What should be done about the Monster Truck industry?

jeb134

Well-Known Member
It seems that a lot of lengthy topics always end up delving into where this "sport" is lacking or "what ifs", so I'm curious, from every perspective on here rangeing from the casual fan who just likes to see big, loud trucks crush cars and go fast, to the people who eat, sleep, breathe, and live in the industry: what needs to be done to improve the industry AND HOW could it possibly happen? Please do not start a flame war, or make this into an another argument about Bigfoot vs. Live Nation, we have plenty of those already :p I'm too tired to comment tonight, but I'm going to think about it and I'll contribute later on, but I'm curious as to what you all think, so have at it :)
 
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SMTSfan4ever

Guest
What we need to do is this:

Combine S.M.T.S., Shafer, Checkard Flag, USHRA, AMP, TNT, Outlaw, Wgas, TBO, H.A.R., Monster nationals, and Image. Have them all under MTRA.
Example: Nascar=Bush,winston,chraftsman,& More........MTRA=USHRA, AMP, Image , & more.
Like nascar, no matter what, no matter what type or who, you still are under Nascar Rules. One Car may run this series, and not the other.
Like monster trucks, Big Foot can run where ever he wants, the promoter has to follow MTRA's Rules and let anyone who owns a monster truck can race. period.

Televise 1 Small show on Friday, 1 Stadium Race on Saturday, & Sunday an Arena race. Each week the promoters will switch

Example:
Week 1:: TBO on Friday, Amp on Saturday, TNT on Sunday.
Week 2:: Monster Nationals on Friday, LN on Saturday, Image on Sunday.
Week 3:: H.A.R on Friday, Checkard on Saturday, Shafer on Sunday.

Each event live be televised live. With the Help of ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNHD, ESPNU, Well duh...ESPN has enought channels to do everyshow , everyweekend.

All Trucks that want to run a particular Promoter, They Will have Standings exactly like the other Promoters.

Well, that's from me.....Atleast I know, i can only wish for this to happen.
 
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Thunder Chicken

Guest
Picking up with what SMTS was saying, something I think would be neat would be to have a ladder system of sorts like NASCAR has. The elite series is the Nextel Cup Series. Next to that, you have the Busch Series and then the Craftsman Truck Series.
Obviously, there are teams and trucks that perform better than others for various reasons. Why not have your "elites" in the top tier series, with the other teams in the "feeder" series beneith? Then, as their abilities and skills improve, you could invite them for a chance to race in the "elite" series with the top stars. You could also go by the size of the venue with each step up racing in bigger venues. This is just a suggestion taking what SMTS said and running with it...but it could prove interesting.

Ultimately, I think what the industry needs is unity. There's various promotors out there now all doing their own thing, it's really difficult to keep track of what kind of event you're going to go see when it's advertised. Someone may see an ad for a CFP show and think they're going to get a Monster Jam and visa versa. That ultimately hurts everyone involved, including the fans in not getting what they expected. Also, I think there should be standard rules again. MTRA use to provide that, but they're really not what they use to be anymore. Grant it, the USHRA Rulebook is all but (if not) a copy of the MTRA rules...there should be one standard set of rules that EVERYONE should abide by.
 

slap wheelie

Well-Known Member
Great Idea guys! But it will never happen! 1st you can't even get LN to Book their Trucks with another Promoter when they are available. (Very Rare anyhow)

2. The nature of the "Beast "Promoters", are greedy, and are always back stabbing, and on the prey to Steal another Promoters Venue, Market, etc. when ever possiable, so how in the world do you think they could ever work together.

Lets face it, LN holds a strangle hold on the Monster Truck Business, by promising building other events, in order to control everything. We are lucky that there are other Promoters out there doing battle to bring Shows to other Markets.

So I don't know how it could work! But it is a good idea!!!!!!
 

MToldguy

Well-Known Member
The MOD thing tried to at a certain level, You have to have TV rights to build the base. Every party has to be on the same page and willing to do what ever it takes to make it work. Ego's are checked at the door and everybody has to give and be willing to get dirty.Big events cost money and not all MT will go unless they rcv. a show up fee usually. You need big venues in and out but we all know who has those. In a real world it should be open to all comers, run what ya brung so to speak, some have tried but when they see the comp. they do not want a part of it! You need name trucks but you can make a show with whatever as long as its done right. Same story here the MOD thing is deeper than most want to realize.

