By Frankie Kujawa
Monster Jam returns to Baltimore for an adrenaline-charged weekend at the newly renovated CFG Bank Arena on April 28th-30th. Along with one of the most dynamic group of drivers and crew members that Monster Jam has ever seen, driver Armando Castro is thrilled to be bringing the family favorite to back to Charm City!
Frankie Kujawa: What can Baltimore audiences expect from this Monster Jam show?
Armando Castro: Well, I like to put it in three ways – it’s unscripted, unexpected and unforgettable. If you’ve never been to a Monster Jam show it’s very exciting. These monster trucks are like these big robotic things flying through the air. [We’re] talking 12,000 pounds and 1,500 horsepower. You can only imagine the stuff we’re doing with them now. Things have evolved a lot since they first started back in the 1980’s when these trucks were just rolling over cars. Now we’re somersaulting in the air and backflipping. It’s not just a male-dominated sport, anymore. It’s ran by females, as well. We have the best of the best drivers. It’s not just for the kids, but it’s for the whole family. It’s two hours of fun from start to finish.
Frankie Kujawa: What would be a surprising fact that most people don’t know about Monster Jam?
Armando Castro: An interesting fact about these Monster Jam trucks, let alone just the weight and the power, is we actually control the rear tires, too. We have toggle switch inside our cab that’s called the ‘rear steer power switch.’ So what that means is when we’re driving, the basic steering wheel controls your front tires but we’re also controlling the rear, as well. Once we’re strapped inside these trucks, we don’t get to move anything but our limbs – our arms and legs. We can’t turn our heads in there. We have a custom seat for each driver, as well as custom fire suit, helmet, and neck restraint. So, once you’re strapped in that truck, you’re pretty much strapped in. So, whatever your peripheral vision lets you see, that’s it.
Frankie Kujawa: How did you get involved in this type of sport?
Armando Castro: So, long story short, I’ve been a fan for many, many years. I grew up watching Monster Jam as a little kid. I went to my first show when I was 6 years old here in Anaheim, California. I just fell in love with it. I’m a big ‘gearhead’ myself. So, it was a no-brainer for me. Each truck is kind of like a character out there, and I fell in love with all of it. Right there at 6 years old I knew exactly what I wanted to do as a career. I’ve been competing since 2017. So, it’s my sixth year with Monster Jam.
Frankie Kujawa: Could you describe what you’re excited about for this tour?
Armando Castro: Basically, we are on an arena tour. So, we’ll be doing a show right there in Baltimore. I’ve been to Baltimore a few times and to that arena. I’m looking forward to coming since I heard it was recently remodeled. And the fans…Baltimore fans get really, really loud! We tend to drive better when the crowds get really into it. Baltimore fans never disappoint!