Jimmy Creten is one of the most successful and skilled drivers in the monster truck industry. He has appeared in seven of the nine Monster Jam World Finals events and heads a three-truck team called 2Xtreme Racing out of Tonganoxie, Kansas. Jimmy has done multiple interviews for us in the past, and is always a pleasure to have on the site. Josh Rhodes caught up with Jimmy for a quick interview after a summer show.
Josh Rhodes – What parts on Bounty Hunter have you custom built yourself?
Jimmy Creten – We build a lot of custom parts for Bounty. Obviously the knuckle setup on the planetaries we built. We also originally designed and built the spindles. We were in on the design with Pablo Huffaker (Driver of Grave Digger #16); we were building them jointly and now Pablo just builds them, but we help do all the CAD work for those. The intake manifolds on our engines were specially made in-house. It’s a special design for the raptor heads. We built all of our custom supercharger offsets. The injector setup was done in Boliver, Missouri, by Gary Saleen. We also built custom spacers to space it forward.The frame was an original Patrick frame, but we changed it to fit our bodies. We also helped Dan Patrick with the new design that he’s currently building. We incorporated some ideas that we’d like to see. Now he’s building them all, all the new trucks that I see, with new mounts and so forth. We run a lot of Patrick parts, a lot of Racesource parts, Steve Combs parts, but basically the setup and design is all ours.
JR – Is Iron Outlaw set up exactly the same as Bounty Hunter?
JC – They’re all a little bit different. Bounty’s a little bit different from Outlaw, Outlaw’s a little bit different from Scarlet Bandit. We run twenty inch shocks on the front of Bounty and twenty-six shocks on the rear. It works great in racing with that shock setup; it works OK in freestyle. That’s probably why we break a lot of spindles, wheels, and champagne glasses, because of the short shocks.The obstacles for freestyle are getting bigger. We can’t seem to do the work we need to do with the shorter shocks. That’s why we went with longer shocks on Outlaw and Bandit. I like the way Bounty rides; it rides real low, it races better.There are some other differences. We run Firestone tires on Bounty, and the new Sudden Impact Racing tires on the other two trucks. We run some different steering cylinder setups based on preference. Obviously the cab setups are different. What Dawn likes is different than what Kreg and I like. We run different controls for rear steering. All three trucks are a little bit different.
JR – There was a recent purchase of CSK by O’Reilly Auto Parts. Will that affect your sponsorship?
JC – It could very much so. I’m hoping it doesn’t. I don’t know exactly how long we’ve been with CSK. Probably been working with them for 9 years now. We’ve had the sponsorship for about 8 years. Our contract is up at the end of the year. It’s definitely on the table right now. O’Reilly is taking a long look at all CSK ventures, us being one of them. CSK has told us they feel we are one of their better programs, dollar-for-dollar one of the best programs they have. O’Reilly will definitely be taking a look at that. I know they’ve already been out to Phoenix to CSK Headquarters and we’ve already been talked about. Hopefully they will be making a decision rather soon; that way we know which way we’re headed. I think they’re keeping an open mind and I hear they’re good people from what CSK has told me. Hopefully we can continue on, business as usual.
JR – After seeing the footage from the recent NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway, rumors have been going around that you may be switching to Chevrolet bodies (Creten performed in a Chevrolet-bodied Bounty Hunter and driver Clint Bowyer take a ride as well). Is there any truth to that rumor?
JC – I’m not excluding that. Currently we’re working with Chevrolet, just doing some displays for them. It was really successful in Fort Wort. We’re talking about doing it again. There was a lot of great stuff relayed back to Corporate in Detroit. I think they’re liking it. We’ll just see where it goes.
JR – What can we expect out of the 2Xtreme racing team for the rest of the year?
