Samson Adds Muscle To Monster Bash
Samson will be joined by Bigfoot, Avenger, Brutus, Equalizer, Gunslinger, Raminator, Rap Attack, Cowboy and Stone Crusher for an evening of motorized mayhem during the only outdoor Monster Truck event in the Charlotte region.
"I like racing the course at Charlotte Motor Speedway," said Dan Patrick, Samson's owner and driver. "It's one of my favorite places to go because each year the course is different and more challenging. The Charlotte area fans also make it a fun event."
In addition to owning and driving Samson, Patrick, 50, of Circleville, Ohio, designs and builds the chassis for many of the other Monster Trucks, including Bigfoot and Equalizer.
Patrick started his motorsports career in tractor pulling and was introduced to Monster Truck racing by Bigfoot founder Bob Chandler. In 1988, he purchased a Monster Truck named Samson.
"During the 1980s, Monster Trucks were given names of strength," Patrick explained. "Samson was already named when I purchased it, and was named after the biblical story, Samson and Delilah."
In January of 1993, Patrick was asked to design and build a Monster Truck to represent the popular television series "American Gladiators." He created a unique three-dimensional fiberglass body that featured huge muscular arms with balled fists extending down both sides of the truck. Even though the "American Gladiator" television series eventually faded away, Patrick's unique body design became synonymous with the Samson truck and is still used today.
"Samson can go from 0 to 60 in three seconds on straight methanol," Patrick said about his Monster Truck. "The tires are five-and-a-half feet tall, four-feet wide and weigh 800 pounds each. Samson has a fiberglass body, so in order for me to get into the driver's seat I have to climb up through the floor.
"When I am behind the wheel, my main focus is beating the other guy," Patrick continued. "Every time I race I get nervous, because I know these trucks will go from 0 to 60 in three seconds at 10,000 pounds, and they're a handful. I know I need to stay on top of my game because, if I don't, I'll screw up big."
Even though it takes a great deal of work to maintain a Monster Truck, Patrick is a one-man show.
"Ninety-percent of the preparation is done at the shop. There is not much time to make changes at an event," he explained. "I'm a one-man operation, so I drive the transporter to the event. Once I get there, I prepare the truck, race it and then take it back home."
When Patrick purchased Samson, he never dreamed Monster Truck racing would grow into one of the world's most popular forms of motorsports entertainment.
"I thought I would race for about three to five years, and now here I am 17 years later still racing," he said. "I don't see an end anytime soon for me personally as a competitor or as a truck builder.
"I make a pretty good living doing this, but the thrill of racing is the most important thing to me. I also believe that if you truly love what you are doing, it just makes it a lot more enjoyable to be a part of it," Patrick concluded.
Activities for the Circle K Back-to-School Monster Truck Bash on Saturday night, Aug. 20, begin with the Circle K Pre-Race Pit Party where fans can meet Patrick and the other Monster Truck drivers, get autographs and have their pictures taken alongside the trucks. Early entry passes for the pit party will be available at area Circle K stores and those with an event ticket and an early entry pass will be admitted beginning at 4 p.m. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. and the Circle K Pre-Race Pit Party runs through 6:30. On-track action starts at 7:30 p.m.
If purchased in advance, reserved seats for the Circle K Back-to-School Monster Truck Bash are $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Adult seats are $5 more the day of the event while parking for all events at The Dirt Track is free. Tickets can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.