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1986 Toyota Pickup - When Spectating Is Not Enough

Front Right
Jeff Vandenhelder | Writer
Posted October 1, 2005
Photographers: Kevin Blumer, Collette Blumer, Courtesy of Jason Hutter

Taking a Toyota From the Sidelines to the Starting Line

Jason Hutter was going nuts. Transplanted from San Clemente, California, to Snowmass Village, Colorado, to take a firefighting job, he was surrounded by some of the best scenery and off-roading to be had anywhere. Despite the great job and premium surroundings, something was missing. Jason needed a fix of desert speed in a bad way, so he packed his gear. Jason was Baja-bound. Sensing an impending adventure, coworker Paul Blangsted asked where Hutter was headed. "I'm going to watch the Baja 1000," came the reply. That was all it took for the solo journey to become a tandem effort

Hutter and Blangsted were on their way to experience the 1995 Baja 1000. At the time, the Trophy Truck class was only 2 years old. Major manufacturers were backing most of the Trophy Truck teams, with Chevrolet's Larry Ragland taking the top TT honors that year. The '95 Baja 1000 started in Tijuana, instead of the usual Ensenada kickoff point. The race wound its way down the peninsula a record 1,146 miles to La Paz for the longest Baja 1000 racecourse in history. The two firefighters drove to Morelia Junction and watched the race. Short on sleep and with clothes full of Baja's finest silt, Blangsted turned to Hutter on the drive home and said, "We're doing this. We're gonna go racing even if we have to race a stock VW Bug in Class 11." Hutter agreed, but convinced Blangsted that racing a truck would be a better way to go. Desert racing's buggy classes feature some of the sport's most advanced technology, but the looks of the machines make them harder for the average person to relate to. By choosing to race a familiar-looking pickup truck, fans would be better able to relate to the vehicle, and sponsorship would be easier to come by. SCORE's Stock Production Mini Truck class, or Class 7s, became the chosen path. They just needed a truck

Fire Guys Racing didn't have to search far. A fellow firefighter at their station was about to eighty-six his '86 Toyota 2WD pickup. It had served faithfully for many years as a daily driver, but the engine had finally died. Jason asked what the wrecking yard had offered for the terminal Toy'. Three-hundred and fifty dollars was the price. "Sold!" The Fire Guys had their truck

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