Mike Vaters drove his Black Stallion Monster Truck into Raleigh, North Carolina
for USHRA (United States Hot Rod Association) Thunder Nationals Series Monster Jam action at the RBC Center Arena.
Vaters watched as the other trucks hit the track. Andy Slifko stood his truck straight up and down most of the way across the cars for a 24 point score. The Black Stallion launched forward and had the crowd on its feet. “We only earned a 23,” said Vaters. “Gary Porter and Grave Digger went last. Grave Digger broke a transmission and put him out of competition until the freestyle portion.”
Fans from the audience pulled out numbers to determine the brackets for racing. Eradicator defeated Iron Warrior, Monster Mutt defeated Backdraft and Black Stallion defeated his teammate Iron Warrior in the semi-finals.
The finals were intense with a lot of cash on the line. “It would be the closest race of the night,” said Vaters. “We took the win over Monster Mutt.”
The last event of the evening was Freestyle and it came down to a battle between Black Stallion and Grave Digger. Vaters attacked the track with a vengeance and flew across the length of the RBC Center floor, threw a donut and roared down towards the stack of vans again. “I cross jumped from the racing lanes onto the van stack,” he said. “The crowd went nuts and the judge appreciated the extra effort and gave us a 27.”
Gary Porter replaced his transmission and Grave Digger used the entire floor for a high flying run. The judges awarded Porter a 30 and the win.
The next night the track crew gave the crowd something extra by stacking the cars in the racing lanes into a pyramid along with the van stack. “The obstacles looked huge considering the floor is the size of an ice hockey rink,” said Vaters. “We jumped and showed off our donuts.”
Vaters uses K&N Engineering products. “I use K&N’s injector and oil filters,” he said. “We’re hard on motors at every race and K&N protects our engines. It can handle the Monster Truck scene.”
Ultimately Grave Digger won the event. “Raleigh was fun for our team,” said Vaters. “We’ll be in Springfield, Illinois for this weekend’s action.”
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