Dirty Money

Those of us of a certain age remember the Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! commercials that preceded a weekend monster truck jam. Well, the jams are still around, and they’re making more money than ever. While the trucks can now leap fifty feet in the air, creating an “almost religious” reaction from fans, the shows come down to one key factor. The dirt. Zach Helfand in The New Yorker: When Trucks Fly. “Every dirt is different. The U.S.D.A. has identified and named about twenty thousand types of American soil. Allen knows that Atlanta’s clay is red, and Glendale, Arizona’s stains concrete. Chicago has dark topsoil. New England’s dirt has rocks; Allen puts it through giant sieves so the spinning truck tires don’t launch stone missiles into the crowd. He likes a mix of seventy per cent clay, which is moldable enough to build jumps and durable enough that the tires don’t burn through to the floor below, and thirty per cent sand, which is strong, absorbent, and good for power slides. Sometimes finding that mix is impossible.”

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