To win any competition, one must be there at the end. In desert racing, that is usually easier said than done. The 2011 Master Pull VORRA USA 500 was 500 plus miles of rocks, silt, holes, whoops and two separate “Endo Alleys” – 100+ mph gas line roads with dozens of steep rolling drop offs and rises that test the driver and the machine.

At 10:53 last night, the #6 HRT crossed the line 1st in the Unlimited Class 1 and a well earned 2nd Overall. The first half of the race went as smoothly as is possible. Chad and his navigator, Dana Morris, steadily moved their way from 4th starting position to a solid 1st overall, with a 35 minute lead over the 2nd vehicle on the course.  At the half way point, Josh and partner Rob Caufield, swapped into the truck to bring it home.

As any good drama would include, our excitement occured at race mile 347, right in the middle of some of the more severe silt beds. Just 8 miles from our stationary pit location, a bang from the rear end signaled a rear differential problem. We shifted the transfer case into low range and nursed the final 8 miles to pit 2 with front wheel drive only.

Once at the pit, Chad and the Hall Racing USA/SamCo Fabrication crew pulled the rear differential carrier and replaced all the failed ring gear fasteners in a little over an hour. Now our 40 minute lead had become a 35 minute deficit and running 5th on the road and 3rd in class. But we were back in the game.

By Pit 3 we were heading closer to the front, getting around lapped traffic and reeling in the overall leaders. At the checkered flag, we finished 12 minutes on corrected time behind the SamCo Group T truck and could not have been more excited about the improvements made between races.

Our American Axle Manufacturing racing front driveline slipper unit functioned the entire race. As did the front axles and outer CV joints from RCV. We ran the entire distance and finished in four wheel drive.

We are finally to the point where we can start to fine tune, rather than re-design. Before the next race, a few more improvements will be incorporated to increase transmission cooling, a change to the rear differential and some calibration tweaks on the engine computer, but the list keeps getting shorter.

It looks like this win could be the first of more to follow.