Gary Porter is the
epitome of a seasoned veteran. He has been racing monster trucks since 1985,
just three years after seeing his first monster truck wow the crowd in
Indianapolis. His first truck was Carolina Crusher and he built it for just
$11,000. Today, the average cost of a monster truck is over $100,000.
Reflecting back on his
first monster truck and other monster trucks of that era, Porter says,
"There were no safety harnesses, no fire extinguishers, no special seat
and no drive-shaft loops. I didn't even have a fire suit. We all drove in jeans
and a t-shirt. Back then a motor was $2500, now it costs $25,000."
Porter has adapted to
the changes without missing a beat. In 1991 he won the points championship with
his creation, Carolina Crusher and went on to become one of the first monster
truck drivers to be recognized by his name, not just the name of his truck. In
2001, he signed on with Dennis Anderson and Team Grave Digger. The list of
trucks he has raced include his own Carolina Crusher, Pure Adrenaline,
Spiderman, Ragin Steel and Grave Digger.
Porter names Dale
Earnhardt for inspiring him professionally because of his driving skill and how
far he went in NASCAR. "I truly respect his driving ability. He would take
a car out and do things that other people wouldn't think of doing. Plus, it
must have taken a lot of determination to go from being a high school dropout
to accomplishing the racing achievements that he did and to build a
multi-million dollar empire."
Porter never imagined
that being a monster truck driver could turn into a full-time career. His
intention was to be a farmer. When he's not racing monster trucks, he can often
be found running heavy equipment on his 117-acre farm in North Carolina, where
he lives with his wife, Penny.
Truck Name: Grave Digger
Body: 1950 Chevy Panel Van
Engine Size: 540 Cl
Transmission: Cone 2-Speed
Sponsors: Advance Auto Parts, Arsenault
Associates, ARP Automotive Products, Auto Meter, Awesome Racewear, Cam 2 Racing
Oil, Coan, Crower Racing Products, Derale Performance, Energy Suspension,
Fel-Pro Performance Gaskets, FK Rod Ends, Hawk Performance, Jaz Products, K &
N Filters, King Engine Bearings, Lincoln Welders, Liquid Advanced Technology,
Magnaflow Performance, Mechanix Wear, MSD Ignition, NGK Spark Plugs, Optima
Batteries, Piloti, TX7, Powermaster, Rockford Rosgate, Speed Pro, Universal
Technical Institute, Walker Radiator Works, WISECO, World Products