Bottom line, people want to be entertained, MOD tried the no-free style thing and the feed back they got was bad very bad. Why? People want the TV crash fest and want that!! MT's will never be taken serious as a true racing circuit. Look at what happened with the Outlaws..the fans lost on that one too.

If you have find someone with the cash and are willing to give it a couple years of losing more than its return then I have some great Ideas..
 

freakshow

Well-Known Member
I'd have to agree with slap wheelie. The most greedy of all promoters is of coarse LN. Everything in this world unfortunatley revolves around the all mighty dollor. he who has the most makes the most and its hard to see anything in the near future that will take down the beast. The ONLY thing in my eyes that will save our sport from being a complete monopoly is a stage 4 monster truck that has copyright to protect it from LN.

Question: if there were a stage 4 monster truck is there a copyright that would protect the design and let designer choose who may and may not use it. I am not to familiar with copyright laws
 

JBrossack

Well-Known Member
Stephen, the design of a stage 4 truck would fall under a patent. Yes it would allow him to protect the designs and such, but that can change should the design leave this country. On the downside, a patent only holds true for ten years, which in this industry's sense is a long time anyway.
 

BrianV

Well-Known Member
I have tried to make this as concise as possible.

1) We need a Premier Racing Series
Monster Jam does not cut it, because it has no chance for growth or progress. It simple is. We need a new promoter, a new series, and a new attitude. It must be open to all teams (that meet safety rules). One with racing only, weekly published points, knowledgeable and self-respecting fans and competitive drivers. It will not happen within the next decade, but it can begin in that time.

2) We need New Fans
No more fans, but different fans, meaning, the fans we used to have. The crowds from the 1980s were different from the crowds now. It’s nice to see more kids and families in attendance, but it’s terrible to see so few adult male groups (excluding drunken college kids who are never welcomed). You used to find just a group of 3 or 4 buddies going to races; the guys who worked on their own vehicles, did blue collar jobs, appreciated the machines and the men driving them, and didn’t need to see fire and destruction to be happy with the performance. In short, we need to bring back motorsports fans.

3) We need Better Racing Tracks
Freestyle is not popular because fans prefer seeing one truck over two trucks, or a clock that counts down as opposed to a clock that counts up. They like freestyle because that’s when they use the big obstacles and when the biggest wrecks occur. Forget the part about the wrecks, because the sport will not progress with fans like that. Those fans may swell the numbers in attendance, but they hold back the sport. That leaves “big obstacles”, and should not be that hard to overcome. If you can freestyle over busses, you can race over busses. If you can’t, you lose. MOD used sea-containers in Monroe and they were awesome. Pyramid of Cars, anyone? It can be done and it should have been done a long time ago. We need racing tracks that suit these machines, not glorified PAT courses. So long as fans get to see trucks running over big obstacles, they’ll be happy with just racing.

4) We need Respect
We need respect from both within the community and without, in that order. Obviously we need to have fans and sponsors respecting the sport for it to grow. But no one will respect us as a motorsport until we learn to respect ourselves. When a top driver like Tom Meents makes a mad dash to the finish line in Indianapolis and crashes in his comeback effort, then says in his post race interview “I’m not here to win races, I’m just here to wreck stuff”, it sends big message to any watching that “they don’t take this sport seriously, why should I?” There are many other examples, and unfortunately, they come from the events that get broadcast on national television.

5) We do not need unity
There is no need for some big coming together of teams and promoters for this sport to progress. USHRA has done well getting their brand across without cooperation from other promoters. Instead of more unity, we need less unity, and for a new promoter to take a wholly different approach to the sport. Some drivers will come along, so won’t. The ones who don’t will still be able to join the smaller, established promoters (which is a good thing). The ones who do—as did John Moore, Dave Weiczorek, and Gary Wiggins with TNT, and as has Dan Evans, Lupe Sosa, and Tom Meents with LN—will become the stars of the sport.
TNT ran 40 events with about 10-12 full time teams and they were the leaders of the sport.
PENDA ran 13 events with about 12 full-time trucks and they were the leaders of the sport. Now,
USHRA runs about 10 televised events with (well, a different line-up every week), and they are the leaders of the sport.
We don’t need to come together and sing Kumbaya. We need someone to rebel and start off on their own.

