|This article relies on references to primary sources. (November 2012)|
|Maximum Destruction ost the Monster Jam in Stafford Springs, CT|
|Owner and Driver Information|
|Driver(s)||Tom Meents, Neil Elliott, Morgan Kane|
|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|
|Tires||66" Terra Tires|
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 in 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.
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 delayed those plans out of respect. The truck has remained significantly popular, and is often introduced with equal billing as Grave Digger. There are currently three Maximum Destruction trucks touring. Neil Elliott, Morgan Kane, and Tom Meents all currently drive a Maximum Destruction truck. Elliott's truck is a similar design to Meents', whereas Kane's is based on a center engine design CRD chassis, which a lot of monster trucks in Monster Jam use today.
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 in his truck.
During the freestyle portion of a European tour event in Arnhem, NL, 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. Tom will keep trying to perfect the Double Backflip in the future.
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.
World Finals History
- Racing Championships: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2011, 2012
- Freestyle Championships: 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2013
NOTE: All championships have been won by Meents.