Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's Official - Rod Hall Racing Secures 3 BITD Championships

It's Official, Rod Hall Racing won in three classes at the BITD Fabtech Desert Classic.  In doing so, the team captured three championships, taking the season total to FIVE.  This has definitely proven to be the best race year in the team's history.  We are now heading to the SCORE Championship banquet in Primm, with just enough time to clean off the dust and celebrate!

Thanks to all our fans and sponsors for supporting us!  Stay tuned for photos and a final news release.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Fabtech Desert Classic - Tech & Contingency


It was a beautiful day in Henderson, Nevada.  Seems impossible it is only a few weeks before Christmas.  The team pre-ran the course early this morning, which is a short 48-mile loop.  Rod said it best, "the course covers the smallest amount of space of any race."  A maze of a course, it essentially zig-zags through the desert on the outskirts of Vegas.  We expect the visibility to be tough, especially if there is minimal wind.  

Obviously the team is focused on grabbing three additional championships to add to the SCORE victories.  However, it was a little bittersweet today as we know this is the last race of an incredibly successful year.   

Joining Rod for the first lap is a very special guest to the team.  KJ Howe ran the legendary Mint 400 for many years.  The Mint desert race attracted over 100,000 people to Las Vegas and was the largest event in the famed city for many years.  KJ is a dynamic, inspiring guy and we are excited to have him join us.  In the photo above, KJ poses with a Mint 400 fan in the tech line.

More to come.
Posted by E. Miller

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fabtech Desert Classic

The team is heading today to Henderson, Nevada - site of the final race of the 2008 season.  All three teams under RHR are well positioned to bring home THREE class championships in the Best in the Desert (BITD) series.  Not bad, considering Rod Hall Racing just captured the Stock Full and Stock Mini class championships in the SCORE series at the Baja 1000.  This season truly has been the most successful for the team.  And five series championships would be unprecedented.

In BITD, Rod Hall Racing runs in the 3100 class, 4100 and 8100.  Essentially, these classes are stock mini, stock-full SUV and stock-full truck.  In SCORE, Josh and Chad compete in the same class - where SUVs and trucks race together.

I just spoke to Josh regarding his H2 SUT as it experienced some damage at the 1000 to the cross member and right front corner.  He reports the truck is prepped and ready, having been repaired this previous week - which also included some rewiring work and new steering parts.
He only has to finish his race to capture the class championships.  

Stay tuned for more updates from Henderson.

Posted by E. Miller

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rod Hall Wins SCORE Stock-Mini Title

In one of the most bizarre finishes I have seen in over 30 years of Baja racing, Rod Hall finished second in the Stock-Mini Class, clinching his third consecutive SCORE Desert Points Championship in the Stock Mini Class and qualifying for a share in the Toyota Milestone Awards for the 2008 season. Rod's friend and partner Mike Winkel was at the wheel of the #760 H3 SUV when the truck took the checkered flag.

What made this finish so unusual was the fact that Gavin Skilton, in the #779 Honda Ridgeline and Ryan Millen, in the #762 Toyota FJ Criuser, had been locked in a battle for the class lead during the entire race. As they entered the final 10 mile dash to the finish, fully an hour and a half in front of the apparent 3rd place winning #760 H3, Millen apparently hit a large boulder, resulting in a devestating crash and ripping the entire front end off the Toyota which brought it to a halt five miles from the finish. Skilton, now thinking he was on easy street, almost immediatly got buried up to his doors in a mound of silt just a few feet from Millen. Both vehicles remained in place, motionless, for almost an hour as the HUMMER H3 moved closer to the finish and the win. After an hour of race traffic coming by, all unwilling to stop and lend a hand, the #862 Dodge came by on his way to a second place finish in the Stock-Full Class. Driver Kent Kroeker agreed to tow Gavin Skilton free from the silt that restrained him, allowing the Honda to take their first SCORE Baja 1000 win. Millen was finally being towed out of the area, as Mike Winkel passed him by for the unlikely second place finish. It just goes to show you that, as Yogi Berra once said, "It isn't over til it's over".

Meanwhile, Josh Hall in the #863 H2 SUT broke another front suspension part (tie rod) back at RM 520 or thereabouts but got back in the race to finish third in the Stock-Full Class. Twenty four hours and forty nine minutes after they began the odyssey that was the 2008 Tecate/SCORE Baja 1000, Josh Hall, Sam Cothrun and Team HUMMER overcame most every obsticle that Off-road racing could throw at them to bring the #863 Team HUMMER H2 SUT home for the Checkered flag.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish Team Owner, Rod Hall, a happy 71st birthday and to congratulate everyone at Rod Hall Racing and Team HUMMER for a great performance.

Good day from the 41st Annual Tecate/SCORE Baja 1000.

George R. Thompson
Rod Hall Racing


grt

Chad Hall Wins 2008 Baja 1000

In a tough and diciplined race that demanded a trouble-free drive from start to finish, Team HUMMER's Chad Hall drove a perfect race in the #861 H3 Alpha to win the Stock-Full Class at the 41st Annual Tecate/SCORE Baja 1000. The win marks the 7th Baja 1000 victory for Chad Hall and the finish earns him the 2008 SCORE Stock-Full Desert Points Championship and a share of the Toyota Milestone Awards, which are awarded each year to each driver who finishes every mile of every race in the SCORE Desert Championship Series. Our congratulations go out to Chad Hall and the H3 Alpha crew for another championship season.

grt

Early Morning Problems

As of 5:34 this morning, Chad Hall, in the #861 H2 Alpha, is at RM 582 and continues to lead in the Stock-Full Class over Kent Kroeker in the #862 Dodge, who appears to be parked on the side of the road at RM 560, giving Chad his biggest lead of the day. Josh Hall, who has been fighting problems with his front suspension in his #863 H2 SUT, broke an idler arm at 3:30 AM near race-mile 420. He managed to get it repaired in about 25 minutes and get back in the race in time to barely hold a one-mile lead over Clyde Stacy, in the #779 Dodge Ram. Currently he is running in third position at RM 460 with a 33 mile lead over Stacy.

As of 5:56 AM, Gavin Skilton is holding the lead at RM 562 in the Honda but Ryan Millen is reeling him in and is only a mile or two behind him in the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Mike Winkel, back at the wheel of the #760 Team HUMMER H3 SUV, had a couple of flats between Check Points #4 and #5, which slowed him down just a bit. Currently he is at race-mile 507 in third place and running well, now that he has two new spares on the truck.

grt

A Brief Update

At 1:15 AM, after 1 1/2 hours of downtime, Josh Hall and Sam Cothrun got back in the race after replacing a broken pitman arm. This is a serious job at anytime but in the dark and in the dirt, it was very challenging. He is currently running in third place and is at RM 368, 102 miles behind Chad in the #861 H2 Alpha. The #863 H2 SUT is scheduled for a fuel only pit stop at BFG Pit #3 (RM 403).

The #862 Toyota is running again as of 1:20 AM and is currently 28 miles in front of the third place #760 H3 now being driven by Rod Hall. The #779 Honda leads the race by 40 miles over the H3 with about 215 miles remaining in the race.

grt

The Good, The Bad and the Unknown

Well, here's what I know as of 1:05 AM. In the Stock-Mini Class, The #779 Honda Ridgeline is in the lead at RM 412. Ryan MIllen's #762 Toyota FJ Cruiser has stopped at their pit at race-mile 400. The rear of the Toyota is jacked up and the rear suspension appears to have sustained some serious damage from the "whooops" leading up to the pit area. The Millens have brought in some service vehicles and it looks as if #762 may be in the pit for awhile. Mike Winkel is running well at RM 365 and closing in on second place.

In the Stock-Full race Chad Hall is at RM 447 and continues to lead in the #861 Team HUMMER SUV by 14 miles over the #862 Dodge. Josh Hall, who was gaining ground in the H2 SUT, suddenly came to a halt a RM 360 and due to his remote location, we cannot reach the race-car or crew by phone or radio. An appropriate service vehicle has been dispatched to establish contact so we can determine the extent of the problem and I'll report those findings as soon as I hear back from the team.

grt

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hall/Winkel Move Into 3rd Place

At 10:33 Mike Winkel, at the wheel of the #760 H3 HUMMER SUV, passed the #761 Ford to take over third place in the Stock Mini Class. Currently Winkel is at race-mile 294 with a 14 mile lead over the now 4th place Ford of Steve Kovach. The H3 remains about 65 miles behind both Millen in the #762 Toyota and Skilton in the #779 Honda, who are still running within sight of each other.

