TEAM HUMMER® SWEEPS THE BITD/MCMILLIN `NEVADA 1000'
Tonopah, NV - July 10, 2005: The Team HUMMER crew gathered at the Suncoast hotel, in Las Vegas on Wednesday and was greeted by afternoon temperatures of 105 during tech inspection on the blazing asphalt in the hotel's massive parking area. The trucks were in decent shape, although some last minute cracks had been discovered in the H1's frame rails and there wasn't enough time to replace the damaged units. Brad & Brent Falin spent the last few days prior to the event welding and repairing the chassis as best they could and were optimistic that the H1 could survive the pounding of the BitD/McMillin `Nevada 1000', particularly since the race was spread over a span of four days in a Rally style format. At the end of each stage the teams would be allotted one hour to prepare the race vehicles for the next day's racing before they were each impounded for the night. After having the trucks inspected, they were trailered up to the starting line in Beatty, NV, about 100 miles to the North. From Beatty, the first stage of the `Nevada 1000' would cover a 220 mile course taking them to the central Nevada mining town of Tonopah, which was to serve as the start/finish area for the next three stages.
The first stage on Thursday morning started just after 9:00AM with the H1 first to take the green flag for Team HUMMER. We had no problems with either truck as we passed Checker Pit #1 at Pioneer Road, just over 50 miles into the race. It was a warm day, in the mid-90's and easily tolerable for racing but shortly after clearing the first pit, Sam Cothrun became ill with what we took to be motion sickness. It was not a pretty sight and Josh called ahead to the fuel stop at Cottontail Ranch (MM 124) to have Thad stand by to take over as co-rider. After a fuel and driver change was taken care of at Cottontail (Pit #4), the H2 left the pit with a lock on first place and finished that way in Tonopah. The #4103 Team HUMMER H2 SUV seemed to be the only truck in the 4100 class that had a clean race as Josh finished 34th overall and first in class with a seemingly insurmountable lead of 6 hours, 25 minutes over the second place #4101 Ford Expedition driven by Mark Stein, who had blown an engine early in the day. The Team HUMMER #8102 H1 pickup was also running up front with a nine minute lead over Dave Morrison's #8107 Ford F-250 but broke a rear half- shaft as he was coming into the finish line. Although the timing was perfect for the broken half-shaft, the problem confirmed that we still had not overcome the ongoing half-shaft failures that have plagued the H1 since the Terrible's Town 250 in April.
The rubber accordian boot, which retains the grease on the CV Joint, seems to be splitting from the inside for no apparent reason. Once the break occurs, the grease is thrown out and the CV joint fails shortly thereafter. Fortunately, we anticipated trouble with the half-shafts and brought quite a few replacement units with us. We used one of our spares and after prepping both vehicles, checked the trucks into impound for the night with time to spare.
At the conclusion of each day's racing, each team is allowed sixty minutes in a designated work area to prepare their vehicles for the next stage. Crews are vital during any race but nowhere can you really appreciate how good our crew is than in this sort of e v e n t where everyone comes together in a common cause. At the finish line, the cars are directed to a holding area where no work can be performed on the vehicles. When the crews are set up and ready for the trucks, they are released to the work area and the clock starts. Any time spent over the alotted sixty minutes is added to that day's total time on the course. We brought 25 crew members to this race and chose to concentrate all of our resources on each truck, so while one truck remained in the holding area, we focused our full attention on the other truck so we could get it fully prepped and into impound within the time limit.
Friday, stage #2 left out of Tonopah and would form a 331 mile loop, Northwest of town as it traveled through the ancient mining towns of Luning, Mina and Gabbs, before returning to the finish in Tonopah. The Team HUMMER trucks were scheduled to start 34th (H2) and 35th (H1) off the line and they ran within minutes of each other most of the day until late in the race when the #8102 H1 Pickup broke an upper shock mount about five miles from the finish. Chad nursed the truck into the finishing line and still managed to add another 22 minutes to his lead over the #8107 Ford of Dave Morisson. We brought the H2 into the work area and prepped it for Saturday while we gathered the equipment that would be needed to repair the H1. We only carry battery operated MIG welders, which are not powerful enough to provide a lasting weld on the heavy shock mount, so the Checkers brought their big stick welder over. We were ready when the H1 came rolling in and every crew member had been assigned a job. In 54 minutes the shock tower was back in place, new half-shafts were installed and the truck was serviced and ready for another day of racing. The crew applauded their collective effort as the H1 left the work area for impound.
It's difficult to imagine a team that works together better than the Team HUMMER crew. These guys are the best!
