Tom Meents is a monster truck driver from the town of Paxton, IL, primarily known as the driver of Maximum Destruction and former driver of Goldberg and Team Meents, Max-D's predecessor trucks. Prior to those, he also drove Monster Patrol and Bulldozer and FDNY.
In 1993, Tom Meents made his monster truck debut in Monster Patrol. Shortly after his debut, he would unfortunately be involved in a fatal incident when the truck lost control during a race caused by a broken steering shaft and rolled into some hay bales where fans were sitting. The fatally injured person was one of Tom's best friends at the time. Tom Meents is the only majorly known driver today that has ever been involved in a fatal accident. Despite the incident, Tom continued racing in Monster Patrol for the next two years.
Two years later, he started driving Bulldozer. It was popular for the big horns and smoke coming out of the nostrils.
In 1999, several wrestlers were building monster trucks and wrestler Bill Goldberg asked Tom Meents to build one. The body style was a 2000 Futuristic SUV . It debuted in the Georgia Dome and won nearly every televised event. It won the inaugural World Racing Championship (WRC), beating second rival Gun Slinger, but lost the freestyle competition to Dennis Anderson in Grave Digger. Tom himself later that year would driver Dennis' Grave Digger for a single event.
In 2001, there were two Goldbergs (Eldon DePew drove the other.). At the World Finals it hit a barrel, breaking a water main and forcing officials to move the starting line. However, it won racing, and also won freestyle. After the show, he brought out the second Goldberg for the encore.
In 2002, the PACE Motorsports/WCW relationship ended. Tom Meents was going to change the name of the truck to Maximum Destruction, but didn't do this until 2003 because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So, he used his team name, "Team Meents" for a while. There were two Team Meents vehicles, one driven by Tom Meents , the other by his cousin, Rob Knell. 2002 was also the year High Roller was added to the team. Driving Team Meents, Tom Meents won the racing championship and the freestyle championship.
In 2003, Tom Meents introduced Maximum Destruction (A second Maximum Destruction was driven by Neil Elliot.). However, it won neither racing, nor freestyle that year.
In 2004, he tied with Madusa and El Toro Loco for the Championship Freestyle.
The following year, 2005, Neil took a one year break from racing and Phil Foster replaced him. Tom Meents dedicated his World Finals run to his friend Deric Tredholm from the Make-a-Wish Foundation who had passed away.
In 2006, he had drive shaft problems and was seeded last in qualifying. He didn't win racing, but did something amazing for freestyle. The climax was when he jumped over another Maximum Destruction, which was perched on top of the fountain obstacle, easily winning him the freestyle championship, and confirming once again his title as "King of Air".
In 2007, although he won neither racing, nor freestyle in Las Vegas; halfway around the world, at the show in Gothenburg, Sweden, he performed the first monster truck backflip and tied Grave Digger for the win. Travis Pastrana of Nitro Circus tried to duplicate the feat unsuccessfully.
In 2008, Tom Meents got the pole and made it to the final round, but broke down and couldn't make the call. However, he brought out another Maximum Destruction for the encore.
In 2009, he won the racing championship for the fourth time, giving him a total of nine championship wins in racing and/or freestyle--a feat no one else has come close to. As part of the encore, he performed the monster truck backflip for the American audience.
In 2010, he won the first stadium freestyle in Philadelphia.
In 2011, he won racing for the fifth time, against Bounty Hunter . He won the first stadium freestyle in Baltimore.
In 2012, he won racing for the sixth time, against the new Monster Energy. At the first ever MetLife Stadium show in East Rutherford, NJ he debuted the FDNY truck, performing a duel freestyle along side Frank Krmel and Inferno. Krmel would pull off allowing Meents to continue solo, Meents would eventually roll the truck. After the conclusion of freestyle Meents would bring out his stunt truck for the first time and attempt a double backflip which was unsuccessful.
In 2013, he celebrated Maximum Destruction's 10th Anniversary, sporting a brand new glow design body on his truck.
In 2015, he attempted the first Monster Jam front flip in history at the MetLife Stadium show held in East Rutherford, NJ on June 13. While being an amazing feat, it was determined that he would be unable to obtain a Guinness World Record for it since, "he bounced over rotation so that his front tires did not hit the ground, as required by the Guinness World Record guidelines."
In 2016, he drove in the FS1 Championship Series, where he finished in third.
In 2017, he got a new chassis and was set to run the FS1 East Series. Unfortunately during only the tours third show his truck had suspension problems which resulted in him sustaining a back injury that required surgery and was out until June. Monster Jam World Finals 18 was the first World Finals he was unable to compete in due to an injury sustained earlier in the season. Coincidentally, Dennis Anderson was also out due to an injury sustained earlier in Tampa Florida, making it his first time out of the World Finals since World Finals 4. As a result, World Finals 18 was the first World Finals without either Tom Meents or Dennis Anderson.
In 2018, Tom was invited to the Monster Jam World Finals 19 for his 18th appearance in the World Finals, following the previous year where he did not compete due to his injury.
World Finals Appearances
- 1999 - Bulldozer
- 2000 - Goldberg (won racing)
- 2001 - Goldberg (won racing and freestyle)
- 2002 - Team Meents (won racing and freestyle)
- 2003 - Maximum Destruction
- 2004 - Maximum Destruction (won freestyle)
- 2005 - Maximum Destruction
- 2006 - Maximum Destruction (won freestyle)
- 2007 - Maximum Destruction
- 2008 - Maximum Destruction
- 2009 - Maximum Destruction (won racing)
- 2010 - Maximum Destruction
- 2011 - Maximum Destruction (won racing)
- 2012 - Maximum Destruction (won racing)
- 2013 - Max-D (won freestyle)
- 2014 - Max-D
- 2015 - Max-D
- 2016 - Max-D
- 2018 - Max-D
- Tom Meents is the current holder of many records in the Monster Jam Industry, including
- Only Monster Jam driver to have over 5 championships (overall 11 Championships)
- Only Monster Jam driver to win the Racing championship three times in a row
- Only Monster Jam driver to win the World Finals Freestyle Championship back-to-back
- Only Monster Jam driver to win the Racing and Freestyle at the same World Finals
- Only Monster Jam driver to win Racing and Freestyle at the same World Finals twice
- Only Monster Jam driver to win Racing and Freestyle at the same World Finals two years in a row.
- Tom competes along side his step-sons Colton and Jared Eichelberger.
- Tom was also involved the 1984 Illinois high school football state championship, playing for Paxton.
- Despite being Dennis Anderson's main competition rival, Tom drove Grave Digger #12 for at least one show around 1999/2000 at Raceway Park in New Jersey when Dennis was injured. He was also once considered by Dennis to fill in for him for Grave Digger when an ice storm prevented him from getting to a show, however Eldon Depew ended up driving instead.
- Tom was known for wearing sunglasses a lot during the TNN era.