Team Hummer® Ready For The Las Vegas 200
October 12, 2004 - Reno, Nevada: Coming off their first and second place finishes at the `Vegas to Reno' race in late June, Team HUMMER has spent the past three months upgrading the trucks and attending to some serious maintenance in preparation for Best in the Desert's `Las Vegas 200', scheduled for October 15 - 17, 2004. The race, which is the only loop event we do all year, begins and ends on a dry lakebed in Jean, Nevada, about 30 miles southwest of Las Vegas and will be run three times over a loop of 73 miles. In past years the `Las Vegas 200' has always been the final event of the year but a schedule change this year moved it up from early December to mid- October. Over the five year history of this event, this has proved to be a bittersweet race for both Team HUMMER entries. We have won here in the past and several points championships have been decided on this course, some in our favor while others had outcomes which were less than we had hoped for. This is a short race over a very demanding section of desert and is not to be taken for granted!
After the `Vegas to Reno' win the #4106 H2 was taken to the GM Proving Ground in Mesa, AZ where the SUV had a fresh engine and transmission installed by project engineer, Thad Stump and his team. After some testing, a few adjustments to the front torsion bar were made and the truck was shipped back to our Reno, NV shop. Chief mechanic, Sam Cothrun, went right to work installing new rear shocks using shock body and reservoir components manufactured by Team HUMMER's Brad Falin, and external bypass components supplied by John Marking of Fox Racing Shox. This same upgrade had been done to the front shocks prior to the last race but there had not been time to do the rears until recently. Cothrun also did a thorough prep, replaced the front differential, control arms and built another front bumper to replace the damage sustained to the previous one during the last race.
Team HUMMER driver, Chad Hall, couldn't be happier with the #8106 HUMMER pickup. After struggling with overheating problems for years, AMGeneral sent an improved cooling fan system out for evaluation. Due to the angle of the H1 radiator, the stock belt driven H1 cooling fan, stands off of the radiator by a foot, requiring that cooling air be ducted the last 12 inches through a shroud. Although the old system provides adequate cooling for the stock 185 horsepower 6.5 liter diesel it has proved grossly inefficient for the highly modified 450 horsepower diesels which are used in our race HUMMER. With the stock system, engine temps will rise under wide open throttle operation until the engine blows, so Chad has to constantly reduce the engine RPM to keep engine operating tem- peratures below the danger zone of 245 degrees. This new system is crank driven, and uses a system of reduction gearboxes to allow the fan to be mounted next to the radiator, resulting in greater efficiency and cooler temperatures at high speeds. In testing the coolant temperature has yet to rise above 200 degrees and we are very optimistic about the potential of this new system under race conditions.
Josh Hall will drive the entire distance in the #4106 Team HUMMER H2 SUV and Sam Cothrun will share time as co-rider with GM's Thad Stump. Chad Hall will take the #8106 Team HUMMER H1 Pickup the entire distance with Mike Winkel in the second seat. Team Owner, Rod Hall will monitor the three pit areas to make sure everything goes smoothly for the team.
The Team HUMMER crew has a great deal of confidence in both vehicles going into the `Las Vegas 200'. Of course there are always unforeseen elements that can sideline you at any time in desert racing but we feel we are as well prepared for this race as we have ever been. We expect to do well and winning here will set the tone for the rest of the season!
-- grt --