Constructing the Tracks
Long after the fans have gone home, Monster Jam crews are wide awake and at work. For a two-day event, the tracks are constructed, torn down and rebuilt into totally new tracks overnight. The first day's track is set up to make it easier to switch out to second day's track. Different types of dirt and track designs are tested and evolved at Monster Jam University, which helps give the track team a fresh track design in every city the tour visits.
Here are some quick track facts from senior director of track construction, Dan Allen:
- The track crew consists of more than 100 people, including day and night crews
- The World Finals race tracks require 351,000 cubic feet (13,000 cubic yards) of dirt
- An additional 54,000 to 81,000 cubic feet (2,000 to 3,000 cubic yards) of dirt are reserved to add for the second day's track
- 50 to 100 truckloads of water are added to the dirt to control the dust
- Dirt for tracks is normally 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) deep
- The crews find the crush cars (the cars the trucks jump over) locally for every event
- Monster Jam must pay for any damage to the venues' the field or floor while constructing or removing the track
Senior director of track construction Allen says he prefers to hire former motorsports racers for his crew, particularly those who have designed and built their own practice tracks. He says that people who are experienced in the industry "can literally feel" how a track should be built and can do it fairly quickly.
It takes a lot of experience to get the dirt just right. It can't be too sandy or the trucks will send dirt flying everywhere. Too hard, and the track will be too slippery. Too soft, and the trucks will dig through it too quickly. To get the track just right, the crew travels every inch of the track with the industrial-size equivalent of a stand mixer, and add a silica flake mix that helps bond the dirt together [source: Allen].
Logistics are an ongoing challenge in track construction, especially when Monster Jam adds a new city to the tour. Some cities have made it a little easier. For example, the city of Las Vegas gave Monster Jam a couple acres to retrieve dirt. In Anaheim, California, Monster Jam bought a place to store dirt on the stadium's property between events, which took up 200 parking spots. They fenced in this area, and stadium employees had to park on top of it. If you visit the stadium in Tampa, you might be parking on Monster Jam's dirt, which is stored in a giant hole and covered in sod [source: Allen].