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Maximum Destruction at Monster Jam in Stafford Springs, CT, 2007
|Owner and driver information|
|Driver(s)||Tom Meents, Neil Elliott, Colton Eichelberger, Jared Eichelberger|
|Home city||Paxton, Illinois|
|Previous name(s)||Goldberg 2000-2001, Team Meents 2002|
|Body style||Futuristic SUV|
|Engine||540 ci merlin , Blown and Injected with Alcohol|
In 1999, Clear Channel (now Feld Entertainment) signed a contract with World Championship Wrestling to create monster trucks based on popular professional wrestlers. In order to ensure the success of the truck of Goldberg, Clear Channel contracted the team of Tom Meents (who was already wildly popular from driving Monster Patrol and Bulldozer) to build and campaign the "Goldberg" truck. Meents debuted n the truck in January 2000 at the Georgia Dome, where he won racing and finished third in freestyle. As the year progressed, and as Dennis Anderson struggled in Grave Digger, Meents became almost unstoppable and capped the year by winning the very first Monster Jam World Finals Racing Championship. The following year saw a continuation of the dominance, when Meents won the world racing and freestyle championships. In late 2001, WCW was bought out by the World Wrestling Federation and the deal with Clear Channel was dropped. For 2002, Meents kept the same truck and body but renamed the truck Team Meents, even retaining much of Goldberg's color scheme and graphics. Once again, Meents swept both the racing and freestyle at World Finals 3.
In 2003, saw the truck change both name and image to become Maximum Destruction, a name which Meents had intended to run the year before until the September 11 attacks and he delayed those plans out of respect. The truck has remained significantly popular, and is now generally introduced with equal billing as Grave Digger. There are currently four Maximum Destruction trucks touring. Neil Elliott, Colton Eichelberger, Jared Eichelberger, and Tom Meents all currently drive a Maximum Destruction truck.
In 2005 Tom Meents jumped Maximum Destruction over his old house, before destroying the house with the truck.
In 2007, Meents completed a save off a step-up ramp, similar to that of a 350 degree backflip. However, the truck landed on its nose, then back to its wheels in Gothenburg, Sweden during his freestyle run and Meents ended up performing cyclones due to the right-front tire getting locked up after the stunt. This happened after George Balhan in "An Escalade" did a 40-foot sky wheelie off a step-up ramp during his freestyle run.
In 2013, Maximum Destruction celebrated 10 years, and the truck was painted in a new livery scheme, and the truck began to be known as "Max-D". The truck now has spikes all around the truck's body. This design is what is currently still used today. At World Finals 14, Tom won freestyle in Max-D, earning his 11th World Finals Championship, his latest as of 2018.
In 2014, Christensen left the team while Morgan Kane joined the team.
In 2015, Kane drove for the #MoreMonsterJam Tour while Elliott drove for the Fox Sports 1 Championship Series. Both won their respective tours and Meents was also invited to World Finals 16, where there were three Max-D trucks competing. In June, Tom attempted a front flip at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ and once again attempted a double backflip at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
In 2016, Kane switched over to Grave Digger, while Tom's two stepsons, Colton and Jared Eichelberger, joined Max-D. At World Finals 17, both Tom and Colton competed while Jared only competed in the Young Guns Shootout. During the racing encore, Tom jumped his truck over five monster trucks. In an attempt to break this record, he tried to jump over six trucks in April at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, though the trucks were positioned to either side of the area Tom was jumping, thus not breaking the record. This was mainly because of the conditions of the muddy track. He later reattempted this, successfully jumping over six trucks later in the same month at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
In 2017, Neil competed in the FS1 West Series, Tom competed in the FS1 East Series, Jared competed in the Triple Threat Series West, and Colton competed in the Triple Threat Series East. Tom sustained an injury and was unable to compete. Colton filled in for Tom on the FS1 East Series while Blake Granger filled in for Colton in the Triple Threat Series East. Due to his injury, Tom did not compete in World Finals 18. Dennis Anderson also sustained an injury, making this the first time where Tom and Dennis did not compete in the World Finals.
In 2018, Neil competed in the Stadium Championship Series 1, Tom competed in the Stadium Championship Series 2, Colton competed in the Triple Threat Series Central, and Jared competed in the Triple Threat Series East. While Tom did not win his series, he still earned an invite to World Finals 19. Neil won Stadium Championship Series 1 on February 25, 2018, earning him his own invite to World Finals 19 as well. At World Finals 19, the Max-D team celebrated their 15 year anniversary of the truck with a special encore after racing ended, featuring all the Max-D trucks throughout the past years, including the original Maximum Destruction truck.
- Tom Meents (since 2000)
- Neil Elliott (since 2003)
- Colton Eichelberger (since 2016)
- Jared Eichelberger (since 2016)
- Blake Granger (Since 2017)
- Morgan Kane (2014-16)
- Kreg Christensen (2009-14)
- Chuck Werner (World Finals 14 Encore)
- Phil Foster (Team Meents)
- Eldon DePew (Goldberg)
Since the truck debuted as Goldberg, the Willman-style chassis and Fox coil-overs with Knight Stalker shocks have led to several bouncy and wild rides. Meents later replaced the Fox shocks with Knight Stalkers with coil-overs wrapped around it. However, the truck is famous for its ability to make large jumps and take several hits during freestyle runs and not suffer significant damage. The truck is also known for its numerous crashes, often simply as a result of Meents' full-throttle driving. Meents' driving style is emulated by the current driver of the second truck, Neil Elliott. He's said to have graduated from the "Tom Meents School of Monster Truck Driving".
