By Paul Strong - Martial Law Monster Truck
January 20, 2008

Here we are again, where it all started for me, the Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN. Back in 1996, I needed to get away from reality for a few hours, and a monster truck show seemed like a good idea. Having never been to one, I didn't know what to expect. As soon as they fired those things up, I instantly fell in love with them, and very much out of love with what I was doing. I kept doing what I was doing for several more years, until I could figure out some way of making that move into Monster Trucks, and once I did, I instantly wanted to run at the Metrodome. Being the new guy, invites weren't just pounding down my door to come here, but after proving myself a few times over, we are now regulars at the HHH Metrodome, and were happy to be back in January 2008.

Last weekend out, we had back to back racing wins in Evansville, IN, so we 'maybe' showed up a little cocky, but that's needed every now and then. With an awesome feild of 16 trucks, many of them good friends of ours, it was gonna be an awesome weekend for us, win - lose - or draw.

The first cool deal about the weekend was the pit party. I finally got to meet a very awesome fan of mine, Kelly from St. Cloud. She showed up there with her kid and had made a really neat Martial Law poster. Kelly has sorta been there for us through thick and thin. She's seen us tear it up and do a really good job, and she's also seen the other side, but always been a great fan.

Next was qualifying. We were on a completely new track design. I think they were calling it Cyclone Style. We start off in the middle, then make a pass around the track, but do not hit the cars. This would be to build up some serious speed for our next round where we do hit the car. We came into the turn way too hot and ended up wiping out and stuffing the truck into the backside of a school bus. We were able to get out and finish our pass, but it would place us low in the bracket.

We were paired up to a very tough, El Matador for first round. The truck lifted about 3-4 feet off the line, making huge power out of the fresh 555 Merlin, and flew into the first turn. We absolutely tore around the truck, going around the cars the first time, then flying into the second turn, again with a little too much heat which tripped us up on the cars a little bit. This really didn't slow us down though, but the last turn I backed off a little too much and opened the window just enough for El Matador to squeek by us. When I squared up to hit the last set of cars, I saw that he was ahead so I matted it and caught huge air off the stack, but El Matador would take us out, ending my perfect racing streak this season. Hats off to him for a great run! Now its time for freestyle!

All I could do is sit back and enjoy a great show. My truck was ready to go for freestyle and I was ready to tear it up for 62,000 of the best fans in the industry. I wait all year for this 90 seconds. No matter where I'm at, or what I'm doing all year long. I know that for this 90 seconds, I will be in front of a sold out crowd in the Minneapolis Metrodome, where I first fell in love with Monster Trucks. I tore out of the gate and went very verticle on my first obstacle, starting the countdown. I hit the next obstacle, which was a bus car-van-bus stack on a pile of dirt, but the truck landed pretty hard on the side. When I made a pass round the track, I looked up at the jumbo tron to see if the truck was tore up at all. My rear steer had locked up on me. Knowing this, I figured it was all over, so I pointed Martial Law at another stack, and held it to the floor. I fully expected the truck to roll over and end my run, but I was able to save it and bring it back down on all four, and the rear steer started working again! I looked up at the jumbo tron again and saw I still had 43 second left. I turned it around and pile drove it into another van stack that was mounted on another pile of dirt, iron-walled the cars for a couple huge skywheelies, and saw that my time was up. I threw a very grateful wave to the cheering crowd, thanked them for having me back, and went back to the pits to enjoy the rest of an awesome show.

This is now the beginning of my year long process of waiting for those 90 seconds to come around again. I won't be sitting here with nothing to do though. You can bet I'll be pounding on as many trucks as I can, and burning my name in the dirt at as many racetracks as possible.

I would like to thank Kelly for all of her support, the other 62,000 Monster Jam fans for their support, USHRA for having me there, my family for supporting me and believing in me, and most of all my sponsors for helping me put a truck together that can take a beating like this, and drive itself into the trailer at the end of the night. Without Ryan Peterson's welding, these knuckles would have never held up to this abuse. His new knuckles have been absolutely indestructable. I've yet to break one! I'll see all of you back here next January running stronger than ever!

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