October 24, 1960|
|Occupation||Monster Truck driver, team owner|
Dennis Anderson (born October 24, 1960) is an American professional monster truck driver. He is the creator, team owner, and former driver of "Grave Digger" on the USHRA Monster Jam circuit. Anderson is from Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where he currently resides.
Dennis started out as a mud bogger with his original Grave Digger primer truck in 1981. This truck was a 1952 Ford pickup truck, later converted to a silver and blue 1951 Ford Panel Truck. At one local show, a scheduled monster truck failed to show up and Anderson, who already had large tractor tires on the truck, offered to crush cars in the absence of the full-size monster. The success of the vehicle led Anderson to pursue monster trucks as a career.
In 1986 Grave Digger underwent a transformation to complete monster truck and first received its distinctive black graveyard paint scheme. In 1987 and 1988 Anderson drove the truck primarily at TNT Motor sports races. In 1988 Anderson beat Bigfoot in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on a show taped for ESPN.
Anderson moved to Grave Digger 2 in 1989, with a new 1950 Chevrolet panel van body. TNT began promoting Grave Digger heavily, especially for races on the Tuff Trax syndicated television series and ESPN's Powertrax. This was helped by Bigfoot running a limited schedule in the 1989 championship. He was currently sixth in the standings in the 1990 TNT series when he decided to build Grave Digger 3 due to a wreck.
When TNT became a part of the USHRA in 1991, Anderson began running on the USHRA tour and debuted his first four-link truck, Grave Digger 3.
In late 1998, due to his financial difficulties, Anderson sold the Grave Digger team to SRO/Pace, then owners of the USHRA, leading to controversy and accusations of rigged races due to Anderson driving for the same company that runs the events. In 1999 he won his first championship in the USHRA series. In 2001, he drove Mr. Destruction into a wall of cars as a special stunt for the Louisiana Superdome show. Anderson won the inaugural Monster Jam World Finals freestyle championship in 2000, and scored a racing championship win at the 2004 World Finals. He won another racing championship at the 2006 World Finals driving Grave Digger 20. Anderson has also won the 2009 World Finals Racing Championship also driving Grave Digger.
Anderson was also a co-host on History Channel's Around the World in 80 Ways.
During Monster Jam's 2nd Annual 2018 Season Kickoff Show on September 18, 2017, Anderson had a special message for his fans. Surrounded by the Digger family, Dennis officially announced he would be retiring from the sport. He also shared that he would remain "Behind the scenes" at events, pitting with his team. His final event took place in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium on January 14, 2017.
Anderson has had several injuries over his career. In late 1991 he broke his kneecap when he hit a wall at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, forcing him to sit out the 1992 winter season. He recovered and beat Jack Willman Jr. in Taurus at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina. Later in 1992, a hard side hit on the wall of Louisville Motor Speedway in Louisville, Kentucky broke several ribs near his backbone and caused recurring problems throughout his career. A nose-dive, AKA the lawn dart, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans in 1999 aggravated the injury and caused Anderson to miss several shows over the next couple of years. He reinjured himself at a Special Events show in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. A broken hand from a non-driving accident in Philadelphia 2003 sat him out for half of the year. A lesser-known injury happened during the summer of 2006 in a non-monster truck accident when Anderson injured his wrist. He also suffered a shoulder injury at the Metrodome in late 2006, in which his son Adam Anderson drove Grave Digger at shows in early 2007 until The Monster Jam World Finals 8
In 2017, Anderson was hospitalized following an accident while attempting a backflip.
On March 10, 2017, it was announced on that Anderson would not compete in World Finals 18 due to the previously stated injury.
Dennis may no longer operate monster trucks, but he still runs the dungeon and book all the Grave Digger drivers show to show
Anderson has often crashed or damaged his truck early in racing rounds due to his driving style. For this reason, he had a nickname of "One Run Anderson".
Back in his early mud bogging days, he was known for running full throttle, flinging mud everywhere. He would either make a mess going through, or break the truck from heavy strain during most events. Coincidentally and fitting enough, his most recent work has brought Anderson 'full circle' – back to the mud – a custom built monster mud truck called King Sling. The truck, a 1941 Willys truck with custom-cut tractor tires and modern chassis and suspension components, carries twice the horsepower at half the weight of his monster truck Grave Digger. The truck is a favorite exhibition vehicle at mud bogs as it is a combination of monster mud vehicle with the monster mud driver.
- Motor Madness World Finals Points Champion - 1999
- USHRA World Finals Freestyle Champion – 2000
- USHRA World Finals Racing Champion – 2004, 2006, 2010
- "Dennis Anderson". MonsterJam.com. Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- DeGroot, Nick (January 17, 2017). "Grave Digger driver Dennis Anderson injured in crash". Motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved January 17, 2017.