BITD: Parker: Team Hummer race notes

Team Hummer® posts two second place finishes at `Parker 425' Parker, Arizona - Feb 8, 2003: Best in the Desert Racing Association opened the 2003 season with the inaugural `Parker 425', within sight of the mighty Colorado river. The course was...

Team Hummer® posts two second place finishes at `Parker 425'

Parker, Arizona - Feb 8, 2003: Best in the Desert Racing Association opened the 2003 season with the inaugural `Parker 425', within sight of the mighty Colorado river. The course was so demanding that only 30% of the vehicles that started ever made it to the finish line. Those that did, limped across with varied states of damage and many were held together with little more than bailing wire and duct tape. Within the first 80 miles of the start, the race course became a sea of wrecked and immobile race traffic making it difficult to distinguish between the course and a battlefield of armored vehicles that came up on the short end of an aerial assault. Some vehicles had no bodies left, reduced to a series of tubes and structural carbon fiber panels. One truck passed by impaled by a 6" diameter log which had entered the body just behind the front door, narrowly missing the co-rider's head. This was a very easy course to underestimate.

The Team HUMMER #8102 Full-Stock Pick-up went off the line shortly before 8:00 AM on Saturday morning with Chad Hall behind the wheel and Mike Winkel in the second seat. The pick-up was running well and swapping the lead most of the day with the Big V-10 Ford driven by Greg Foutz of Phoenix. A few minutes back were Rod Hall and Rob Henderson in the Team HUMMER #4101 Full-Stock SUV, who were first to start in their class. "We were running in a lot of dust for the first 40 miles" said Hall. "We were working our way through race traffic when we got stuck in the dust of the Henn brothers Class 8100 HUM- MER Pick-up. They were throwing out tons of dust when I pulled over to one side to make the pass and hit a berm on the side of the course."

The right front side of the Big 8000 Lb. HUMMER lifted off like a Beluga Whale breaking the surface of the water, performing a gradual roll as it took flight before landing with a colossal thud back on it's wheels. According to Hall, "Both front fenders were destroyed but the lights on the roof were still intact and the engine still running when we finally came to a stop. I figured I escaped with some cosmetic damage and could just get on with the race but soon discovered that we had two flats and both half-shafts on the driver's side were gone. The on-board CTIS system pumped up one of the tires and the other was replaced so we could drive the remaining distance to pit #3 at Graham Well (RM81) for repairs." After two hours the crew had the SUV back in the race. The windshield had been knocked out during the rollover and Rod drives with an open faced helmet. Not wanting to eat unrestricted dirt for the next 120 miles to the scheduled driver change, the SUV went out with son, Josh behind the wheel, who drives with a closed helmet which is fed filtered air from a pumping system.

Meanwhile Chad Hall was on the throttle of the #8102 pick-up, locked in a dual with Foutz and his big V-10 Ford F-250. The lead changed back and forth for the first 180 miles until the intercooler hose fell off bringing the pick-up to a abrupt halt. The repair was not a lengthy one but it put the HUMMER about 10 minutes down to the Ford until Foutz had a flat tire returning the race to a dead heat. Shortly before the midway pit, 320 miles into the race, disaster struck the pick-up when both rear half-shafts broke and the rear brakes went away. Chad brought the truck into the Midway pit with less then a minute seperating the pick-up and the V-10 Ford. The crew jumped right on the repairs and were assisted by the Henn Brother's chief mechanic, Gardner Armstrong, who had set up a pit next to Team HUMMER at Midway. There were several complications in replacing the half-shafts since all the bolts affixing the left rear shaft to the output flange were sheared off, requiring the additional replacement of the output shaft. It took 58 minutes to make the necessary repairs before the HUMMER was back in the hunt with just under 100 miles to the finish. In spite of the fact that we were an hour off the lead, we were still in control of second place with Manny Esquerra, who had troubles of his own, nine minutes back and charging hard.

About 20 miles from the finish, the inner rear CV joint let go again on the #8102 Pick-up and the truck lost the inboard brake rotor eliminating the rear brakes. In retrospect we think that the CV bolts had worked their way loose from the earlier repair, since we didn't have the necessary tool to safety-wire the bolts. As it turns out, Loctite is NOT a substitute for safety-wire! Nontheless, Chad carried on in three-wheel drive and crossed the finish line at 6:15 PM, 45 minutes behind Foutz and five minutes ahead of Esquerra to take second place in Best in the Desert's `Parker 425'.

After two laps, Josh pitted for fuel and Brent Falin took over as co-rider for the last 140 miles. After rolling the SUV, the repairs seemed to be holding up, although the shocks were begiing to fade and the transmission had been stuck in third gear since the start of the second lap. Josh drew off his experience with third gear only operation gained from the win at the Baja 1000 to bring the #4101 SUV home to a second place finish at 7:30 on the banks of the Colorado River next to the Blue Water Resort and Casino. "This race was a testimonial to the efforts of our crew," said Josh Hall. "Without their hard work we would not have finished as well as we did and may not have finished at all. It's a team effort to get these trucks to the finish and Team HUMMER is the best team in off-road racing!"

The next race for Team HUMMER is Best in the Desert's `Terrible's Town 250', April 25-27 in Parumph, Nevada.

- grt -

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About this article
Series Offroad
Drivers Rod Hall