How Monster Jam Works

In the Pits

Monster Truck Jam pit crews Monster Truck Jam pit crews
The pit crews work hard to get damaged trucks off the tracks and repair them — overnight in most cases because the show must go on. Cherise Threewitt

Like many other types of car races, Monster Jam includes a series of pits. The hot pit is where trucks wait during events. The cold pit is where trucks are repaired and maintained, and both are sights to behold. Only drivers and crew are allowed in the hot pit for safety reasons, but HowStuffWorks got a peek at the cold pit in Las Vegas, which housed trailers, crew and supplies for 83 trucks.

The meticulously organized parts tent in the cold pit is estimated to store a million dollars' worth of custom-made parts, including wheels, tires, motors, frames and plexiglass to be custom-cut into new windshields [source: Dalsing]. It's not unusual to turn a corner and find a pile of stray body parts, like Zombie's arms, Megalodon's fins or Maximum Destruction's spikes.

Also in the cold pit, truck maintenance is always underway. During the events, drivers can tell when something breaks or is breaking, and during a freestyle event, very few trucks drive out under their own power. Even though the trucks all look different, they are based on the same parts, which helps simplify maintenance.

The parts inventory is a common pool that teams can use as needed, since it's understood that the trucks usually get trashed on a nightly basis and need extensive repair during the day. That is why everything in the fleet is uniform and interchangeable, enabling the maintenance teams to get it down to a science Dalsing]. For example, a blown motor can be swapped out in about two hours, and one person can swap out one of those giant tires in just a few minutes. Team members say that small parts are the most commonly replaced. Unusable or unrepairable parts are recycled, given to charity, given to sponsors or sold.

The basic truck design does evolve from time to time. As stunts get more daring, truck components sometimes get redesigned to help drivers better perform while staying safe. The United States National Hot Rod Association is the sanctioning body for Monster Jam safety, and when regulations change, Monster Jam can make adjustments quickly [source: Easterly].