Monster trucks are coming to town
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 7:37 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 7:37 a.m.
Big, fast, loud and destructive.
Something about monster trucks fascinates and entertains the young and old.
For Tim Hall, crew chief of the Raminator monster truck, the draw of monster trucks comes from what they look like. He calls monster trucks oversized toys because of their appearance. The vehicle brings the inner kid out in everyone who comes to a monster truck event, plus they want to see something crushed.
"It's just an American fascination with smashing stuff up. Everybody likes seeing the junk cars after they're smashed," Hall said. "When we smash cars, people will come out after we're done and see how the cars are smashed up."
The Raminator will be making four appearances at two Dodge/Chrysler dealerships in Polk County this weekend, including two car-crushing demonstrations.
The first appearance will be at Dodge of Winter Haven from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, when fans will get to see the 10-foot-tall monster truck up close and get photos with the truck, and photos and autographs with driver Mike Miller.
The next appearance will be at Posner Park Chrysler in Davenport from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. The car crushing demonstrations are at the dealers at 1 p.m. Saturday in Davenport and 2 p.m. Sunday in Winter Haven.
"When you get to see a lot of race vehicles, they're roped off or can't get right up there and look at it; but with this, you can come up and kick the tires," Hall said.
Hall and the Raminator have had tremendous success on the Monster Truck Jam circuit. The Raminator has been named "Truck of the Year" six times, and driver Mark Hall, Tim's brother, has won "Driver of the Year" a record seven times. The team also is the 2012 General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags national champion.
As crew chief, Tim Hall makes sure his crew, driver and car are ready for whatever the track will look like. Unlike other racing leagues, the track design at a venue will sometimes differ from year to year.
"Jeff Gordon knows what the track's going to be when he leaves; John Force knows what the track is going to be when he leaves; we don't have that luxury so we have to get to the races and be flexible enough to make changes at the track to make (the truck) ready for whatever the course may be," Hall said.
Besides his duties as crew chief, Hall is the CEO of Hall Bros. Racing, which manages five Raminator trucks.
The truck making its way to Winter Haven and Davenport is not just for show; it's the real deal. The truck weighs 10,300 pounds with 2,000 horsepower and can reach 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds.
As for the one behind the wheel, Miller will be using his time in Winter Haven and Davenport to gain more experience. Miller, 26, joined the Raminator team a year ago after a background in stock car racing. He's currently driven at five demonstrations this year, learning something with each one. His ultimate goal is to be racing in the national circuit, Monster Jam.
"From the first time I did it, it's a whole different perspective when you're inside the truck instead of standing there watching it," Miller said. "You can stand there and watch the truck all day long and think 'what's going on (inside the truck?);' but once you strap yourself in, now you're in control of it. It's a pretty different experience and a dream come true."
This story appeared in print on page A5
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