All eyes are on Krysten Anderson as she inherits Grave Digger in Monster Jam

Anderson Grave Digger
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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The 2021 Monster Jam season looks different than years past, in part because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has affected every part of racers, teams, and fans’ daily lives, but also because Krysten Anderson has inherited the famous Grave Digger monster truck. And with that, the most famous ride in the sport has its first full-time, female driver.

When a driver levels up and takes on a new challenge, there is always a heightened level of scrutiny. Now add a family legacy, an iconic truck, gender politics, as well as a shortened 2020 season that limited her seat time and you’ll start to understand the pressure of Anderson’s Stadium Series debut.

After five years in the arena series, Anderson made the transition to stadium behind the wheel of Grave Digger, the truck made famous by her father Dennis Anderson, on January 30, 2021. The next night, she finished second in the Freestyle Competition.

Anderson was the third of her siblings to follow in her dad’s tire tracks when she joined the tour in 2016. Brothers Adam Anderson and Ryan Anderson spent the 2000s and 2010s raking up Freestyle and Racing World Championships. Adam has five; Ryan has two. With his 2008 Monster Jam World Finals Freestyle Championship, Adam holds the record for youngest titleholder at 22.

“As Andersons, we have a certain level of expertise for driving,” Krysten told NBC Sports. “My brothers are World Champions. They’re excellent drivers. My dad retired as a World Champion, he’s an amazing driver.

“Especially me being the first and only female to drive Grave Digger, I feel like I have extra eyes on me.”

Anderson Grave Digger
The Grave Digger monster truck looms large behind Krysten Anderson, but it’s not as big as her father’s legacy. Feld Entertainment, Inc.

Anderson has heard the questions that surround her new role: “How will she do?” “Why is she driving Grave Digger?”

But these question were far from her mind when Anderson climbed up into the most famous truck in the stadium at Houston.

Every race weekend gives Anderson the chance to prove herself again as the rightful heir to Grave Digger and quiet the peanut gallery.

“It can be a lot of pressure sometimes, but it fuels me when I have a rough show and I’m getting the feedback of it,” Anderson said. “Alright fine, I have another race tomorrow and I’m going to do even better, and I usually do.”

And that is precisely what she did in Houston.

After finishing last in the opening night with a score of 6.071 to Todd LeDuc and Monster Energy’s 9.437, Anderson improved massively in Night 2 and scored a 8.919. Only Cory Rummell in a truck named Rage was better the second night with his 9.551.

Anderson’s resilience has paid off. In four seasons she’s advanced to the sport’s biggest stage where she gets to face off against the most qualified drivers and prove why she’s the right Anderson to inherit the Grave Digger seat.

“It’s been a baptism by fire, but I’ve done well with the pressure so far,” Anderson said. “You can’t create a diamond without a little bit of pressure. I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve grown in leaps and bounds over the span of four years.”

Praise from one’s competitors is always valuable; it’s more impactful when it comes from family – especially when one’s family has the skill and reputation of the Andersons.

“My brothers and my dad, as long as their careers have been, they’re always telling me that they’re impressed with me,” Anderson said. “How quickly I learn and pick up on things. I think maybe here in a few more years I’ll be at a very competitive level. I’ll be one to look out for.”

Anderson is only the third female driver to compete full-time in the Stadium series. Her pedigree, skills, and relationship with the fan base set her up to complete a large feat and she’s only a few seasons away from being in the rumor mill of World Champion talk.

Andersons don’t settle for a second when they can achieve first.

“I hope when it comes time for me to retire I’ll have multiple World Championships under my belt.”

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2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.

Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.

Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.

After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.

Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.

Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.

Supercross 250 Points

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.

Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.

Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage