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Grave Digger
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Grave Digger circa 2018

Owner

FELD Motorsports (truck), Dennis Anderson (name)

Drivers

Adam Anderson, Charlie Pauken, Randy Brown, Morgan Kane, Krysten Anderson, Tyler Menninga, Brandon Vinson

Body Style

1950 Chevy Panel Van

Engine

540ci Merlin

Transmission

Coan 2-speed

Tires

Firestone / 66" Terra / BKT

Debut

1982

Grave Digger is a monster truck owned by FELD Motorsports and created by Dennis Anderson. Active for more than 35 years, there are 8 competing Grave Digger vehicles with 7 current competing drivers on the Monster Jam circuit. Grave Digger is in every Monster Jam video game to date.

It is special for being the only FELD owned truck to be hand painted on every single body.

History

In 1981, Dennis Anderson created his mud racer, Grave Digger. The name came from a smack-talking session he had with his rivals ("I'll take this old junk and dig you a grave with it.").

In 1986, Dennis Anderson 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 Bigfoot.

In 1989, he switched from a 1951 Ford Panel truck to a 1950 Chevrolet Panel truck. Two years later, he debuted Grave Digger 3, the first four-link Grave Digger. 

In 1998, Dennis sold team Grave Digger to PACE Motorsports (now Feld Motorsports). Despite no longer owning the truck, he is still arguably its most popular driver. 

In 2000, Debra Miceli, driver of Madusa, was taught by Dennis Anderson to drive monster trucks and drove one of his Grave Digger trucks. Dennis and Grave Digger were invited to the Monster Jam World Finals 1 and won the freestyle championship with a score of 40.

In 2002, Grave Digger celebrated its 20th Anniversary.

In 2003, Dennis Anderson suffered an injury, keeping him out of the Monster Jam World Finals 4. Grave Digger was driven by Pablo Huffaker at the said event.

In 2004, Grave Digger won the racing championship at the Monster Jam World Finals 5, taking out Pablo Huffaker driving Blacksmith.

In 2006, Dennis suffered an injury until the World Finals and his son, Adam, would drive Grave Digger for part of the season in 2007.

In 2007, Grave Digger celebrated its 25th Anniversary.

In 2012, Grave Digger celebrated its 30th Anniversary

In 2015, Charlie Pauken competed in the Fox Sports 1 Series and Colton Eichelberger competed in the More Monster Jam tour. Charlie finished 4th in his series while Colton finished 2nd. They both got automatic bids to the World Finals hence, three Grave Diggers competed in World Finals 16, with Dennis driving the normal Grave Digger, Colton driving a purple Grave Digger, and Charlie driving a green Grave Digger. At the Path of Destruction Tour, "Steve Brynes" a former Nascar announcer who passed away on April 21, 2015 was written On the Grave Digger tombstone instead of the usual "Dennis Anderson".

S00

Old tool

In 2016, a new chrome paint scheme debuted with Dennis Anderson driving. Dennis's son Adam joined team Grave Digger and competed in the Fox Sports 1 Championship Series. Lifelong friend of the Anderson boys, Morgan Kane joined the team after a switch from Max D to Grave Digger was made, hence, Colton Eichelberger was moved to the Max-D team. Adam's long time crew chief Cole Venard also joined the team and competed in the More Monster Jam (2016) series along with Kane which they would eventually win. Charlie Pauken, Pablo Huffaker, Randy Brown, Carl Van Horn & Jon Zimmer all continued to run their own Grave Diggers. At World Finals 17, Morgan Kane and Cole Venard debuted new paint schemes on their trucks. Kane would receive an orange scheme while Venard drives the purple scheme. Kane later won racing while Adam Anderson won freestyle, both in their Grave Digger trucks. A new Hot Wheels Grave Digger mold was also released, the first time in 16 years that the original mold, created in 2000 as one of the original 4 toys, was altered. This new design which went unnoticed at first until fans found the differences, being a more round body, new front clip, and overall, a more realistic design. The problem was that the design never showed the "New tool" deco on the packaging, and it shared the exact same packaging as the old style. Another version of Grave Digger was released, but this time, the roof artwork is different.

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New tool

In 2017, Grave Digger celebrated its 35th Anniversary. Tyler Menninga joined the team and ran the More Monster Jam tour along with Cole Venard. Morgan Kane and Adam Anderson competed in the Fox Sports 1 Series. Dennis Anderson and Charlie Pauken ran the two Stadium Tours while Randy Brown and Pablo Huffaker competed in two of the other Arena Tours. The truck also received its first official female driver, Krysten Anderson, Dennis' son, who competed on the Central More Monster Jam Tour. In the first stop of Dennis' Stadium Tour in Tampa, Florida, he would suffer a career ending injury after a failed backflip attempt. Carl Van Horn and Jon Zimmer filled in for the rest of his tour. On September 18, 2017, Dennis announced his full retirement from Monster Jam, stating he would still be behind the scenes at events and in the pits.

