Man of Steel and Grave Digger Race, Stunt at Wknd’s Monster Jam Competition

Little men’s (and big men’s!) hero, The Man of Steel, is in DC this weekend!  No, not Superman, though some would argue that he can fly, burn rubber and maybe even bend metal, too.  This Man of Steel is none other than Joey Parnell, driver of the Man of Steel Monster Truck, when Advance Auto Parts’ Monster Jam® returns to the Verizon Center January 24 and 25, 2014.

The shows will feature some of Monster Jams’ fan favorite trucks including Man of Steel, Grave Digger, Bounty Hunter, Illuminator, and Iron Outlaw.

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Man of Steel driver Joey Parnell goes head-to-head with DC United’s Chris Kolb during Monster Jams’ pre-opening RC races at Penn Social

Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, Parnell — who owns a four-wheel drive shop — has a background in tough trucks and mud racing, but joined the tour in 2010 to satisfy his stunt itch.  “I was inspired by the racing, period.  I watched the Original Monster Truck…  Now it’s way more than that,” he shared with K Street Magazine at an exclusive fan event prior to opening night at Penn Social.

He warned watchers not to miss one of his favorites, the Slap Wheelie.  “You come over a car stack, and the front end bounces, and you ride a wheelie out of it.  Works good [sic] in a smaller place like this!”

Parnell was joined by Randy Brown, originally of North Carolina, who grew up in the truck pulling circuit before making his Monster Jam debut in 2000, and now riding the iconic Grave Digger to face off this weekend in a duo of competitions: side-by-side racing and freestyle.  His hocus pocus?  The back flip.  “I did it in Minneapolis back in November and I thought that was cool, so I might do it again,” he suggests slyly.

The tools of this tricked-out trade are no ordinary souped up sedans… but custom-designed machines that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and weigh a minimum of 10,000 pounds.   Monster trucks are built for short, high-powered bursts of speed, generate almost 2,000 horsepower, are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, and can fly 130 feet into the air.

Sure sounds like a sport for Superman!  So what’s the winning strategy?

According to Grave Diggers’ Brown it’s “just to drive.”

“I just go out there and I drive harder than anybody else and I push the truck to the limit and sometimes it works for me and sometimes it works bad for me.  We just go out there and run it out… and see what happens.”

Verizon show dates: Friday, January 24, 2014 – 7:30 pm  and Saturday, January 25 – 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

*Thanks to Becky Brand for contributions to this post.

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