Sean Smith, monster mechanic; Truck engineering


Smith changes the shifting linkage for the truck Master of Disaster. The truck is a ride truck for little kids to be put in the back and driven around. Photo Credit: Andrew Webster

Ben Iampieri, Reporter

     Sean Smith, sophomore, is in the pit crew for Monster Jam. He does mechanical work for monster trucks.

     For the typical mechanic job, Smith has to change the thousand-pound tires, check the air pressure in the tires, fix things when they break and drive the trucks to the starting line. There is even a chance that he gets to race the truck.

     He got into mechanical work after he rode a dirtbike for the first time. He learned everything he could about it, then worked his way up into professional mechanics. “Normally, a mechanic [would] be changing tires and doing basic fluid or part changes. [However], I have a very specialized job,” Smith starts. “So I get to switch out 66-inch tall tires, build engines from the ground up, work on electronics, and I’m learning to weld to be able to repair broken metal parts.”

     Smith got his internship through his uncle, who works with him. Smith plans to stick with the job as long as he is physically capable of doing it. “I have to show dedication to it and skill before I get paid for my time,” Smith explains.

     According to Smith, A car engine is used to turn linear motion into rotational motion through the use of fuel and air mixture. “What’s different about monster trucks is that they don’t run on fuel like what goes into [cars],” Smith starts. “They run on [a] 120 octane mixture of nitrogen dioxide and methanol, which actually runs cleaner [and] is more powerful than your average fuel.”

     Normal cars make around 200-300 horsepower. The most powerful car, the 2020 Bugatti Chiron, runs at about 1,500 horsepower. The monster trucks that Smith works on run at 2,500 horsepower and 3,500 torque. This strength allows for the 12,000-pound machine to go 50 feet in the air and spin the 1,000-pound tires up to 35 miles per hour in less than 2.5 seconds.

     Smith’s favorite part of the job is working on the trucks. ” He also “dreams of driving and being the racer signing autographs,” just like “everyone in the sport.”

     Smith says that he “dreams of driving and being the racer signing autographs,” just like “everyone in the sport.”

     “Being a racer is more appealing, that being said I am personally content doing all mechanical work,” Smith says. “I love working with my hands and I love mechanics, so it’s the perfect job.”

     According to Smith, in a monster truck show, racers show up about six hours early to their shows to help unload and set up for the event. When fans get there, you sign autographs and talk. Before the show starts, you get into a full-body fireproof suit and get strapped into your truck. Then you would do donuts, jumps, or whatever tricks you can do. The event takes up a whole day, and racers will pack up to do it again in two weeks. “You can work a full-time job on the side,” Smith elaborates.