Okay monster truck fans, are you ready to learn all about Tom Meents? I sure do hope so since you clicked on an article entitled “About Tom Meents.” So, let’s get to it, shall we? I mean Tom Meents is one of the Monster Jam greats and we do all love Monster Jam.
Tom Meents hails from Paxton, Illinois and is an 11-time Monster Jam world finals champion. This 51-year-old monster truck superstar has been competing in Monster Jam since 1993. He is a fan favorite and the first person to ever attempt a backflip and double backflip in a monster truck. Oh and he is also the first person to attempt, and land, a monster truck front-flip. Isn’t that flipping amazing? (sorry guys, it was right there…I had to do it.)
But, there is so much more to Tom than some those flipping flips so let’s delve a little deeper and see what else we can learn about this Monster Jam star.
The Early Years
When Tom first began driving he was a mud racer driving his own truck named, Shake Me. It was in Shake Me that Tom experienced his first crash while at a mud race in Pennsylvania. Tom won his first championship in 1992 at the NMRO Open Class Championship. He then partnered with Paul Shafer to drive Shafer’s vehicle, Mud Patrol and went on to win the NMRO Class 5 Championship in 1993 and 1994. He also won the Class 6 Championship in 1993 which gave him the opportunity to drive one of Shafer’s monster trucks…and thus began his rapid rise in popularity.
Bulldozer and Goldberg
During the 1999 racing season, Tom raced for USHRA and was asked by the promoter to switch to a new body on the truck, and thus Tom’s dalliance with Bulldozer began. This truck was definitely a crowd pleaser, with its smoking nostrils and the horns on its roof. During his first event in Bulldozer, Meents faced and defeated the legendary Dennis Anderson and his truck, Grave Digger. This happened on national television and transformed Meents into an instant star.
Meents went on to defeat Anderson two more times during the season, letting fans know he was the real deal.
Tom Meents got his biggest break yet the following year. World Championship Wrestling partnered with PACE Motorsports (now FELD Motorsports) aka the owners of Monster Jam. The WCW began commissioning trucks to represent their wrestling superstars. Tom was commissioned to build a truck on behalf of former World Champion, Bill Goldberg. Thus, Goldberg was born.
Goldberg was a golden truck with a 2000 Futuristic SUV body type. In 2000 it debuted in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta (the home of WCW). Tom was driving and he defeated all of the top contenders that night.
Much like its creator, Goldberg was a star.
2000 was also the debut season for the concept of freestyle driving in the world of Monster Jam and as Tom was already known for his amazing skill it was little surprise to fans that he dominated in freestyle the same way he dominated in racing. The next two weekends after the Goldberg’s debut Meents went on to sweep the competition and win in both racing and freestyle. Furthermore, he went on to win three more racing and two more freestyles before participating in the USHRA’s biggest event of the season, the World Finals in Las Vegas.
At the World Finals Tom amazed fans even more by winning the first ever World Racing Championship in the USHRA.
The next season was just as amazing for Tom and Goldberg. He was a top contender every weekend and earned himself six racing and five freestyle wins. And, he once again entered and won the World Finals. At the 2001 World Finals Tom competed with Bill Goldberg himself watching. He put on quite the show for the freestyle competition, with huge jumps, amazing air and huge donuts (even with a flat tire.)
Fun Fact: This spectacular freestyle event was followed with an unconventional, yet entertaining, encore. Tom Meents and Dennis Anderson treated the crowds to a show as they attempted to drive one another’s trucks.
After 2001 the WCW closed down and thus the PACE Motorsports and WCW racing partnership came to an end.
Farewell Goldberg…Hello Maximum Destruction
With the end of WCW there also can an unavoidable end to Goldberg. But as we’ve learned Meents was not the type to give up. He took over the team and ran the truck on his own shop. The name of the truck was changed to “Team Meents.” He was going to change the name of the truck to Maximum Destruction but decided to hold off doing so because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And so Team Meents became the first truck to ever be named after a driver. Tom continued his winning streak while driving Team Meents and swept the World Finals for the second year in a row.
In 2003 Tom changed the name of the truck to Maximum Destruction.
Along with the new name Tom also debuted a new design for the truck.with flames, tubing and riveted steel. Maximum Destruction gained a huge following as the truck lived up to its name. During the 2004 freestyle World Finals, Meents drove his truck hard. He crashed through an RV which led to a broken spindle the caused the right-front tire to not work…but if you think that stopped Meents you would be sorely mistaken. He kept going, he rammed cars, spun donuts and never slowed down, not even when he crashed hard into a box truck. Meents continued driving as smoke billowed out of the truck and the fans were already on their feet when the transmission began overheating and the truck finally gave out. It was Maximum Destruction indeed.
Tom Meents and his driving team grew and there are now 5 different Maximum Destruction trucks. As a matter of fact, Meents put one of his extra trucks to good use in 2006. He wowed fans by having one of the drivers, Neil Elliot drive his Maximum Destruction to the center of the arena and then leave. Tom then appeared in his own truck and jumped over his other truck. It was all kinds of rad.
Max-D is Ready to Party
In 2013, in celebration of Maximum Destruction’s 10 year anniversary, the Maximum Destruction trucks were all given a new look. While each truck was given its own unique look, they all had one unifying feature, the robotic character “Creator of Chaos.”
Along with the Creator of Chaos, some spikes and some LED lights, there was one other big change. All the trucks were given the nickname Max-D.
Max-D is now the official name for all of the trucks.
Fun Fact: Max-D is also a nickname for Tom himself, as well as Mad Man Meents and Hollywood.
The Fatal Accident
I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that monster truck racing can sometimes lead to injuries
Tom Meents is the only majorly known driver that has been involved in a fatal accident. The accident occurred in 1993, shortly after his monster truck racing debut. The accident happened when the truck lost control during a race and rolled into some hay bales where fans were sitting. Tragically, the fatally injured person was one of Tom’s best friends.
Fortunately, Tom was able to overcome this tragic event and continue participating in the sport he loved.
A Few More Fun Facts About Tom Meents
*The motto for Tom’s team is “Go Big or Go Home”
*Tom’s favorite food is steak
*His favorite part about competing in Monster Jam is giving the fans a performance they will never forget
*When asked what item he could not live without while traveling with Monster Jam, Tom responded “Ketchup”
*Tom’s net worth is $4 million (guys, I think i’m in the wrong line of work because my net worth is not even remotely close to $4 million)
*Tom won the “Monster Jam Wreck of the Year” in 2004, 2007, 2011, and 2012
*Tom competes alongside his step-sons Colton and Jared Eichelberger
*At one point in time, he wanted to join the Marines
*One of the things his fans love most about him is how great he is with his young fans, he always plays around with them and helps to make them feel special
*Some of Tom’s signature freestyle moves are his high speed “cyclone” donuts and his “side surf” two-wheel driving
*Despite being Dennis Anderson’s main competition rival, Tom once drove Grave Digger #12 while Anderson was out with an injury
-Tom and Dennis are also known for their off-track chemistry, the two get along very well and enjoy goofing off together
*His favorite color is black and his favorite television show is Monster Jam
*Tom’s birthday is July 10, 1967