Dennis Anderson : biography
Dennis Anderson (born October 24, 1960) is a professional monster truck driver. He is the creator and driver of "Grave Digger" on the USHRA Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam circuit. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, he now resides in Poplar Branch, North Carolina. In Poplar Branch, he has his own shop where he signs autographs and shoots videos for MTV, SPEED, TNT, and other TV channels. He also has a wide display of monster trucks including many Grave Diggers, one Taz, and one Fanta monster truck. He is always favored among a Monster Jam crowd.
Dennis started out as a mud bogger with his original Grave Digger 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, Anderson sold the Grave Digger team to USA Motorsports, 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. Anderson currently drives Grave Digger 20, which debuted in Minneapolis in December 2005, and in which he won another racing championship at the 2006 World Finals. Anderson has also won the 2010 World Finals Racing Championship driving Grave Digger 20.
Anderson is currently a co-host on History Channel's Around the World in 80 Ways.
- USHRA Racing Champion - 1999
- USHRA World Finals Freestyle Champion - 2000
- USHRA World Finals Racing Champion - 2004, 2006, 2010
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 in 2003 sat him out for half of that year. Another was an injury that was less known about was an injury to his right wrist during the summer of 2006 in a non monster truck accident. Anderson's most recent injury is an arm injury at the Metrodome in late 2006, meaning his son Adam Anderson drove Grave Digger at shows in early 2007.
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.
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