6) Don’t get hung up on Monster Jam
I think I’m saying this to myself, too. The big televised Monster Jams make up about 2% or 3% of all events run worldwide. Event if you include all large-arena Monster Jams, you’re at maybe 10%. That means a lot of fans are watching events in hockey arenas or fairgrounds.
Furthermore, the number of events with wild crashes like at a Monster Jam isn’t very large. The problem is that those big events are the most visible to the general public. So a racing-only series may not work well in, say, Atlanta or Indianapolis or Houston.
But if you have a big field running on a good course in a town that gets only hockey arena or small promoter events, I think it will be successful. Trust me, I’ve seen plenty of non-Monster Jam events with neither racing or (especially) freestyle anywhere near what you see on television at Monster Jam, and the fans still loved it. If you go to a smaller town and race over buses, they’ll come back next year even without freestyle.

7) National Television is needed, but not immediately
For a premier racing series to really have an effect on the sport, it needs to be nationally televised, but not necessarily from Day One. I’d suggest starting with a Triple Crown (that would be 3 events) outdoors in late-summer, early-autumn in the southeast to Midwest. Saturday only. Book 10 trucks with a modest show-up fee and pay a sizeable purse. 8 trucks make the field after double-qualifying. No freestyle, but an exciting race course and other motorsports included (pulling, bogging, quads, PATs, etc…, but especially ones that charge a fee to sign-up). Market the event to the New Fans I mentioned.

The idea here is to build up solid anchor locations from which to expand. Market wisely and market well in advance. Since you’re only doing 3 events the entire year, try different techniques to spread the word. Maybe a billboard? Maybe flyers at local race tracks and garages. Do the event annually at the same time and try to make it a part of the local culture, just like the Jamboree in Bloomsburg.

Sell those three cities on the idea of a racing-only purse series. Clearly a big part of this is where you do it, which is why I suggested southeast to Midwest. That’s got to be your best location for gearheads. Creating a big event in a small(er) town is not too far fetched. CFP has big events in Woodstock and Pocatello. Route 66 has their big event. MTC has the Back-to-School Bash in Charlotte. IMAGE had a HUGE crowd in Mansfield. And we had talk on here about MEI’s big crowd in Miami, OK last year. Get the three events well established (sold out) and maximize the profit (through good management).

Once that ground has been laid, sell it to sponsors, bring it to other cities, and get more teams on board. With only three cities, it might be a good sell to a network, too. Instead of a weekly spot, they give you a 2-hour slot thrice. Gives them time to hype it, more hype for fewer events should increase sponsorship dollars, and increase viewers. Look how much hype a football game (16-game schedule) gets as opposed to a baseball game (162-game schedule). I would love to see 3 big events on FOX, NBC, or ABC (who all carry other sporting events).

Summary) We need someone to start small and get a limited group of teams and fans on board first. It will take at least a decade, I imagine. Television would be necessary for it to have an effect on the sport, but the foundation can be established without television. Ultimately, what is needed is for me to get a well-paying job.
 

72ZEBRA

Well-Known Member
Brian great post! Thank you, I hate to type (and think that hard) for that long. I think you hit the nail on the head. Points I like the most is the fact that if we do have racing with bigger obstacles people will watch. And with competition you will see trucks that push the envelope. Some will crash, and for those who like that stuff, it will be a lot more thrilling than the obvious Dennis or Tom rollover as time expires (duhhhhh). Im still holding on to the dream of a race series.
 
B

bigtruck11

Guest
Many of you will be happy to know.....
I'm not even going to start in on this conversation. I'd just be talking to the wall anyway.



BTW, ridetrucks+rollcages=good
 
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Slick clyde

Guest
well im not too up to date on all the monster truck politics and what not. but im an industrial designer ,ive watched raceing all my life, and blah blah blah...so here we go:
1. ok first off, most important thing. SPEED Channel/Fox needs to do a better job with Monster Jam. i meen they do a good job with the actual broadcast. but we need some sense of cronology.
-show the previous weekends Monster Jam shows all week-
thats key, that way its easier for a caseual fan to catch on, catch up, and keep up.
2. unity. one series with alot of different rungs. thats how a raceing series suceeds. id say on the bottem rung an 'anyone can compete' thing would be fine. the more of these rungs on TV the better, but as long as the top is on, its all good.
thats it.
now for 2 to happen alot of stuff needs to happen. but if Monster Trucks are ever to get bigger this needs to happen.
then there are some other things...but im lazy, and those are all technical and boring, and they're only gonna happen if the first 2 do.
 
