Aaron Cromer is one of the first “internet guys” to make it to the driver’s seat of a monster truck. 2008 is his rookie season behind the wheel of Anger Management, and he was a candidate for the USHRA’s Rookie of the Year award. The owner of MonsterWorldOnline.com sat down with Robert Haught for a quick interview during a break in the summer season to give us his thoughts. We appreciate his time.
Robert Haught – Aaron, how did your first season behind the wheel of a monster truck treat you?
Aaron Cromer – I felt it was a pretty good first season; I had some learning curves at first, but in the second half of first quarter, I really started to get comfortable in the truck.
RH – The learning curve behind the wheel is a bit steeper once you actually begin driving then?
AC – Definitely, you just have to get a feel for your equipment, know how it reacts, lands, steers, and things like that. You need to know what your limits are and then try to push them.
RH – As the driver of the second truck in a two-truck team, you have some more limits placed on you than your teammate, Rick Raab, does. Talk a bit about being the second truck on the team and those challenges.
AC – Well, when you have a teammate like Rick Raab, it definitely helps you want to push those limits, but sometimes you have to think about the team. If Rick goes out and breaks something, that is shop hours and work right there, so I have to try to make sure I do not go out there and do something stupid to create even more work. At the end of the season though my truck owner, Dan Galvis loosened up the reigns a little bit and told me to go for it.
RH – Did not having to worry as much about equipment at the end of the season contribute to your confidence? What or who else helped you when you were starting out?
AC-Yes it did help; I believe you are an all around better driver when you don’t pressure yourself too much. Then you can go out there without much worry; it definitely helps.There were a lot of people that helped me. Obviously, big thanks to Rick Raab–bringing me to shows, letting me drive his ride truck for years, Dan Galvis, the owner, for giving me the chance to crew for them and now drive, Carl VanHorn got me inside the Monster Jam world, Rich Blackburne, Andrew Palochko, just lots and lots of people.
RH – You had an interesting path to the driver’s seat. You and Paul Strong from Martial Law were both considered “internet kids” because of contributing to or owning monster truck web sites, and that’s how you got started getting exposure. Talk about the challenges and coming from that background, and how it helped or hurt you along the way.
AC – I actually started my web site in 2003 (MonsterWorldOnline) to get my name out into the monster truck industry. I would go to as many shows as I could myself, take photos, write stories, and meet as many people as I could. It got me in contact with several drivers, and got my foot in the world of monster trucks.
RH – What were your memories of that period of time, making the transition from just having a web site to actually being a part of the show?
AC – Good times! I had lots of supporters on the internet. Transitioning was tough; its a whole other world, learning all the parts on the trucks, understanding how they work, how to repair them. It’s a lot of work, and not much sleep *laughs*.
RH – When did you first realize that you had a shot to live your dream and drive a truck instead of just working on them?
AC – It was the end of September, and Rick and I got a call from the owner saying Scott Poirier (Anger Management’s former driver) had moved on from monster trucks. They asked me if I was up to getting in the seat, and I said, “Heck yeah!”
RH – What was your experience in a race truck before that?
AC – I had done a few little fairs in each truck, freestyle only shows. I had driven the ride truck for them for awhile, but that’s a completely different thing.
RH – Now that you’ve gained some confidence, what are your goals for the future, and where do you see yourself at this time next year?
AC – My goals are to keep improving every time out, keep turning the fans on, and keep gaining respect from others in the industry.
RH – You mentioned respect. What other drivers gave you that and helped you out right away when you were starting?
AC-Everyone I have run with this year has been awesome to me. Jim Koehler really talked to me and was awesome with me my first race in the truck back in November in Montreal. Chad Tingler complimented me in interviews the first two weeks of the year; that meant a lot. Going to the finals against Dennis (Anderson) in Uniondale , and him giving me a hug during interview was great, just lots of awesome guys out there.
RH – Excellent. What is your advice for those people that want to be in your shoes one day, especially those coming from an internet background like yourself?
AC – Just dive in, help out who you can when you can, and if you wanna do it, keep at it.
RH – Finally, thank you for your time, and is there anyone else you’d like to thank or mention?
AC – Anyone I have met along the way has helped out somehow or another; I mentioned a few of the many above. Thank you for the interview, and also Scott Poirier. Second week out in Manchester, he really talked me through some things, thanks to him as well.
AllMonster.com thanks Aaron Cromer for his time.