Most monster truck's supercharged fuel injected big block American V8 engines are custom-built, super charged and
methanol-injected. A monster engine can burn up to 10 liters of methanol per run and delivers about 1,500 horsepower, getting about 7 miles per gallon. The average monster truck team goes through five engines in a year. Heavy Hitter's custom engine was sponsored by B & R speed shop in Fairdale, Ky. They did the machine work for Derick and assembled the motor.
Get a close look at Heavy Hitter
Derick began his love affair with racing as a kid when he was into motocross. He moved on to drag racing, figure-eights, and road racing motorcycles. His dad's buddy built motors for monster trucks, and he had his first opportunity to drive a one at the age of 19 with John Moore's "No Problem". Not long after that, a guy named Rob French came through town needing a driver. After driving for French for a while, he decided to build his own.
His racing experience comes in useful to the world of monster trucks because side-by-side racing is one of two forms of competition at Monster Jam. The other form is freestyle. Side-by-side racing is traditional bracket racing where the first truck, with the least amount of penalties, to cross the finish line is considered the winner. Freestyle allows drivers a limited amount of time on the open floor to show off their skills, impressing the audience (who judges the winner).
Derick also occasionally drives for other promoters who contact him to be in their shows since he is an independent owner/driver. He doesn't have to have a special license to drive the monster truck, although he does have certification from the Monster Truck Racing Association and a CDL to drive the trailer that hauls Heavy Hitter. He looks forward to performing in his hometown Louisville during the upcoming Monster Jam. He had the following words of advice for anyone that aspires to be involved with Monster Trucks:
"Stay in school; stay off drugs; work hard and don't give up on your dreams."
Wide-eyed fans with tickets to the Saturday show (January 28) can see these monsters up close and meet the drivers by attending the Party in the Pits from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Free pit passes are available at participating Advance Auto Parts locations beginning January 9. Pit passes will also be available at the box office or through Ticketmaster for an additional fee. Fans must have a Saturday, January 28 event ticket and a pit pass to enter.
If fans want to ensure best seats in the house and have exclusive access to a private meet and greet with drivers, they can purchase all access passes for the Saturday show for $65, although quantities are limited. Additional fees apply to all tickets and all tickets are $2 more day of show. All tickets are available at the Freedom Hall Box Office, Ticketmaster Outlets or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Jessica Lynn has been writing for Louisville.com since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications. More articles from Jessica Lynn