In 2018, the team ran eight trucks. Former Son-uva Digger crew chief Brandon Vinson joined the team to take the place of Cole Venard. Adam Anderson takes over as the main driver due to Dennis Anderson's retirement. Jon Zimmer left the team to drive Dragon full time, as he was supposed to in 2017 before Dennis's injury, while Carl Van Horn served as a fill-in for the team. Adam Anderson, Charlie Pauken, Randy Brown, and Morgan Kane each ran a stadium tour. Three drivers once again competed at the Triple Threat Series, Krysten Anderson on the west series, Tyler Menninga on the central tour, and Vinson on the east series. Pablo Huffaker runs an arena tour. Pauken and Kane won their Stadium Championship Series while Menninga wins his Triple Threat tour, earning them invites to the Monster Jam World Finals 19. Adam Anderson wins the World Finals 19 Racing Championship against Menninga. Pablo retired after his final event in Florence, SC on the weekend of May 5-6, 2018.

Trivia

  • Grave Digger is one of 4 trucks owned by FELD that was sold to them, rather than created by them (The other 3 being Bulldozer, Carolina Crusher, and Son-Uva Digger).
  • The tombstones on the side of Grave Digger represent different trucks that Grave Digger has beaten out in racing finals throughout the years.
  • Pablo Huffaker and Dennis Anderson are the only Grave Digger drivers to create their own versions of the truck as all other Digger's are created by FELD.
  • Pablo's Grave Digger's can be simply identified by its often red shocks, purple rims and a shorter wheelbase than other Grave Digger's.
  • Grave Digger 27 is currently the oldest Grave Digger truck being used for competition.

Versions

There have been 34 versions of Grave Digger to date. There is no Grave Digger XIII due to superstition about the number 13. The number of the truck is often displayed on the front of the hood.   

Version

Information
Grave Digger 1 Built in 1982. It was on display at the Monster Jam World Finals 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada for his twenty-fifth anniversary. It is now on display outside Digger's Dungeon in Poplar Branch, North Carolina. It is in poor condition
Grave Digger 2 Built in 1989. Leaf-sprung Grave Digger. It is now on display outside Digger's Dungeon.
Grave Digger 3 Built in 1991. The first four-link suspension Grave Digger. It was sold and became Inferno. The chassis is retired now.
Grave Digger 4 Leaf-sprung Grave Digger. Had the shortest lifespan of all the Grave Digger trucks.
Grave Digger 5 Also had a short lifespan and was sold to another team. The body is in the Digger's Dungeon shop and kids may climb on it.
Grave Digger 6 Rebuilt as the Son Uva Digger mudbogger for Ryan Anderson. Now retired.
Grave Digger 7 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Dennis Anderson won his first championship in this monster truck. It now sits outside Digger's Dungeon.
Grave Digger 8 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Retired chassis. Was part of a museum exhibition in Chicago, Illinois. It appeared in Monster Trucks: The Science of Extreme Machines.
Grave Digger 9 Ride truck. Sold, and is now the Extinguisher ride truck.
Grave Digger 10 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Used to be driven by Pablo Huffaker, but is now scrapped.
Grave Digger 11 Ride truck. Sold to Randy Moore, who turned it into War Wizard ride, who sold it to Randy Brown, who soon turned it into Pure Adrenaline ride, and later Grave Digger Ride. The truck has since been reaquired by FELD.
Grave Digger 12 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Used to be driven by Gary Porter, but is now scrapped.
Grave Digger 13 Grave Digger 13 was never built due to superstition regarding the number 13, just as Bigfoot 13 was (although Grave Digger 7 was nicknamed Grave Digger 13 after it was rebuilt in 2000).
Grave Digger 14 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Was driven by Dennis Anderson from 2001 to 2003 and was driven by Randy Brown from 2004 to 2006. Was driven by Chad Tingler until 2010, when it was retired due to extensive damage.
Grave Digger 15 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Was driven by Charlie Pauken from 2001 to 2008. Now retired.
Grave Digger 16 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Retired after 2013.
Grave Digger 17

Pro Modified Drag Racer driven by Alan Pittman. Now retired.