Chad Hall continues to lead in the #861 H3 Alpha with a five mile lead over Kroeker in the #862 Dodge. Of interest in the Stock-Full Class is the fact that Josh Hall in the #863 H2 SUT has made up 30 miles on the leader in the last hour and 10 minutes. This should develop into an interesting race as the night progresses.

grt

Josh Hall Back in the Race

As of 9:45 PM. the #863 Team HUMMER H2 SUT is back in the race and running better than ever according to the pit crew at BFG Pit #2 (RM 282). Apparently, two bolts that fixed the right-side motor mount to the frame came loose and fell out, allowing the engine to rock from side to side. This movement caused the intake manifold to contact the engine support tubing, cracking the manifold. By 8:45 PM, after spending almost an hour finding something to use to support the engine in the frame, Hall and Chief Mechanic, Sam Cothrun were able to get it under power again and limped the H2 into the BFG pit, some 20 miles up the road. Once in the pit the crew was able to epoxy the intake manifold and install the proper bolts into the motor mount to secure the engine and fix the vacuum leak. #863 is currently 70 miles down to the leader, Chad Hall in the #861 H3 Alpha. With nothing to lose, you can rest assured that Josh will put the hammer down and make every attempt to get to the front in the next 300 miles.

In other news, Mike Winkel in the 760 H3 SUV is currently at race-mile 273, about 5 miles behind the third place #761 Ford driven by Steve Kovach. The H3 is currently 70 miles behind the leaders Ryan Millen in the #762 Toyota FJ Cruiser and Gavin Skilton in the #779 Honda Ridgeline, who are running neck and neck for the lead.

grt

Josh Hall Sidelined at Race-mile 260

While enjoying a 5 mile lead over the #861 HUMMER H3 Alpha, Josh Hall's #863 H2 SUT sheared some mounting bolts on the right side of his engine which sidelined his truck just 20 miles from BFG Pit #2 located at race-mile 282. At the present time, Chad Hall is at RM 285 and leads the Stock-Full Class by four miles over the #862 Dodge while the #863 H2 continues to sit at race-mile 260, waiting for the crew to find a way into the area. More news as it develops but as of 8:22 PM, I am in the dark as to the exact nature of the problem and cannot contact anyone on the H2 chase crew to find out more details.

grt

Rod Hall Running Again

After an hour of downtime, the Team HUMMER crew was able to reach the #760 H3 SUV, make repairs, and get underway with Mike Winkel behind the wheel. In spite of the quick repair, Winkel is about 50 miles down to the leader as darkness falls in Northern Baja. The H3 is currently running in 4th place but after considerable downtime to replace some suspension parts, the 3rd place #761 Ford driven by Steve Kovach is only 14 miles ahead of Winkel. I'll put a clock on them to see if Winkel is making up any time on the competition.

Josh Hall is in the lead in the #863 Team HUMMER H2 SUT with only 4 miles between him and his brother Chad in the #861 H3 Alpha. Closing in gradually is Kent Kroeker in the # 862 Dodge, with about five miles separating him and the 2nd place Chad Hall. Back at the Check Point (RM 140) Kroeker was about 8 miles back so he seems to be running a slightly faster pace then Chad. On the other hand, Josh seems to be holding on to his 9 mile advantage over the big Dodge.

Rod Hall Down with Steering Problems

As of 4:45 PM, after changing a flat tire at Race-mile 98, Rod Hall has apparently broken his rack & pinion steering at race-mile 114. The chase crew is heading in to make repairs but they estimate that it will take 45 minutes to reach the #760 Team HUMMER H3 SUV and another hour to make the repair. Co-driver Mike Winkel is driving in with the chase crew to take over behind the wheel and give Rod some time to rest. "It's a long race," said Hall. "There's still 500 miles to the finish and a lot can happen by then."

Meanwhile, Chad Hall in the #861 H3 Alpha clings to a narrow lead in the Stock-Full Class over Josh Hall in the #863 H2 SUT. They are both at race-mile 125, eleven miles in front of the third place Dodge driven by Kent Kroeker.

HUMMERS Rescue Stuck Race Buggy

At race-mile 53 stands Compadre Pass, a steep and rocky hill, which is narrow with steep walls along the sides that do not allow for easy passing. As the race was beginning to spread out in both the Stock-Full and Stock-Mini Classes, Chad was the first among these two classes to reach the pass only to find a Buggy stuck on the rocks in the middle of the hill. In no time the trucks started backing up behind the Buggy, Chad, Josh and everyone else in the S/F and S/M classes. Leads of 3, 4 and even 8 miles were quickly reduced to leads of 3, 4 and 8 feet as everyone found themselves in a traffic jam waiting for the buggy to dig his way out and get going again.

Chad and Josh in their H3 Alpha and H2 SUT combined to shove the buggy up and through the pass so the race could continue. As of 2:25 PM everyone is back in the race and both the Stock-Full and Stock-Mini Classes are spread out over an 8 mile area between RM 65-73 and running in a tight pack with Chad still holding the lead in the #861 H3 Alpha followed closely by Josh in the #863 H2 SUT.

I'll check back in a while after the race traffic begins to sort itself out, once again.

grt

One O'clock update

Chad Hall in the #861 H3 Alpha continues to lead the Stock-Full Class at RM 35 as of 1:01 PM with his brother Josh right on his tail. The remainder of the class is currently about 8-10 miles back with #779, Clyde Stacy, from Bristol, VA running in 3rd place in his Dodge Ram.

Ryan Millen is leading in the #762 Toyota FJ and running about 4-6 miles in front of Rod Hall in the #760 H3 SUV who is in a tight race with the rest of the Stock-Mini Class. Rod is running well but merely running at his own pace knowing there is about 600 miles of bad road left to the finish line.

grt

They're off the line

Team HUMMER's Chad Hall left the start line at 12:00 noon in the #861 Stock Full H3 Alpha followed by Josh Hall one minute later in the #863 H2 SUT. They are currently at race-mile 18 with Chad and Josh holding a slight lead over the field and Chad slighty out front.

Rod Hall got under way in the #760 Stock-Mini H3 SUV at 12:02:30, clinching his third consecutive SCORE Stock-Mini Championship. Currently Ryan Millen is in the lead in the #762 Toyota FJ with Rod in a fight for second about two miles back. Millen is at RM 21 as of 12:42 PM.

Everyone seems to be running fine at the present time. This early in the race it's all about taking your time and threading your way through the more than 200 cars and trucks to find your comfort zone while the race traffic thins out.

More news as it develops.

grt

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Team HUMMER Ready For Baja 1000

Good morning from Ensenada, Baja California and the 2008 Tecate/SCORE Baja 1000. Led by team owner, Rod Hall, Team HUMMER is at the starting line in downtown Ensenada waiting to take the green flag for the start of the 41st Annual Baja 1000. Chad Hall will be the first HUMMER to start in the #861 H3 Alpha. He is expected to get under way about noon today and only needs to finish the race to lay claim to the 2008 SCORE Stock-Full points championship. Starting third in the Stock-Full Class will be Josh Hall in the #863 Team HUMMER H2 SUT. Between them, the Brothers Hall have won the Stock-Full Class at every Baja 1000 since 2000 and 3 of the 4 SCORE races in their class this year with Chad taking wins at Laughlin and the Baja 500 and Josh winning the San Felipe 250.

Rod Hall is racing in his 41st Baja 1000 and will share driving duties in the #760 Team HUMMER H3 SUV with Mike Winkel. The veteran Hall is the only driver to have participated in a car/truck in every one of the legendary Baja 1000 events and will clinch his third consecutive Stock-Mini Class points championship as soon as he starts the race. He also holds the record for Baja 1000 Class wins with 19 victories. His goal this year is to make it an even twenty wins and win the 23rd Annual Toyota Milestone Award which is awarded yearly to each driver who finishes every mile of every race in the SCORE Desert Championship Series. Going into the final race of the season there are only 15 drivers still in the running for this prestigous award. Team HUMMER's Rod and Chad Hall are two of the fifteen eligible drivers.

As if this wasn't enough, team owner, Rod Hall, celebrates his 71st birthday on Saturday. Ride along with us and I'll bring you all the Team HUMMER action throughout the 41st Annual Tecate/SCORE Baja 1000.

George R. Thompson
Team HUMMER

Notes from Ensenada

I'm sitting in a coffee house in downtown Ensenada while the race trucks slowly snake through the streets for tech and contingency.  We wrapped up pre-running yesterday after five days out on the course.  Although the race is a short one this year at approximately 640 miles, it is long in some respects.  It is definitely a tough, tedious, technical loop - but well suited for our HUMMER race trucks.  A highlight of the first 148 miles to BFG Pit 1 is the descent off La Ruma Rosa.  The several thousand foot decrease in altitude is marked by sheer cliffs and stunning vistas.  It will be an impressive sight to see over 300 trucks race it - knowing that a missed turn could be fatal.  Multiple corners involve three-point turns.   

The loop from Borrego through San Felipe is completely whooped out and the last portion of the course on the Pacific side is marked by several treacherous silt beds.  We are very happy to have four-wheel drive vehicles and have marveled on several occasions at the Class 11 drivers who finish the race in stock VW Beetles.  

We're happy to have George Thompson, veteran desert racer and Rod Hall Racing team member posting regular blog entries throughout the event. So check back.  Thanks to all our fans and sponsors for your support.
Posted by E. Miller

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Heading to Baja

Rod, Emily and Mike Winkel head to Ensenada tomorrow and begin pre-running the course. The trio will meet up with Josh and Chad Hall, Sam Cothrun, Thad Stump and the GM crew on Friday at BFG Pit 1 at RM 148.  

