BITD: Terrible's Town: Team Hummer preview

Team Hummer winds up testing schedule confident about 2002 racing season. Reno, Nevada-April 3, 2002: With only a few days left before the first race of the season, Best in the Desert's Terrible's Town 250, April 5-6, Team HUMMER finished up...

Team Hummer winds up testing schedule confident about 2002 racing season.

Reno, Nevada-April 3, 2002: With only a few days left before the first race of the season, Best in the Desert's Terrible's Town 250, April 5-6, Team HUMMER finished up their pre-season testing schedule and stand ready for the competition. After complete frame-up restorations and numerous upgrades to both race trucks, Team HUMMER's Rod Hall slapped the fender of the shiny new flag-style paint-job on his #4103 SUV and gave a `thumbs-up'. "This is the most well prepared truck I've had since my days with Stroppe," he said, referring to the eighteen years he spent driving for legendary race car builder Bill Stroppe, during the 70's and 80's, an association which yielded numerous wins and included an unbroken string of 35 consecutive major race victories.

One of the reasons for Hall's enthusiasm is his new chief mechanic, Sam Cothrun, a 23 year-old fabricator who has been with Rod Hall International's, Military Products Division since 1998. "Sam rode in the second seat with me at the Baja 1000 and during race week we discussed some of the ongoing problems we've been having with the SUV" said Hall. "I liked his enthusiasm and I knew from his previous work at RHI that he was a perfectionist with an eye for detail and that's exactly what I was looking for in a chief mechanic for the SUV".

Shortly after the season ended we began disassembling the SUV. After replacing the hood and top the entire body was trucked over to the paint shop for some bodywork and a repaint. The first thing Sam did was to fabricate some new polyurethane motor mounts and then he completely redesigned the front body mounts to eliminate two ongoing problem areas we had last year. Chad Hall has also been busy during the off-season designing a new suspension for his #8103 Pick-up which featured larger 4" diameter shocks so we took some of the parts, including the race-proven 3 ½" shocks he had perfected last season, and adapted them to fit into a completely new suspension on the SUV.

Meanwhile, Chad has been working with Crew Chief Brad Falin to get the new suspension working on the Pickup and has gained an additional 2" of rear wheel travel and several MPH in speed on the test track. Working from Chad's design, Brad machined all the parts for the new 4" diameter shocks in his Fernley, Nevada shop, about 30 miles east of Reno, where much of the prep for the pickup has been carried out. The body was removed and sent to Reno for fresh paint while shock mounts were fabricated and a new Mogi Transmission installed.

"I can't get over how smooth the truck handles over the roughest terrain and the transmission shifts like a dream compared to the units we were running last year," said Chad. "With everything we've been able to do to get these trucks dialed in, I think Team HUMMER is going to be pretty tough to beat this season in either class!

And so the 2002 racing season begins. A few new faces, perhaps, but it looks like the same team spirit and resolve that carried us to such a successful conclusion last year is alive and well as we prepare for the start of the new racing season.

- grt -

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Series Offroad
Drivers Rod Hall