Grave Digger 18 Retired Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Formerly Driven by Rod Schmidt. Now retired
Grave Digger 19 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Was driven by Dennis Anderson from 2004 to 2005 and was driven by Randy Brown from 2007 to 2014.
Grave Digger 20 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Was driven by Dennis Anderson from 2005 to 2013, the longest and arguably most successful for Dennis. Dennis won nine straight stadium racing events with this truck. Retired after 2013.
Grave Digger 21 Four-link suspension Grave Digger Experience truck. People can climb into the cab of the Grave Digger and watch a video presentation.
Grave Digger 22 Originally Batman from 2006 to 2008. Was driven By Charlie Pauken from 2009 to 2013.
Grave Digger 23 Built in 2010 and was driven by Carl Van Horn from 2011 to 2016. Revamped for 2017 and driven Tyler Menninga. Now retired.
Grave Digger 24 Retired four-link suspension Grave Digger. Driven by Chad Tingler from 2011-2015.
Grave Digger 25 Four-link suspension Grave Digger. Morgan Kane won the 2016 World Finals 17 Racing competition in this chassis.
Grave Digger 26

Was built in 2012 and driven by Jon Zimmer from 2013 to 2016.

Grave Digger 27 Was a CRD chassis built in 2013 and has been driven by Charlie Pauken since 2014. Currently the oldest Digger truck still in competition.
Grave Digger 28 Was a Racesource chassis created and driven by Pablo Huffaker from 2014 to 2018. Retired in May 2018 together with Huffaker.
Grave Digger 29 Was a Cohen chassi built in 2014 and debuted just before 2015. Driven by Randy Brown until 2017. Now retired.
Grave Digger 30 Was a Cohen chassis that debuted in 2014. Driven by Dennis Anderson from 2014- 2017. Revamped for 2018 and now driven by Brandon Vinson.
Grave Digger 31 Cohen-designed chassis race truck. Driven by Cole Venard from 2016 to March 2017. Taken over by Randy Brown since 2018. 
Grave Digger 32 Cohen-designed chassis race truck. Was orignally the 2014 Grave Digger the Legend chassis. Driven by Adam Anderson from 2016 to 2017. The truck won Adam's second freestyle championship. Now driven by Tyler Menninga since 2018. 
Grave Digger 33

Cohen chassis, driven by Morgan Kane since 2017.

Grave Digger 34

CRD chassis, driven by Krysten Anderson since 2017.

Grave Digger 35 Cohen chassis unveiled at SEMA 2017, driven by Adam Anderson since 2018, winning Adam his third racing championship. 

Exempt Trucks

Version

Information
Grave Digger's Boneyard Shuttle An unofficial truck from the Grave Digger Fleet: a bus themed ride truck.
K'nex Grave Digger Built in 2012; a display truck built entirely out of K'nex pieces.

Championships

  • 1999 - Dennis Anderson (Points)
  • 2000 - Dennis Anderson (Freestyle)
  • 2002 - Dennis Anderson (Points)
  • 2003 - Gary Porter (Points)
  • 2004 - Randy Brown (Points)
  • 2004 - Dennis Anderson (Racing)
  • 2006 - Dennis Anderson (Racing)
  • 2010 - Dennis Anderson (Racing)
  • 2016 - Morgan Kane (Racing and AMSOIL West), Adam Anderson (Freestyle and FS1 Series), Cole Venard (AMSOIL East) 
  • 2017 - Cole Venard (Triple Threat- West), Tyler Menninga (Triple Threat- East), Randy Brown (Arena Tour #4), Pablo Huffaker (Arena Tour #5), Charlie Pauken (Stadium Tour #4)
  • 2018 - Charlie Pauken (Stadium Championship Series 2), Morgan Kane (Stadium Championship Series 3), Tyler Menninga (Triple Threat- Central), Adam Anderson (Racing)

World Finals Appearances

  • 1999 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2000 - Dennis Anderson (won freestyle)
  • 2001 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2002 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2003 - Pablo Huffaker
  • 2004 - Dennis Anderson (won racing)
  • 2005 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2006 - Dennis Anderson (won racing)
  • 2007 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2008 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2009 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2010 - Dennis Anderson (won racing)
  • 2011 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2012 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2013 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2014 - Dennis Anderson
  • 2015 - Dennis Anderson, Colton Eichelberger (purple), Charlie Pauken (green)
  • 2016 - Adam Anderson (won freestyle), Dennis Anderson (chrome), Morgan Kane (orange) (won racing), Cole Venard (purple)
  • 2017 - Adam Anderson, Morgan Kane, Randy Brown, Tyler Menninga (DDS: Krysten Anderson)
  • 2018 - Adam Anderson (won racing), Tyler Menninga, Morgan Kane, Charlie Pauken (DDS: Krysten Anderson, Brandon Vinson)

Digger's Dungeon

Digger's Dungeon in North Carolina serves as the official home of Grave Digger. It houses various Feld vehicles from time to time. It features a gift shop and museum of various Grave Digger parts, trophies, and merchandise.

Gallery

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