BITD: Team Hummer takes second at Tonopah

Team Hummer's Rod Hall Takes Second at Tonopah 300 June 23, 2001 - Tonopah, NV: Rod Hall and Roy Davidson, driving the ...

Team Hummer's Rod Hall Takes Second at Tonopah 300

June 23, 2001 - Tonopah, NV: Rod Hall and Roy Davidson, driving the #4112 Team HUMMER SUV, managed to overcome some early electrical problems and a flat tire to finish second in Best in the Desert Racing Association's, Tonopah 300. Held earlier today in the desert outside this central Nevada mining town, the season's second race was barely underway when co-rider and chief mechanic, Glenn Wolfe, radioed that the truck had stopped, dead! Wolfe immediately focused his attention on the usual suspects to locate the cause of the problem: fuel delivery and fuel distribution. After determining that the fuel pumps were in good working order, he found a faulty spade terminal on the injection pump, buried beneath the scalding hot inter-cooler system. After about 18 minutes of skillful manipulation, Wolfe was able to re-connect the terminal securing it with a makeshift patch of electrical tape and the Team HUMMER SUV was back in the race, although dead last on the race course.

Calling on the skills developed from winning over 150 major off-road championships, Hall brought the mighty HUMMER up to speed, passing the many slower vehicles now in his path. Soon, only a lone Baja Bug separated him from the rest of the Class 4100 trucks who left the starting line with him. As he pulled out to pass the bug, the desert winds choose that moment to shift, directing all of the blinding dust from the racecourse into the path of the speeding HUMMER. This caused Hall to lose sight of the course and depend on instinct to get through the moment. As he broke through the layer of dust that had engulfed the SUV like a dense fog, he caught his first glimpse of the rock.

"There really was no way to avoid hitting that rock," said Hall. "We swerved to avoid it but as soon as I felt the impact I knew that my rear tire was gone. It wasn't long before we could hear the sidewall flapping against the fender-well so I pulled over and we spent another seven minutes changing the tire."

At the first pit, after forty miles of bad road, Hall brought in the #4112 HUMMER to take on a new spare. At this point he was running in fourth place, 35 minutes down to the leader and quickly ate a banana while the crew replaced the damaged spare. After a minute in the pit, Hall and Wolfe pulled back out onto the racecourse with a new resolve.

Radio communications with the race truck had proved unreliable throughout the morning. As the big SUV motored quietly through Pit two, some 80 miles into the race, the #4112 chase crew of Bill Smith/Nick Jordan was able to get close enough to tell them that they had moved into third. Shortly after the 90-mile marker, however, the radio in the race truck went dead.

In Dyer, at the halfway point, Hall pulled into the pit for fuel and a driver change. The #4102 SUV was in the pit repairing major front-end damage and Team HUMMER moved into second place about 35 minutes behind Marc Stein in #4101, a gap that had remained constant since pit one. As the crew was dumping the fuel into the HUMMER, Roy Davidson took over behind the wheel and Glenn Wolfe, the iron man of chief mechanics, remained in the second seat.

The big HUMMER SUV had been running flawlessly since the initial problems had been sorted out earlier in the race and "Rocket" Roy was up to the challenge of his new nickname. As they drove through the remaining pits, signs were displayed by the crew indicating the split times between Davidson and Stein. The HUMMER had picked up six minutes on the lead in the 40 miles between Dyer and Silverpeak (Pit #4) but got stuck on a narrow road behind slower traffic and gave it back by pit six, just north of Goldfield.

With just 30 miles left to the finish line, Davidson ran hard hoping the pace would prove too much for Stein. As it turned out that was simply not to be as the Team HUMMER entry finished the race in second place, 35 minutes off the lead, after running a virtual dead heat with the #4101 SUV for the last 260 miles.

At a crew gathering following the event, Team Owner Rod Hall was very upbeat about the outcome. "Our team has come a long way since the last race. All of our testing and suspension work paid off today. We had to race to get this finish because everyone was running well, but we certainly proved that this is a competitive race truck and that we'll be there at the finish."

The third event of the season is the 560-mile BitD Vegas to Reno race, September 27-30. Team HUMMER enters the final half of the season second in points in the Full Stock SUV class and looking forward to a long distance event in our own backyard.

For more information on HUMMER vehicles, visit www.hummer.com and for more information on Rod Hall and team HUMMER visit www.rodhall.com

- grt

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About this article
Series Offroad
Drivers Rod Hall , Bill Smith