The Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam World Finals Presented By NGK Spark Plugs is set to take over Sam Boyd Stadium on Friday and Saturday. Fans will enjoy giant trucks with wheels bigger than most cars bouncing and flying over wrecked vehicles and huge dirt hills. What the fans won't see is all the work that goes into turning a manicured football field into an extreme dirt track.
"My guys are out there almost three weeks," said Daniel Allen, senior director of operations and track construction for Feld Motor Sports. "The equipment will show up at the site on a Monday or Tuesday, a little less than a week before the event."
To build the temporary tracks the team's first step is to wet down and mix up the dirt, a task Allen compared to mixing a giant cake. Feld Motor Sports uses the same dirt for all the events it puts together in Sam Boyd Stadium, as well as a few others in town. It's stored on UNLV property near the stadium.
"We need the dirt to be compactable and usable for building jumps," Allen said. "We need to be able to make those obstacles tall and steep."
Allen's team lays down a six-millimeter layer of Visqueen plastic sheeting to protect the playing field from dust that slips through the next layer, a quarter inch of rubber-like neoprene.
"It's like the bed liner of a pick up truck," Allen said. "It's very dense and able to withstand an incredible amount of pressure."
It's only then, with the playing field protected, that the team begins to haul in the dirt it has been preparing for days. From its 10,000-yard stockpile of dirt it puts down an 8- to 10-inch base and then starts constructing obstacles.
Those obstacles are constructed with around 80 cars and vans from Nevada Pic-A-Part at 5100 N. Lamb Blvd., supplemented with vehicles from Quality Towing at 4100 E. Cheyenne Ave.
"They bring in motor homes, boats, semi trailers and buses," Allen said before jokingly adding, "All of it, planes, trains and automobiles."
Allen said the construction of the track takes a week, from Thursday to Thursday. It gets broken in Friday night before the main event Saturday. When it's all over, the track construction crew reverses the process, hauling out rocks and vehicles late Saturday.
Sunday and Monday the crew members put the dirt back in the storage lot, and Tuesday and Wednesday they clean everything up, including washing the parking lot.
"Technically, they could play a game on the field Tuesday if they had to," Allen said. "We've still got ancillary work to do outside the field at that point, though. By dusk on Wednesday, we're done."
The Monster Jam World Finals will be having its 12th event here this weekend, and it plans to keep coming back.
"UNLV has been astounding to work with," Allen said. "The stadium is a perfect fit for our finals."
The Monster Jam World Finals are set to take place at Sam Boyd Stadium at 7000 E. Russell Road with events starting at noon Friday. Tickets start at $42. For information and tickets, visit monsterjam.com or unlvtickets.com or call 739-3267.
Contact Sunrise and Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 380-4532.