Team Hummer® Flawless at Las Vegas 200
Both H1 & H2 Leave The Competition in The Dust
October 16, 2004 - Jean, Nevada: Just North of the California ~ Nevada border off interstate 15, lies the Northeastern section of the Mojave Desert. Although the Mojave is host to over 545 species of vegetation within it's 25,000 square mile boundaries, this particular section of the Mojave doesn't see much rain and is populated prima- rily by mountains, jumble rocks, desert washes, dry lakes, creosotebush and the occasional scorpion. And rocks, lots and lots of rocks.
On raceday morning, there was plenty of dust and no wind. The numerous flags and banners which had been placed around the start/finish area by race pro- moter, Best in the Desert Racing Association, hung like lifeless cotton fabric from their poles, without a flutter. So, too did the dust hang over the course once the race was underway at 7:00 am Saturday morning, making visibility a problem throughout the entire event. Chad Hall started the race for Team HUMMER in the #8106 H1 Pickup with Mike Winkel riding in the co-rider seat. Chad was in third place, six minutes off the lead at Pit B, about 55 miles into the race. The new cooling system was keeping the engine temperature under 200 degrees and he seemed comfortable with the way the truck was running early on and content to pace himself. The first place Ford F-250 (#8111) driven by Charlie McDowell was sidelined with mechanical problems shortly after Pit B so Chad inherited second behind Greg Foutz in the #8101 Ford F-250 V-10 pickup as they completed the first lap and the pair chased each other for the next 90 miles.
Josh Hall left the start with Thad Stump riding shotgun about 10 minutes later in the #4106 H2 SUV, and quickly settled into a race with John Sunderland in the #4102 Ford Expedition. Just prior to the race, we had discovered that the seal material we were using in our new shock design was melting at the 425 degree temperatures which were normal for the shocks, causing them to fail within a few minutes of testing. John Marking at Fox Shox, who had worked with us on the new design, supplied us with the seals used by Fox. According to H2 driver Josh Hall, "The Fox seals cured the problem! We pounded them hard during the entire race and they didn't leak a drop". Hall swapped the lead with Sunderland H2 getting the once over at the main pit throughout the race and the two were running a virtual dead heat when they passed through Pit A on lap #3, about 160 miles into the race. At this point, Hall turned up the wick and began to make a hard run for the finish. Sunderland responded for a while but picked up a flat tire trying to meet the challenge. At the finish the H2 had a 30 minute lead on the #4102 Ford, putting Josh Hall and the #4106 Team Hummer SUV in the winner 's circle for the second consecutive race.
Chad Hall was busy chasing the #8101 Ford down on the final lap when he passed the big V-10 Ford sidelined in Pit A, with a broken rear spring. He had a 15 minute lead on the #8102 Ford driven by Randy Merritt but knew that his lead could vaporize with a flat tire so he kept the pressure on while trying to avoid the sharp rocks. Something was loose in the back of the truck and was rat- tling but didn't seem to be causing any performance problems so Hall decided to ignore it until and unless it became an issue. It didn't as the #8106 Team HUMMER pickup crossed the finish line for the win 15 minutes in front of Merritt.
The next race for Team HUMMER is the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, November 18-21, 2004 starting in Ensenada, BC, Mexico and finishing in La Paz, BC, Mexico.
- grt -