Sean Holman of Four Wheeler Magazine will co-ride with Josh in the H2 SUT.  And this year, Rick Pewe from 4-Wheel & Off Road Magazine will leave the line with Rod in the Stock Mini Class.  Pewe has joined the team two years in a row, but unpredictable race dynamics and circumstances have kept Rick from jumping in the navigator's seat with Rod.  He is incredibly capable and we are excited to have him experience the insanity a Baja 1000 start offers.

More tomorrow, before we cross the border.


Monday, October 20, 2008

BAJA 1000 Map Notes


The 2008 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 map is now live and the off-road community is ramping up for pre-running to begin on November 1st.  For many, pre-running is the real highlight. Basically, it's everyone's chance to have fun in the dirt, enjoy the Baja terrain and a few Tecates with race buddies and rivals.  But it is also work, marking the GPS, making notes and plotting race strategy.

This year's race is a mere 634 miles - starting and finishing in Ensenada.  Once the green flag drops, the race heads Northeast toward Mexicali and the Mexico-Cali border.  At RM 140, the course turns south at the top of Laguna Salada and heads toward San Felipe, approaching town and Checkpoint 3 heading from the south in a counterclockwise loop.  San Felipe is approximately 350 miles into the race.  With less than 300 miles to the finish, the course heads north about 50 miles then turns west heading through Mike's Sky Ranch.  From this point, the course is similar to the 2008 Baja 500, dropping in to Santo Thomas and then on to Ojos Negros and the finish line.

Everyone at Rod Hall Racing sends out a huge thank you to Sal Fish, Sue Johnson, Oscar Ramos and the entire SCORE International team for producing this though, legendary race. 
For more info on the race, log on to http://www.score-international.com and check back at RodHallRacing.com for more posts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Race Post #7

Wrap Up -
"That was the most fun race I have had. Period. It was a fast course, but also technical through beautiful country I had not seen before," noted Mike Winkel. Winkel had no problems after passing Falkowsky and ran hard for the last ninety-five miles - where he crossed the finish line in first place, furthering Rod's class lead in the Silver State Points Championships. Co-driver Jake Povey also commented that it was one of his favorite races, with "minimal rough sections, yet plenty of silt."

Although a few minor problems arose for Josh, he clearly dominated the entire race. "Starting ahead of the 1100, 2000 and 7100 classes was definitely beneficial. We had one flat and hit a ditch that cocked the steering wheel 180 degrees, but other than that, it was a fun, fast course for us - perfect for the H2."

Chad just crossed the finish line and secured the second place finish in the 4100 class. So as our timing and scoring guru, Rick Grabowsky calculates, all three Halls are still leading the championships as the team heads to the final race - the Fabtech Desert Classic - December 5-7 in Henderson, Nevada.

Thanks for your support and good night from Mesquite.

Race Post #6

#4111 Update -
Thad just reported that Chad left Pit 6. The chase crew assessed the damage and pulled the half shaft and prop shaft. He is now stuck in low range for the remainder of the race with a top speed limit just under 70 miles per hour! At this point he is just focused on driving it to the finish. At this point in the championship, it is critical for Chad to cross the finish line and secure finishing points.

Race Post #5

5:30 - CONGRATULATIONS TO JOSH HALL AND SAM COTHRUN! Josh just crossed the finish line and captured the 8100 class win.

Chad Hall became hung up at approximately RM 204 in what some reports cited as a water crossing or ditch. Unfortunately, the front differential was blown so Chad limped in to Pit 6 for an assessment. Sunderland has gained significant time and is closing in on RM 280. Apparently, Chad has left the pit and is back up to speed. We'll be getting an update momentarily from the pit boss.

Mike Winkel and Jake Povey in #3111 had been closing the gap between #3101 but passed Falkowsky when he got stuck in the same location as Chad. At this point, Falkowsky is moving again, but Winkel has a substantial lead!

Race Post #4

3:40 - We have an update from Thad Stump regarding Josh. He is approximately ten miles out of Pit 6 and has a substantial lead. Josh made an unexpected stop at Pit 3 with a repair to the stabilizer bar link. So his crew shortened his stop at Pit 4. Co-Driver Sam Cothrun has requested a quick stop at Pit 6 to look the rear suspension over due to a suspicious noise. The #8111's lead is large enough they feel comfortable taking the stop.

At Pit 5, Chad was two minutes ahead of Sunderland. He will be stopping for fuel at Pit 6. Currently, the team is calculating just how much fuel is needed to finish while paying special attention to the shortest stop possible to ensure Chad doesn't give up the lead.

Mike Winkel in #3111 encountered a deep silt bed shortly after Pit 3. Currently, Falkowsky is in the lead by approximately 10 miles, but Winkel is a fast, smooth driver and I'm sure he's completely focused on reeling him in.

Race Post #3

Josh just left Pit 4 and picked up a load of fuel. His Iritrack is still down, but the Rick G. just reported that he has an approximate fifteen minute lead. Chad is still running hard with Sunderland and appears to be leading. In terms of the overall race, Josh is currently the first production truck and Chad is running in second. Rod pulled in to Pit 3 - thirty seconds behind Falkowsky, picked up a load of fuel and switched drivers with Mike Winkel. We just got word that Rod's truck is at mile 140 and in the lead.

Rod noted the silt was much worse than he expected and had to go to low range 4-wheel drive to get around a group of stuck vehicles. From the start to Pit 3, the course was "fast but the dust was so bad that it was difficult to pass." Mike is currently on a section of course headed to Pit 4 that climbs a mountain through a tight pine forest, littered with tight turns and big cliffs.

Race Post #2

12:15 pm - All HUMMERs have cleared Pit 1 and the racing in all three classes is tight! Josh was the through the pit first with Merritt three minutes back. Chad came through one minute behind Sunderland and Rod 30 seconds behind Falkowsky. The course through Pit 2 is generally fast graded road. At this point, Josh and Chad are both about 20 miles out of Pit 2. Josh's Iritrack unit is not updating, so we will get a visual and time splits at the next pit.

Silver State 300 - Race Post #1

We're fifteen minutes from the first truck taking off and the team is ready to go. Josh and Chad in classes 8100 and 4100 have moved up in the starting order. Best In The Desert determined that their trucks should start in front of 1100, 2000 and 7100 classes. In terms of competition and championship points, Josh will be watching out for Foutz's #8102, Rod is ahead of Falkowsky by four points and Chad ahead of Sunderland by thirteen points. So today is a key race for the team to hold and boost their class leads. The HUMMERs should be off the line around 10:30 am. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John Pappenfort's Vegas to Reno Action Photos


John Pappenfort is Rod Hall Racing's team photographer. He logs many hours on the trails - pre-running with Rod, supporting the team and capturing fantastic photos at the races. John snapped a collection of the most stunning photos at this year's TSCO Vegas to Reno including one amazing sequence of Greg Foutz's endo at Pit 1. Check the carnage and action out at www.rodhallracing.com/multimedia.shtml.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Team Profile - Sam Cothrun of SamCo Fabrication


Sam Cothrun has been passionate about off-roading and off-road racing since he bought his 1972 Bronco at the age of 14.  Honing his skills in welding, he rebuilt the vehicle and went on to work at Complete Truck and Four-Wheel Drive in 1997.  Shortly thereafter, he went to work at Rod Hall International in repair, design and fabrication.  He began co-driving with Rod in 2002.

Also in 2002, Sam stepped up and started SamCo Fabrication.  Operating out of a 1,800 sq. foot shop, his first customer was Rod Hall Racing.  Today, the new shop - located in Sparks, Nevada - is an impressive 11,000 sq. feet.  Sam and his crew race prep the H2 SUT and H2 and he co-drives for Josh Hall.  Cothrun is always professional and meticulous - but keeps it fun. When not working, we're sure Sam spends his time pumping his four-year old daughter up to race trophy trucks when she is old enough to see over the steering wheel.

For more info on SamCo - log on to http://www.samcofabrication.com.

Posted by E. Miller

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Race Post #3

It was a short day - 144 miles of fast, ROUGH course.   In off-road racing, this would be considered a sprint distance.  Both H3s took third in Stock Full and Stock Mini.  The competition was running strong in both classes and it was critical for both trucks to get to the finish to maintain their points championship lead in the SCORE series.  Rod is also one of only six drivers to still be in the race for the Toyota Milestone award - which is awarded to the drivers that complete every mile of every race for the year.  We are gathering all the times and data from the drivers now and will have a full race recap available tomorrow.
Thanks fans and friends!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Race Post #2

It's 9:00 pm and the team has wrapped it up.  The wake up call in the morning is set for 4:00 a.m. Paige Hall will be taking the navigator's seat in Chad's truck for both laps.  She's incredibly solid and rode 400 miles with Chad at the 2007 Vegas to Reno.  Rod is driving the first lap with Jake Povey and will turn it over to Emily for the second lap.   A smaller, yet uber-capable crew will be manning the three pits. 
It's getting late so we will call it a night.  Thanks for tuning in.