Maximum Destruction is one of few trucks in the monster truck industry to have a front-centered engine.
During the freestyle portion of a European tour event in Gothenburg, SE, Meents hit the backside of a 'step up' jump which caused the truck to rotate backwards, land on the roof at the top of the obstacle and then continue to roll backwards back onto the wheels where Meents continued his run. This inspired Meents and a lot of others including sports legend Travis Pastrana to attempt a complete aerial backflip. Pastrana made his attempt during a Season 1 episode of Nitro Circus, where he jumped the Nitro Circus monster truck up a purpose built ramp in his back yard. Unfortunately, the truck didn't get enough rotation and slammed down onto the roof from about 40 feet in the air. Travis was uninjured. Larry Quick, the driver of the Ghost Ryder monster truck, did, however, manage to land a complete backflip during a small show. This was rumoured to be the first successful attempt.
In 2009, at World Finals 10 in Las Vegas, Meents rolled on to the floor during the encore in Maximum Destruction. Nobody knew what he was going to do until he launched his truck off the backside of the center jump, which was almost a solid wall of dirt. The truck instantly bounced up into the air and managed to rotate one and half times backwards until landing on the tailgate, resulting in the truck rolling onto its roof. Although spectacular, it did not technically count because it was not landed. It was later revealed in a special DVD release about Meents' build up to the backflip at the World Finals, that he had, in fact, landed a complete backflip in his backyard during testing, before Larry Quick. Therefore, Meents was the first to land a successful backflip. In 2010, Cam McQueen, driving Travis Pastrana's Nitro Circus truck, completed a backflip in Jacksonville, Florida. This was the first backflip landed in competition.
Since then, there have been many successful and unsuccessful attempts from several drivers. A few drivers have even completed corkscrew type flips where the truck backflips and lands facing the opposite direction. Linsey Weenk, driver of the Lucas Oil Crusader truck, was the first driver to land two backflips in one scored freestyle run.
After George Balhan, driver of Mohawk Warrior, landed two consecutive backflips at the 2012 Monster Jam World Finals, Tom Meents was driven to land the double. After months of preparation at his shop located in Paxton, Illinois, he was to debut this move on June 16, 2012, at the last show of the Monster Jam Path of Destruction Tour at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. After the freestyle portion of the show, with Neil Elliott driving his Maximum Destruction truck, Tom came out in his modified Maximum Destruction stunt truck, built specifically for the double backflip. When Meents hit the jump, his truck completed one rotation, but started to twist in the second rotation then landing on the roof, coming up just short. Tom promised fans immediately after he will attempt the trick in the near future. Then, on Saturday, March 23, 2013, he attempted it again in the encore portion of Monster Jam World Finals 14. It looked like he wouldn't land it, but the truck landed on the sides of the left side tires, and bounced into a perfect landing. The trick has yet to be landed in competition. Tom attempted the trick again on June 15, 2013, at the Monster Jam Path of Destruction tour at MetLife Stadium. Tom Meents got the rotation fast, There wasn't much twist. But height wasn't there and it cost him the landing. In 2015, at the Monster Jam Path of Destruction tour at Foxborough, he did the stunt again during an encore, but his second rotation cork-screwed, causing it to land clean. In 2018, during the Rampage encore, promoting the movie of the same name, Tom and his Rampage (George) monster truck attempted the most successful double backflip, but after the second rotation, it landed on the nose, and then crashed.
Max-D had several new chassis for 2011. Tom Meents has a new front engine Willman style chassis, while Kreg Christensen is driving a new CRD chassis. Neil Elliott had received Max-D #1, a ten-year-old truck. That truck is no longer competing. Instead in 2012, Neil Elliott received a new Max-D chassis which he competes with now. In fall 2016, the team constructed Max-D #8, a new Willman chassis for Tom, which he debuted on December 4 in St. Louis.
Chassis By Numbers:''
Maximum Destruction #1 Retired in 2012. Last Driven by Niel Elliott. 1 has won 8 of the 11 Championships.
Maximum Destruction #2 Debuted in 2001. Retired in 2011.
Maximum Destruction #2.5 Debuted in 2004 for the International shows. Status of Truck is undetermined.
Maximum Destruction #3 Display Truck only.
Maximum Destruction #4 First Rear Engine Truck for the Stable. Retired in 2017. Currently a Display Truck.
Maximum Destruction #5 Debuted in 2016. Currently on Tour with Colton Eichelberger. (Tom's Son)
Maximum Destruction #6 Debuted in 2012. Retired in 2017. Last Driven by Neil Elliott.
Maximum Destruction #7 Debuted in 2017. Currently on Tour with Blake Granger.
Maximum Destruction #7.5 Debuted in 2017 for the International Shows. Driven by Neil Elliott. Status of Truck is undetermined.
Maximum Destruction #8 Debuted in 2016. Currently on Tour with Tom Meents.
Maximum Destruction #9 Debuted in 2018. Currently on Tour with Neil Elliott.
World Finals HistoryEdit
- Racing Championships: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2011, 2012
- Freestyle Championships: 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2013
- 2-wheel skills Championships: 2019
- ATV Racing Championships: 2019
NOTE: All championships (except ATV Racing) have been won by Meents.
- Hinton, Dave (14 December 2011). "Still going strong: Meents still having fun driving monster trucks". Paxton Record. Retrieved 2015-08-28.