Jeepspeed's First Race Of '07
We recently checked out the first race of the '07 Jeepspeed season in Parker, Arizona; it was also the first race where other Jeep models were allowed to participate. This year, there are three classes: Jeepspeed 1, which includes the stock-ish XJs; Jeepspeed 2, which includes TJ and JK Wranglers, as well as ZJ and WJ Grand Cherokees; and Jeepspeed 3, which allows any model Jeep made from '84-'01 with any Jeep, AMC, Chrysler, Dodge, or Mopar engine (as long as it meets the 116-inch maximum wheelbase requirement).
All told, there were 28 Jeepspeed 1 participants, one Jeepspeed 2 TJ, and three Jeepspeed 3 vehicles--making for the largest starting field in Jeepspeed's five-year history. If you've never been to a Jeepspeed race, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Take 40 fast-moving Jeeps with at least 80 drivers and copilots, all of whom banter back and fort like some big, speed-addicted family, drop them in the desert, and tell them to "Go." It's a really good time (as long as you don't mind dust and sun).
Dust Junkies Racing showed up in the first Wrangler-based Jeepspeed Jeep, a '99 TJ Sport. We were really looking forward to seeing it in action, but with a 10-foot shakedown drive from the garage to the trailer, a popped radiator hose took them out of the race at mile 23. This was after two months of thrashing to take the TJ from a daily driver to a Jeepspeed participant.
Mike Barnett ran this J-Truck. It used to race class 8 in the SCORE series, but after eight years of storage, the mothballs were evicted, the truck was dusted off, and it was raced. Some damage to the front clip and suspension meant some emergency repairs on the first lap, but by being a little more cautious on the second lap, the J-Truck went on to take First Place in the Jeepspeed 3 class.