When fellow monster truck competitors and fans found out Jefferson’s Greg Winchenbach was from Maine, they told him they associated Maine with cold weather and lobsters.
So when he decided to get back into the sport two years ago after a 13-year absence, he told the employees at the Broad Bay Tooling company in Waldoboro he wanted the body of his monster truck to be in the shape of a lobster.
“It was a no-brainer,” said Winchenbach, who added the guys at the Broad Bay Tooling company “went above and beyond what I expected.”
He named the monster truck “Crushstation.”
He wanted to get back into the sport because he missed the competition and the people involved. He had gotten out of the sport to help raise his two children.
Winchenbach and employee Alex Fish had begun devoting more time to working on the monster truck in the months leading up to the decision to take it to Broad Bay Tooling.
He began competing again in January and finished eighth among 29 monster trucks in the points standings covering 12 events in six cities. He competes in a variety of events, many sponsored by Checkered Flag Productions: freestyle, (drag) racing and either wheelies or donuts.
The donut competition involves doing the tightest circles possible and going as fast as they can.
“It gets me dizzy. I prefer the wheelie contest,” quipped Winchenbach, who suffered a broken back and broken pelvis when he was pinned against his roll cage after flipping the truck in 1997.
Crushstation is 12 feet wide and 12-13 feet tall, according to Winchenbach, and it weighs 10,000 pounds. He said it is valued at $250,000.
And it just happens to be sponsored by McLaughlin Seafood Inc. in Bangor.
“Reid and Kim [McLaughlin] have been great to me. They have helped me keep the truck going,” said Winchenbach.
Since his return in January, he has noticed a significant change.
“Twelve years ago, we were just racing over cars and dirt jumps,” said the 36-year-old Winchenbach. “Now we’re running over things like school buses and tractor-trailers. The sport has progressed so much. The jumps are taller and longer and the speeds are faster [50-75 mph].”
He has competed against such well-known monster trucks as Gravedigger, Gunslinger, Stonecrusher and Bigfoot.
He loves the sport and was hooked on it the first time he saw it.
“My uncle [Rick Linscott] took me to a tractor-pull and at the intermission, two great, big monster trucks came out and crushed cars. I thought I’d do that some day,” he said.
“I built a shiny show truck in high school but the cops wouldn’t let me drive it because it was too high. So I sold it,” said Winchenbach, a graduate of Newcastle’s Lincoln Academy who owns a car repair shop, Mountain Road Repair, in Jefferson.
He didn’t participate at Hermon’s Speedway 95 last week but will put on his own show July 9-10 with some other monster trucks at Caribou’s Spud Speedway.
“I consider that my home track because my first appearance in Crushstation was last September [in a one-truck show],” said Winchenbach. “We’re going to have a big surprise for the people. What I’m going to do with the truck hasn’t been done in some time.”
He will also be joined by Eradicator, Backdraft, Razin’ Kane, Screamin’ Demon and War Eagle.
He will be return to competition in West Virginia on Fourth of July weekend and will also appear July 24 at Wiscasset Raceway.