BITD: Team Hummer Terrible Town 250 recap

TEAM HUMMER OVERCOMES ELECTRICAL WOES TO FINISH SECOND AT TERRIBLE'S TOWN 250 April 7, 2001-Pahrump, NV: On a bitter-cold and windy day, complicated by periods of snow and freezing rain, Team HUMMER's Rod Hall managed to track down an unusual...

TEAM HUMMER OVERCOMES ELECTRICAL WOES
TO FINISH SECOND AT TERRIBLE'S TOWN 250

April 7, 2001-Pahrump, NV: On a bitter-cold and windy day, complicated by periods of snow and freezing rain, Team HUMMER's Rod Hall managed to track down an unusual electrical problem to finish second in Best in the Desert's Terrible's Town 250 on Saturday, in the desert north of Pahrump, Nevada.

Just off the starting line the engine in the #4112 Full-Stock SUV seemed to be starving for fuel. Hall and his co-rider, veteran race mechanic Glenn Wolfe, quickly determined that the electric fuel pump was the source of this problem and switched to the backup pump, which seemed to settle that issue. However, by the time the "Flag" HUMMER reached pit #2, about 50 miles into the race, the volt-meter started fluctuating between zero and 14 volts indicating that an electrical short had surfaced.


. Photo: Team Hummer

"Every time we hit any sort of bump the engine would run but everything electric would flash off and on like a sign outside a cheap hotel," said co-rider Wolfe. "Even when we were running, the transmission wasn't getting enough power most of the time to operate normally and would default into second gear slowing the truck considerably."

Shortly after the problem began, they started noticing the familiar odor of burning electrical components and stopped on course to do some trouble-shooting. Unfortunately, matters were made even more confusing when they pulled over because all systems would return to normal while the vehicle was idling. At race mile 75, Hall pulled into pit #3, in the Amargosa Valley and took on some fuel while the crew continued searching in vain for the source of the short.

"We finally isolated the problem after we got back on the course," said Hall. "We were entering a particularly isolated stretch of the desert and knew that as soon as we were out there, Murphy's Law would prevail leaving us with no power in a downpour of freezing rain. We decided to hot-wire the ignition switch so we could at least get the power we needed to shift the transmission and keep the truck up and running but while we were messing around with the wires on the switch, we moved the main power wire and everything went dead."

Apparently the wire leading to the ignition switch had separated from the connector but continued to make intermittent contact because a piece of shrink tubing, which fit over the wire and the connector, kept everything in-line until the truck got into rough terrain.

"That was one of the strangest electrical problems I can ever remember having to deal with," commented Hall. "After we worked it out, the HUMMER ran trouble-free all the way to Pit #5, where my co-driver Roy Davidson took over."

Davidson, who has been racing and off-roading with Hall since the early 60's when they both lived in the desert town of Hemet, Calif., took over with about 100 miles left in the race and Wolfe remained in the second seat.

"Rocket Roy, is what you should call him", said Wolfe at the finish line. "Once everything was back to normal, Roy had the truck up to speed from the moment he took over and never let up until we took the checkered flag. I can see why Rod asked him to join the team."

The #4112 Team HUMMER SUV went the remaining distance without incident, finishing in second position just after darkness fell over the Southwestern Nevada town of Pahrump. Of the 195 entries that started the event, two-thirds managed to make it to the finish line under the most difficult weather conditions in recent memory.

"This was a good race for Team HUMMER," said team owner Rod Hall. "Anytime you can spend as much time as we did sorting out our electrical problems and still come home with a second place finish, you've had a good race."

The second race of the season for Team HUMMER will be the BitD Tonopah 300 in Tonopah, NV scheduled for June 22-24.

-grt

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Series Offroad
Drivers Rod Hall