Retired Monster Truck owner & driver of Awesome
Kong, King Kong, the Undertaker & the Punisher, Jeff Dane, retired
from the sport in 1995. Jeff was one of the original Monster Truck builders,
who along with people like Fred Shafer, Evert Jasmer & Bob Chandler,
started the Monster Truck sport.
There are many innovations which Jeff came up with,
where he claims the credit was not given to him for coming up with
these ideas. He says he had the first monster truck with a rear engine
in it. His was the first monster truck to have the driver seat in
the center of truck. He was first to have a cooling system which
flows through frame & roll cage, & 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.
Here are some questions which I put to him :-
Q)How did you get into Monster Truck Racing
A)"It happened, when
standard car crushing wasn't good enough anymore, about
3 years into the sport of monster trucking.
1977-78-79, standard car crushing. 1980-up, racing took hold."
Q)What was going through your mind the first
time you crushed some cars ?
A)"I'm already almost
10 feet off the ground, my center of gravity is going to be alot worst
when I'm of the cars, lets not roll"
Q)Where you nervous ?
A)"Scared so bad,
that you sweat alot from the danger & the loss of money to repair
Q)How did the crowd react ?
A)"My first car crushs
were in a field with few people, But at shows, in the beginning the crowd
Q)Did you enjoy the fame & fortune of the
A)"I enjoyed being
my own boss, and in the beginning the pay was great."
Q)How would you prepare for a race ?
A)"About two hours
before the races began, I wouldn't eat or drink anything, because for the
next 3 hours during the show, you don't have time for rest room brakes."
Q)How many years did you race for ?
A)"Feb. 95 was my
last show. Feb 80 was my first official show where I was required to wear
a helmet and a fire suit. From 76 to 79 I did a lot of fairs and
car shows with no racing.
Q)Why did you quit ?
A)"I lost interest
in the sport due to the decline in pay. MONEY MOTIVATES."
Q)Did you find it hard to keep your trucks
up to date, with all technical advances that the sport was seeing
A)"You could count
it like clock work that every two years you would have to redo or replace
the outdated parts and sometimes the entire truck."
Q)Did you prefer racing the truck or doing
display work ?
A)"In the time of
displays ie; car shows & fairs, the money was great. When the
trucks started competing, I never liked to just sit with the truck not
being able to race."
Q)Did you ever roll any of the trucks ?
A)"I never rolled
a truck over but came close. My employees had eight rollovers, one
of which the truck fell off the trailer, which was covered with snow."
Q)What was going through your mind when you
saw someone else roll their truck ?
A)"When I saw someone
else roll a truck, all I could think about was the time and the
money that was lost due to the damage."
Q)Are there any particular moments in your
racing career, which stick in your mind ?
A)"Meeting Ted Nugent,
Mickey Thompson, Lee Majors, and others. Seeing other monster trucks
using updates and safety that I designed."
Q)What did you enjoy most about being a monster
truck driver ?
A)"Coming home to
my family after two months on the road."
Q)What was the worst thing about it ?
A)"Dealing with the
employee problems and having to manage and drive the trucks while being
on the road"
Q)Did you prefer the early years of the sport,
or the later years ?
A)"From a money standpoint,
the money was a lot better in the early years. Later on the speed
of the truck was what I enjoyed."
Q)Did you think that the sport is as popular
as it was 10 years ago ?
Q)What are your views on the sport now ?
A)"I believe there
are to many racers with all the money and not enough racers with any money."
Q)What about the future of the sport ? Do you
think there is anything left to do to advance it any further ?
for the events is going to be a factor on indoor events, you might see
indoor events eliminated altogether. A lot more third party organizing
and no truck owners in any top level positions that are responsible for
making self helping decisions. ie; Bob Chandler."
Q)Are there any other comments you wish to
A)"I wish the sport
well, it was a great ride while it lasted, but I wouldn't bet the farm
on its survival."
I would like to personally thank Jeff
Dane, for taking time out to answer my questions.
If you want to see pictures & information on the
Awesome/ King Kong trucks, check out my Awesome/
King Kong web page.