In spite of the last minute failure of the rear shock mount, Both Team HUMMER trucks posted very good times on Friday and came into the third stage in 16th (H2) and 18th (H1) overall positions. Josh was having a flawless race and had built up such a commanding lead in Class 4100 that he had redefined his goal to finish ahead of all the production classes. Chad had a 31 minute lead over Morisson in the #8107 Ford and a 53 minute lead over Foutz in the #8101 Ford V-10 and his mood could best be described as `cautiously optimistic' as he prepared for day three! - next
Saturday, stage #3 left from Tonopah and would form a 323 mile loop, Southwest of town as it traveled through the ancient mining towns of Silver Peak, Coaldale and Goldfield, before returning to the finish in Tonopah. Around mile 40, Josh pulled off the course in a low visability area to allow a Class 7 truck to get by and was rewarded by picking up two flats in a rockbed, a right rear and a left front. After spending a few minutes changing the rear, he cautiously proceeded to Checker Pit #2, located in a dry lakebed east of Silver Peak. As the #4103 H2 pulled into the pit to replace the front tire and the flattened spare, the #8102 H1 pitted for yet another half-shaft failure.
The H2 was out first but the H1 required a bit more time to swap out the half-shaft and got back on course a few minutes back. At the Coaldale pit (#4) at about racemile 138, both trucks stopped for fuel. A damaged boot was discovered on the H2's front half-shaft and the axle was changed. Both trucks stopped to refuel in Silver Peak (Pit #6), at race mile 238, which was a "gas and go" for the #4103 Team HUMMER H2 but it appeared that the H1again needed both rear half-shafts replaced which cost us another 20 minutes of downtime. Meanwhile Morisson in #8107 Ford and Foutz in the #8101where both making up some of the time they had lost during the first two stages and by the end of the day, Chad brought the H1 in to the finish still in the lead but his margin had been cut to 19 minutes over Foutz in the #8101 truck and 21 minutes over Morisson in #8107.
In the work area on Saturday night, Brad cut a bit off the rear springs hoping that lowering the ride height may help the rear half-shafts on the #8102 H1 Pickup to live longer. He also wrapped electrical tape around the CV boots for added strength and installed our last two spares on the rear of the truck. Due in part to the unfortunate engine failure that Marc Stien had on day one in the #4101 Ford Expedition, the H2 had a huge lead in class 4100 and was also running well in front of all the other production class trucks. Being the competitor that Marc Stien is, he was still out there running hard each day and had a flawless stage three performance finishing four minutes in front of Josh on the day.
Brent Falin was scheduled to be in the second seat of the H1 on the final day, giving Cort Stoskoph an unusual day off. Brent will be leaving his job at Amazon.com soon to take over as Manager of the parts department at Winkel/Rod Hall HUMMER in Reno and has been a key member of Team HUMMER since 2001.
The final Stage of the BitD/McMillin `Nevada 1000'was a 119 mile sprint south to Goldfield and back. Certainly anyone that had anything left could be counted on to use it in this round. Chad in the #8102 H1 Pickup needed to protect his lead against a very determined Greg Foutz in the #8101 Ford F-250 and could only hope that the changes we made to the ride height would permit our only remaining half-shafts to go the distance.
Josh was first off the line in the #4103 H2 SUV and Chad followed a minute later in the 8102 H1 Pickup, just after 7:00 AM on Sunday morning. The first part of the course was slow going as it wound it's way through through an unpleasant variety of silt, rocks and sagebrush. These conditions prevailed throughout much of the of the race but the second half of the course seemed to allow for more high speed running. This was good news for Chad, who lost eight minutes to Foutz by Pit # 2 (Goldfield West) but turned up the wick on the return portion and was actually running 68MPH to Foutz' 66MPH at Pit #4 (Klondike) about 24 miles from the finish. At the end of the day, Chad took the checkered flag for the win seven (7) minutes in front of #8101 (Foutz) and 25 minutes up on Morisson in the #8107 Ford.
Josh had also given up some ground early on to Stein in the #4101 Ford Expedition and was running in his dust all morning. Finallly, the H2 began reeling him in and it seemed for a time that he might be able to win the day, but the truck succumed to a broken idler arm about five miles from the finish. Although this did not keep the H2 from winning the race, it slowed the truck down enough that Josh's goal of finishing this stage in front of Stein was not to be realized. The #4103 Team HUMMER H2 SUV took the win in the BitD/ McMillin `Nevada 1000', the seventh consecutive victory for Josh Hall/Thad Stump/ Sam Cothrun in the H2.
The # 4103 H2 finished 15th overall and team at DPG who built the Team was the fastest production vehicle in the event followed closely by the #8102 Team HUMMER H1 Pickup which finished 16th overall. On the season Josh Hall is leading the class 4100 points chase by 16 points and Chad Hall is second in class 8100 points by one point over Dave Morisson and is 18 points behind Greg Foutz.