SCORE Terrible's Primm 300 - Race Blog #1

It is a HOT day in Primm, Nevada - the stateline town at the Nevada-California border.  This is the location for the SCORE Terrible's Primm 300 race.  The race trucks just cleared tech and everyone is taking some time to escape from the blazing sun.  
Rod Hall Racing is running two trucks at this race.  Rod's blue H3 will run in the Stock Mini class and Chad's H3 Alpha in the Stock Full.  These two teams are leading the SCORE Points Championship, so it is key both trucks start and finish.  Josh is sitting this one out, but will be racing the H2 SUT at the end of the month at the Bilek 300.
The race course is a 72-mile loop - starting and finishing at Buffalo Bills.  The race starts at 6:00 am and each truck will run two laps for a total of 144 miles.  Both classes have some strong competitors including John Griffin and Jeremy Spirkoff driving the Ford in Stock Full and Gavin Skilton in the Stock Mini Honda Ridgeline.  However, the course is extremely rough and will be well suited for both H3s.
We'll be posting again after the evening meetings - so check back.  Online vehicle tracking is available by logging on to http://www.racetheworld.net.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Team Member Profile - Mike Winkel


I want to profile an extremely important member of Rod Hall Racing. Mike Winkel joined the race team in 2002, co-driving with Rod, Josh and Chad for several races. (Winkel is pictured above in the black shirt - at the 2007 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 Awards). Soft spoken and incredibly humble, Winkel is an accomplished pilot, former ski racer and all-around athlete. No wonder Rod determined Mike to be the right fit as a team driver. Debuting in the H1 at the 2004 Baja 1000, Mike helped Chad capture the class win. Since that race, he has continued to rack up victories in both the H1 and Rod’s H3 Stock Mini. Mike is incredibly fast and smooth and has become an important driver on the team.

“I am incredibly honored to race as Rod’s driving partner. Being a part of this team has been personally rewarding.” When asked about his favorite moment in racing, Winkel responded, “I have many stories, but Rod’s 40th Anniversary Baja 1000 win was the best. It was a big moment and a very exciting race. I think it was meaningful and rewarding to everyone on the team.” This year, Mike's successful share of the racing has been a key factor in the points championships - which Rod currently leads in both SCORE and Best in the Desert.

A dedicated businessman, Mike owns and operates Winkel Motors (a team sponsor), Sport Haus (featuring imports and exotic automobiles) as well as other successful endeavors. He splits his time between Lake Tahoe and the Palm Desert area.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Update & Thanks from Emily


Wow, what a day...and night.  Jake and I made it across the finish line, accomplishing our mission to finish the Vegas to Reno.  To keep this blog shorter, I am writing an expanded version of my experience (for anyone interesting in a rookie's experience) and will post a link from our homepage.  But here's the cliff note version  - suffering a tough blow to the right front tie rod and wheel, we spent 2 hours at Pit 2 having the right front end rebuilt.  In fact, we left the pit just 8 MINUTES BEFORE TIMING OUT.  Needless to say, we were now in a position to just get it to the finish line and I could not afford to make one more mistake - we were now in a race against check point times. However, we had burned up our daylight and would spend almost 300 miles in the dark. One issue arose, we had one overhead light rack with 5 lights and our 2 stock headlights.  There seemed to be an issue with the connector, and the lights immediately began to flicker on and off.  We then lost 2 of our upper lights and one stock headlight.  Needless to say, it was a disadvantage. In off-road racing, you drive what you see.  Well, we couldn't see much.  With night upon us, the dust hung thick and we often could only run on our 1 light, as our overhead lights made the situation worse - illuminating a total white out.  But we did put a cushion between timing out, which provided some relief (we welcomed any break!). 

When we finally pulled into the finish I was blown away to see the entire team waiting to greet us!  Incredibly moved, I knew they gave us everything they had.  Without them, it was impossible to finish.  I've been with the team for some time now and have seen them in action in tough situations - they are the best at what they do.  Period.   

Let's talk about Jake Povey, my navigator, on loan from Rod whom he normally drives with. Jake instinctively knew exactly what I needed to accomplish our goal.  It is much tougher to sit in the right seat for that many hours.  He was my navigator, coach, mechanic, motivator and friend.  It is much easier, motivating and more fun to run with other trucks.  When nightfall hit, we were in for a lonely run.  Most of the time, it was just us.  I owe finishing to him - he is the man!

Thank you to everyone who made our run possible!  I really wanted the opportunity to drive the entire race - start to finish - and it took many to make it happen.  Thanks to Rod Hall for believing in me and providing me an incredible opportunity.  To every team member, SamCo, GM-HUMMER, BFGoodrich (talk about tough tires - no flats!), Matt Laramie and Shannon Moore who were the first ones to jump under the truck at Pit 2, Darin Nelson & Austin Tischler (our main chase crew), Thad, Buffy, Doug Moore, Tom Heyl who always encourage me, and Chad, Hall, Josh Hall, Mike Winkel and Rod who set an incredible example.  I would love to have half their skills behind the wheel! What an honor to be trained by Rod, and given the chance to be part of such an incredible team - the best in stock class racing.

Posted by Emily Miller

Saturday, August 23, 2008

EMILY MILLER FINISHES IN THIRD

Saturday Morning at 5:26, Emily Miller brought the #4110 H2 SUV across the line in Dayton taking a third place finish for Team HUMMER. More importantly, Emily finished one of the most grueling events in all of off-road racing and did it in great style after spending 16 hours, 44 minutes out on the course at an average speed of 28 MPH...Great job, Emily.

We would like to thank all of our sponsors without whose products none of this race, or any other, would have been possible: HUMMER, for the best truck in the world and all the support of the guys at the GM Proving Ground, BFGoodrich, which gave us no flats, Hella Lights for lighting the way through the darkness of the night, Fox Shox, which kept all of our trucks going in the right direction, MasterCraft Seats, for the comfortable ride, TIFCO Fasteners, for holding everything together, HUMMERStuff.com for keeping us in designer wear, Mile Marker Wenches for being there, just in case 4-Wheel Drive wasn't enough, Hydra-Matic for the great transmissions, Sign-Pros, who does all of our lettering, Off Road Warehouse for all the misc. stuff it takes to build these race cars and of course...The Checkers!

Good Night from Reno...

George R. Thompson

HALL/WINKEL WIN #3

Just before 2:00 AM on Saturday Morning, Mike Winkel crossed the finish line in the #3111 Team HUMMER H3 SUV and made it three wins for Rod Hall Racing and Team HUMMER, sweeping all three production class victories at the 2008 Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno race. The unprecedented sweep of Classes 3100, 4100 and 8100 is a clear demonstration of the durability of HUMMER vehicles and puts all three Team HUMMER trucks alone atop their classes in the race for the 2008 points championship with two events left in the BITD Silver State Series. The #3111 Team HUMMER H3 SUV was on the course for 13 hours, 15 minutes and averaged about 34 MPH.

Emily Miller is about 80 miles from the finish and we estimate she will take the checkered flag somewhere between 5:00 - 6:00 AM.

Friday, August 22, 2008

CHAD AND JOSH HALL WIN VEGAS TO RENO

For the second consecutive year, Chad & Josh Hall cross the finish line within a few minutes (6) of each other to win Class 4100 and Class 8100. Chad took the checkered flag in the #4111 Team HUMMER H3 Alpha at 11:49 PM, 70 miles in front of the second place #4101 Ford Expedition driven by John Sunderland. Chad spent about 11 hours, 9 minutes on the course and finished with an average speed of about 41 MPH.

Josh Hall finished at 11:55 PM, in the #8111 Team HUMMER H2 SUT with a 30 mile lead over the apparent second place finisher, Greg Foutz in the # 8102 Ford F-350 pick-up. Josh was out on the course for 11 hours, 25 minutes for an average speed of about 39 MPH.

At the final pit, at race-mile 410, Chad came through with a badly missing engine which was a matter of great concern after Josh had lost an engine in the H2 at the Baja 500, in June. The preliminary symptom at that time was that the engine started missing. As it turned out, the H2 had developed a problem in the fuel management system which caused cylinders 2 & 3 to run lean, a condition which, if left un-treated will cause the pistons to burn. Since the problem could not be diagnosed in the field, the cylinders burned and forced us to retire the H2 from the race. Fortunately, while the symptoms may have been the same the cause must have been different as Chad's truck climbed Pine Nut Mountain, the final obstacle between the final pit and the finish, without incident.

Currently Mike Winkle is at race-mile 415 in the #3111 H3 and has extended his lead over the #4101 Ford to 25 miles. Emily Miller is soldiering on in the H2 SUV and is at race-mile 285. Both Winkle and Miller appear to be running well and I will be tracking them until they cross the finish line.

TEAM HUMMER MAINTAINS LEAD

At 10:00 PM, Chad Hall in the #4111 H3 SUT passed through the Top Gun Pit at race-mile 375 leading his class by 57 miles and running well. His older brother, Josh, was 3 miles back in the #8111 H2 SUT and leading the #8102 Ford V-10 pick-up by 31 miles. The team of Rod Hall/Mike Winkel, with Winkel at the wheel of the #3111 H3 SUV was at race-mile 305 with a lead of 11 miles over the #3101 Ford. Emily Miller is running well but is back at race-mile 238.

