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Hometown Hero And Grave Digger Milestone Thrill Corpus Christi Monster Jam Fans

By Scott Douglass
Jul 24, 2013







Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® returned to beautiful Corpus Christi, Texas, last weekend with capacity crowds filling the American Bank Center for the return of Monster Jam® action to the Gulf Coast city for the first time in two years. The excited fans witnessed great action all weekend long with the headlines being claimed by the Advance Auto Parts Grinder team along with Team Grave Digger®.

The driver of the Advance Auto Parts GrinderSM in Corpus Christi all weekend was Lupe Soza. “The People’s Truck” is one of the most popular pieces in Monster Jam today wherever the truck competes and in Corpus Christi at the Party in the Pits fans flocked to see the awesome machine and to spend time with Soza who is a native of the Corpus Christi area. The 2004 World Freestyle Champion was truly treated as a hometown hero by the fans all weekend and Soza responded big time as he powered Advance Auto Parts Grinder to several wins over the weekend that included a true crowd pleasing Grinder freestyle performance Saturday night that earned the winner’s plaque while the crowd was standing and cheering for the state-of-the-art machine, expertly prepared by top-level Crew Chief Brian Christensen, as well as for the driver who proudly represents that area all over the world in Monster Jam competition.

Earlier on Saturday night it was another born and bred Texan, veteran Pablo Huffaker who of course drives for the Grave Digger team based in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, who was in the center of that same floor to receive the night’s Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam racing championship plaque following his driving Grave Digger to yet another Championship Round victory when announcer Larry Jewett put the triumph into greater prospective for the roaring fans there. As Jewett interviewed the winner, the event’s Production Manager Josh Felix displayed on the jumbo video screen in the arena a congratulations to Huffaker for having just completed his 100th race behind the wheel of Grave Digger in 2013. Jewett went on to point out that of those 100 head-to-head match-ups against the best Monster Jan trucks in the world for that Grave Digger Monster Jam truck that team has been victorious in a whopping 81 of those races this year, a fact that inspired the crowd in Huffaker’s native state to roar even louder creating a special moment that obviously was an emotional, moving moment for one of Monster Jam’s all-time greats.

In many ways that raw number for just that one piece of the Grave Digger team is amazing. 100 races completed barely half-way through the calendar year. Huffaker, a veteran of three decades in Monster Jam, would be one of the first to tell you that two of the main reasons that accomplishment is even possible are the incredible support of the Monster Jam fans that fuel the sport and the continuing advances in Monster Jam truck technology. Those mechanical advances and innovations, many of which Huffaker has been at the forefront of creating, have made Monster Jam trucks not only faster and more spectacular year after year, but also so much more durable, allowing these incredible 10,000 pounds mechanical marvels to be able to take the high demand stress and pounding of battling on the track at the top level week after week.

That magic 100 number is also a tribute to Huffaker’s part of Team Grave Digger. To successfully complete that many highly competitive races in such a relatively short period of time is a tribute to the entire RaceSource operation, Huffaker’s company that keeps his Grave Digger in tip top shape every week. This accomplishment also points to the incredible work done, often with only minutes available to complete a repair during an event, by the team’s Crew Chief Aaron Basl.

You see Basl is often the busiest man in Monster Jam on any given weekend. Having built his own fan base as one of the popular drivers for the El Toro Loco® team, his driving opportunities are not Basl’s only focus at Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam events. The unique, highly efficient pairing of Grave Digger and El Toro Loco trucks on this team are under Basl’s mechanical direction. Aaron methodically prepres both trucks, making sure first that Grave Digger is 100% ready to rock the house, then taking his wrenches over to El Toro Loco to make sure that his popular piece is ready to do the same, and often to provide the toughest test for Grave Digger at many events.

The level of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam competition has never been higher than it is in 2013, and the popularity of the sport has never been greater. Keeping an eye on the statistics each week we’ve seen some incredible numbers posted by some of the sport’s top stars, including the amazing run we witnessed this spring from reigning World Racing Champion Adam Anderson who put together a streak of 18 consecutive wins in major stadium rounds of racing driving Grave Digger the Legend®, a streak that included Anderson and his Crew Chief Cole Venard standing on the winner’s stage holding up the champion’s racing trophy at four consecutive stadium racing brackets, a streak that is almost an unimaginable accomplishment considering the level of talent and competition in Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam these days.

But when you add up the raw numbers across all events, from stadiums to arenas to speedways it is Pablo Huffaker and Grave Digger at the top of the list in both total races and racing wins. 100 races and 81 wins are numbers that speak for themselves, a tribute to the greatness, still today in the twilight of his legendary Monster Jam career, that Huffaker and his Grave Digger team bring to the track each and every time out. By the way, those totals have been piled up by Huffaker driving exclusively for Team Grave Digger. His complete totals are slightly higher since as Monster Jam World Finals fans know well Huffaker was especially impressive at Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World FinalsSM XIV presented by NGK Spark Plugs in Las Vegas as the driver of Blue Thunder for that weekend.

So we add our congratulations to Pablo Huffaker for crossing the finish line 100 times already this year behind the wheel of Grave Digger and for his equally impressive total of 81 wins, better than any other driver and truck in the sport. Considering this is just July, you can count on the fact that Huffaker will be thrilling Grave Digger fans with lots more great races in 2013, and you can be sure that those races will more often than not result in another Grave Digger win for Pablo Huffaker.

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