Monster Jam 101

 

Here’s your complete look at Monster Jam®, the most action-packed live event on four wheels where world class drivers compete in front of capacity crowds around the globe. Monster Jam features high octane spontaneous entertainment and intense competition, featuring the most recognizable trucks in the world.

 

MONSTER JAM TRUCKS

Each Monster Jam truck is approximately 10.5 feet tall, 12 feet wide, 17 feet long and weighs 12,000 pounds.  A Monster Jam engine will generate 1,500 horsepower, thanks to a blower that forces air and fuel into the engine. It is powered by methanol fuel, consumed at the rates of three gallons a minute from a specially constructed safety cell. The truck utilizes a four-link racing suspension with four main bars that link the front and rear axles to the frame. It rides on clusters of nitrogen charged shocks that offer 30 inches of travel in the suspension. The BKT tires are 66 inches in diameter and 43 inches wide, inflated to 16-20 psi pressure and (with wheel) weigh 800 pounds each. The driver’s compartment is a steel safety structure, built from tubing and mounted to the truck frame. The truck bodies are custom-built and constructed of fiberglass. Each truck is transported in specially prepared trailers, which can include spare parts and as many as two trucks.

ATVS & SPEEDSTERS

Our Triple Threat competitions will feature special vehicles such as ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) and Speedsters (UTVs). ATVs are off-road machines built for performance. They are race-modified and powered by 450cc four-stroke engines, capable of 55 miles per hour.  Speedsters are another form of off-road sporting vehicle manufactured to maneuver over rough terrain and around obstacles. Powered by a 1000cc engine, they can reach 85 mph in open spaces. They are larger in width and length than an ATV and feature an enclosed cab with two seats. Their lower center of gravity allows for optimum agility.

THE SHOW

PIT PARTY

Many of our Monster Jam events start with a pre-show Pit Party, which gives fans the best opportunity to meet the drivers and get autographs or pictures. These Pit Parties require a separate admission ticket, along with a ticket for the Monster Jam show.

Please check your event details for the times of the Pit Party, which may be held outdoors or on the actual competition floor. Due to large crowds, some autograph lines may close early. Plan to spend as much time as you can in a Pit Party. There are plenty of additional activities for all ages to help you get ready for your Monster Jam show.

New at stadium events in 2018, the pit Party Early Access Pass is available to fans who purchase a ticket to the event. The pass provides early entry into the Pit Party (one hour before the scheduled start). It also serves as the regular Pit Party pass for the remainder of the Pit Party. The Pit Party Early Access Pass must be accompanied by an event ticket and quantities are limited. Outdoor events are rain or shine.

 

After opening ceremonies, the competition begins with many featured elements (including the following)

Racing (Timed) – An obstacle course competition where the fastest to complete the course is the winner. It showcases the driver’s ability and the truck’s agility.

Two-Wheel Skills Challenge – Monster Jam drivers will have multiple opportunities to perform the best stunt, bringing at least two wheels into the air. This is a judged competition.

Donuts - Trucks perform in designated flat areas with the objective to rotate the truck as many times and as quickly as possible. This is a judged competition

Racing  (Head -to-Head) -  Competitors report to a starting line. On a green signal, the trucks head along a prescribed course to a finish line with first to legally complete the course advancing in competition. Winners will advance until two trucks remain with the finals determining the racing champion. Racing may be preceded by qualifying to establish brackets.

Freestyle – Competitors perform tricks and stunts throughout the floor area in a designated time. This is a judged competition. A Freestyle in a stadium environment may include additional “bonus time”.

Judges – A panel of audience members who view the competition and assign a value to the performance. Each judge can score from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Once scores are reported, the highest score and lowest score are disregarded. The total of the scores is the score for the competition. In the event of a tie, the highest high score dropped will be the first tiebreaker. If still tied, the highest low score dropped will become the tiebreaker. If it is still tied, a tiebreaking official will break the tie to determine a winner.

Points – Tours will award points for individual competitions. These points are tallied throughout the performance to determine an event champion.

DRIVERS

Monster Jam drivers come from all walks of life, but they are united by the desire to raise the bar on their performances. A Monster Jam driver does more than just drive, he or she is directly connected to the fans, signing autographs and posing for pictures during the Pit Party.

There are many paths to becoming a Monster Jam driver. Talent scouts are always on the lookout for those who can do the job and new drivers make the roster every year.

