TOM MEENTS' ADVANCE AUTO PARTS MONSTER JAM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Racing: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2011, 2012
Freestyle: 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2013
The most successful competitor of the World Finals
era, Tom Meents is the sport's only 11-time World Champion. As a further evidence
of his dominance of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam's greatest event, Meents' six
World Racing Championships and five World Freestyle Championships are tops in
both of those categories as well. Rarely does a monster truck driver dominate Advance
Auto Parts Monster Jam® in the manner that Tom Meents has since his entry into
the sport some years ago. First making his name behind the wheel of Monster
Patrol when his Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam career began in 1993, Meents
continued his success in the late 1990's driving Bulldozer, then obliterated
the tracks and his competition over the course of the 2000, 2001, & 2002
Monster Jam seasons in the Goldberg and Team Meents trucks. Week after week he
managed to stun crowds while drawing them in with his extraordinary driving
abilities and wild freestyle antics. In January of 2003, Tom debuted a new
truck, Maximum Destruction®. Still the same body style, Maximum Destruction
came with an awesome new paint job and Tom still brought the wicked fast races
and high flying freestyles that most times earned him his expected high scores
at various Monster Jam events. Maybe the title that shows the Tom Meents
attitude better than any other came at the Monster Jam World Finals in Las
Vegas, NV in March of 2004, when a broken wheel hindered him, but definitely
did not stop him. "I was disappointed because I knew that I could have and
would have done better. When it broke, I didn't consider stopping for a
second." That desire to keep going provided an unforgettable World Finals
moment and also earned him a piece of the shared 2004 Monster Jam World
Freestyle Championship title. Tom continued his run until the truck would go no
more. The crowd went crazy as the wild man walked out of a huge cloud of smoke
proving once more that absolutely nothing will stop him.
Despite his record setting total of championships Meents
is never satisfied and continues to push monster truck's to the next level. A
motorcycle enthusiast and a big fan of Supercross and Freestyle Motocross,
Meents has been a forerunner in the thrilling concept of trying to backflip a
monster truck, becoming the first driver to even come close to ever landing a clean
back flip in a scored competition during his freestyle at Gothenburg, Sweden's
Ullevi Stadium in 2008. Then Tom Meents became the first to successfully backflip
a monster truck when he accomplished the feat as the encore at the 2009 World
The rivalry between Meents and Grave Digger's Dennis
Anderson has been unparalleled in the sport's history as both super-competitive
mega-stars will do almost anything to try and defeat the other. Despite their
mutual respect no two drivers can match the intensity of the on-track Meents
vs. Anderson rivalry that has thrilled millions.
Obviously, once you're the champion, there is only one
thing that can be on top of your list of goals - win again! That is exactly
what's been on Tom's mind, and the countless championships have been proof that
he is a man of his word. Even as the field for the World Finals has been
expanded over the years, it didn't have any effect on him. "Makes no
difference to me, I don't think they can bring anyone better than they've got
now. I mean it just brings in more people for me to compete against. For the
fans, it's great but it doesn't scare me, for me it's all about making it to
first place and putting on the best show."
Meents has always been one of the sport's biggest
innovators. Case in point: 2006 at the World Finals. A year of racing
frustration did not sit well with him and he decided to take it out on
freestyle, where he became the first driver ever to bring his own obstacle!
Max-D drove out onto the track, pulled into the fountain, and the motor shut
off. Everyone thought that Tom had a problem with his truck until his teammate,
Neil Elliott, jumped out of the truck, leaving the back-up Maximum Destruction
on the course as another obstacle. Tom rolled onto the floor and began his run
by leaping over his own truck and went on to turn in one of his best
performances ever, which landed him world title number 7, and his racing
championship at World Finals X extended his record of championships to 8,
double the total for any other driver at that time. Meents has continued to
extend that amazing record, adding World Racing Championships at World Finals
XII and XIII to run his stunning total to 10 world titles.
2013 marks the 10th year that Meents and Max-DSM have been with the sport of Monster Jam. The decade of destruction will be celebrated all season long and the new Max-D design that Meents will be behind the wheel of, will leave fans in awe.
Q&A with Tom
MonsterJam.com: How did you get started competing on the
Monster Jam circuit?