I doubt Emily weighs much more than 110 lbs but she has the Bulldog-like tenacity which is a requirement for anyone who chooses to drive the entire distance of the Vegas to Reno race in an 8000 Lb H2 even when everything is going well. The night wears on you and the longer you are out on the course the stranger it becomes. Shapes in the night become un-likely hallucinations jumping out at you like images from your worst nightmare and it's times like this that mistakes can happen...But Emily is tough!


9:00 PM TEAM HUMMER UPDATE

Chad Hall in the #4111 H3 Alpha and Josh Hall in the #8111 H2 SUT are in sight of each other on the course. Of more importance, since they are team members, is the fact that Chad is first in Class over #4101, Sunderland, by 32 miles and Josh is 19 miles in front of Greg Foutz in #8102 and holding the lead in class 8100. Mike Winkel driving the #3111 H3 SUV has extended his lead over Falkowsky in #3101 to 6 miles. Chad and Josh are currently at race-mile 311 and Mike Winkel is at race-mile 276. Emily Miller is still running in the #4110 H2 SUV and is approaching race-mile 200.

LATE AFTERNOON UPDATE

Rod Hall is at race-mile 178 approaching Pit#6, where he is scheduled to let Mike Winkel take over behind the wheel of the #3111 H3 SUV. Mike Falkowsky is at race-mile 176 in the #3101 Ford and has no plans to stop for a driver change so once Mike gets in and the #3111 is back in the race, the two class 3100 trucks should be running neck and neck. Riding with Mike is his brother, Rob Winkel.

Emily Miller has the #4110 H2 SUV back in the race and is currently in third place at race-mile 115. John Sunderland in the #4101 is holding onto second place at race-mile 200, about 85 miles in front of Miller but thirty miles behind Chad Hall who is in the lead at race-mile 230 in the H3 Alpha.

Josh Hall is at race-mile 225 and continues to hold the lead in the #8111 H2 SUT with 22 miles between him and the second place #8102 Ford driven by Greg Foutz. #8110 and #8131, both leading early in the race, have fallen back to race-mile 178 and are dueling each other for third place. We are still only half-way through the race, or less if you are Rod, and a lot can happen once the sun goes down. Chad, in the H3 Alpha, is now only five miles in front of Josh in the H2 SUT. 

TEAM HUMMER UPDATE

Team HUMMER continues to do well in the marathon Vegas to Reno event. Rod Hall, in the #3111 H3 SUV, has been in a drag race with 2007 Class 3100 points champion, Mike Falkowsky in his #3101 Ford Escape, just about all day now with Hall leading the class by one mile over Falkowsky at Race-mile 103. The third place #3104 entry driven by Jesse Herling is back at race-mile 85.

In Class 4100, Chad Hall, in the #4111 H3 Alpha leads by 20 miles over John Sunderland in the #4101 Ford. Chad is currently at race-mile 135. Meanwhile, Emily Miller, in the #4110 H2 SUV suffered a right-front suspension failure as she was turning to enter Pit #2 at race-mile 70. A member of the chase crew said, "There was no apparent reason for the failure. She was making a right turn just before the pit and the suspension just collapsed." Emily pulled into Pit #2 an repairs are being made.

Josh Hall has taken the lead in the #8111 H2 SUT. Josh is currently at race-mile 151, a dozen miles in front of the second place #8110 Dodge who is in a tight race with Alden in the #8131 Ford. Hall was behind by over 26 miles after clearing the traffic jam at race-mile 45, so in 100 miles of racing he has made up the difference and added another 12 miles to his lead. At this point, Josh's next target will be his brother, Chad, who is currently 10 miles ahead of him in the h3 Alpha.

I'll keep an eye on their progress and find out more about the suspension work on Emily Miller's H2 and get back to you.

BACK IN THE RACE

Everyone seems to have gotten past the traffic jam, now with varying results. Chad in the #4111 H3 Alpha is at mile 71, in the lead by 16 miles over John Sunderland in the #4101 Ford and Emily Miller in the #4110 HUMMER, who are in a virtual dead heat for second place in Class 4100.

Rod Hall in the #3111 H3 SUV and Mike Falkowsky in the Ford Escape are running neck and neckfor the lead at mile 47. In Class 8100, Kent Kroeker leads at mile 80 in the #8110 Dodge closely followed by Mike Alden at mile 79 in the #8131 Ford. Josh is at RM 68 in 3rd place with the #8111 H2 while Randy Merritt in the #8181 Ford is challenging him for his position.

TRAFFIC JAM AT MILE 45

While running near the front of Class 8100, Josh Hall broke a rear track bar mount at mile 35  and was down for about 15 minutes while Doug Moore and Kelly Willis welded the mount back into the truck. Ironically, he caught up with the rest of the class at mile 45, where the entire class is stuck in a traffic jam which is apparently the result of a medical emergency which has caused them to stop the race at that location.  #8110 and #8131 and Chad in #4111 seem to have gotten past it but Josh, Emily, Rod and the rest of Classes 3100, 4100, 8100, 7100, etc. are all stopped there waiting to be re-started.  

News as it develops.

AND THEY'RE OFF...

All of the Team HUMMER trucks have started on schedule and seem to be running well. Josh Hall, in the #8111 H2 SUT was first onto the race course at 12:30 PM. Currently Josh, Chad & Rod are leading their classes with Emily Miller running 3rd in the #4110 H2 SUV. It's early yet so I'll give them a little while to get everything sorted out. Riding in the navigator's seat today are Sam Cothrun in the #8111 H2 SUT, with Jason Jacopian in the media seat. Thad Stump is riding with Chad Hall in the #4111 H3 Alpha, Jake Povey is riding the second seat beside Emily Miller in the #4110 H2 SUV and Rob Henderson is in the #3111 H3 SUV with Rod Hall.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

2008 Vegas to Reno

The 2008 Vegas to Reno race is just around the corner and I am heading to the race soon to bring you a live report of our progress in the race as it unfolds. Team HUMMER has four vehicles entered in this year's Vegas to Reno race. Team owner, Rod Hall will be sharing time behind the wheel of the #3111 Team HUMMER H3 SUV with his friend and business partner, Mike Winkel from Reno, Nevada. Rod is currently tied for the lead in the Class 3100 points championship with Mike Falkowsky of Ramona, California who drives a Ford Escape.

Chad Hall will drive the #4111 Team HUMMER H3 Alpha and is currently the Class 4100 points leader by seven points over John Sunderland of Valley Center, California in a Ford Expedition. Chad won this race in Class 8100 last year behind the wheel of the H1 Alpha which went on to win the 2007 Best in the Desert Silver State Series Class 8100 points championship. He and his brother Josh, switched classes this year after new trucks were built for them at the GM Proving Ground in Mesa, Arizona which they debuted at the 2007 Baja 1000 which Chad won in the new H3 Alpha.

Emily Miller will be at the wheel of the #4110 Team HUMMER H2 SUV which was driven with great success for the past 3 years by Josh Hall. Emily lives in Encinitas, California and has been an important part of Rod Hall Team HUMMER for a number of years helping us with a variety of marketing and administrative tasks. She made her solo driving debut at Best in the Desert's Terrible's 250 at Primm, in April where she finished second in Sportsman Class 1800. Emily will move up to a pro class at this race and will drive the entire 455 mile distance in Class 4100 with Jake Povey in the second seat as navigator and team mechanic.

Josh Hall will drive the #8111 Team HUMMER H2 SUT and is currently leading the Class 8100 Points chase by 9 points over Larry Tunnell, Jr. out of Parker, Arizona who drives a Chevy pick-up. Josh has won the last four Vegas to Reno races in Class 4100 and this will be his first year racing the event in Class 8100. This will be a pivotal event for Josh, Chad and Rod since the leads in their respective classes are very close and each of them will need to have a very good finish to maintain their position on top of their classes.

I will be in close touch with the team and will issue progress reports throughout the race. You can also watch their animated image on Iritrack, an internet website that tracks the position of all the entries in the race by going to www.racetheworld.net or you can access a link to this site on the opening page of our website at www.rodhallracing.com.

The race will start on Friday, August 22, with the first of 215 cars and trucks off the line at 10:30 AM. The first Team HUMMER truck to start the race will be Josh Hall in the #8111 Team HUMMER H2 SUT. I estimate that he will start around 12:30 on Friday with our other three entries starting within 10-15 minutes after Josh.

I'll continue with this blog at that time but now, it's time for me to pack my equipment and head for the Silver State.

George R. Thompson

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TEAM PROFILE - THAD STUMP


Thad is the engineering liaison between Team HUMMER and General Motors. He has a long history with GM in new product development both on the car and truck side of the business. Duties with the Team are wide ranging including oversight of the construction of new race trucks, development and testing as well as copiloting in the H2 and H3 racers. Thad provides the link back to GM that ensures the lessons learned are considered and incorporated in future General Motors products.

