When Lee O’Donnell drives the Iron Man Monster Truck into MetLife Stadium on June 16 as part of the Path of Destruction show, it will be like coming home again.
A native of Bayonne, O’Donnell is in town to promote the upcoming Monster Jam Path of Destruction.
O’Donnell, who grew up in Bayonne and graduated from Marist High School – a year before it went co-ed – has been very active in the monster truck circuit, capable of driving any truck he got into. Early in his career, he won several big stadium events and even some of the sport’s biggest televised events in more than a few different rides as a fill-in driver. But until 2010, he was unable to get a permanent position in the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam ride.
Then he was named the sport’s top substitute driver and was promoted to become the full-time driver of the popular Iron Man truck on Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam tour. Respected in the industry as one of the sport’s most gifted racers, O’Donnell has now become one of the most improved freestyle performers on the circuit since being named the Iron Man driver
Bayonne roots, big drive
He lived uptown on 55th Street and still has family members living in Bayonne, he said.
Although his family had a construction company in Bayonne, O’Donnell said he was always interested in driving, and cut his teeth driving off road vehicles.
“I got involved in off-road races in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but I grew up behind a wheel,” he said. “I remember driving the snow plow so my father could throw the sand out onto the road.”
When he got an opportunity to compete off road on a small tour, he packed up and went, eventually moving on to the company he currently works with.
The truck he drives along with some of the others is part of a contract with Marvel Comics, which currently has a slew of movies that are tied into the event.
He said he felt good to be coming home.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” he said, noting that many people know him, and he hopes that they will come out to see him. “This isn’t going to be a traditional event.”
“I got involved in off-road races in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but I grew up behind a wheel.” – Lee O’Donnell
Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam is one of the most popular monster truck shows in the country, and this show is supposed to three times greater than the area has seen before.
Fans will witness 10-time Monster Jam World Finals Champion Maximum Destruction and driver Tom Meents, attempting to complete, for the very first time inside MetLife Stadium, a double back flip.
More than 4,000 tons of dirt will be brought inside MetLife Stadium along with 50 crush cars, vans and buses to create the vast Monster Jam Path of Destruction racing track and obstacle course. The fleet of 16 of the most popular Monster Jam trucks will battle against one another in racing and outrageous freestyle competitions with jumps, wheelies, donuts, cyclones and more!
“With 16 of the world’s best known Monster Jam trucks competing for supremacy on the track, Path of Destruction will be the biggest, baddest and most exciting stadium motorsports event to ever visit MetLife Stadium,” says Stephen C. Yaros, vice president, Feld Entertainment Event Marketing and Sales, Northeast Region.
A Monster Jam event would not be complete without a pit party for fans and families, and the Monster Jam Path of Destruction Pit Party will compete with any stadium tailgate.
“Basically, we start the day with the pit party, where all the trucks are on display with their drivers,” O’Donnell said. “You can get autographs and look over the equipment.”
Then comes the qualifying event in which drivers run against a clock, bracketing for the next round where the slowest runs against the fastest in head-to-head competition.
Monster Jam tickets start at $35 for adults and $15 for kids. Advance Auto Parts will be offering fans a discount offer to save $5 on adult tickets. Saving coupons will be available in participating Advance Auto Parts stores starting May 28. Tickets are available at the MetLife Stadium Box Office, the IZOD Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at MonsterJam.com, Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone (800) 745-3000.