Max- D’s Eichelberger ready to roll into Mohegan Sun Arena at Monster Jam
Jared Eichelberger grew up in the Monster Jamfamily.
Eichelberger’s father, Tom Meents, reigns as the most successful driver in Monster JamWorld Finals history and runs Monster Jam University, a training institution for potential drivers. So it was no surprisewhen he ditched his degree in agriculture and turned to monster trucks nearly three years ago.
Eichelberger and Monster Jamcruises into Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, 255 Highland Park Blvd., WilkesBarre, fromtoday through Sunday. Tickets start at $ 15 and are available at ticketmaster. com, the arena box office or by calling 800- 745- 3000.
Prior to becoming a driver forMax- D, Eichelberger worked as a crewmember, mechanic and crewchief for both his father and his younger brother, Colton, who started driving a year before he did. When the 29- year- old finally got the opportunity to test, he jumped on the chance.
Now, the three all drive for the Max- D team and assist one another throughout each show.
“Our dad is our biggest teacher,” Eichelberger said. “I idolize him and try to drive like him. He’s given us a lot of tips and helpful instruction, from interviewing to driving to just associatingwith fans and to helping out everyone at the show. It’s a big team project. We all have towork together to accommodate to make it work and give a good performance. Working with them is pretty neat ... When the weekend is overwe’ll have Monday dinner together to talk about theweekend and talk about howwe can improve.”
Max- D, formerly known as Maximum Destruction, can easily be spotted on the track with its orange and silver paint and spikes protruding fromthe truck’s body. According to Eichelberger, Max- D really shines during theTwo- Wheel Skill Competition, as performing tricks and balancing acts such as nosewheelies.
Super fans better not miss the two pit parties prior to the matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 10: 30 a. m. These parties give fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Monster Jam trucks and drivers.
Even though Eichelberger barely hit three years as a driver, he has driven in more than 100 shows. The driver has become very comfortable in the trucks and arenas, he said, but there is always more to learn fromhis father and other veteran drivers.
“Just having a great coach at home has really been beneficial,” Eichelberger said. “We have Monster Jam University inmy hometown; my dad trains drivers and Iwork therewhen I’m not on the road. I’m alwayswatching, learning and doingmy homework. I learn from them and their mistakes, learn from their moves and make them better.”
Although Eichelberger admitted that staying at the top of the game is a major challenge he faces, the constant pressure to live up to his father’s legacy brings the most pressure.
“There’s a lot of pressure to compete and to be as good as him, to represent himand to represent the brand Max- D,” he said. “I take that pressure and I use it formy advantage out on the track. I almost reverse it and I put that pressure on the other competitors because I do havehim as a teacher, as a father, as a coach. I havehim inmy back pocket and can always rely on him for advice.”
Max- D monster truck can be seen in action at Monster Jam this weekend at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.