|Date of birth:
||October 2, 1982
When Dustin Brown
is at an Monster Jam® event driving Wolverine he often is one of the
best known personalities in the line-up despite having less experience than
many of his fellow competitors who are in action there. That’s because even
though his driving career is just getting started, fans who follow the sport’s
biggest events and watch Monster Jam on television know Brown as the long time
Crew Chief for Dennis Anderson’s Grave Digger®. Brown has been
around motorsports throughout his life beginning with being around his Dad’s
mud race car when he was growing up. When he graduated high school he went to
work for a top fuel team for three years before getting the opportunity to join
the best known team in Monster Jam. Brown then got the opportunity he had
worked so hard for when he was named as the new driver of the Wolverine Monster
Jam truck to begin the 2013 season. Brown proved to be the perfect choice for
the Wolverine team as he was named 2013 Monster Jam Rookie of the Year.
Q&A with Dustin
How did you get started competing on the
Monster Jam circuit?
I met Monster Jam’s Keith Speller and Mike Wales at a drag race one day, back
in 2004. At the time we were losing our drag racing sponsor, so I needed to
find another team to go to work for or find something else to do and I got to
talking to Keith and Mike. It just so happened at that time that they had a
position open and it was on Dennis Anderson’s crew. They saw how hard I worked
on the drag race crew so they offered me the job. I figured I go ahead and try
it out for a year or two and then go back to drag racing. Well, I haven’t gone
back to drag racing! Then I went to Europe to help crew for Charlie Pauken’s Grave
Digger and George Balhan got injured during the first show in Arnhem and they
asked me to fill in for him and drive Backwards Bob. Since then if somebody
needs a driver for a Monster Jam truck on a weekend when Dennis is not
scheduled, then I’ll jump in and drive it. At the start of 2013 I felt it was
time to make the move completely from Crew Chief to driver and got the
opportunity to drive Wolverine.
MonsterJam.com:What do you enjoy doing while on the
road with Monster Jam?
Probably the most satisfying thing for me before I started driving has
been to work on Dennis’ truck, making sure it is 110 percent, and have it to
where he can go out there and drive as hard as he can, turn the fans on and
give them what they want, and to have the Monster Jam truck outlast him. That’s
the biggest enjoyment that I get, that at the end of the night, when he’s done
and he can’t take any more the Monster Jam truck is still going and we can do
another show the next day. When I’m driving the best part is the pit parties,
getting to see all of the kids there. It’s been a good thing that the Monster
Jam trucks that I have driven so far have been more kid based ones like Monster
MuttSM and Spider-ManTM, and then to finally get the ride
in Wolverine. It’s great to drive a Monster Jam truck that the kids love. And
I’ve gotten to do so much on TV being Dennis’ Crew Chief that lots of people
know me now. So when I drive, even though I haven’t had as much experience as a
driver as others, people know who I am from seeing me on TV with Dennis. So
it’s not like I had to start new and fresh and try to build up my name. I’m
fortunate in that I already had a fan base from working with Grave Digger
before I ever drove. I’m not saying I get recognized when I pull into the
Flying J, but at the pit parties I do get noticed.
MonsterJam.com:What do you do with your free time?
Basically just hang out with my son Keegan. Before that all I did was
work at the shop, 15 hours every day. I couldn’t sit at home and not do
anything. But since he was born I almost hate going to the shop and going on
the road because it takes me away from my family. On the other hand I really
enjoy getting back home now. He’ll sit and play video games with me or we’ll
just sit on the floor and watch cartoons together. Being a father has been
MonsterJam.com:What is your greatest memory as a Monster
Jam truck driver?
Probably in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was just my second full weekend
driving a Monster Jam truck that I was scheduled to drive, not just being a
last minute fill-in. I went all the way to the finals in the first show there
and then I won the racing program in the next two shows there. It was a pretty
stacked field, drivers like former Monster Jam World FinalsSM Racing
Champion John Seasock and 30 year legend Gary Porter, so to be able to even run
with those guys, and to win, was great. And of course being able to drive in
Europe. Something that I really appreciate is all of the people in Monster Jam
who have been willing to give me a chance to drive, the faith that they have
shown in me is great. I have a great time and I love it.
MonsterJam.com:Do you have any pre-show rituals that
you run though?
I don’t really have anything like that, I’m not really superstitious. I feel
like I know my job and I know what I have to do whether it’s as Crew Chief or
driver. It’s funny because I feel less pressure in a way driving because I have
a crew that is working on the Monster Jam truck although I still have a habit
of going behind them and looking things over and wanting to change things here
and there. So for me when I’m driving the only pre-show ritual would be making
sure that I go out early and walk the track. I’ve been around Dennis for so
long and when I’ve been in Europe I’ve learned a lot from Charlie Pauken, so
they’ve showed me what to look for, how to walk the track and set your plan for
the show. When it comes to driving I try to learn from the best, from the most
experienced drivers to pick up everything I can from them.
MonsterJam.com:If you were not competing on the Monster
Jam tour, what career path would you follow?
I‘d probably be working on a farm somewhere in Illinois driving a
tractor. Or working on a horse farm because I used to do that when I was in
high school. At one time I thought I might go to college and learn to be a vet
and take care of horses.
MonsterJam.com:What’s your favorite food?
MonsterJam.com:What’s your favorite movie?
Days of Thunder
MonsterJam.com:What’s your favorite television show?
I’m watching a lot of reality shows like Deadliest Catch, Gold Rush, and of
course Dennis’ show Around the World in 80 Ways. And my wife makes me watch
stuff like Dancing with the Stars. And I watch Monster Jam all the time, I mean
it’s on twice a day and even though I was there and I know the results I still
love to watch it.
MonsterJam.com:What’s your favorite color?