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Top Dawg

Posted in Features on October 16, 2002
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What do you get when you mix a short dirt racecourse, jumps, sharp turns, fender tangling racing, and grandstands for fans to view all the action out on the course? Well, you get Championship Off-Road Racing, or CORR, as it is better known. Since its inaugural season, CORR has steadily grown in racers and fans over the past five years, making CORR one of the hottest motorsports around, even making some drivers leave the long, tough desert races in their rearview mirrors.

This month we'll take a look at Huseman Engineering's Fabtech-sponsored CORR Pro-Lite Ford Ranger driven by Rick Huseman of Riverside, California. Starting with the CORR rulebook, the team at Huseman Engineering went to work on creating its Pro-Lite racer in 1999. Beginning with a Pro-Lite spec. chassis made out of chromoly, Huseman went to work on designing the suspension. What he came up with was custom-built 4130 chromoly A-arms providing 12 inches of vertical wheel travel on the front. In the rear, Huseman designed a custom four-link rear suspension cycle with 14 inches of travel. King coilover and bypass shocks are mounted on each corner.

You're probably asking yourselves why the travel is so limited on a custom suspension. Well, the reason is simple: The CORR rules for Pro-Lite trucks limits the suspension travel to 12 inches in the front and 14 inches in the rear. This makes for a solid ride into the corners for the rubber to really hook up, The closed course race tracks also keep the jumps to controlled height, and racers can tune their suspension for each course. It also equates into parity amongst the racers -- keeping it all even across the board.

Power to drive the wheels is crucial in this type of competitive situation. Huseman Engineering called upon Esslinger Engines to create a class-legal powerplant. Starting with a cast-iron '86 Ford SVO block, Esslinger went to work machining, porting, and polishing the four-banger. Using their own heads and a Crower camshaft, the 2,600cc engine puts out more than 315 ponies -- plenty of power for Rick to guide his way to victory.

Bolted to the engine, a G-Force five-speed non-synchronized transmission harnesses the power and feeds it to a 9-inch Tubeworks rearend. There, 15x9-inch Circle wheels (with OMF beadlocks) wrapped with 32x11.50R15 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A tires propel Rick to the checkered flag.

The crew at Rick's shop fit the Ford Ranger Fiberglass body, constructed by Trailer Products, on to the chromoly chassis.. After the fit was good, the Ranger was painted Fabtech Blue and White with carbon-fiber accents.

The total time to build this Top Dawg was three months; the Pro-Lite was completed and ready for action. Since the 2000 season, Rick has captured the checkered flag 11 times in the Pro-Lite Ranger. So far in 2002, Rick is leading the highly competitive CORR Pro-Lite class in points. Not a bad start for Huseman Engineering's first Pro-Lite effort.

0212or 00zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Front View Getting Airborne
0212or 01zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Rear Passenger Side View
0212or 02zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Front Driver Side View
0212or 03zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+High Angle Shot Looking Down On Tire
0212or 04zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Shock And Coil Over Spring
0212or 05zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Rear Driver Side Fender Removed Bed Cage
0212or 06zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Front Hood And Grille Shot
0212or 07zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Rear Cage Gas Tank And Batteries
0212or 08z+1999 Ford Ranger+Rear driver Side Fender Close Up
0212or 09s+1999 Ford Ranger+Close Up Wheel
0212or 10zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Rear Shot Bed Cage
0212or 11zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Rear Shot Tires And Transfer Case
0212or 12zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Engine Picture
0212or 13zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+High Angle Looking Down At Bed
0212or 14s+1999 Ford Ranger+Suspension Shot
0212or 15zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Interior Steering wheel and Seat
0212or 16zoom+1999 Ford Ranger+Interior Intake Shot

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