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1992 Toyota Pickup - Kung Fu

Posted in Features on May 1, 2009
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Photographers: High Rev Photography

If you race or follow Southern California desert racing, than you know who Dan Vance is. Taking home the '03 and '04 MDR 1450 class championship title speaks for itself. After a pair of highly successful years Dan decided he wanted more. The next truck needed to be faster, smoother, and more reliable to give him the chance to race in some upper level classes.

We give you Kung Fu, Dan's '92 Toyota truck that has quickly gained both respect and a wealth of interesting stories. Dan originally purchased this truck for an auto parts company he was working for back in '92 (brand new). Over the years it suffered the loss of two motors, was wrecked twice, and almost landed in the junkyard. In '04 Dan was given the keys to the delivery truck and the transformation began.

The decision on who would help Dan create his next championship winning truck was an easy one. Mike Clark, Owner and Fabricator of ESB Fabrications built Dan's past trucks and this would make it a hat trick. The truck got its name one night while Mike and Dan, beaten up and bruised from the process, were building it. The song "Kung Fu Fighting" came on the radio and the name stuck as the truck was surely beating both of them up. Not to mention it was kicking the crap out of Dan's wallet.

The first scheduled race for the truck was supposed to be the Beard Shootout that M.O.R.E. held in the summer of `05. The truck was ready to go but with zero test time Dan decided to attend the race as a spectator and maybe shake the truck down a bit off the course. While watching the race someone ran over to Dan and informed him that one of the media helicopters had gone down and the medical support vehicles were having a tough time getting there quickly enough. Dan's contacted the race officials and got clearance to jump on the race course and off he went to aid in support any way he could with a race medic sitting shotgun. Many of you have probably read about this horrible day- the day our good friend Steve Kurtyka was burned badly in the crash. At speeds over 100 mph passing over 20 racecars, Kung Fu was able to help save lives. The truck had beaten the support helicopter also on it's way to the crash site. The GPS and race radio in the Toyota allowed the medic to contact the helicopter and get them to the correct location quickly. Call it Fate, Karma, or an act of God, but there was a reason Dan didn't enter that race.

A few weeks later the truck took home the 1450 class title at the MDR 400 race. Since then the truck has held a 45 percent win ratio and has become the first 1400 class truck to `overall' a race. This year Dan and the rest of the DNF Racing Team plan on entering some Nevada race events in the SNORE series competing in Class 7 Open. They hope to continue kicking butt and living up to the truck's name.

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