The truck started out as a sponsor for Built Ford Tough for more than a decade, before being turned into a full time Monster Jam concept truck in 2013. The truck has also a stacked driver list from its past including Monster Jam Superstars like Linsey Weenk, Tony Farrell, and Todd LeDuc.
Blue Thunder debuted (with an unfinished paint job) on January 6th, 2001, at the Houston Astrodome, originally as a Ford F-250. It was driven by former Grave Digger driver, Lyle Hancock, who drove Wrenchead.com the previous year. He made it to the World Finals Championship Race in Monster Jam World Finals 2, making him the first Grave Digger driver to make it to the finals; but because Blue Thunder flipped over at the end of the final race with Goldberg, it couldn't return for freestyle.
A year later in January 2002, at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, MI (the first stop), Tony Farrell drove the truck and competed there. He had an awesome freestyle run but ended with a spectacular crash.
Lyle Hancock would drive Blue Thunder again and compete at Monster Jam World Finals 3 (but would miss out on racing due to mechanical problems) and 4. In 2004, Tony Farrell and George Balhan took over driving duties as Lyle retired from the sport in late 2003.
In 2005, Norm Miller (previously a driver of Blacksmith) became the team's second driver when Balhan left the team to drive the Escalade monster truck. At the World Finals, Farrell got a 31 in freestyle, but lost to Jimmy Creten in the Bounty Hunter via tiebreaker.
In 2006, Miller retired from the sport leaving Farrell the only one left in Blue Thunder. (Miller would eventually return in 2011, driving Batman.)
In 2009, Frank Krmel replaced Farrell in the summer
In 2011, Ford had officially ended their Built Ford Tough sponsorship contract with Monster Jam, so the truck continued to run with all Ford references on the truck removed: The Build Ford Tough logo on the hood was replaced with the words "Blue Thunder" as they were seen on the side. Despite Ford being removed as sponsor, the truck still ran a Ford body and continues to run it to this date. That same year, both Linsey Weenk and Frank Krmel left the Blue Thunder team, so Todd LeDuc drove Blue Thunder for the rest of 2011 as Weenk ran his new truck Lucas Oil Crusader while Krmel joined the Advance Auto Parts Grinder team.
In 2012, LeDuc moved to the new Metal Mulisha truck. Blue Thunder was temporarily retired.
In 2013, Blue Thunder was resurrected with a brand new chassis and design, with Dan Evans driving the truck until 2014.
In 2014, it was announced that Dalton Millican would be taking over the driving duties and run on the #MoreMonsterJam tour for the 2015 season.
In 2015, two Blue Thunder drivers, former driver Tony Farrell and driver Dalton Millican tragically pass away; Farrell from an SUV accident at a concert and Millican from a motorcycle accident. After Millican's death, Alx Danielsson drives the truck during one event as a fill-in driver. Also, less than a six months before his death, Millican and Blue Thunder were invited to the Monster Jam World Finals 16 Young Guns Shootout, although did not win.
In 2016, Tyler Menninga drove Blue Thunder in the West More Monster Jam tour and competed in the Monster Jam World Finals 17 Young Guns Shootout and finished second. Todd LeDuc runs the name on the old Metal Mulisha chassis in Europe.
In 2017, Matt Cody runs the Blue Thunder body on the Iron Warrior chassis for the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series presented by AMSOIL Central tour and competed in the Monster Jam World Finals 18 Double Down Showdown. The truck also competed in the International Tour with the old chassis used by Dan, Dalton, and Tyler under various drivers: Chad Fortune (Australia), Randy Brown (Australia, Europe and Saudi Arabia), Rhianna Buchanan (Singapore).
In 2018, Matt Cody runs the Blue Thunder body on the Iron Warrior chassis again for the Monster Jam Triple Threat East Series and competed in the Monster Jam World Finals 19 Double Down Showdown. Travis Groth would later take over driving duties of the truck by running the body on the Trouble Maker chassis for the 3rd quarter of Monster Jam.
In 2019, Matt Cody drives the truck yet again on the Triple Threat Central Tour. Matt was invited to the World Finals Speedsters championships, and won the Obstacle category, getting the truck’s first World Title.
Trucks That Have Run as Blue Thunder
- El Toro Loco (Racesource) (Pablo Huffaker)
- Iron Warrior (Matt Cody)
- Trouble Maker (Travis Groth)
- Metal Mulisha (Todd LeDuc)
World Finals Appearances
- 2001 - Lyle Hancock
- 2002 - Lyle Hancock
- 2003 - Lyle Hancock
- 2004 - Tony Farrell
- 2005 - Tony Farrell (Loses tiebreaker)
- 2006 - Tony Farrell
- 2007 - Tony Farrell
- 2008 - Linsey Weenk
- 2009 - Linsey Weenk
- 2010 - Linsey Weenk (encore freestyle: Frank Krmel)
- 2013 - Pablo Huffaker
- 2015 - Dalton Millican (YGS)
- 2016 - Tyler Menninga (YGS)
- 2017 - Matt Cody (DDS)
- 2018 - Matt Cody (DDS)
- 2019 - Matt Cody (Speedster) (Won Speedster Obstacle Course)
Video Game Appearances
- Monster Jam: Maximum Destruction
- Monster 4X4: Masters of Metal
- Monster Jam (video game)
- Monster Jam: Urban Assault
- Monster Jam: Path of Destruction
- Monster Jam (mobile game)
- Monster Jam Battlegrounds
- Monster Jam: Crush It!
- Monster Jam Steel Titans
- This truck, despite having the same name and color and a very similar design, has no relation to Kevin and Kirk Dabney's Camaro Blue Thunder truck, which competed in the 1980s. However, it is speculated that this Blue Thunder was derived in some way from that of the Dabneys' version.
- Although the truck started out in 2001 as a sponsorship truck for Ford, the truck is no longer a sponsor truck today. Ford had ended their sponsorship contract in early 2011 and the truck continued running as a stand-alone truck until its retirement before Monster Jam World Finals 12 and its revival in 2013.
- When the truck was redesigned in 2013, it featured a "Feel The Energy" slogan placed at the trucks tailgate. The same year, Captain's Curse, another redesigned piece for 2013, also featured a slogan at its tailgate which said "Fear The Curse". These phrases however, weren't advertised nor pointed out by Monster Jam. To why these slogans were placed is unknown.
- Former full time Blue Thunder driver from 2011, Todd LeDuc, temporarily returned to the team 5 years later for the Monster Jam European Tour in 2016.
- Since 2017, the truck currently has no permanent chassis as the name and body is run on the Iron Warrior chassis for the Triple Threat Series tours and the 2013 chassis (which has been repainted black since then) for international events.
- As Blue Thunder was a major sponsor for Ford in its original 10 year run, almost every 2 years the truck would run the design of the newest updated Ford F-250.
- Interestingly, every Blue Thunder body has a different and unique lightning pattern. No two Blue Thunders will have the same one.