How it all Began
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TRUCK NAME: Awesome Kong/King Kong
MAKE: Ford & Chevy
OWNER: Jeff Dane
DRIVER: Jeff Dane / Steve Dane/ Steve Cain
TOWN/CITY: Dodd City, TX
INFORMATION: Owner Jeff Dane had a number of trucks, these included Awesome Kong, King Kong, Punisher & Undertaker. He built seven trucks in total, one which only had the width to seat one driver.
Jeff Dane sold all and every thing he had to do with monster trucks a few years ago and retired. He stopped racing because the pay was getting worse each year, & the promotors wanted more & more of the t-shirt money, and of course, the drivers wanted more money.
Jeff is now a land developer, and home builder. He also has a string of car washes in texas. Steve Cain now drives semi trucks for a living.
The Awesome Kong was a chevy when he finally sold it.
Awesome Kong's first TV apperance was on "Return of the Monster Trucks." in 1986. Jeff had just finished a 9 week racing tour with the truck and ended up racing on national TV in the finals against bigfoot. "The steering wheel on my truck broke off in my hands in the last race with BIGFOOT, we were racing wounded. I should of just stayed on the gas, as I was ahead most of the race"
Before appearing on 'Return of the Monster Trucks" Jeff was fairly busy touring with his truck, but after the show was aired, he had to build another three Awesome Kong trucks. These trucks had chevy big blocks in them instead of
allison airplane motor, like the one which was on the show. They also changed the original "awesome kong"
to a 572 blown chevy. Jeff also also changed to chevy fiberglass bodies that year.
Jeff Dane; was first with these following:-
1- Rear Engine
2-Driver sits in center of truck
3-Cooling system flows through frame & roll cage
4-First to ever run over cars at a motor sports event in front of a crowd. BIGFOOT was pulling sleds at truck pulls while King Kong was crushing cars at shows. This is now the standard thing monster trucks do !!
The first car crush was at the "Great Lakes Dragway" in Union Grove WI. in 1980, by Jeff Dane in king kong powered by a 600 hp diesel motor.
The first Awesome Kong had a slim body. The saying with the racing crowd was
"slim to win" It was 44 inchs wide to fit Jeff's brother Steve Dane, who worked for Jeff for 7 years. It had 572 cubic inch blown & injected chevy motor , built by Jerry Janke. The truck was never rolled over in the 4 years that it raced. It was cut up and used to build a full body Awesome Kong when Steve Dane quit to become a semi truck driver.
The second full size Awesome Kong was built to fit Jeff Dane & Steve Cain who drove the Awesome Kong with the airplane motor in the truck bed. The V12 allison airplane motor had 1710 cubic inches & 24 exhaust pipes with 3000 hp. However it was soon to be scraped after only 2 years of racing due to new rules limiting motor cubic inches. The new truck used the old Awesome Kongs frame, but sported a chevy body. It had a 572 blown & injected motor, and a cooling system that used no radiator, but pumped 20 gallons of water through the frame and roll cage (This is
now used by most all monster trucks today)
Jeff & his team ended up building 7 Awesome Kongs to meet the demand for trucks.
The Under Taker and Punisher trucks where actually the Awesome
Kong trucks with different bodies on, which where took on & off for differant events. They ran 7 trucks on any given weekend.
In the 1990 TNT Supernationals, the King Kong truck
had a major crash at the Murtle Beach Speedway. In a race against the Carolina
Crusher, the King Kong truck, veered of of the track, pulling down
a brand new track sign. But as driver Steve Cain tried to power out of crash
by flooring the throttle, the truck burst into flames, rolled over landed
on two brand new police cars, (which had just replaced ones that had been wrecked in a hurricane) which where located at the end of the track.
With flames & smoke everywhere, & driver no where to be seen, people
began to worry, but suddenly Steve appeared from out of the smoke, shaken
& in shock, but unhurt. The truck was abit of a wreck, as too, where the police cars.
Jeff said's that the only thing he misses about monster trucks, is "Sitting at the line
and nailing the pedal when the light truns green, that was alot of fun."
The things he doesn't miss, is
"The tire changes, the displays, the driving all night, employee problems,
and of course the promotors, all make me happy that I'm out of the sport
Click here to view thumbnails of all of the different Awesome/ King Kong trucks.
Click here to read an interview with Jeff Dane
You can E-mail Jeff Dane at firstname.lastname@example.org
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