Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Father and son do Monster Jam battle for Grave Digger's 30th anniversary

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 10:36 AM

It's always a big deal when Monster Jam rolls into the Georgia Dome for monster truck racing, car-crushing freestyle and other giant-tired carnage. But when it returns this Saturday, this larger-than-life motorsports spectacle will be an even bigger deal for Grave Digger, one of the sport's originators celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Grave Digger celebrates its 30th anniversary at Monster Jam
  • Monster Jam
  • Grave Digger celebrates its 30th anniversary at Monster Jam

To commemorate the occasion, original Grave Digger driver Dennis Anderson will be behind the wheel of the newer version (a 1950 Chevrolet). But he'll be unveiling a special truck body for Atlanta's Monster Jam show.

Dennis Anderson celebrates his 30th year driving Grave Digger
  • Monster Jam
  • Dennis Anderson celebrates his 30th year driving Grave Digger

"We're alternating bodies for the whole tour," says the four-time monster truck champion. "This weekend in Atlanta we're going to have the green body, then the following weekend it's going to be the purple body and we keep flip-flopping them back and forth until we get to the World Finals in Las Vegas. Then I'll have a surprise body that's going to be revealed."

But Grave Digger's opponent will be a familiar sight for longtime monster truck fans as the original blue-and-gray version of the truck is resurrected in the form of Grave Digger, the Legend. And the driver of this 1951 Ford will be none other than Adam Anderson, Dennis' son who has been driving professionally since 2005.

"It's what the truck looked like in the early 1980s and not too many people have actually seen it," says the younger Anderson. "I never even saw it in real life because it was before my time, so it's kind of neat to see it come back. It's still the panel truck style, but this one's actually just like dad had it in the early '80s with back doors."

Grave Digger, the Legend will be driven by Dennis son Adam Anderson
  • Monster Jam
  • Grave Digger, the Legend will be driven by Dennis' son Adam Anderson

As the two Andersons go head-to-head in this Grave Digger vs. Grave Digger match-up, don't expect either driver to take it easy on the other due to their kinship. If anything, the level of competition will be that much higher as father and son try to outdo each other on the dirt track.

"Adam and I have raced together before and were just together a few months ago," says Dennis. "I'm not going to say he blew me away, but he edged me out in racing in the first round. If I'm going to be beat, I'd rather be beat by somebody on the Digger team and the Anderson family than anybody else. But I don't cut them no slack and those guys don't cut me no slack. If anything, they try extra hard when they're racing me to beat the old man. But that's part of racing and that's how our family has been raised. I'm honored to race with my kid, but dad's not bending down for none of them."

And after this 30th anniversary rivalry runs its course, Adam (who has driven the Taz truck for most of his career) plans to continue carrying on the Legend legacy.

"I'm going to keep driving this truck because I feel like it's the next step in my career," he says. "I don't want to start driving the regular Grave Digger yet because then I can't compete against my dad or any of the other Grave Digger drivers, and that's one of my favorite parts about it. This is actually my second year with this truck and we're ready to tear it up for the 30th anniversary, that's for sure."

Monster Jam. 7 p.m. (party in the pits is 2 p.m.-5 p.m.). Jan. 14. Georgia Dome, 1 Georgia Dome Drive. 404-223-4636. www.monsterjam.com, www.gadome.com. $15-$59.05.

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