As Mark List prepares his Monster Jam Truck for this weekend’s World Finals in Orlando, Florida on May 21-22, he knows ddistance makes the heart grow fonder.
List and his El Toro Loco truck entered the Red Stadium Series this year after a two-year pandemic hiatus and the change of scenery brought a fresh perspective. After years of traveling internationally with Monster Jam, List was tired.
In March 2020, while staying with family in Anchorage, Alaska on a snowboarding trip, the world began to shut down. When things settled down a bit, List headed back to Florida to pick up some stuff, then headed back to Alaska to ride out the pandemic.
“I feel like this two-year break allowed me to go into this year’s competition with a very relaxed brain, not thinking about having to go win, I was just thrilled to be back behind the truck having fun,” List told NBC. Sports. “Everything started working fine. I had so much fun this season and we actually put in a really good performance.
List started the season with an extremely hot start, winning the general classification in the first two weekends. Any worries he felt about the break were behind him. The move to the stadium series and larger venues suited his riding style while allowing him to spread his wings over the jumps.
“I was very nervous when it started,” List explained. “Because I was working with my teacher, Tom Meents, (who was) world champion at the time, (competing against) Adam Anderson, Grave Digger pilot. I mean all the top Monster Jam pilots were on my tour, so it made me very nervous at the start of the season, but hey, after two years without a driver, we started the season with the first two championships overall and that boosted my confidence a lot.
Part of List’s success in Monster Jam comes from his background.
He started out with the series as a track builder and when the opportunity arose to drive, he took it. There is a small upside to knowing how the track is going to react to the trucks, but the hard part is knowing how you and your truck are going to react to the track.
“It definitely has a bit of an edge because I know how the dirt is going to react throughout the event, how the humidity is inside, etc.,” List said of his track-building experience. . “But these days the driver talent is so good. We have so much talent that this small advantage, which could have been important at the time, does not mean anything now.
The margin of success is very slim in Monster Jam. Over the past 30 years, the drivers have continued to improve, making the competition tight. This weekend, List will join their series mates and the league’s top competition to compete in the Global Finals.
“The World Finals is obviously Monster Jam’s biggest event and all of the athletes are looking forward to competing,” List said. “I am very happy and satisfied to have qualified in the main peloton. It’s going to be an incredible year, we’re going to compete on a whole different track – one that none of us have ever raced. Thus, fans will be able to discover this brand new track design. The driver line-up is so good that I guaranteed it would be the best World Final we’ve ever seen.
List had to battle through some of the toughest competition on his tour this year, which prepared him for the big stage at the World Finals. This competition made List and his competitors better runners.
“Being behind the wheel, I was very nervous, thinking I had to go out there and be better than them,” List said. “This year, I understood that I had to do my own race.
“By working with the best competition, when you race with good people, you will improve. This year, everyone has increased their talent. Every person on our tour – we were all pushing our limits. Everyone got out on the track and put in faster and faster lap times – we put out bigger freestyles. It was a big overall growth for the whole tour.
So for the world finals it’s gonna be good i learned how to stay calm i learned what my truck is going to do after a big jump let the truck do its thing then take control after that and keep going make it even bigger. ”
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Mark List rediscovered his passion for Monster Jam ahead of the World Finals originally appeared on NBCSports.com