Watching trucks with big tires crush cars is entertaining for kids – and adults.
There will be a lot of twisted metal at the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam at the Colonial Life Arena. The first of three shows this weekend is at 7:30 tonight.
Most monster truck drivers don’t use doors to get into their trucks. As many times as Monster Jam has come to the city, we didn’t think to ask how drivers access their cabs until a friend’s 6-year-old son asked, “How do they get into the truck?”
Whit Tarlton, who drives Monster Mutt, told us he crawls between bars underneath the truck that sits on 66-inch Terra Tires.
“You’re actually using the chassis of the truck to crawl up in there,” he said.
Tarlton, who calls Wadesboro, N.C., home, got into monster trucks by following the lead of one of his town’s most famous residents. Gary Porter, who began on the monster jam circuit driving Carolina Crusher, got Tarlton interested in jumping cars in huge trucks with bouncy suspensions.
“He needed a driver, so he asked me,” Tarlton said of Porter, who pilots one of the circuit’s Grave Digger trucks.
Since we don’t do much about monster trucks, we decided to get our 6-year-old friend to help us out. Here’s what he told us to ask:
How do you get into the truck? Most of the trucks, especially mine, we go under the roll cage. The Grave Digger trucks have doors, the others don’t. It takes a little bit of work to get up in it.
What do you wear to drive the truck? A fire suit, like the NASCAR drivers wear. It’s the same type of suit. Our vehicles have caught on fire before, so if you’re trapped in that booger, you need to be protected. You can feel the heat.
Why are the trucks so tall? If it wasn’t tall, it wouldn’t be called a monster truck.
How big is the motor? 540 cubic inches with 1400 horsepower.
Is Monster Mutt fun to drive? It’s awesome. To be able to push that pedal and that thing does the things it does is unbelievable.
How fast can you go? It can run as fast as 80 miles per hour. That’s about top speed.
Can you drive the truck with a regular license? You have to know heavy equipment.
How many shows do you do per year? We do 12, 13 weekends straight (at) the first of the year. We do 8 to 10 through the summer and fall.
What do you do when you’re not driving the truck? I’m a logger. I have my own logging crew. When I’m not driving the truck or working on it, I’m logging.
Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.