On the personal side, Thad lives in Gilbert, AZ with his wife and two of his five children that haven’t yet flown the coop. Outside of the support for Team HUMMER a lot of his time is devoted serving as an elected member of the governing board for the 37,000 student Gilbert Unified School District. When given the chance, Thad likes to spend time with his family camping, hiking or just traveling to new places. He has been known to sneak into the woods with sharp sticks in search of the great Wapiti.

Monday, June 30, 2008

HUMMER - Why We Race

video

This video, posted on our YouTube site, is a great commentary from engineer Thad Stump on why HUMMER races off-road.  One of the greatest aspects of the race program is HUMMER translates the information into changes that impact the SUVs that hit the showroom floor.

For the latest Rod Hall Racing videos, log on to www.youtube.com/rodhallracingoffroad.

Monday, June 23, 2008

PHOTO CONTEST

We've had several friends and fans send photos they have taken of the team at various races and events.  We will be posting a section in our photo gallery titled "FAN PHOTOS."  If you send us photos to media@rodhallracing.com, we'll add them.  The team will be selecting their favorites at the PRIMM 300 Sept 5th & 6th.  The winner will receive a Rod Hall Racing team hat.

We'll be running the contest throughout the year, so start snapping now.  Looking for the team?  We spend most of our time around Reno and Phoenix.  However, the team will be pre-running the "TSCO Vegas to Reno" August 1st and 2nd.  

Posted by E. Miller

Sunday, June 1, 2008

ROD HALL DRIVES TO RECORD 18TH BAJA 500 VICTORY

Mike Winkel crossed the finish line at 1:07 AM in Rod Hall's H3 SUV tonight after the duo spent over 14 hours on the course to win the Stock-Mini Class in the Tecate/SCORE Baja 500. The #760 H3 beat every production class vehicle, except Chad Hall's H3 Alpha but, more importantly, Hall's 18th Baja 500 win moved Rod Hall into sole possession of the record for Baja 500 wins over Ivan "Ironman" Stewart. The two had previously been tied for wins at 17 each.

Rod Hall now holds the record for most Baja 500 wins at 18 and the most Baja 1000 wins at 19. Rod hopes to move the Baja 1000 record to an even 20 wins later this year but, no matter the outcome of that race, it is unlikely that anyone will challenge Hall's amazing record of Baja race wins for quite a few years, if ever.

The H3's victory is the second win of the day for Rod Hall Racing and Team HUMMER. The combination of HUMMER and Rod Hall has proved to be the most formidable team in off-road racing, particularly in Baja!

Goodnight from Baja California...

grt

Saturday, May 31, 2008

H3 ALPHA WINS BAJA 500 IN STOCK-FULL CLASS

Chad Hall has won the Stock-Full production Class in the 40th Annual Tecate/SCORE Baja 500. The Rod Hall Racing/Team HUMMER #862 H3 Alpha SUV beat all the production vehicles to the finish in front of the historic Riveria del Pacifico Convention Center in downtown Ensenada. Chad spent just over thirteen hours on the course and his time was faster than all the Class 8 trucks, (modified production trucks), a feat not often accomplished. This is the second win of the year in the SCORE series for the H3 Alpha and extends Chad's lead for the year-end points championship.

Mike Winkel is currently in the lead in the #760 H3 Stock-Mini Truck at RM 410 and running well.  

FAST TIMES IN ENSENADA

To say that it is a challenging proposition to locate a spot in this town to blog, uninterrupted, would be a huge understatement, at best. Long story short, after taking a break for dinner, I returned to the quiet hotel lobby I had been working from, to find a huge crowd and no place to set-up. After an exhaustive search, I managed to locate a bar with a wireless connection fast enough to be useful, a plug for my charger and a place to sit...directly opposite the band, which sounded like rejects from an early audition of American Idol, only louder! Anyway here we are and much has changed since my last post.

Chad Hall is currently at RM 402 in the #862 Team HUMMER H3 Alpha having increased his lead over the second place # 860 Ford F-350 Pickup to more than 100 miles. According to reports I received from the crew, the alpha gradually added to the 40+ mile lead he had at RM 200 when the Ford was forced to stop to repair the power train somewhere short of RM 300. At last report, #860 was at RM 307. 

Mike Winkel drove the #760 H3 SUV right by the #779 Honda Ridgeline while they were stopped in BFG Pit #3 apparently fixing a broken trailing arm. The H3 was is currently at race-mile 385 and the second place Honda still at RM 305. 


ENGINE PROBLEMS RETIRE #861 H2 SUT

Rod Hall pulled into BFG Pit #2 at race-mile 206 15 miles behind Gavin Skilton in the #779 Honda Ridgeline. The crew discovered that the #760 Team HUMMER H3 SUV had suffered a broken front sway bar. Normally, a broken sway bar does not pose much of a problem when racing off-road so driver Mike Winkel and navigator Jake Povey got the H3 SUV back in the race without replacing the broken unit after taking on a load of fuel. Mike felt confident that he could reel the Honda in with 250 miles left to go, so it looks like Winkel and the H3 have a race on their hands.

On a sour note, the H2 SUT was determined to have suffered internal engine damage at RM 195 and was retired from the race. Josh Hall was obviously disappointed after the time and effort the crew had put in getting ready for the race only to have to retire the truck while in the lead. "I'm going to San Felipe for a big steak and a beer but I'll be back next year to win this one". I think it's more likely that he will grab a taco at a roadside stand and head over to help his father win the Stock-Mini Class.

It looks like a long night for Team HUMMER but the Baja 500 is always the most grueling race of the year.

TEAM HUMMER CLOSE TO HALF-WAY POINT

The #861 Team HUMMER H2 SUT has had some sort of electrical problem at race-mile 195 and is driving out to highway 5 to rendezvous with chase vehicles. I am waiting to hear exactly what the problem is and will pass that info on as soon as I know more, Meanwhile, Chad Hall in the #862 H3 Alpha has taken over the lead and has just passed through Pit #2 at RM 206 with a 30 mile lead on John Griffin in the #860 Ford F-350. Griffin is making up time on the leader, however, but there's still a lot of racing left to the finish. Conditions on the course are dry, dusty and tough putting a lot of entries on the trailer early in the race. 

Rod Hall is about 15 miles back in the #760 Team HUMMER H3 SUV. Hall currently has a 52 mile lead on the #762 Toyota FJ and is running very well. Unfortunately, the trucks are in a very desolate area and no-one seems to know where the Honda Ridgeline is because his tracking device is not functioning. So Rod is in first or second but, either way, it's a close race. Just how close will soon be revealed as they are about to pass through BFG Pit #2.


More news as it develops...   

JOSH HALL TAKES THE EARLY LEAD

As of 1:06 PM, Josh Hall, in the #861 H2 SUT, continues to hold on to the lead in the Stock-Full Class by 3 miles over his brother, Chad in the #862 H3 Alpha. Josh is at race-mile 93 and Chad is just leaving the BFG Pit at RM 90.
 

Gavin Skilton's #779 Honda Ridgeline  leads Rod Hall, in the #760 H3 SUV by two miles as they pass the road crossing at RM 84, Kevin Necessary in #762 follows in third spot about 6 miles behind Hall. Kevin drives a Toyota FJ Cruiser and and is from New Zealand.

BAJA 500 RACEDAY - THE START

The 40th Annual Tecate/SCORE Baja 500 started for Team HUMMER when Josh Hall took the green flag at 10:23:30 this morning at the wheel of the #861 Team HUMMER H2 SUT with Chief mechanic, Sam Cothrun in the Navigator's seat. Along for the ride, in the third (media) seat is Mike Levine from pickuptrucks.com. Josh started first in the Stock-Full Class (stock,full sized trucks) followed 15 seconds later by his younger brother Chad, driving the #862 Team Hummer H3 Alpha, the current Stock-Full points leader. Riding with Chad until BFG Pit (RM 95) is Jonathon Ramsey of Autoblog. 


Taking the start in the Stock-Mini Class at 10:25 AM is Team Owner, Rod Hall driving the #760 Team HUMMER H3 SUV. Rod has been Stock-Mini Class champion for the past two years and is way out in front in the race for his third consecutive class points championship, having won the first two races on the SCORE racing schedule. Veteran navigator, John Chapman is riding in the second seat with Rod.


The competition is tough for all three Team HUMMER vehicles at this year's Baja 500. In Stock-Full, John Griffin and Jeremy Spirkoff are only a few points behind Chad Hall in the H3 Alpha with their #860 Ford F-350 Pickup. Another truck to watch is Kent Kroeker in the #864 Dodge Ram Pickup. The Dodge is very fast but has suffered some problems in the recent past, however that can change at  any time because Kroeker runs a quality racing effort. Gavin Skilton is back with his newly constructed #779 Honda Ridgeline in the Stock-Mini Class and the truck looks like it could be a contender. Steve Kovach, in the #761 Ford Ranger has been around for a long time and is always a tough competitor.


