Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam® World Champion, Dennis Anderson created the
legend of Grave Digger® back in 1982, and to this day Grave Digger is the
world's best-known monster truck. Anderson created Grave Digger in an old
garage in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where he originally pieced the
machine together from old parts of discarded vehicles. The original
"mud-bogging" truck was supported by the corroded chassis of a 1952
Ford pickup and ran on the innards of a high-performance Chevy engine. Although
his competitors had the advantage of high-tech equipment, Anderson boasted,
"I'll take this old junk and dig you a grave." With these words the legend
of Grave Digger was born. Anderson's high-speed racing, insane freestyle and
awe-inspiring crashes guarantee to keep his millions of fans on the edge of
their seats at every event.
of Grave Digger trucks continues to expand; Anderson's original creation has
now become the largest and most decorated team in the sport. Today's Grave
Digger trucks are a colossal improvement on his original monster. Bearing the
ghostly image created by painter Fred Bumann, each Grave Digger truck is a
machine that stands alone and intimidates all in its presence. To help Grave
Digger trucks absorb the landing after a 100-foot jump, they have nitrogen
shock absorbers, which creates a massive 26 inches of travel. To take flight, each
Grave Digger has a 540-cubic-inch, blown alcohol-injected Chevrolet Big Block
engine that produces approximately 1500 horsepower. The drive train is composed
of a custom-built transmission that is literally bulletproof. The 10,000-pound
monster crushes cars like ants with 66-inch Goodyear "Terra Tires".
To maintain a monster truck like this is no easy task, especially if you have
seen Grave Digger in action. The sport of monster truck racing is brutal on the
trucks and demands constant repairs, which keeps the Grave Digger team working
around the clock. The cost of one truck is over $250,000 including more than $100,000
in spare parts, such as engines and transmissions. The engine alone costs in
excess of $50,000.
home, on the beaches in the southeastern United States, Anderson's fame is a
product of his never-say-done, never-say-quit, never-say-can't attitude. He is
touted as the creator of freestyle, going back to his early days in the sport
when his aggressive driving style would often leave his truck broken after a
round or two of racing. Always determined to please his constantly growing fan
base, in those days Anderson would fix his truck after racing breakage and
convince the event promoters to let him go back out to put on a non-racing show
for one purpose: to please the fans, thus freestyle was born.
he claimed the sport's first-ever World Freestyle Championship in 2000, and
later claimed World Racing Championships in 2004, 2006 and 2010. Closing in on
three decades of thrilling the sport's largest fan base, Anderson is not
slowing down. He continues to keep up a
busy schedule both on the track and through his many charitable works,
including extensive time devoted to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2010, he won
the Chris Greicius Celebrity Award from Make-A-Wish in recognition for his admirable
work with the children that the charity represents.
he still competes among the highest ranks, Anderson also enjoys catching the
action supplied by his sons, Adam and Ryan, as they carry their father's famous
legacy into the next generation of Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam.
How did you get started competing on the Monster Jam circuit?
Dennis Anderson: I've
been driving longer than Monster Jam has been around. I got my start back with
Dean Moore, a promoter of the Monster on Wheels Tour, which featured mudbogging
and car crushing.
What do you enjoy doing while on the road with Monster Jam?
Dennis Anderson: Just
sightseeing and getting to see parts of the country that I haven't seen yet. I
also enjoy meeting new people, making new friends, and catching up with old
What do you do with your free time?
Dennis Anderson: I
take my daughter (Krysten) to the barn while she rides her horse. I take my son
(Weston) camping or fishing, occasionally messing with his go-kart or tuning up
his power wheels. Sometimes I like to hang around with Ryan and Adam while they
are wrenching on their mud trucks.
What is your greatest memory as a monster truck driver?
Dennis Anderson: I
have a few: winning my first World Freestyle Championship in 2000…Adam winning
his first World Freestyle Championship in 2008…Ryan winning the Rookie of the
Year Award in 2010…and of course I can't forget beating Bigfoot for the first
Do you have any pre-show rituals that you run though?
Dennis Anderson: I'll
walk the track and check out the jumps and obstacles. Other than that, I just
strap myself in and wait for the green light!
If you were not competing on the Monster Jam tour, what career path would you
Dennis Anderson: I
would be an off-road tour guide, either in the four wheel drive area or in a
really cool swamp buggy or something like that. Or maybe a waterway/fishing
tour guide with the baddest boat.
What's your favorite food?
Dennis Anderson: Shrimp and tuna. I love
What's your favorite movie?
Dennis Anderson: Forrest Gump
What's your favorite television show?
Dennis Anderson: How It's Made
What's your favorite color?
Dennis Anderson: Black
Name: Grave Digger
- Body: 1950 Chevy Panel Van
size: 540 CI
- Transmission: Coan 2-Speed
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