The Monster Jam Triple Threat Series will be coming to Staples Center from July 12-14, promising to bring freestyle and racing competitions on Monster Trucks, ATVs, and Monster Jam Speedsters. The high-flying event is full of speed, stunts, and excitement from eight drivers.
Among the competing drivers is eight-year veteran Bari Musawwir, Monster Jam vet who fell in love with acceleration and cars trucks at a young age. His mother decided to take him to a Monster Jam event when he was six.
"The trucks are larger than life, especially when you're six years old and you feel the power in those trucks," Musawwir said. "And then you see them crush cars and it's just a marvel in itself."
At the age of 11, he started racing remote controlled trucks and spent several years racing and developing his skills. A Monster Jam official attended one of Musawwir's R/C truck competitions and was impressed with his talent. So impressed that he invited Musawwir to a test session to drive for Monster Jam.
Four years later, he rode his first professional race with Monster Jam. He got a call to compete in Panama City, Panama; it had been two years since Musawwir drove a monster truck at the time.
"I was so nervous, I couldn't even eat before the show," he said. "It was still nerve-wracking to be in front of that many people living your dream, out of the country for the first time ever."
Musawwir started his career strong, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2011.
Musawwir drives the Zombie Monster Jam truck, with matching speedster and ATV. For the competition at Staples Center, he looks forward to the Monster Jam truck segment.
"I love racing, which is what we do to open the show," Musawwir said. "Then the two-wheel skills competition is pretty unique in the fact that we can balance two Monster Jam trucks that weigh 12,000lbs on the front two wheels and do nose wheelies with them."
Driving a Monster Jam truck is far different from driving a regular car. It has 1,500 horsepower and 66-inch wheels, the trucks are custom made for the driver to keep them safe. Musawwir noted how the high acceleration of the trucks can present an illusion that the driver is pulling off an impressive stunt, but the driver must drive more erratically to create stunts.
"You really have to feel like you're on the edge of being out of control to really make it look like the truck is doing something big and bad," Musawwir said. "We call it controlled chaos."
To practice stunts, Musawwir will travel to Monster Jam University in Paxton, IL. Athletes can practice on either an arena track or a stadium track, both tracks resemble the tracks they compete on.
"You go in during the week and take about two to three days just to train and drive as much as you can," Musawwir said. "Try to push the truck to its limits on new maneuvers that you might think of."
During his career, Musawwir traveled to Africa, Europe, Asia and almost every state in the U.S. to compete in Monster Jam.
"I never would have dreamed I would go to Japan or Abu Dhabi to drive a monster truck, but I did," he said.
Visit the Staples Center website for ticket information.