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2005 Ford F-350 - Off-Road Pit Stop

Inside A Desert Racing Chase Truck

Photography by Jay Kopycinski

Braaaaacccckkk......You'll Hear That Sound 23 More Times Before the typical off-road pit stop is over. Twelve lug nuts come off, and twelve more go back on when the crew driving this G&R Racing F-350 swaps out the two rear Toyo Open Country M/T tires on each of the team's off-road race vehicles.

THE G&R RACING TEAM
Drivers Garron Cadiente and Ron Whitton campaign two Trophy Trucks, basically unlimited off-road race vehicles that look like pickups, in several race associations. Notable finishes for the team include winning the SCORE San Felipe Overall and First in Class at the Best in the Desert Terrible's Town 250 this year. Cadiente was also named 2006 SCORE and Best In The Desert (BITD) Rookie of the Year. Wins have included the 2006 SCORE San Felipe 250 and the BITD Terrible's Town 250 three weeks later. Whitton began Trophy Truck racing in 2006 as well and placed a very respectable Third in last year's SCORE Baja 1000 race.

Both racers drive Geiser Brothers fabricated Trophy Trucks that are built to resemble Ford F-150s. Backing up those F-150 race trucks and their drivers is a tractor-trailer and a fleet of five Ford Super Duty chase trucks like the one shown here. The race rigs are only a piece of the puzzle and it takes a significant amount of help to complete the tortuous courses that make up desert racing.

BUILDING A CHASE RIG
We caught up with Brian Godfrey and Mike Williams, G&R Racing team managers, just as they were returning from the SCORE San Felipe Baja 250 race. We were able to get a detailed peek at one of their chase trucks to bring you an idea as to what goes into building and maintaining such a vehicle.

This truck started life as a stock '05 Ford F-350 Super Duty equipped with the 6.0L Power Stroke diesel. The engine remains stock for utmost reliability and replacement parts availability anywhere the team may travel.

Out back, a Knapheide utility bed is used in place of a standard pickup bed and provides plenty of storage for tools and spare parts. The crew is also equipped with a MIG welder, generator, battery charger, compressed air supply, and a nitrogen bottle for shock refills on the race trucks. The chase truck must also carry a few of its own spares such as belts, hoses, and an extra air compressor.

To handle the added weight over the rear axle, the leaf packs were re-arched and a few extra leaves added along with supplemental air spacings. The front suspension and shocks work well in stock form.

The guy who pays the bills must think highly of his crew as they travel in the comfort of a fully loaded leather interior. Inside you'll find necessities such as the Lowrance GPS unit, XM satellite radio, IonEarth real-time satellite tracking gear, and a Kenwood FM transceiver used for race and team communication.

FUEL TO GO
Perched on the bed is a large, polished 100-gallon aluminum tank and tower apparatus fabricated by Geiser Brothers. When lifted into place at a pit stop, this becomes a remote fueling station for the race trucks. Race gas is carried in steel drums in the truck bed or on a trailer. Once the tower is raised, an electric pump transfers the fuel to the tower tank where it waits to be dispensed to the race truck. From what we're told, the wide 2-inch fueling hose fills significantly faster than the one at your local gas station.

FURTHER SUPPORT
The race radios and satellite telemetry help the team locate each other, but that is further enhanced with the flamed paint schemes on the team vehicles. The splashy pigment was sprayed on by Orlando Auto Body in Mesa, Arizona.

Above the cab, amongst some of the tubework, is a Geiser-built folding rack that holds a healthy half dozen KC HID lights. Should the sun begin to set during a race, the light bar is removed from the chase truck and transferred to the race truck. The lights are the new trick 70-watt carbon fiber KC Pod lights.

You can easily see that a well-bred race team relies very heavily on their chase crew, and vehicles such as those featured in this article are vital to the team's success. To find out more about the G&R Racing Team or to check out all of their race results, you can visit their Web site at: Gnrracing.com.

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