|Date of birth:
||August 13, 1967
One of the sport’s
most recognized figures because of his years behind the wheel of the SupermanTM
and then beginning in 2012 piloting Captain America at some of the biggest Monster
Jam® 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 Monster Jam 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 Monster Jam truck in
1999. It wasn’t long after that though that a Monster Jam 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 Monster Jam 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 Monster Jam trucks from day one.
Fortune is without question one of Monster Jam’s purest athletes. Fortune 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
MonsterJam.com:How did you get started competing on the
Monster Jam circuit?
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 Diggers®
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 Monster Jam 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 Monster
Jam 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?
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 seeing old friends again.
MonsterJam.com:What do you do with your free time?
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
Jam truck driver?
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?
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 Monster Jam 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?
Cool Hand Luke
MonsterJam.com:What’s your favorite television show?
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?
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!