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Grave Digger is the name of a team of monster trucks currently racing in the USHRA Monster Jam series. There are several Grave Diggers being driven by different drivers to allow them to make appearances at more events, but their flagship driver is creator Dennis Anderson. Grave Digger is considered to be one of the most influential monster trucks of all time. Grave Digger was originally conceived in 1981 by Dennis Anderson as a mud bogger. This first truck was a red 1952 Ford pickup truck, which was later converted to a silver and blue 1951 Ford Panel Truck. The truck received its name when Anderson, amicably trash talking with his fellow racers, said the now famous line, "I'll take this old junk and dig you a grave with it", a reference to the age of his old pickup in comparison to their relatively modern trucks. Anderson gained a reputation for an all-or-nothing driving style and quickly became popular at local events. At one show, a scheduled monster truck failed to show up and Anderson, who already had large tractor tires on the truck, offered to crush cars in the absence of the full-size monster. The promoter accepted and Grave Digger was an instant success as a car crusher and led Anderson to leave mud bogging and pursue monster trucks instead. In 1986 Grave Digger underwent a transformation to complete monster truck and first received its famous black graveyard paint scheme. In 1987 and 1988 Anderson drove the truck primarily at TNT Motorsports races and became a crowd favorite for driving hard despite lacking major funding that more well known teams, like Bigfoot, had. In 1987, Anderson beat Bigfoot in St. Paul, MN on a show taped for ESPN. It was the first major victory for Grave Digger. Anderson moved to Grave Digger 2 in 1989, with a new 1950 Chevy panel van body. It was during this time that the reputation for wild passes was developed, and the popularity of the truck increased. TNT recognised his rising popularity and began promoting Grave Digger heavily, especially for races on the Tuff Trax syndicated television series. This was helped by Bigfoot not racing for points in the 1989 championship, leaving Grave Digger as the most popular truck on the tour. On October 17, 1998, a Grave Digger truck carrying twenty-five passengers flipped over, crushing Joy Kubitza’s right arm between the truck and the sand. This took place at a promotional show on Virginia Beach, featuring rides in Grave Digger for only US $5. All twenty-five passengers were treated at a hospital and released; Kubitza later returned for an additional 37 surgeries to help with the pain the accident caused. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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