Thursday, January 31, 2019
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Aaron Cain’s fascination with monster trucks began when he was a young boy.
“I grew up watching Bigfoot and USA 1, and wanting to drive a monster truck,” said Cain, who has fulfilled that dream
The West LaFayette, Ind., native drives Quad Chaos on the Toughest Monster Truck Tour, which returns to Covelli Centre this weekend for shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Cain got started in monster trucks a few years ago and quickly became one of the top drivers. He works for veteran owner Jerry Beck, who is also a driver; Beck is behind the wheel of Dirt Crew on the current tour.
“Jerry came up with the Quad Chaos design, and I was in the right place at the right time,” said Cain, explaining how he got the gig. “That was five years ago. I had done some other racing before that and decided to give monster trucks a try.”
What: Toughest Monster Truck Tour
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Covelli Centre
Tickets: $12 (children 12 and under), $24 and $28 Friday; $12, $28 and $36 Saturday. Go to ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000 (fees may apply). Also available at the box office.
Pit party: The pit will be open from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. both nights so guests can get close to the trucks and drivers. Passes are $5 at the box office; free pit passes are available at Cocca’s Pizza locations
Driving Quad Chaos – which is designed to look like a four-wheeler – or any monster truck is worlds away from track or dragster racing.
“It is completely different from anything you would ever drive,” said Cain. “It weighs 12,000 pounds and has 1,500 horsepower. It’s definitely an adrenaline rush.”
Another thing that sets monster trucks apart from any other motorsport is how fan-friendly it is.
Before every show, adults and children who obtain a pit pass can get on the floor with the trucks and their owners. “They get up close and personal and ask questions,” said Cain, who recalls doing the same thing when he was a youngster.
“I remember the trucks being so huge,” he said. “Now I see kids who are 5-, 6-years-old looking up at a truck. They get so excited, and they jump when they see the trucks fire up.”
Cain said he is looking forward to returning to Youngstown, for several reasons.
“Youngstown is one of my favorite places,” he said. “The crowd is awesome and really loud there, and I have good luck there. I’ve won there several years in a row.”
Cain is dead last in the points race among drivers on this year’s tour. That’s a position he’s unaccustomed to, and he aims rectify the situation starting this weekend at Covelli Centre.
“Normally, I’m further up in the standings, so this weekend I will have to cut loose and make up some points,” he said. “The comeback begins this weekend.”
Cain finished second among all drivers in 2018, missing the championship by a mere two points.
Monster truck competitions are largely based on driving skills, including jumps – which is a unique experience at Covelli because of its relatively low ceiling.
“You can see the I-beams in the ceiling coming into view,” said Cain, describing a typical jump at the arena.
The cold snap will begin to ease for this weekend’s shows, making it a great opportunity for those with cabin fever to get out of the house.
The trucks will also be ready to roar – once they’ve had a chance to warm up.
It turns out that those powerful engines are actually weather wimps and are stopped cold by even mildly chilly temperatures.
“They run on 100 percent methanol,” said Cain. “Anything below 60 degrees, we have to preheat them.”
In addition to Quad Chaos, there will be five other monster trucks competing this weekend: Bigfoot, Dirt Crew, Dragon Slayer, Twisted Addiction and Wicked. Also on hand will be an old-school monster truck, and BMX bicycle riders will do stunts on the dirt hills during breaks in the action.