Tom Meents: I
was a mud racer and Paul Shafer was a mud racer. I loved monster trucks from
day one. I had an old monster truck that we had built on the farm. It had 66
inch tires on it and we fooled around with it on the farm. It was me and my
cousin, but my cousin was not someone who ever wanted to take it anywhere and
compete. We just had it to play around with. So we both worked on that for a
couple of years and had a lot of fun with it, but it wasn't competitive. The
neat part about it was that I had met Paul Shafer, we were both mud racers, and
he had purchased a monster truck from Jack Willman. That was Monster Patrol.
There at an event in Kansas City he had quite a few problems with it and we
started helping him out for free just for the chance to work on the truck. That
weekend I ended up winning all three mud racing events and was also helping him
on the monster truck and at the end of the weekend he said he should put me in
a truck. So we formed a friendship then and I went on to drive his mud racer,
Mud Patrol, and I would drive my mud racer Shake Me at the same events. Then I
helped him build a new monster truck and that was where the torch was lit. I've
been in a monster truck ever since, but I have to give huge props to Paul for
helping me get started
MonsterJam.com: What do you do with your free time?
Tom Meents: I like to hang out even though I don't get a lot of time. I have a daughter and she loves to go shopping so sometimes she’ll let dad come along. Lately, she’s been trying to convince me to buy her a car. It sure would help if I could win another championship! I also have two stepsons and they are really big into hunting. I do help them a little bit with that even though I don't have the time to go hunting. We ride dirt bikes in the yard almost every day when the weather cooperates. We have four mechanical freestyle ramps that we jump and it's fun to do. I think that charge of adrenalin is good for you every day because then when I get to an event I don't get overcharged with adrenalin. I can be more clear about my run. We have several off-road trucks that we take to the Badlands Off-Road Park in Attica, Indiana, and we have a lot of fun with them there. As much as I travel and as many places as I go, my favorite place to go on an off weekend is home, I just like to be home.
MonsterJam.com: The rivalry between you and Dennis Anderson
has helped take the sport to where it is today. How do you view that rivalry?
Tom Meents: It's really amazing that both of us have
been able to be as competitive as we are with each other and with everybody
else for that matter for as long as we have. Not too often in motorsports do
you see the two top guys stay so competitive year after year after year. Like
in Supercross, they're lucky to get a year or two out of their rivalries. We've
had this for so long. He was so far ahead of me when I started that it is
really amazing that I was ever able to compete with him. And to surpass him at
times. It is still so much fun for me to race him. I mean I enjoy racing
everybody and I want to win as much as anybody, but when I race him it's like
we are writing another chapter in a great book when we come to the line and
race, and often it's in the final round.
MonsterJam.com: What is your greatest memory as a monster
Tom Meents: Honestly
it is the simple stuff for me. I was able to take my childhood dreams and then
be able to drive a monster truck and compete nationally and make a living at
it. To do it for so many years, that really is my favorite accomplishment. To
be able to spend this much of my life earning a paycheck by competing in
MonsterJam.com: Do you have any pre-show rituals that you
Tom Meents: I
like to work on my truck a lot. I have the best situation now that I ever have
had. Brandon Lambert is such a huge asset to us and he's getting better all the
time but I still like to do some of the work on the truck myself. But I have
more confidence in my crew today than ever before. That's because of him. Still
I feel like I need to still be somewhat hands on. Not so much on the show
weekends, but through the week. I love to bounce ideas off of him and to get
his input and I believe that has made us all better.
MonsterJam.com: If you were not competing on the Monster Jam
tour, what career path would you follow?
Tom Meents: I
really don't have any idea. I am a huge drag racing fan. A top fuel funny car
would be something that I'd really like to do. I don't know, I just love
racing. But I love competing more than anything, I love being a competitor. I
love to win but it's cool when you get motivation from losing too. Losing will motivate you more than winning.
MonsterJam.com: What's your favorite food?
Tom Meents: Hamburgers
MonsterJam.com: What's your favorite movie?
Tom Meents: I don't really go to the movies and if I
watch one at home I usually fall asleep.
MonsterJam.com: What's your favorite television show?
Tom Meents: I
love to watch Monster Jam. I really do. It's really a great tool for me because
I get to see what other trucks do, and my own truck.
MonsterJam.com: What's your favorite color?
Tom Meents: Black
size: 540 CI
2-speed power glide
Shocks: 27 in
coil over combs
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