JC – We’re really busy. You can expect at least two trucks, if not three running every weekend. We’re all over the country, totally booked up. I don’t think we have any more weekends off. Right now we’re using different employment to try to cover everything, flying people in and out. We’re very busy trying to juggle everything. We’ve actually turned work down. We have some new technology coming out for 2009 and we’re excited about that. We are working with lots of different companies. We got a good report with Quaker State. Hopefully they will move over and help us out with O’Reilly, you never know, that’s just hearsay. We hope we continue that relationship. We have a great relationship with Hughes Transmissions, K&N, and hopefully some people from CSK stay on board because we’ve enjoyed working with them over the years. There are a lot of unanswered questions right now. We plan on continuing with business as usual and being contenders at every show, running a good program, and letting the cards fall where they’re going to fall.
JR – What’s your favorite track style to run on?
JC – Bounty and Outlaw, they lift clay. We have so much horsepower it’s a problem to get them to hook up. We just blow the tires. We can sit there and spin on the starting line all day. Or if it’s a loose track, like a roundy-round track. It’s hard surface with loose dirt on top we’ll get beat sometimes because we can’t hook up. If you put us on clay like you just saw on Speed, the last Houston show, or let us get out on a track that’s big, where we can open these motors up. We’ll do real good.
JR – How has having Kreg Christensen helped the team?
JC – Kreg’s a great, great driver. When Bounty was broke he picked up the slack. He’s definitely starting to settle in and know his role. He’s quite capable of winning at any time. He could have done really well at the World Finals too. In the Monster Jam series, whatever I didn’t win, Kreg did or whatever he didn’t, I did. It was a great team effort. Freestyle, we’re still trying to figure out our role. Kreg is a great freestyler. We had a lot of damage between him and I this past year. San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix we had some transmission issues. We were snapping input shafts.That’s just our horsepower; we’re working through those issues. Kreg has been good, he’s a great driver. Its expensive doing business the way we’re doing it. Kreg has a full-time job, with him flying in on the weekends. Basically what we pay him is what we could pay a guy that I could have all week. We lack help in that direction because we’re spending it on Kreg. Right now it’s working for us. Kreg’s great.
JR – This is a little bit of word association. Just say the first thing that pops into your mind.
JC – OK.
JR – Dennis Anderson.
JC – Thank god for people like Dennis and Tom. I’m not trying to blow smoke or anything like that. They give us somebody to shoot for. They are definitely the best in the business with what they have accomplished, and I’m not sure anybody else will do what they’ve done. I think they are somebody to look up to and to strive to be. Not only are they good drivers, but they can win any race at anytime. They’re good with the fans, they love them. Not too many people don’t like Tom or Dennis.
JR – Las Vegas.
JC – Stressful. It’s grueling. When you’re laying the whole season on one night, it’s tough. You could have the best truck underneath you and not do well, or you can be on your game and the truck breaks. You gotta have everything going your way in Vegas. It can be very rewarding and you can smile a lot when it’s over, or be really upset. There are a wide range of emotions that Vegas can bring out in you.
JR – Bob Chandler.
JC – I don’t know Bob that well. I really don’t. I’ve met the man a couple times. We really haven’t said much to each other. With the shows that he does choose to come out to is normally shows we don’t go to. The times I did see him were at Special Events shows and we don’t normally do those. I don’t have an opinion one way or the other, although I’m sure he’s a good man.
JR – Mark Hall.
JC – There’s another guy I don’t know very well. A very nice guy, I don’t run with him much. Never have run with him much. He is a great racer. They run a good program, their trucks are always immaculate. He’s super nice.
JR-Debra “Madusa” Miceli.
JC – Debra, I know Debra real well. We ran Monster Jam together for a lot of years. I don’t know her on a personal level. We never hung out together. She seems like an OK person. I don’t always agree with what she had to say or how she acted. To each their own; I’m sure she feels the same way. No two people are always going to see things the same way. I have no problems with Madusa.
AllMonster.com thanks Jimmy Creten for his time. For more information on Bounty Hunter, Scarlet Bandit, or Iron Outlaw, visit Bounty Hunter’s web site by clicking here!