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Slick clyde

Guest
actually i just had another idea,
3. a point system to determine the champions. this ties back into my #1, but all these things make other people see monster trucks as mindless redneck fun, not real racing.
 

nemesis1230

Active Member
what should happen

This sport will never be more than a side show, as long as trucks are hired to do a show. There will never be a champion that is trully the best, because like it or not, they have not had the opertunity to race everyone.
Nascar works because anybody with the cars and money who wants to race can, at any level they want.
When this sport takes the next step,and our dreams of trully open to all racing happens, then I say go for it. but until that happens, Its all nothing more than entertainment, and you will never see any promotors working with each other on any kind of event. So here is my thought to all who want to own a monster truck(and don't have one yet) go invest your money in a house or some kind of investment for your future.
Remember of what some where around 300 monsters in the U.S. I would be willing to bet that at least 75% of those trucks are owned by people who are self employed and not living off of what the trucks earn. Most monster truckers are just like the fans they do it for the love of doing it,cause they sure ain't getten rich.
 

slap wheelie

Well-Known Member
This sport will never be more than a side show, as long as trucks are hired to do a show. There will never be a champion that is trully the best, because like it or not, they have not had the opertunity to race everyone.
Nascar works because anybody with the cars and money who wants to race can, at any level they want.
When this sport takes the next step,and our dreams of trully open to all racing happens, then I say go for it. but until that happens, Its all nothing more than entertainment, and you will never see any promotors working with each other on any kind of event. So here is my thought to all who want to own a monster truck(and don't have one yet) go invest your money in a house or some kind of investment for your future.
Remember of what some where around 300 monsters in the U.S. I would be willing to bet that at least 75% of those trucks are owned by people who are self employed and not living off of what the trucks earn. Most monster truckers are just like the fans they do it for the love of doing it,cause they sure ain't getten rich.

There has been many good post! But you are spot on.....As much as I like Monster Trucks, its the Wrestling of Motorsports, and that's how it is!

MTRA tried the Drag Racing at several Bruton Smith Tracks and it never went anywhere........TV will not cover it, and as long as LN keeps marketing "Bat Man", "Monster Mutt", etc and going after the Kids to bring Mom and Dad
, how can you take it serious!!!!!!

Just look at what Teams have Corporate Sponsors (Very Few) and for little money, if not just Product Trade...................

Even if a Promoter went on the Hook for a Major Monster Truck Race with qulifying, and a ladder like Drag Racing, and a Major 16 Truck Field $25K to win....No LN Trucks would go, so Big Foots comes with 7 Trucks, and a few other Teams........The poor low dollar guy can not compete......But he sure can shine at Free Style...........
 

BrianV

Well-Known Member
"Monster Trucks, its the Wrestling of Motorsports, and that's how it is!"

No no no no no. See, this is the first step to getting anywhere: Don't talk like that. What you're saying is that there's no hope in trying because the sport is fundamentally flawed. This is what I mean by taking ourselves seriously. When the most diehard of fans say stuff like that, those outside the sport will continue to believe it. If there can be a [ ]in' lawn mower racing series (that gets televised! They even have their own racing simulation game!), we can certainly do it with monster trucks!

Why do guys racing on lawn mowers get sponsorships, television coverage, and a computer game? Because they're serious about their competition. They're driving around on freakin' lawn mowers! LAWN MOWERS!

This is what you can do when you take yourself seriously. We've had a promoter around for a long time that could make this happen, and they choose not to, because they aren't serious about it.

And just look at this game: GameSpot page
It got a 7.1/10.0 on GameSpot! It's LAWN MOWER RACING! What does our sport get? Trucks with guns.

Sorry, sorry. Talking about LN again. It's hard to talk about the sport and not talk about LN when they're such a big part of it . . .

