Tundra Monster Truck Makes Friends, Crushes the Competition
There’s no motorsport out there that offers the same larger-than-life thrills found in the world of monster truck racing. When Toyota of Wallingford was looking for a way to reach out to the local community as well as some attract attention, the Connecticut-based dealership decided to break new ground by getting involved in monster trucks in a very big way. In doing so the dealership, which has been in business for over 13 years, also managed to break down some of the barriers in the world of these high horsepower, metal-munching machines by sponsoring one of the few Toyota Tundra-based teams active in the sport.
Pat Summa is the driver of Thrasher, the Toyota Tundra that is currently competing on the Monster Jam circuit. Thrasher is a 2007 Toyota Tundra, with a 1,400 horsepower alcohol-burning V8 engine that displaces 510 cubic inches. The truck stands ten and a half feet tall and weighs just over 10,000 lbs. Summa is a Connecticut resident, and got his start behind the wheel of a truck called Above & Beyond in the early 1990’s. Thrasher originally made use of a Toyota T100 body and was in fact the very first vehicle from the brand to compete professionally on the United States Hot Rod Association monster truck tour. When it came time to update Thrasher for the new millennium it made sense to move into the new Toyota Tundra body style, and with sponsorship from Toyota of Wallingford the revised Thrasher continues to terrorize stadiums and fair grounds around the country.
In addition to playing a key role in Pat Summa’s Monster Jam campaign, Toyota of Wallingford also maintains two additional monster truck Tundras that are used to help promote the dealership and introduce community members to the sport itself. The trucks are most often called into duty to give rides to children at special events that take place all around New England, including NASCAR races and other automotive gatherings. Each year Wallingford also hosts a crush the competition ‘Monster Madness’ event in which customer trades are dispatched in spectacular fashion under the wheels of one of the Tundras.
The main ride truck used by Toyota of Wallingford was built on a monster truck chassis formerly known as War Wizard, previously driven by Monster Jam star Randy Moore. Current owner Steve Zion had the vehicle customized with a Toyota Tundra body specially built by G&J Autobody in Wallingford, and parts from the speed record-setting War Wizard and a stock Toyota Tundra were combined together to create a vehicle which features all of the comforts and conveniences of a stock Tundra – including air conditioning and a full stereo setup – with the unquestionable presence of a monster truck. The vehicle has recently been upgraded with a TRD supercharger in order to give it even more grunt, and both the truck and trailer feature a custom wrap put together by Vigg Design.
Toyota of Wallingford dedicates a section of its website to both Thrasher and the ride trucks, and this has become one of the dealership’s most frequently visited pages. Ron Jackson, director of internet sales has said that the attention generated by the Tundra, in addition to the smiles on the faces of the children who can’t believe they actually get to ride in such an impressive beast have made the entire project worthwhile.
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