LITH dad a monster jammin’ trucker
By Mike Danahey email@example.com February 1, 2013 1:28PM
Monster Jam driver Scott Buetow of Lake In The Hills
6920 Manheim Road, Rosemont
Friday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 9, and Sunday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m..
Tickets: Starting at $21 for adults and $10 for age 12 and under, available at the Allstate Arena Box Office, Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com, and by phone at 800-745-3000. Pre-event pit passes are available on select cans of Mountain Dew, and for $10 at all Ticketmaster locations, while supplies last.
Updated: March 4, 2013 6:22AM
It should come as no surprise that Scott Buetow of Lake in the Hills is one of the competitors in the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont Feb. 8-10.
When Buetow was just 6 years old and growing up on Elgin’s east side, his father bought him his first dirt bike, a Suzuki 50.
“Our house backed up to cornfields, and I would ride in local dirt fields and hills. My first track was in Byron,” Buetow said.
That experience led to a lifetime of motocross, all sorts of other motoring — including driving a ’79 Camaro while attending Elgin High School — and a career designing machine motors. All that, and a self-diagnosed addiction to adrenaline.
“I like the rush of power and the speed, and that excitement,” Buetow said.
He also wants to eventually cage dive with great white sharks and already has been in open waters in the Bahamas and in a cage off Hawaii’s waters with less-fearsome sharks.
For now, though, his thrills come from driving the Team Hot Wheels Firestorm Monster Jam truck on event weekends.
His route to the circuit began with an opportunity in 2008 to see if he would be a good fit for it. Buetow said the tryout went well but, with the economy tanking, the sponsors at the time were not building any new trucks or taking on any new drivers
Then, in 2010 Buetow, got a call from Feld Motor Sports asking if he still wanted to compete. He jumped at the chance and found himself on a truck called Monster Mutt in Mexico City in November 2010.
“It was an unbelievable opportunity. I was thrown into the show. Since I have a day job, I decided to go out and have fun,” Buetow said.
As fate would have it, Feld was developing an Iron Man truck for the 2011 Monster Jam season, which was a perfect fit for another of Buetow’s hobbies — all things Marvel comics, from the movies to the collectibles.
“I have Tupperware bins filled with the toys, and sometimes buy one to open and one to keep wrapped. It’s like in ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin,’ and my kids tease me about it all the time,” Buetow said with a laugh.
Buetow, now 42, competed in the 2011 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam season driving Iron Man, won that season’s Wow Factor of the Year award, drove the Iron Man again in 2012, and now mans the wheel of the Hot Wheels Firestorm.
“Team Hot Wheels’ motto is ‘Go big or go home.’ Something that I’m getting known for — getting big air from the first jump to the last,” Buetow said.
Big air or not, the biggest kick Buetow gets is meeting Monster Jam fans, quite a few of whom travel across the country to attend multiple competitions — and who can follow him on his Facebook page www.facebook.com/scottbuetowfans.
A prime example was last year in Minneapolis when a woman and her son he met for the first time at a pre-competition pit party told him they came up from his neighborhood for the event. And he has converted other neighbors to catching local shows and watching him compete in Monster Jam telecasts, too.
“It will be great to be in Rosemont and the chance to have locals there to see me,” Buetow said.
Engineer by day
In addition to the Chicago area, being part of Monster Jam has taken Buetow across the United States, Canada, and as far south as Costa Rica.
With a degree in computer-aided design from Elgin Community College, he also has a 20-year-career in engineering, the last 17 with Paslode in Libertyville, where he designs linear combustion motors for gas-powered nail guns.
With understanding bosses, Buetow uses vacation and personal time to head off to 18 to 20 shows a year, most of them weekends in January through March.
Those weekends frequently are family affairs, and in Rosemont, “everyone’s coming along with me.”
That includes two sons, ages 11 and 12, two daughters, ages 13 and 17, his girlfriend, and her 7-year-old daughter. After all, Buetow had his firstborn child on a Yamaha PW50 dirt bike, replete with training wheels, when she was 4.