A recent innovation is the development of driver training programs. Working in conjunction with specialists and experienced Monster Jam drivers, trainees are taught everything from basic operation, safety, improving driver skills and public relations. Much of the training is done at “Monster Jam University” facility in Illinois, which offers realistic tracks and obstacles in order to prepare the future Monster Jam driver for what lies ahead.

TECHNICIANS

The unsung heroes of a Monster Jam effort can be the technicians who are charged with keeping the Monster Jam truck in tip-top condition. Like the Monster Jam drivers, the technicians can come from many areas, but a key consideration is experience and education. Many have graduated from automotive-related programs at technical schools. Specialties such as welding and fabrication and engine maintenance are helpful. Much of the work is done in the field at the show, leaving technicians little time to enjoy the fruits of their work. They serve an integral part in the success of any Monster Jam truck’s performance.

SAFETY

Safety is the #1 priority of Monster Jam. It is always at the forefront of new developments.

Trucks

The Monster Jam trucks are designed to protect the driver at all times. A specially-constructed roll cage is built to house the driver, who is often sitting directly in the middle. Specially constructed seats that mold to the driver’s shape allow the work to be done with minimal distraction. A five-point harness is mounted securely to the truck to help hold the driver in position. The truck includes a receiver for a Remote Ignition Interrupter (RII). A signal can be transmitted to the truck by way of a special radio, which will shut off the engine. Each truck has a secondary on-off switch located at the rear on the frame. Other safety features are designed, built and mandated to keep the truck safe and operational.

Drivers

Each driver is equipped with specified safety gear, starting with the custom fitted fire resistant driving suit. The suits offer a minimum of three layers of protection. The helmet meets Snell Foundation regulations for fire-resistance while serving as part of the head-and-neck restraint system, which includes a tested and approval harness system. The drivers’ hands are protected by flame-resistant gloves which have a tacky grip side for steering wheel control. The drivers’ feet are protected by special fire resistant shoes that also include a thin sole for optimal throttle and brake control.

Fans

The safety of the Monster Jam fans ensures a pleasant experience. Track designers include a “safety hold”, consisting of several rows of seats nearest the venue’s show floor. This area must remain clear of spectators at all times during a performance. Monster Jam works with each venue for evacuation plans and other safety matters that may be unique to that location.

TRICKS/STUNTS

Monster Jam drivers are constantly challenged with creating amazing spectacles that will hold audiences in awe. With each successful trick, the challenge is raised to go faster, higher or farther than the time before or impress the judges with the ability and agility.

Backflip – When the truck does a complete 360-degree flip from a vertical obstacle.

Big Air – Monster Jam trucks can launch up to 30 feet into the air and travel more than 130 feet. Prepare for lift-off!

Cyclone – Similar to a Donut, but done at a higher speed

Donut – Spinning a Monster Jam truck in circles in one spot.

Pogo – The Monster Jam truck bounces on the rear tires while standing up into a wheelie.

Power Out – When a driver uses a burst of acceleration to keep the truck from rolling over.

Sky Wheelie – When a Monster Jam truck stands straight up at a 90-degree angle with the front tires in the air.

Slap Wheelie – When the front of the Monster Jam truck comes down and slaps itself back into a wheelie

Stoppie - When the truck noses onto its front wheels, leaving the rear wheels in the air. Many drivers will put the truck in reverse and "moonwalk" it.

Walk It – A one-wheeled wheelie that rocks back and forth between the two rear tires.

Wheelie – Lifting the front wheels of the truck off the ground and driving only on the rear wheels.

MONSTER JAM GLOSSARY

Bite – Traction. The strength of tires gripping the surface

Burnout – Spinning the tires to clear the mud off for optimum traction

Case It – Hit the lowest part of the truck’s frame on the peak of the obstacle

Cut Tires – Shaving the tread off the tires for more traction and less weight. The process, done by hand, can take as much as 50 hours per tire

Dry Hop – Doing a burnout to clear the starting line of loose debris

Endo – When a vehicle rolls end over end

Eyeball The Track – Drivers and crew members walk around the track to get an idea of the obstacles and how to plan their runs

Hammer – The throttle

Hole Shot – being the first vehicle off the starting line; getting an immediate advantage over an opponent

Hook Up – to get enough traction for a faster acceleration

Hot Shoe – a top driver

Mash the Throttle – step hard on the accelerator

Red Light – leave the starting line before the light turns green, resulting in disqualification

Staged – Ready to start an event

(Photos by Dave DeAngelis, Jason Twite, Brett Moist and Eric Stern)