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Dennis Anderson
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Dennis Anderson

Name

Dennis Anderson

Date of Birth

October 14, 1960

Years Competing

1982-2017

Trucks Driven

Grave Digger (1982-2017), Mr. Destruction (Stunt in 2001)

Dennis Anderson is the charismatic creator and former driver of Grave Digger, which is the most well known monster truck on the Monster Jam circuit. He has been driving since 1982 and has built more than 30 versions of the legendary vehicle with the glowing red headlights.

History

In 1982, Dennis Anderson created his mud racer, Grave Digger. The name came from a with his rivals ("I'll take this old junk and dig you a grave with it"). In 1986, he started racing monster trucks full time. The truck became super popular, despite lack of sponsorship that trucks like Bigfoot (Which was sponsored by Ford.) had. His first major victory was in Saint Paul, Minnesota, against the popular Bigfoot. In 1989, he switched from a 1951 Ford Panel truck to a 1950 Chevrolet Panel truck. Two years later, he debuted Grave Digger (III), the first four-link suspension Grave Digger. In 1998, he sold parts of his interest in the Digger's Dungeon (His shop in Poplar Branch, North Carolina.) to co-owner FELD Motorsports. In June of 2016, he made his European competiton debut in Barcelona, Spain. Later that tour he would win freestyle in Gothenburg, Sweden and the wheelie contest in Stockholm, Sweden. His final Monster Jam event was at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on January 14, 2017. Later that year at the World Finals, Anderson announced that he will no longer be competing at the World Finals, making Monster Jam World Finals 17 his final World Finals appearance. During the 2018 Season Kickoff on September 18, 2017, he announced his full retirement from driving, however stating that he will remain behind the scenes and in the pits.

​Injuries

Over the years Dennis has had multiple injuries, some of which have been serious. His first major injury came in late 1991 when he broke his knee cap after hitting a wall in Rosemont, IL, causing him to miss the 1992 winter season. Then in late 1992 during a a race at Louisville Motor Speedway when his truck side slaped a wall, he ended up cracking several of his ribs near his back which has caused recurring problems through his career since it has been aggravated by crashes in New Orleans in 1999 and again sometime later in Bloomsburg. In 2003, he suffered two different injuries, first was in new Orleans when his truck pogoed after a large jump and rolled into a dumpster. The corner of the dumpster bent the roll cage down which in turn banged Dennis on the head, he walked away though. Later in the year he broke his wrist in a non-driving accident and missed part of the 2003 season, including World Finals 4. Then in December of 2006, he injured his wrist again after his truck smacked hard into an ATV roller and his wrist smaked into a roll bar inside the cab. He was out until World Finals 8, his son Adam filled in for him. He hurt his foot in 2015 in Jacksonville, when his truck rolled his foot slipped off the peddle and hit the frame. He took two weeks before the World Finals and had surgery in the summer. His latest injury came in 2017 in Tampa, FL due to his truck shutting off during a backflip attempt. The truck landed directly on the roof causing the roll cage to sink in. This gave Dennis internal injuries. He was treated at a local hospital.

World Finals History

In 2000, Dennis Anderson beat Prowler in the first round, but lost in the second round to King Krunch. In freestyle, he posted the first and only perfect freestyle score (in this case, a 40), winning the freestyle championship.

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Dennis Anderson action figure

In 2001, he lost in the first round to his own teammate, Pablo Huffaker (who was driving Blacksmith.). In freestyle, he posted a 36 tying Wrenchead.com for second. After the freestyle competition, he brought out two more Grave Diggers for the encore, followed by a performance by rival Tom Meents in Goldberg.

In 2002, (His twentieth year in the sport.) he made it to the third round for the first time, defeating Black Stallion in Round 1 and Bulldozer in Round 2, but was eliminated by Team Meents in the third round. In freestyle, he posted another 36, finishing second.

In 2003, he was unable to compete due to a hand injury prior to the show in the Wachovia Spetrum, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, so Pablo Huffaker filled in for the World Finals. He got Grave Digger's first pole, but was eliminated by Tom Meents in the first round. He got a 20 in freestyle, finishing 11th.

In 2004, he returned, and with a bang, by winning the racing championship by defeating Team Suzuki in Round 1, King Krunch in Round 2, Bounty Hunter in Round 3, and Blacksmith in the finals. He got a 30 in freestyle, tying Bounty Hunter for second.

In 2005, when the field was expanded to 20 trucks, he was put in the second round. He beat Escalade in Round 2, Blacksmith in Round 3, Bounty Hunter in Round 4, but was beat by Madusa in the finals. He got a 23 in freestyle, finishing 12th tied With Power Forward

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Dennis Anderson Flag

In 2006, he got the pole, and then beat Maximum Destruction in Round 2, Safe Auto Minimizer in Round 3, Hot Wheels in Round 4 and Bounty Hunter for the championship race. In freestyle, he got a 33, finishing second.

In 2007, after sitting out most of the season due to a shoulder injury, he debuted Grave Digger 25th Anniversary and beat Escalade in Round 2, Safe Auto Minimizer in Round 3, and Captain's Curse in Round 4, but lost to Batman in the finals. He got a 30 in freestyle, finishing second to teammate Pablo Huffaker in Captain's Curse. After the competition, Dennis Anderson, Randy Brown, Charlie Pauken, Chad Tingler, and Rod Schmidt got behind the wheels of their five Grave Digger trucks and hit the field at the same time for the show's encore.

In 2008, he had trouble in the turns in qualifying and had to start in the first round. He beat Donkey Kong but was eliminated by King Krunch due to a 5 second penalty. He finished fourth in freestyle.

In 2009, he was eliminated in the first round by Air Force Afterburner.

In 2010, he won the World Championship Racing in the first Grave Digger versus Maximum Destruction final.

In 2011, he had lost in round 3 with Bounty Hunter. He got a 21 in freestyle.

In 2012, he over turned bye round 2 by Monster Energy. He got a 25 in freestyle.

In 2013, he beat Bad Habit in Round 1 and got a 24 in Freestyle. 

In 2014, Grave Digger got defeated in the semi-finals by his son, Adam. In freestyle he scored an 8.5. 

In 2015, he got beat in round one by his former crew chief Dustin Brown in Monster Mutt. He scored a 13.5.

In 2016, he beat Monster Mutt in Round 1 but was defeated by Max-D in Round 2. In freestyle he scored a 31.5 finishing third.

It was stated by Dennis himself before the encore started that he is not done yet but will no longer compete at the World Finals, quoting, "Last year's world finals was the last time I will compete in, but I'm not going anywhere."

​Trivia

Dennis has raced against his rival Tom Meents four times at the World Finals. They each have two victories. In those four races Dennis has driven three different Grave Digger trucks (#14, #20 and #30) and Tom has driven three different names (Team Meents, Maximum Destruction and Max-D).  

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