Team HummeRÂ® finishes second at Tonopah `300' Chad Hall extends points lead in Class 8100 Tonopah, NV - August 10, 2002: In a hotly contested race that saw the lead change hands several times, Team HUMMER's Chad Hall drove the ...
Team HummeR® finishes second at Tonopah `300'
Chad Hall extends points lead in Class 8100
Tonopah, NV - August 10, 2002: In a hotly contested race that saw the lead change hands several times, Team HUMMER's Chad Hall drove the #8103 Full-stock Pick-up to a second place finish behind Mesa, Arizona's Greg Foutz in Best in the Desert Racing Association's Tonopah 300 today. The finish extended the team's Class 8100 points lead over Manny Esquerra with only the Las Vegas 200 remaining on the 2002 BitD schedule, December 6-8. Meanwhile, Rod Hall and Roy Davidson alternated behind the wheel of the #4103 Team HUMMER SUV for another second place finish in Class 4100.
Located in the high country of Central Nevada, mid-way between the Western border of the military's top-secret "Area 51" and the Eastern edge of the Death Valley, the old silver mining town of Tonopah played host to this annual event. On a beautiful 80° summer morning, it was here that over 100 of the best vehicles and drivers in desert racing showed up to compete on a 280 mile course North of town, each hoping to lay claim to victory in this year's running of the Tonopah 300.
Chad Hall in the #8103 HUMMER Pick-up started second in class, one minute behind Ford's Manny Esquerra in the #8104 Ford F-150. By the time they got to the first road crossing, four miles into the race, Chad was within seconds of Esquerra and was preparing to pass when he hit a rock, flattening a tire. "The flat cost us about 15 minutes of downtime", said Hall. "We were buried in a mountain of dirt and it took some time to get the jack underneath it. Once we were underway, we were 40 miles from the first pit with no spare so we had to drive cautiously until we could get there to replace the tire."
As the race wore on most of the competitors in the class were sidelined with various problems and Hall had moved into second behind Foutz. By the time they got to pit #3 at Gabbs (RM 125), the Team HUMMER Pick-up was in position to challenge for the lead and caught up with Foutz in the #8102 V-10 Ford on the long straight heading West out of Gabbs. The diesel proved to be too much for the V-10 Ford and Hall brought the pick-up into pit #4 at Rawhide in first place with a slight lead on Foutz and pitted to take on some fuel.
Rod Hall in the #4103 SUV had been running with the leaders but dropped a few minutes off the pace when he came up behind a wounded mini pick-up in a tight area who refused to pull over and let him get by. It took almost 50 miles to get around the slower truck and then Hall noticed the SUV starting to lose turbo-boost somewhere outside of Gabbs. He pulled into Pit #4 for the driver change and after taking on some fuel, Roy Davidson took over behind the wheel and pulled back onto the race course in third place. He was eight minutes behind Jeremy Spirkoff in the #4112 Ford Bronco and five minutes in back of Marc Stein in the #4101 Ford Exhibition.
Running in the lead at race-mile 215, about midway between Pits #5 & 6, Chad hit a rock on-course and flattened his second tire. "I ran over that rock and it was no different than a thousand other rocks I've hit in the past but this time I got a flat," he said. "The truck is running so fast now that I think we are going to have to get used to getting more flats. You just can't do the same things at 80 mph that you used to be able to do at 50 mph." It didn't take long to replace the tire but by the time they stopped at Pit #6 to replace the spare and got back out on the course, they were down by about 8 minutes to the leader Foutz who was having an absolutely trouble-free race.