Rod Hall and Team HummerÂ© win Nevada 1000. Las Vegas, NV - June 21, 2002: Team HUMMER's Rod Hall became the first man in motorsports history to win a major event in each of five consecutive decades when the Hall/Davidson Class 4100 SUV crossed...
Rod Hall and Team Hummer© win Nevada 1000.
Las Vegas, NV - June 21, 2002: Team HUMMER's Rod Hall became the first man in motorsports history to win a major event in each of five consecutive decades when the Hall/Davidson Class 4100 SUV crossed the finish line to win the Class title today in Best in the Desert Racing Association's Nevada 1000. The win moves Hall into sole possession of the full stock SUV class lead in BitD's `Silver State Points Series' at the midway point in the season. Coming off a convincing win at the Terrible's Town 250, Team HUMMER's Chad Hall, driving the #8103 Full-Stock Pickup truck, finished second in the class 8100 struggle, maintaining his series points lead over second place Manny Esquerra of Parker, AZ.
On June 19th, over 100 of the fastest vehicles in the world of off-road racing gathered at the Southern edge of the Central Nevada desert, 75 miles Northeast of Las Vegas for the start of the Best in the Desert Nevada 1000. A grueling endurance race, the first stage of the event sent the teams 340 miles North to the finish just outside of Ely, Nevada. There were no significant problems for the Team HUMMER #4103 SUV and they held second place 30 minutes off the pace set by Mark Stein in the #4101 Ford Explorer. Chad Hall in the #8103 Team HUMMER Pickup managed to run a dead heat with the #8104 Ford F-150 of Manny Esquerra in spite of an overheating condition which prevented the truck from maintaining full power for extended periods of time. Every other entry in these two classes had suffered major setbacks during the first stage so the remainder of the event would focus on the race between Rod Hall vs Marc Stein in the 4100 class and Chad Hall vs Manny Esquerra in the 8100 class.
At days end team mechanics John Klatte and Brad Falin decided to replace the water pump on the pickup in the work area during the 70 minute period allotted to service the vehicles after each stage. Due to the complexity of the task, the work took an additional 30 minutes and the time was added to their finishing position putting them in second place about 30 minutes behind Esquerra. The SUV was serviced within the time period and no penalty was assessed.
The second day consisted of a 295 mile stretch starting in Ely and proceeding past the Duckwater Indian reservation, along the Pancake Mountain range and down the historic A-bomb Road on the way into Tonopah, NV. The SUV had another good day in spite of a broken front half shaft which probably occurred somewhere near the half-way point. Hall pressed on in pursuit of the lead without stopping for repairs. Davidson took over at Pit #5, and took it into Tonopah in three-wheel drive, as it were, beating Stein on the day by several minutes. Stein would later be penalized 1 hour for illegally fueling his vehicle at the start line which put us in the lead by 32 minutes going into day #3 and the last leg of the event.
The #8103 team HUMMER pickup continued to be plagued with overheating problems and had a front shock failure but managed to shave a few minutes off Esquerra's lead. In the work area, after the days racing, we noticed that all the bolts fixing the transfer case to the transmission were loose and the unit was about ready to fall out. This problem coupled with the time it took to rebuild the faulty shock took 90 minutes to repair and we entered the final day 50 minutes in back of #8104, in second place.
The last stage started out badly for the SUV when a loose radiator cap allowed all the coolant to boil out of the radiator. It took Rod and team mechanic Sam Cothren almost 22 minutes to cool down the engine enough to refill the system using their onboard drinking water. By the time all the water was replenished at pit #2, the lead had dwindled to a mere five minutes so we knew that the SUV would have to run trouble free to the finish to have a chance at victory and we understood that Stein would pull out all the stops.
Chad was having a good day and the earlier problems with the shock and transfer case seemed to have been resolved. He had adjusted his driving style to manage the overheating problem and was making up time on Esquerra's #8104 Ford. The HUMMER was faster then the Ford but probably not 50 minutes faster over the remaining distance of 285 miles. In situations like this you push the leader as much as you can, hoping he will break something, so you can get by him. But Esquerra is a cagey veteran running trouble free and we had to settle for second place after shaving only one minute off his lead, finishing 49 minutes behind the #8104 Ford.
After refilling the coolant earlier in the race, the #4103 SUV turned in the flawless performance they needed to win. Rod turned over the driving duties to "Rocket" Roy Davidson at Pit #4 still holding onto a four minute lead. Davidson was able to maintain that lead until the final pit, about 45 miles from the finish, where he was encouraged by the crew to put his foot in it. Apparently he got the message because he crossed the finish line eleven minutes in front of the #4101 entry to take the checkered flag and another win for Rod Hall and Team HUMMER.
The next race for Team HUMMER is the Best in the Desert Tonopah 300, August 9-11 in Tonopah, Nevada
- grt -