When Monster Jam returns to Greenville this weekend, a returning crowd favorite will be ready to tear up the track.
Linsey Read will once again drive the popular Scooby Doo truck, and she's determined to give fans their money's worth.
"I'm definitely going to bring it," she said by phone in an exclusive interview with Upstate Parent. "This year we're doing a point system. Every show, we get points and whoever has the most points at the end of the season gets to go to Vegas for the world finals. We are all out to get as many points as we can to make ourselves look good for world finals."
Read also brings a new perspective to the track in 2018. She's a new mom.
"I did my first year — my rookie season — and right after that, I got married and we started a family," she said. "I took a year off, had my daughter and now I'm back."
Upon her return from maternity leave, Read was given the honor of driving Monster Jam's Wonder Woman truck, which made its competition debut in June 2017, but for 2018, she's back to driving the truck she started with — Scooby Doo.
Read said her husband and daughter travel with her to all shows, which makes her time on the road easier.
"We're doing it as a family," she said. "My husband is touring for another team, so we all go together and have a great weekend, do Monster Truck stuff, and then go home."
She said she loves driving Scooby Doo, mainly based on the crowd's reaction every time the truck appears.
"Everyone loves Scooby Doo," she said. "The kids watch the cartoons on TV and to see the actual truck running around — it looks like Scooby Doo with the tail and ears and everything — kids love it. Over the roar of my loud motor, I can still hear people screaming for me and Scooby, and I can see all of the custom flags and banners being waved for us. It's so much fun."
She said she hopes families will come out for one of this weekend's shows, and she offered some tips for both newbies and veteran fans.
"If you have little kids, bring earplugs," she said. "It does get loud in there."
After each show, the drivers sign autographs on the concord for fans, and it's a great chance for kids to talk to the drivers one-on-one. Plan to stick around for an extra 30 to 45 minutes after the show, and maybe longer, depending on the crowd.
"That's always fun though," she said.
However, if it's the trucks your kids are thrilled to see, be sure to attend the special pit party planned 10:30 a.m. - noon Saturday. Admission is free with each ticket to the 1 p.m. show.
"All of the drivers and trucks will be at the pit party, so everybody can come down and meet us and take pictures with the trucks," she said. "They can also see the track, which is really neat because there's a lot on the track they can see up close and experience. The pit party is one of my favorite parts. I love getting to meet everybody."
Trucks scheduled to attend this weekend's shows are Grave Digger driven by Pablo Huffaker, Jailbird driven by Kaylyn Migues, Master of Disaster driven by Paul Strong, Monster Mutt driven by Kevin Crocker, Nitro Menace driven by Darren Migues, Northern Nightmare driven by Cam McQueen, Scooby-Doo driven by Read, and Stinger driven by Zane Rettew.
Most of all, if you haven't attended a Monster Jam show before, give it a chance, Read urges.
"It's not like anything you've seen before, and you'll be surprised how much fun it is," she said.
You can go
When: Shows are at 7 p.m. Jan. 26 and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Jan. 27
A special pit party is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. – noon Jan. 27
Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville
How much: Tickets start at $14
To order tickets, visit http://www.bonsecoursarena.com/events/detail/monster-jam-1 or the Bon Secours Wellness Arena box office.
Social media: Share your photos with #MonsterJamGVL