When he was younger, Greg Winchenbach, of Jefferson, built up his 1983 Chevy pickup truck so much that the local cops shut him down.

“They started saying, ‘Nope, you can’t take that on the road.’ It kind of pops your ego to pare it down to make it legal to drive. No red-blooded American man would do that. So I took it off-road,” said Winchenbach, the only Mainer now competing on the nationwide Monster Jam motorsport tour.

He’s come a long way since those days when the Lincoln County sheriff lay in wait for his blazing hot truck to come barreling down the road.

Winchenbach, 38, now drives an 11,000-pound truck that he has named Crushstation. It looks like an oversized cooked lobster, with a fiberglass shell on top and enough horsepower underneath to challenge even the most potent lobster boat.

Crushstation is about 20 feet long, 13 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

On Jan. 6 and 7, Winchenbach will bring his eye-grabbing truck to Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H., for the Monster Jam Thunder Nationals. The series is sanctioned by the U.S. Hot Rod Association.

Winchenbach, a former lobsterman, said he never hesitated when it came time to design his truck. He travels all over the country, and when people find out he is from Maine they always ask about lobsters. The truck offers him universal appeal, he said.

“The only people who don’t like me are people who don’t like seafood,” he said.

The Monster Jam series is a sideline for Winchenbach. He’s the owner of Mountain Road Repair in Jefferson and makes his living primarily as an auto mechanic. He competes in the Monster Jam series about 30 times a year, mostly in the eastern United States.

As he gets more successful on the competition circuit, which has racing and freestyle events, he will consider devoting more of his time to it. He may put a second truck on the road next year and travel more widely.

Winchenbach grew up loving cars. The self-described gearhead drove anything with wheels. His interest led him into auto mechanics, which fostered his love for big trucks.

He drove part time and worked on crews for other drivers for years before settling down in his native Jefferson to raise a family.

Winchenbach got his start competing in Maine, and quickly outgrew the local tracks as his hunger swelled for stiffer competition and bigger trucks.

He built Crushstation in 2009 and ran his first full season in 2010. This year was his first as part of the Monster Jam tour, sponsored by Advance Auto Parts.

He enjoys representing Maine. Using high-tech fiberglass technology, friends who operate a nearby boat-building shop helped him design and build the shell for Crushstation.

“It’s as rugged as a boat on the ocean,” Winchenbach said. “That thing could flip over and it would hurt the concrete. It is so rugged. No one can work with fiberglass like the boys up here in Maine can.”

 

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