Monster Jam set to invade Hagerstown Speedway
When Colton Eichelberger gets behind the wheel of his truck, he doesn’t care much about the final outcome.
It’s all about going big, crashing hard and providing great entertainment for the masses at each and every Monster Jam show across the globe.
“These fans, it’s about giving them the best show we possibly can,” said Eichelberger, 23, a native of Paxton, Ill. and driver of the “Max D” truck, short for Maximum Destruction. “The fans love big air. They love hard crashes and they love destruction.”
Fans from around the region will have three chances to see that and more when the high-flying, 1,500-horsepower behemoths with Monster Jam return to Hagerstown Speedway to do battle this weekend.
The first show is set for Friday night at 8 p.m., with gates opening at 6 p.m. Shows continue Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m., with gates opening one hour prior to showtime each day.
A total of eight drivers and trucks will be on hand for the weekend. Along with Eichelberger, they include:
• Krysten Anderson, “Grave Digger”
• Ryan Anderson, “Son of Grave Digger”
• Scott Buetow, “El Toro Loco Ice”
• Coty Saucier, “Monster Energy”
• Linsey Weenk, “Lucas Oil Crusader”
• Bryan Wright, “Hooked”
• Steve Sims, “Stone Crusher”
Each show will feature four events for the Monster Jam trucks — a one-on-one circle race with jumps, two-wheel skills, a donut competition and then freestyle. Mixed in will be two events for ATV riders from each team.
At the end of each show, the team with the most points over the six events will be crowned the day’s winner.
Before the action, Monster Jam pit parties ahead of shows offer fans of all ages a chance to see the trucks up close and personal, snap photos and get autographs from their favorite drivers. Those will take place from 5 to 6:45 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 2:45 p.m. Sunday.
Eichelberger, who has traveled around the U.S. and beyond in his six years on the series, said the pit parties are what he looks forward to the most.
“Meeting these fans where they’re at, that’s just so cool to me,” he said. “The pit parties are awesome. We see a lot of the same people, but also new faces each year. It’s cool how much of a following we actually get.”
For first-timers, the experience of standing next to a 10-foot-tall, 12.5-foot-wide and 17-foot-long truck can be quite surreal.
Even more so considering the marvel of engineering that goes into each 12,000-pound machine, capable of being launched dozens of feet into the air and landing — sometimes smoothly — thanks to an advanced racing suspension and huge 66-inch tires.
“These trucks, they look big sitting from the stands ... but up close and personal, they’re really mind-blowing,” Eichelberger said.
In advance of the weekend shows, two Monster Jam trucks will be making appearances in the area Thursday.
The “Monster Energy” truck will be at Walmart on Garland Groh Boulevard in Hagerstown from 2 to 6 p.m., while “Grave Digger” will be on display at Adventure Park USA in Monrovia, Md., east of Frederick, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Top photo: Colton Eichelberger pilots the “Max D” truck at a recent Monster Jam show. The Illinois native is known for his nose wheelies and going big for crowds at every show. (Submitted photo)