Andy Slifko got started in monster trucks in 1998 with the former Toyzilla chassis, naming his truck “Eradicator.” In 1999 Slifko debuted a new Patrick chassis and it runs as the current Eradicator. Slifko was kind enough to do an interview with us recently; we thank him for his generosity and support.
Robert Haught- We’ve heard that you’re building a new chassis for Eradicator. What can you tell us about that?
Andy Slifko- Well, it’s almost done now; I’m gonna piece it together, but I won’t come out with it in January. I’ll run the current chassis; this one’s pretty well dialed in.
RH – What changes will you make from the old truck to the new one?
AS – We’ll change what we do with the shocks; the angle we set them up and things like that. The chassis we built on our own; it’s kind of a knock-off of a Patrick, with some things different that I think should be there that aren’t.
RH-How did it feel to win the USHRA’s Most Improved Driver award for 2004? (Slifko shared the award with Chris Bergeron of Brutus)
AS – That was pretty cool; it’s kind of like they recognize me now; it made a big difference. I ran a lot harder this year than I have, but it wasn’t that I wasn’t running hard before. I felt like they weren’t taking notice before.
RH – So you feel like now that this has happened, more people are taking notice of
you and Eradicator-they know who you are now?
AS – It’s not so much the fans; I have a really good fan base in New England and Florida, places like that. It’s funny, I mean, you get areas where people are like, “Who are you?” and then you get other areas where it’s like, “Dude! I saw you on TV last night, how can you be here?” It’s really neat to see.
RH – You mentioned another important thing, television. You were on TV pretty often this year. Do you feel like the Orlando show in particular was a turning point for you? (Slifko went tenth in the freestyle order out of twelve trucks and finished in third place, destroying a mobile home in the process)
AS-I would say more so the Houston show (Slifko did several vertical jumps before walking the truck over a bus in freestyle and nearly saving it before rolling). Houston brought me Orlando, where they gave me a chance because of how I ran in Houston. I really believe Houston opened the door for everything. It’s not that I didn’t run that way before; it’s that the right people were here to see me do what I did. It’s all about contact; that’s what this sport is all about.
RH – For next year, are you going to be able to step it up even more and have some more opportunities?
AS – I can’t answer that officially because I don’t know what my schedule is, but I believe personally that good things are on the horizon.
AS – Definitely. You have room to run around, to fly around, and I like wheelstands. Two years ago show flow was an important thing, keeping momentum. I love being able to just stand on it between hits. The little shows I like because I usually do well there; I feel I have an advantage. I’m always safe though; I’d rather come back the next day than take a chance at hitting a wall or something. A lot of these new guys are just driving with their foot and holding it down. It’s different when someone’s paying for your stuff. I pay for my own stuff. I really believe that even if I had a company truck, I would drive the way I drive now. Turning it over doesn’t mean anything; I do all the paint and fiberglass myself anyway.
RH – Fast forward a couple of years and say the new chassis is done and out. What’s going to happen to the old one, and is your son Jeremy going to drive?
AS – Both of my sons are; my older son (Jed, 16) is excellent on a quad, and he’ll be 18 before Jeremy. I think he’ll be really good in the truck. Both of them will be there when they’re 18, and Jeremy will be driving before he’s 18, maybe at some smaller shows and stuff. By the time he’s 18 he’ll be able to come out of the box and have at it. They definitely have the same attitude I have *laughs*.
RH – You recently bought the former Raptor truck and turned it into the Eradicator display truck. Do you feel like that will be a big positive for you, that maybe it will help pay for things and you’ll be able to run harder?
AS – That’s the whole thing. I’m trying to build a fleet, but each piece that I build is paid for by the piece before it. The display truck will help pay for the new race chassis.
RH – To conclude, do you have anything you want to add or anything you’d like to say to the fans?
AS-I want to tell the fans to hang on and watch, I’m ready to rock and roll this year!
For More information on Andy Slifko and Eradicator, visit http://eradicator4x4.com/