April 4, 2001-Reno, NV: While tax season may be on the minds of many Americans during the month of April, the first event of Best in the Desert's 2001 `Silver State Series' is all that Team HUMMER is concentrating on right now. Since the Vegas...
April 4, 2001-Reno, NV: While tax season may be on the minds of many Americans during the month of April, the first event of Best in the Desert's 2001 `Silver State Series' is all that Team HUMMER is concentrating on right now. Since the Vegas 200, last seasons final event, Team HUMMER's two race trucks have been on tour appearing around the country at the Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago Auto shows. Now that the trucks are back in the Reno, Nevada race shop, chief mechanic Brad Falin and the Team HUMMER crew are hard at work preparing the vehicles for the first race of the season, BitD's Terrible's Town 250 scheduled for April 7th in Pahrump, Nevada.
The legendary Rod Hall will drive the #4101 HUMMER SUV with veteran mechanic, Glenn Wolfe, occupying the second seat throughout the 250-mile event. Sharing duties behind the wheel this year will be Hemet, California's Roy Davidson, who has partnered with Rod as co-driver a number of times in the past. Roy was one of Rod's co-drivers in last years Baja 2000, when the team overcame several mechanical problems to finish fifth in the history-making event.
"This isn't such a long race and I may drive the entire distance", said the 63 year-old Hall. "If there's time to make a driver change at the 160 mile mark, I'll give it to Roy, and Glenn will stay with him the rest of the way. If it's a close race I'll remain in the truck".
Impressed by the fatigue he felt after turning a solo performance into a winning effort at the 1999 Silver State 300, Hall recognized that he could no longer take physical conditioning for granted and started a training program to stay in shape.
"I'm in pretty good shape myself, but I gave up trying to keep pace with him a long time ago," says Rod's son, Chad. The younger Hall, who drives solo in the #8117 HUMMER Full Stock PU truck, won last year's class points championship for Team HUMMER and regularly runs about seven miles before going to the shop.
"It's all I can do to get down to the shop by 7:30 a.m. by the time I get everything taken care of. Dad's up by 4:30 every day, does 50 pushups, spends some time on the treadmill while the coffee is brewing and still manages to get down to the office before 6:00 am. No-one around here can keep up with him, so we don't even try!"
"Although Rod's SUV is not much different than last year, we have done a lot of testing and fine tuning to make it handle better," says Chief mechanic, Brad Falin. "With the show schedule, we didn't get the trucks back in time to upgrade the engines and still do the necessary testing. The engine in Rod's SUV has been in the truck for a couple of years and that's a lot for a race motor. Rod likes to say that he does well with this truck because they both have so many miles on them. After this race, however we have a new 400 horsepower motor we are going to put in Chad's pick-up and the motor from the pick-up will go in the SUV, which will give Rod double the horsepower and half the mileage. Good thing he's working out!"
Both HUMMERs have indeed received some suspension changes for this race. The shocks have been re-valved for a softer ride and front & rear sway bars have been added to minimize the body roll that occurs when cornering with a soft suspension.
"The car rides a lot smoother now, but I have to slow it down a bit more for the dips," says Rod. "I'll make up for that in the fast stuff and the ride should be more comfortable overall. When you get to be my age, that's an important consideration!"
While in Pahrump, Team HUMMER will also be putting in an appearance at the Manse Elementary School where driver's Rod and Chad Hall will sign autographs for the kids and let them get up-close with the race vehicles. This is the second year we have displayed the trucks at the school and they were kind enough to ask us to come back.
In Pahrump the site of a HUMMER painted like an American flag is probably still something of a novelty!
For more information about Team HUMMER visit www.rodhall.com and for more information about HUMMER vehicles, visit www.hummer.com.
- grt -