax and hang out with my son. We’ll go to the beach. I’m fortunate enough to be close to the beach off of Lake Michigan, in Indiana, and its real quiet out there. It’s just great to hang out with him and forget about work for a while.
MonsterJam.com: What is your greatest memory as a monster truck driver?
Chad Fortune: Probably all the travel. We’re very fortunate that this sport has grown the way that it has, including internationally. I was fortunate enough to have played football in Europe and of course I had travelled while wrestling, now I’m driving a Monster Jam truck. I mean it’s ten feet tall, 10,000 pounds and they are shipping this thing on a boat to Europe and to Central America and to places where people may have no idea what we really do, and it’s great to see those faces when they see it for the first time, you can see that they are hooked. It’s great to look into their eyes when they finally see a show and even when it’s over they don’t want to leave.
MonsterJam.com: Do you have any pre-show rituals that you run though?
Chad Fortune: There are some things. I mean some of these days are just so busy, they may start at 6 in the morning, especially on the televised shows, and you may not leave until 2:00 the next morning. Sometimes getting something to eat is a challenge. So I always keep some crackers in the pockets of my fire suit. Peanut butter crackers. Because you’ll be sitting in the truck and it’s time to go and you haven’t eaten anything all day. I’ll just reach down and grab some crackers.
MonsterJam.com: If you were not competing on the Monster Jam tour, what career path would you follow?
Chad Fortune: That’s really hard to say. I don’t know. I feel very fortunate for what I’ve been able to do. I don’t see myself sitting at a desk. It would have to be something extreme, doing something that is out of the ordinary. Being a one of a kind type of person. Maybe I’d be climbing up telephone poles and stringing lines. Maybe window washing on skyscrapers. I know it would have to be something unique that I would love to do every day.
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite food?
Chad Fortune: Sushi
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite movie?
Chad Fortune: Cool Hand Luke
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite television show?
Chad Fortune: The Office, and HGTV (I love being creative, working on houses, my garden in the back, landscaping, even putting up a wall in my house).
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite color?
Chad Fortune: It has to be the Captain America and Superman colors of course. Blue. And black because that’s the way my body looks all the time, half of it is black and blue! And of course on the track all you see is red!
Truck Name: Captain America
Body: Custom Concept
Engine size: 540 CI Merlin
Transmission: Coan 2-Speed
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