Last point for now: it doesn't matter that no LN trucks would come to an event. There are lots of teams out there who are very much into competition who would run an event (or series) like that. The hard part is getting the money available to make it financially feasible. But, there are still many teams with big sponsors (Summit Bigfoot, Dodge Raminator and Rammunition, CSK Bounty Hunter and CSK Iron Outlaw, NAPA Equalizer, Fabtech Obsession, Traxxas T-Maxx, etc) and competitive independents (Samson, Big Dawg, Black Stallion, Havoc, etc) who would make for a great series. I mean, just look at that line-up there: you could run those guys on a flat concrete track and it'd be an exciting event, and talk about parity.

There are drivers and trucks both willing and able to compete in a racing series, there are venues available, there are sponsors, and there are fans. What we need is a promoter with the money, the ambition, and the attitude to make it happen.
 

Buckeye

Well-Known Member
Great job Brian. I agree with you points, especially the ones about racing. Monster truck racing has lost its spectacle. Fans enjoy freestyle now because it really showcases what the trucks are capable of. For most fans who see shows in small-medium sized venues, racing is just who has the best reaction time and can jump over 4 cars the quickest. Compared to the trucks flying over vans and other large obstacles, doing donuts, and wheelies, racing seems pretty mundane. As I remember someone writing before, the sport has always been about "look what my truck can do" and you see the true capabilities of these trucks and drivers showcased in freestyle and this is what the fans want to see. As long as their perception of racing is two trucks gunning it over 4 cars for a second and a half, of course they are going to want to see freestyle over racing. However, if elements of freestyle, like you mentioned racing over busses, sea containers, car pyramids, vans, etc, are included in racing I think you will see a shift in the fan base towards a racing preference. As I see it, the fans in the 80s-90s enjoyed racing because it was a testiment of what the trucks can do and as the trucks evolved their capbilites exceeded what was shown in racing, thus drivers started doing freestyle and it evolved from there. I'd love to see some challenging race courses in the future and with some of the events like Route 66 speedway's figure 8, I think it's going in the right direction.
 

Cale Putnam

Administrator
Site Admin
Moderator
I have made several false starts in making this post. It's tough when you don't have a specific view of what you think the future of monster trucks should be...but, I have a few ideas. Keep in mind, I'm making these remarks as a fan, not an insider, and I know some of it isn't currently considered possible, but I think it will provoke some thought, regardless.

First off, I think more effort should be put into legitimizing freestyle. I hear the complaints about, "It's not true motorsport!" already, but trust me, it could work out. At the big shows, get a group of 5 or 6 guys who judge every weekend. Define the criteria more explicity, penalize crashes more harshly, and you're on your way. With drifting and FMX becoming more mainstream, this is an avenue to look down, especially since the much (and wrongly) maligned "average fan" already supports freestyle more than racing. Now break it off into it's own series and you'll really be cooking.

Second, the whole concept of a "legit" racing series needs some general reimagining. I like the idea of divisionalizing trucks, and creating separate classes for separate types of truck. Howabout developing alternate classes of truck? An "unlimited" class (not truly unlimited, but having lax rules compared to what we have now) where the higher dollar teams can show what they're really made of could be cool. Lower weight, naturally aspirated trucks could go circuit racing CORR style. Require all steel production bodies, front engines, and crate-engine power for a Pro-Stock division. With the multiple classes, now you can hold a 3 hour show, just racing, all monster trucks...and I'd be down for that.

While on the topic of racing, I think you could go beyond just Supercross style tracks with cars and larger vehicular obstacles added. Let's see some natural terrain stuff! Rocks, large hills, water crossings...these would really test the trucks and drivers, and may provide enough variety to narrow the gap between the better and lesser funded teams.

Something else I have on my mind: Let's not lose the fun and outrageousness that these things have. Keep the names, keep the personalities, keep the 3d bodies, keep the freestyle...keep it enteraining! I know that the sport not taking itself too seriously is frowned upon by those who dream of F1 style acceptance, but it's a refreshing change from the self-indulgent soap operas that other, "more legitimate" forms of racing usually provide. Yes, kids love it...and what's wrong with that? Most of us were kids when we got into it, we should be happy that more are falling in love with it at such a young age.

I should end this by saying that I do think a legitimate racing series could become fairly popular and would be great fun. But I'm also no longer up in arms that there isn't one. Maybe the sport doesn't need to change. I don't think I'll want it to after Hartford and Worcester in a few weeks. I've come to accept it for what it is, and maybe that is the single biggest thing that needs to be done in the industry.
 
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