Steve Ruddick's Got Dirt? Toyota is a common sight during MDR Prerunner class contests. Steve began with a leaf-sprung solid-axle Toyota 4x4 pickup, but the truck has since traded the solid front axle for a pair of Ford-style I-beams. At the rear, a recently installed linkage suspension sprung by coilover shocks helps the 'Yota glide along at speeds never dreamed of by the stock truck. Andy Stix was the man responsible for the metallic transformation and also helps with codriving duties during races. Got Dirt? offsets some of its racing expenses by selling T-shirts. Our personal favorite? A kid's T-shirt that reads "My dad's faster than your dad."
The Flying Dutchman, Dan Vanden Huevel ("from the hills" in Dutch), brought his Kumho-shod CORR Pro-2 truck from its Wisconsin stable to let Expo-goers see what an 800hp short-course truck looks like up close and personal. The 4130 chrome-moly tube frame is TIG-welded and skinned with lightweight fiberglass panels. "You go through a body every race," says the 2004 Top Five finisher. CORR's contests last about 15 minutes per class and require a full-throttle assault from the green to the checker. A class tire-width rule for 2005 will require 12-1/2-inch treads to be used at the rear instead of the 14-1/2-inchers that were previously a class standard. The reason for the rule change? Reliability. The grip that the wider meats provided served to readily snap axles, which added to racers' already substantial budgets. Safety was also a huge factor behind the rule change. "There was the potential for a wheel to get loose and fly into the crowd," Dan revealed. The Pro-2 Chevy uses Richmond gears with a full spool for maximum traction. Ratios are changed from track to track, but usually hover around 6 to 1.
Advance Adapters was also on hand, showing off the Vortec engines that are now available. At the tail end of this display drivetrain sat the AA Atlas II - arguably the best transfer case ever made. The Atlas II can be ordered in a variety of low-gear ratios and can have a passenger- or driver-side front output. Another cool feature is that the Atlas II can be clocked to maximize ground clearance, or to relieve steep front driveline angles. Advance also makes adapters for unconventional applications, such as those that couple a small-block Chevy motor to a Ford manual transmission to create the shortest drivetrain possible. We'd like to run this combination, just for the groans we'd get from the Bow Tie and Blue Oval purists among us.
Dixon Bros. Racing took its considerable race-prep talents and put them into developing long-travel suspension kits for four-wheel-drive A-arm Fords. The kit shown here provides as much as 14 inches of travel and fits Ranger Edge 2WD and 4WD models. The kit also fits Explorer Sport Tracs. Clean workmanship and the use of coilover shocks are welcome additions that add reliability and smooth suspension action to the latest generation of Rangers. Our favorite part, though, is that the kits are fully functional with four-wheel drive. Dixon Bros. also produces a 4WD long-travel kit for '97-'03 F-150s that cycle 15 inches. We'll add one of each to our wish list.
Mickey Thompson Tires brought out its biggest lugs: the 46-inch Baja Claws. Yes, they're h
Coil springs and links adorned the Jeep Wrangler beginning in 1996, and the slow-speed set
GM Performance Parts was on hand with several crate motors that made us drool. After we cl