That's how it shapes up for Team HUMMER at the start. As the team reports back to me in Ensenada, I'll bring you updates as they become available... 



Friday, May 30, 2008

GREETINGS FROM THE BAJA 500

Pre-race festivities are in full swing in downtown Ensenada for the 40th Annual Tecate/SCORE Baja 500. Various crew members will guide the trucks through the tech line while Rod Hall and sons, Josh and Chad, attend this morning's press conference at the Riviera Del Pacifico Cultural Center, in Downtown Ensenada. The race will start directly in front of the Cultural Center in the morning but for now, all the attention is focused on the loud, pulsating motors of the race machines as they combine with the ear-piercing assault of disco music pumped out of gigantic speaker towers. As you try to force yourself against wave after wave of people moving against you like the offensive line of the New York Giants, an amplified voice from a stage filled with scantilly clad Tecate Girls surrounded by 20 foot tall blow-up beer cans bids you, "Welcome to Baja!"
  
Although the tech and contingency line is a part of the pre-race activities at each event, nowhere does the local community greet the process as enthusiastically as they do in Mexico. Even the schools close so the children have the opportunity to take part in the Baja Fiesta. The actual purpose of the tech and contingency line is to check your vehicle to make sure you are in compliance with all the safety rules and that you actually use all the products that the series sponsors require you to have on your vehicle when the race begins. I'm not certain that the local population knows or cares what the reason for the inspection line might be, they just seem to want to have a good time and and add to their sticker collection while enjoying a day in town with their friends and family. The economy may be sluggish and the price of gas is a burden on everyone, but you would never know such problems exist during race week in Baja. They truly love off-road racing in Mexico. 

And the party won't stop after the tech line closes. In the morning, the locals will line the race course by the thousands, creating a human wall on each side of the course as vehicles of every type and description hurdle past them, some at speeds well in excess of 120 mph. Some will try a touch the big trucks as they speed by in a demonstration of bravado only the locals seem to understand. There are just no greater fans in all the world than there are in Mexico and for our part, there's no experience quite like racing in the deserts of Baja...
 

ROD HALL RACES FOR RECORD WIN AT BAJA 500


ROD HALL GOES FOR RECORD 18th BAJA 500 WIN


In a sport where a dozen major wins can define a successful racing career, no one even comes close to Rod H[Photo]all. Ten-time winner of the internationally recognized Mint 400, ten-time winner of the Parker 400, 12-time winner of the Fireworks 250, 17-time winner of the Baja 500 and the only 19-time winner of the Baja 1000. Over the course of his racing career, Hall has won 16 major class points championships in production 4-Wheel Drive vehicles and well over 160 major events. While many of these records may never be equaled, it is also unlikely that anyone will break his record of 37 consecutive race victories anytime soon.

The defending 2006-07 SCORE Mini-Stock Points Champion, Rod Hall has come to the 40th Annual Tecate/SCORE Baja 500 tied with Ivan “Ironman” Stewart for the most Baja 500 class wins at 17. When the dust settles, after this year’s event, the 70 year-old Hall hopes to stand alone as the only 18-time champion by winning the Baja 500 for the third consecutive year. “I won this race for the first time in 1970, when NORRA was putting it on,” said Hall. “Jim Fricker was my co-driver in those days and I was driving for Bill Stroppe in a Bronco. The next year we won in a factory backed Ford Maverick and I beat all the buggies.”

From 1970-1993 Hall won the Baja 500 fourteen times, mostly in a 4WD Dodge truck. In late 1993, Rod Hall Racing teamed up with HUMMER and the big 6.5-liter diesel powered Full-Stock 4WD Pickup won the race in 1994 giving Hall Baja 500 win number fifteen. His new HUMMER dealership in Reno and other business commitments caused Hall to limit the team’s racing in Mexico to one yearly appearance at the Baja 1000, so Team HUMMER sat out the Baja 500 for the next ten years. When Rod Hall Racing and Team HUMMER rejoined the SCORE Desert Series in 2006, Hall won back-to-back Baja 500 titles in the Mini-Stock Class with his son, six-time Baja 1000 winner, Chad Hall along as co-driver in the new H3 Team HUMMER SUV. Currently, Chad drives an H3 Alpha in the Full-Stock Class and Rod’s oldest son and four-time Baja 1000 winner, Josh Hall drives an H2 SUT, also in the Full-Stock Class.

With 19 Baja 1000 wins and 17 Baja 500 wins, Rod Hall had this to say about his unprecedented success in Baja and his plans for the future: “I think the reason for my success in Mexico is that I know it’s a long race, I understand how much the truck will take and I don’t make mistakes. I’m not fast but I just keep moving and I don’t have to stop and work on my truck. As for the future, my goals for 2008 are to win another championship, the True Grit Award and become the winningest driver in Baja 500 history. Can I do that? Well, probably not but you have to have goals and those are my goals for this year. In 2009 I want to have the option to drive when I want or just be a team owner and chase my team around the desert. I just want to pick and choose and not be as obligated to get behind the wheel as I am now. I want to keep racing but change my focus a bit and maybe go down and help Sal look for new trails or contribute in some way, but I’m going to stay totally involved because this is my life.”

And a great life it is for the legendary Rod Hall; ‘The King of Baja’…

posted on 5/21 by George R. Thompson



Photo by John Pappenfort
Labels: RH Baja 500

Monday, May 26, 2008

GEORGE THOMPSON COVERS THE BAJA 500

George Thompson has been a part of Rod Hall Racing for almost twenty years. For most of that time he has done our newsletters, press releases and race reports. He will be covering the upcoming Tecate/SCORE Baja 500 on the Rod Hall Racing Blog beginning Friday, May 30 and will post updates throught the race.


George’s active roots in racing go back to the mid-sixties when he became involved in drag racing and later, drove his Porsche 356A in SCCA races at the old Riverside International Raceway. In the mid-seventies off-road racing caught his interest and he started attending races in Mexico and Nevada, helping friends with their racing programs. In 1982 he joined the Checkers Off-Road Racing Team at the suggestion of his friend, Hall of Fame inductee, Scott McKenzie, who sponsored his membership into the club. Soon after joining, he built a Class 1600 buggy, which he raced with partner, John Brooks in HDRA and SCORE races. Brooks-Thompson Racing had success at finishing desert races, including both the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 and took a 4th in class at the SCORE Off-Road World Championships in 1985.

From 1987-1994, George served as the administrator of the Competition Review Board (CRB), which heard and ruled on driver protests after each SCORE and HDRA event. He authored a Format and Guidelines for the operation of the CRB and assembled a group of racers to serve on the board after each race. Although he retired as administrator after 1994, the CRB is still in operation today basically unchanged from his original concept.

In 1989, George founded Sunrise Consulting, a company that specializes in motorsports management and communications for off-road racing teams. He has worked with a number of well-known companies and teams in the past 20 years, including Rod Hall Racing. In 1993, when HUMMER and Rod Hall Racing first joined forces to go off-road racing, AM General wanted TV exposure at the Baja 1000. Unfortunately, SCORE had a problem coming to an agreement with any TV production companies to cover the race. George obtained the TV rights from Sal Fish, CEO of SCORE International and made an agreement with Producer Jerry Garrett to co-produce the coverage for the 1993 Baja 1000 which was aired on ESPN. The event turned out to be a very successful off-road racing debut for Team HUMMER, as Rod and Chad Hall finished first and second in the Stock-Full Class.

George has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in Reno, Nevada since 2002. He has written many articles on off-road racing and has participated in Baja racing in one way or another since the mid-seventies. Given his background and experience with the team, it would be hard to imagine a more qualified guide to serve as the voice of Rod Hall Racing on race weekend...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

HUMMER RACING TO TACKLE 40th ANNIVERSARY BAJA 500



Rod Hall seeks record breaking 18th victory

DETROIT – HUMMER off-road racing teams bring their winning traditions to the Baja peninsula once again as Rod Hall Racing’s Team HUMMER and Robby Gordon Off-Road prepare their HUMMER desert race trucks to tackle this year’s 40th Anniversary SCORE International Tecate Baja 500, May 30-June 1, in Ensenada, Mexico.

2008 marks a special year for Team HUMMER as owner and stock-class H3 driver Rod Hall, 70, seeks his record-setting 18th Baja 500 class victory. Joining Hall are his two sons, Josh and Chad, entering their full-stock class H2 SUT and H3 Alpha.

Hall, Team HUMMER owner and pilot of the #760 mini-stock class H3 is a living legend in the off-road racing world. His relentless and unfailing driving ability has earned him a record 19 career wins at the Baja 1000 and the distinction of being the only driver in history to win the Baja 1000 overall in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Moreover, Hall today remains the only person to have raced every Baja 1000 in a four-wheeled vehicle in the 40-year history of the event.

Hall enters the 2008 race, tied for the record of total class wins at 17 and mini stock class winner in 2006 and 2007. Hall currently leads the SCORE mini stock class in season points with class wins at the Laughlin Desert Challenge and Baja 250.

