by AJ Appeal
Author Benjamin Spall defines a Bad Habit as 'A frequent behavior pattern that you deem to have a negative impact on a part of your life.' For racer Joe Sylvester, his bad habit is a craving for destruction and shattering. It isn't as violent as it may seem.
Sylvester, a racer through and through has been living at the height of speed for what he says is simply, 'forever.' With past experience in motocross and car racing, a transition to monster trucks racing and freestyle competition seemed only appropriate for the Ohio based competitor.
He had two vehicles on display at the 2022 Night Under Fire event at Summit Motorsports Park. One, off to the side of his hauler was an actual truck. Not a super machine like we see on TV, but some major aesthetic and mechanical upgrades allowed fans who signed up for free rides to feel like they were experiencing the real deal. Children and adults alike strapped into the show truck and took a few figure eights from specially designed safety seats in the bed of the truck.
Initially Sylvester drove a 1970's Ford truck, reminiscent of Big Foot, but his 'Bad Habit' named monster machine recently became a Jeep and the fans ate it alive. I had the opportunity to speak to Sylvester, who was in a brief lunch break between fan entertainment sessions.
While we chatted, friends and families cheered and took photos of their kin riding in the show truck with another driver behind the wheel. The entire thing came off as a quality advertisement for the American automaker Jeep, but the team informed me as of the time of the event that they were not receiving factory funding.
Fans who are especially fond of the transition from Ford to Jeep will be excited to hear that Ohio-based Kufleitner Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram is selling a handful of limited edition Jeeps that will adorn 'Bad Habit' badging and have mechanical improvements not available on the retail model.
The 'real' thing, however was a piece of state-of-the-art machinery. With respect to Joe, many of the advanced parts and pieces that he verbalized to me that were part of the real Jeep monster truck were so technically savvy that this seasoned autosports follower needed to do additional research when he got home.
Joe had attended the famed 'Night Under Fire' more than once in the past, Norwalk was his home drag strip. He said 'I never dreamed I'd be racing here...in a monster truck!' as he explained the purpose for the stop..to break the all-time high speed for a monster truck, 100 mph. Racing Refresh was there for his attempt, and he crushed it...albeit, by the slightest margin. Sylvester clocked in at 101 mph, claiming a world record in front of over 40,000 home fans.
After his run we had the chance to speak briefly one more time. You'd think the man was out of gas, but he was enjoying an icy cold-brew, which the heavily caffeinated athlete does as part of his profession. Sylvester owns and runs 'High Octane Coffee Co.' in what I'm liberally referring to as his free time.
So what's next for the man that seemingly can't get enough adrenaline in his life? Joe says he will be racing in the big named tours and small alike. He doesn't feel pressure from the mammoth names such as Grave Digger, and he's comfortable being one of the headliners like he was with the NHRA racers at Norwalk. To him, a fiery, fierce, and fun evening in a fully-loaded Jeep is just another BAD HABIT.