They have names like Grave Digger and Blue Thunder, Air Force Afterburner and Taz, Black Stallion and Escalade.
These are a few of the monster trucks - all power and fury on four wheels - that will roar onto the floor of Nassau Coliseum for four shows of racing and freestyle competition this weekend during "Monster Jam."
"It's a fast-paced show. It's pure adrenaline," says driver and an event spokesman Chad Fortune, 40, of Valparaiso, Ind., who calls his cape-flying truck Superman. "Don't come here if you think you're going to get some sleep or take a little nap. It's high energy, and you're going to have big fun and see some trucks do some high-flying and spectacular stunts."
Organizers of this weekend's shows are hoping fans won't stay away after news reports of accidents last month that resulted in the deaths of a 6-year-old boy at a monster truck event in Tacoma, Wash., and a promoter at a similar show in Madison, Wis.
Safety always has been and remains a top priority, says Amy McWethy, a spokeswoman for Feld Motor Sports, the Aurora, Ill.-based company that produces "Monster Jam" and other motor sports events nationwide.
Although no new precautions are being taken for this weekend's shows, many safety regulations already are in place, McWethy says. Before each show, crews inspect the trucks, and if they don't pass inspection, they aren't permitted to drive. As an extra precaution, several rows of seats usually are left empty to create a safety buffer zone. That will be the case at the Coliseum.
WHAT TO EXPECT
During the first half of the show, two rows of cars will be arranged side by side in the middle of the arena; pairs of drivers will race their trucks over the top of them. In the second half, the drivers will take turns performing freestyle tricks, turns and jumps.
Drivers try to amass points to qualify for the championship at the World Finals March 29 in Las Vegas.
The audience can expect to see one of "Monster Jam's" biggest crowdpleasers, Grave Digger and its original driver, the legendary Dennis Anderson. "It's a green and black wrecking machine," Fortune says.
Anderson will be joined in the show by his son, Adam Anderson, the reigning 2008 World Finals freestyle champion, whose truck, Taz, is modeled after Looney Tunes animated cartoon character, the Tasmanian Devil.
GET UP CLOSE
Friday, ticketholders for the afternoon show can pay $5 more for a Party in the Pit pass, which, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. will permit them to walk onto the Coliseum floor, take photos with the trucks and drivers, ask questions and get autographs. Only a limited number of pit passes are available.
Monster Jam Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale 516-794-9300 monsterjamonline.com
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Gates open one hour before show time.
COST: $25 for adults ($27 day of show), $12.50 12 and under ($13.50 day of show). $7 parking.
Make your own monster truck
WHERE: TNT Conversions, 405B Central Ave., Bohemia, 631-383-3324
Leo Terrizzi started going to monster truck shows at Nassau Coliseum with his parents when he was 6 years old. Today, at 34, he's working to build his own.
A state-employed welder by day, Terrizzi has spent nights and weekends converting a black 1941 Chevy pickup into TNT, named after the 4-by-4 fabrication shop he owns in Bohemia, where he builds custom street trucks and monster trucks that compete on the national circuit.