“With 12 years of experience racing stock-class Hummers, I believe that they are the most capable off-road vehicles straight from the factory,” said Rod Hall. “In fact, the H3 Alpha and H3 were the first stock-class vehicles to finish the 2007 Baja 1000.”

Team HUMMER H3 Alpha driver, Chad Hall, enters the 2008 race as points leader in the full-stock class. Hall and the 2008 H3 Alpha were the first stock class vehicle to finish the 2007 Baja 1000, and Hall has a 2008 class victory at SCORE’s Laughlin Desert Challenge.

Also entered in the stock-full class, Team HUMMER H2 SUT pilot Josh Hall returns to Baja in his full-stock class, 2008 HUMMER H2 SUT. He enters the 2008 race with a class victory at the Baja 250. Josh teamed with Rod in the 2007 Baja 1000 to earn the mini-stock class victory and become the second stock-class vehicle to finish the 2007 race.

International racing legend and three-time overall Baja 1000 champion, Robby Gordon, owner of Robby Gordon Off-Road, prepares to race the Team Dakar USA purpose-built H3 in the Baja 500 Trophy Truck class. Gordon and the H3 most recently finished 10th overall in the inaugural Central Europe Rally, winning two specials in the fifth and sixth stages of the race.

Follow the teams’ progress live by visiting Team HUMMER (www.rodhallracing.com) or Robby Gordon Off-Road (www.robbygordon.com) on May 31, 2008.

About HUMMER
HUMMER is a division of General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer, which employs about 321,000 people globally. HUMMER is a premium off-road vehicle manufacturer with sales in 37 countries and a product line-up that consists of the H2, H2 SUT, H3, H3x, and award-winning H3 Alpha. Information on HUMMER products is available at www.hummer.com.

Robby Gordon Motorsports is based in Huntersville, N.C., and owned by Gordon. In addition to its Dakar effort, the team focuses its attention on competing in America's biggest racing series - the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The team has run numerous seasons in various racing series, including CART, the Score International Off-Road Series, the NASCAR Busch Series, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and several one-off efforts in the famed Indianapolis 500, with Gordon enjoying success at every level of his storied career as an owner and driver. He prides himself on his meticulous nature, which includes building cars, trucks and other racing machines that are among the best in their respective disciplines. For more information visit www.robbygordon.com.

About Team HUMMER
Team HUMMER was founded by legendary off-road racer Rod Hall in 1993. Since then, Rod and his sons Josh and Chad have compiled 13 class wins at the SCORE Baja 1000; countless podium finishes in the Best in the Desert (BitD) Racing Association series; two SCORE class championships; and five BitD class championships. Team HUMMER competes with the H3, H2 SUT and H3 Alpha in the stock class, which features production-based vehicles with stock frames, stock suspension designs and production-based engines. For more information about Team HUMMER, visit www.rodhallracing.

# # #

Contacts:
Nick Richards
HUMMER Communications
313-665-9292
313-720-9541
Nick.Richards@gm.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ROD HALL RACING - MEET THE TEAM


Of course, Rod Hall is synonymous with the off-road team Rod Hall Racing - Team HUMMER. And most are familiar with his winning sons - Chad and Josh. But I want to dedicate today’s entry to giving fans and friends a closer look at the entire crew. Rod Hall Racing competes ten times each year, therefore, our team members dedicate a significant amount of free time traveling to destinations across the southwest and Baja. The races range in duration between travel, set up, racing and tear down. For example, the previous Primm race required five days of time away and Chad’s group (the H3 Alpha team) spent six due to an additional day of testing at Parker. However, a Baja 1000 adds up to seven+ days not including pre-running. Add in testing, prep and pre-running and it is staggering the number of man-hours.

Geographically, our crew members primarily live in either Reno or the greater Phoenix area - home of the General Motors Desert Proving Grounds (DPG). For 2008, the H2 SUT is housed and prepped in Reno at SamCo Fabrication, and the H3 and H3 Alpha reside at the DPG. Two members attend from Detroit - Nick Richards from HUMMER Communications and Dwight Woodbridge from GM Racing. On any given race weekend, we have approximately 30 people working specific roles. To sum it up, the tasks include pit crew/chase, communications, timing and scoring, driving/co-riding and media. (A listing of our team members and their general responsibilities are listed on the DRIVER page at rodhallracing.com.) Additionally, media guests often accompany the team at various races. Under the right circumstances, we are able to provide journalists a particularly unique opportunity to race in one of the co-riders’ seats or Josh’s third seat. Rod believes there is no better way to demonstrate the capabilities of a stock truck than experiencing the performance in race conditions.

Off-road racing is a seriously tough sport - almost difficult to put in to words. At any given race, there are 3-10 pits in various (and often remote) locations requiring multiple teams of mechanics and support people to staff each pit and attempt to tackle any problem that may arise during a race. Additionally, we run three trucks in each race, making it much more taxing to the entire crew. The photograph posted above is a portion of team at the finish line of the 2007 Baja 1000. At the time this shot was taken (approximately 4 a.m.), most of the team had been awake for two full days, missing two straight nights of sleep while racing, chasing, fueling and repairing all the way from Ensenada to Cabo. I am always amazed at the skill level of our team. Each person seems to channel MacGuyver - solving problems in the wide-open desert with limited tools and the race clock ticking. So for the next couple months, our team blog will include entries highlighting our different team members - because without them, we can’t win.

Posted by E. Miller

HUMMER SCORES A HAT TRICK AT TERRIBLE'S 250

Team HUMMER sweeps production classes with 2008 H2 SUT, H3 Alpha and H3
Emily Miller earns second place in Safari Class in debut rac
e

DETROIT - Team HUMMER earned first place in every production class in Saturday’s Best in the Desert Racing Series Terrible’s 250 at Primm, marking the first time the team has earned three victories in a race. In addition to the stock class wins, Emily Miller earned a Safari Pre-Runner class second place finish in her inaugural race, driving the Team HUMMER H2 SUV.

Team HUMMER owner and 40-year Baja 1000 veteran, Rod Hall, and his sons Josh and Chad entered their stock-class H3, H2 SUT and H3 Alpha in this year’s race, which consisted of three 84.2 mile laps.

“The entire team did a phenomenal job of securing Team HUMMER wins in every production class,” said Rod Hall. “Today’s results demonstrate the off-road capability designed and built into every HUMMER vehicle.”

Team HUMMER races Best in the Desert’s 8100, stock production full-size truck; 4100, pure-stock production full-size SUV; and 3100, pure-stock production midsize SUV classes. Each class features production-based vehicles with stock frames, stock suspension designs and production-based engines.

Josh Hall and Sam Cothrun piloted the #8111 2008 H2 SUT to a commanding victory in the production full-size truck class, finishing in 6:03:39, at an average speed of 41.75 mph. The team ran a near flawless race, with stops only for fuel and to make a minor suspension repair.

“The team has done a great job preparing and tuning the new H2 race truck,” said Josh Hall. “It has gotten better every race and I think we’re just starting to tap into the truck’s true potential.”

The Team HUMMER #4111 H3 Alpha was piloted to victory in the production full-size SUV class by Chad Hall and Thad Stump. The pair piloted the vehicle across the finish line with a final time of 6:18:52 and an average speed of 39.98 mph.

“The H3 Alpha continues to demonstrate the capability and reliability of Hummer’s production trucks,” said Hall. “That truck is a strong runner in every type of terrain.”

Team HUMMER’s third victory came from team of Rod Hall, Mike Winkel and John Chapman in the #3111 H3. The trio combined to race the H3 to victory in the production midsize SUV class, finishing the 252 mile race in 7:27:48. The team ran the grueling course at an average speed of 33.83 mph, beating the nearest competitor by more than 48 minutes.

In addition to the three production class entries from Team HUMMER, Emily Miller made her desert racing debut, by piloting the #1810 Team HUMMER H2 SUV to a second place finish in the Safari Pre-Runner Sportsman class. The sportsman class is open to any type of race vehicle and consisted of two 84.2 mile laps.

With a finishing time of 4:49:52, Miller and co-driver Jake Povey finished the two-lap sportsman class race at an average speed of 34.84 mph.

Team HUMMER’s next scheduled race is the SCORE International Baja 500, May 30 – June 1, 2008. The 2008 Baja 500 marks the 40th Anniversary for the infamous off-road race in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.


About HUMMER
HUMMER is a division of General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer, which employs about 321,000 people globally. HUMMER is a premium off-road vehicle manufacturer with sales in 37 countries and a product line-up that consists of the H2, H2 SUT, H3, H3x, and award-winning H3 Alpha. Information on HUMMER products is available at www.hummer.com.

About Team HUMMER
Team HUMMER was founded by legendary off-road racer Rod Hall in 1993. Since then, Rod and his sons Josh and Chad have compiled 13 class wins at the SCORE Baja 1000; countless podium finishes in the Best in the Desert (BitD) Racing Association series; two SCORE class championships; and five BitD class championships. Team HUMMER competes with the H3, H2 SUT and H3 Alpha in the stock class, which features production-based vehicles with stock frames, stock suspension designs and production-based engines. For more information about Team HUMMER, visit www.rodhallracing.