How does a man with seven years of university under his belt end up in the seat of a monster truck?
Jimmy Cretan, the 2019 Monster Jam World Champion and driver of the Bounty Hunter, is probably asked that question often.
It is a long and complicated story that started back in high school.
“I was always a four-wheel-drive enthusiast. We had trucks, with big tires, and on the weekends we would go to mud holes and four-wheel adventures," Cretan said.
“My friends and I grew up in that environment. From there it led to mud racing and through that I met a lot of people who had the same hobbies as I did.’’
Then the school part came in. He went away to college, for seven years in fact. When he finished, he took a job with Colgate Palmolive … and hated it. He had made some friends on the weekends and one of those had a monster truck he wanted to sell.
So he bought it and, all of a sudden, a hobby turned into a career.
“My grandfather was a pilot and I wanted to honour him, so that is why I went to flight school after college,’’ Cretan said.
“I would have liked to have flown planes, but instead I just fly trucks.’’
Cretan, who displayed one of his monster trucks at Hickman Automotive Group’s Chevrolet garage on Kenmount Road on Thursday afternoon, is here to participate in NAPA Auto Parts World Series of Monster Trucks at Eastbound International Raceway in Avondale July 19-21.
The series will be highlighted by the Action Car & Truck Accessories Freestyle Motocross, Eastbound Speedway Racing, Action Tuff Trucks and a back-flipping snowmobile.
“I love coming here to Newfoundland. I have been all across Canada and to many places around the world, but I love coming here, first because it is so far, but also the people,’’ said Cretan, who lives in the U.S.
“Everywhere we go it's different from home. The first thing we notice is the people don’t have the same values. That makes it exciting for all of us.”
But what does the driver of a world champion monster truck drive when he is not on the track racing? That answer may surprise you.
“I had a nice truck, but the guys wrecked it,’’ he said with a grin.
“So now I drive an old shop truck. Would I like to have a fancy car? Sure. But I live in the country, so it would be hard to keep clean.”
Cretan is from Tonganoxie, Kansas, where he still lives and operates his team. He is best known as the driver of Bounty Hunter and founder of Team 2Xtreme Racing.
Home to 2019 Monster Jam XX Racing World Champion Cretan and Bounty Hunter, the stable of trucks also includes Scarlet Bandit, Iron Outlaw, Jekyll & Hyde, Red Baron and Knucklehead.
“This will be the sixth edition of the event at Eastbound Park and we are excited for the three mega shows this weekend,” Mike James, event director for Eastbound, said Thursday.
“Each year, we change things up and look for ways to raise the bar from the previous year. This year’s event will feature some of the best in the business in monster trucks and extreme sports."
Eastbound Park partnered with Action Car and Truck Accessories to showcase NASCAR and INEX Racing, Action Tuff Trucks, Major League of Freestyle Motocross and Freestyle Snowmobiles.
Local drivers will race in front of their family and friends with their very own trucks in the Action Tuff Trucks division, while top extreme athletes in the FSX and FMX series will raise the bar in
2019 with the addition of a backflipping snowmobile.
Tickets are available at participating North Atlantic Orange Stores, online at eastboundpark.com or at the gates.
All tickets will include free entry into the Party in The Pits to meet and greet the World Series drivers and FMX/FSX athletes.