Driver Bari Musawwir Discusses 2016 Monster Jam Tour Coming to Dayton
Zombie truck driver Bari Musawwir discusses the road leading to Dayton, Ohio
So far this year, the 2016 Monster Jam featuring the AMSOIL Series has been through Nashville, Tulsa, Louisville, and Milwaukee. This season has been full of exciting moments, especially for Zombie truck driver Bari Musawwir.
In an exclusive interview with The News Wheel, Musawwir told us about his team’s highlights this month. “Definitely sweeping two out of the three shows in Nashville was great. That’s what propelled me into the points lead. We still got the lead, even after Louisville. It’s a slim lead though; I think I only got a half-point lead over Brianna and Scooby-Doo. It’s going to be a pretty hard-fought season to the end because everybody is super-competitive—and that’s the way we want it.”
Musawwir, whose family from Cleveland will be attending the show, is looking forward to performing in Dayton this weekend at the Wright State University EJ Nutter Center. Having recently joined the East Coast tour of the Monster Jam featuring the AMSOIL Series, Bari is thrilled with how the new show format allows drivers like him to entertain and inspire the audience—and he encourages everyone to attend.
This is a brand new format for Monster Jam. They started it last year and I was added to it this year…There aren’t any other acts, as far as competitors or performers; it’s only the Monster Jam athletes. So, we do everything from three different vehicles and compete in seven different events…This tour is special is because it focuses on the athlete just as much as the vehicles we are competing in. So, we get to have a personal connection with the fans because we are the highlight of the show. I wanted that because any chance I get to inspire others to follow their dreams and work hard to get toward your goals—that’s what I’m all about. This tour helps with that because we get a lot of chances to interact with the crowd.
The News Wheel is looking forward to attending the Dayton, Ohio monster truck show this weekend to cheer on the talented drivers like Bari. Make sure you get your tickets now! And before you attend, read our beginner’s guide to monster truck racing.
Monster Jam featuring the AMSOIL Series will be at Wright State University’s EJ Nutter Center on Friday, Jan. 29th @ 7:30 pm; and Saturday, Jan 30th @ 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm. Tickets are $18 for adults in standard seating, $25 for adults in Gold Circle seating, $53 for adults in front-row seating, and $10 for children ages 2-12. Tickets are $3 more on the day of the show. For more information or for ticket purchases, call (937) 775-3498.
Q&A with Bari Musawwir as He Prepares for the Dayton Show
TNW: Tell us how you’re getting ready for a Monster Jam show such as this one.
Bari: “When I get to the venue, it’s usually a Thursday night. I get to the hotel pretty late, and usually we have some type of media event we have to attend to promote the show once we get there. That’s really fun to get to talk with the local media—either live at the event or we go to studio interviews sometimes. After that, I like to go check out the venue itself—what the jumps look like and how the dirt feels.
“Once I check out the venue, I typically try to go back to the hotel or grab some lunch [with the other teams]. We are competitors on the track, but we’re a big family when it comes to supporting each other off of the track. Sometimes, we’ll just get a bite to eat or enjoy some of the local attractions that each city has to offer until it’s show time. Then, it’s game on.”
Do they switch up the course from venue to venue?
Bari: “The course is relativity the same, but I still like to go and be aware of any subtle changes that might happen because of the guys that design the dirt on the course. Please say, “dirt is dirt,” but not necessarily when you are performing on it. It may not lay the same way every time they build it—certainly there’s an art to it. So I want to get a feel for the boundaries of the facility that we’re going to and pick out certain spots I’d like to hit with the truck. You have to make adjustments because every time you go out there, the dirt is different.”
Do you pre-plan the tricks you’re going to perform and when you’ll hit each jump?
Bari: Sure; it’s all about experience. They call it “seat time” in our game. The amount of time you’ve spent behind the wheel gives you that much more confidence and that much more familiarity with how the truck is going to react to what you do with the amount of space you have at each venue. So, you come out with a plan; you try to make a plan in your head, especially for the freestyle competition.
“But that all relates back to why they call it freestyle: you may want the truck to go left and it bounces to the right—so you can’t think about it; you just have to react. It’s all very quick decision-making on my part to make sure the truck is still in control, but it actually looks like it’s somewhat out of control. Trucks are weird because you know if you’re in control and you feel like, “Oh, I’m on a Sunday drive,” then it doesn’t look exciting, but if it feels like you’re just on that ragged edge of being in a controlled environment, but you make it look exciting; that’s when it’s fun.”
Do you have any friendly rivalries with any other teams or drivers this year?
Bari: “I would say Cole in Grave Digger. We’ve been in the sport for about the same amount of time. He was a crew chief for years on one of the really competitive, championship-winning trucks with Grave Digger legend Adam Anderson, who is Dennis Anderson’s son. Cole got his chance to drive this year. Me and Cole has been around for a while and he’s another jokester, so we have fun, but on the track we definitely race each other cleanly and fairly.”
Do you feel pretty confident about this season’s World Finals? Do you think you have a shot?
Bari: “I think so. We’ve placed high in the semi-finals so that would be the final four out of 32 trucks at the World Finals. That was back in 2013, so it’s definitely on my radar. It’s just one of those things when you’re racing against 31 other competitors who are the best in the business; it just has to be your night, everything has to go right, and you have to have a little bit of luck mixed with skill. Then, you have to focus on the job at hand. It’s a huge accomplishment if you can win that.”
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Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.