|Date of birth:
||April 24, 1990
A second-generation driver, Jeremy Slifko has been around the sport of Monster Jam® virtually his entire life. He became involved with monster trucks as soon as his hands were big enough to hold a wrench. Slifko grew up working on his father’s (Andy Slifko) popular Eradicator® truck, eventually becoming crew chief of his father’s team. As soon as he turned 18 years old, Slifko became the driver behind the wheel of Backdraft. His career advancement really paid off. Slifko won the sport’s Rookie of the Year award in 2009 and was named winner of the coveted Rising Star award the following year in 2010.
Q&A with Jeremy Slifko
MonsterJam.com: How did you get started competing on the Monster Jam circuit?
Jeremy Slifko: I started out in the sport when I was five years old, turning lug nuts and helping out around the shop. When I turned 16, I began working full-time on the truck. When I turned 18, my dad said he needed somebody to drive one of the trucks and I was quick to jump on that opportunity, and the rest is history. To tell you the truth, when I was growing up, we only had one truck and I really didn’t want to drive. At the time I was about making the trucks run smooth and hanging out behind the lines to watch my work in action. I still like working on the truck; and, I do so from time to time.
MonsterJam.com: What do you enjoy doing while on the road with Monster Jam?
Jeremy Slifko: It sounds like a generic answer, but the fans are the best. The first time I competed, we got done with freestyle and went up to the autograph line. This little kid came running up and hugged me and told me I did an awesome job! That won me over.
MonsterJam.com: What do you do with your free time?
Jeremy Slifko: Monster trucks, that’s it. We do everything from working on our hauler to maintaining the trucks. We also have an auto repair shop and a towing business that keeps us busy. We have a lot going on here at home in Pottsville, PA. My main job is making sure that both our monster trucks are ready to go for the next show. So, in reality, that is my free time.
MonsterJam.com: What is your greatest memory as a monster truck driver?
Jeremy Slifko: I’d have to say that my greatest memory is doing my first televised show in Atlanta. I have to admit that when I walked into the venue and looked around, I thought I would never be there. After the first interview that I did, it just started clicking and it was such an amazing feeling. You just can’t believe it. You started out just as a little kid running around thinking that it’s [career driving a monster truck] never going to go anywhere, when all of a sudden it’s in your face.
MonsterJam.com: Do you have any pre-show rituals that you run though?
Jeremy Slifko: Not really, I just try to stay calm. A lot of people get wound up and get in a groove, but I just try to mingle before shows and have a good time.
MonsterJam.com: Your dad, Andy Slifko, is known as being somewhat soft-spoken, yet you have shown such an outgoing personality. Where did that come from?
Jeremy Slifko: When I get out on the floor and people start cheering it just gets my adrenaline going. The fans actually get my adrenaline going more than being in the truck does. All my excitement comes from the fans’ energy.
MonsterJam.com: If you were not competing on the Monster Jam tour, what career path would you follow?
Jeremy Slifko: I’m sure that I would be involved in some form of racing. A friend of ours has let me drive his street stock race car a few times; so I’m sure I’d be behind the wheel of something of that nature. I just can’t get enough of it.
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite food? Jeremy Slifko: Steak and baked potato
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite movie? Jeremy Slifko: Cars
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite television show? Jeremy Slifko: Ice Road Truckers
MonsterJam.com: What’s your favorite color? Jeremy Slifko: Red
• Truck Name: Backdraft - is a truck dedicated to firefighters. The truck actually carries the words “In memory of 9/11” on the back. The truck number is 343 because there were 343 firefighters who died on September 11, 2001, during the World Trade Center attacks.
• Body: Dodge truck.
• Engine size: 540 Merlin
• Transmission: Coan 2-Speed
Sponsors: RaceSource Shocks, F & K Rod Ends, Alltel Eagle, Air Gas, DaCo starters