Author: Jordan Powell Photos: Boyd Jaynes
It’s been a long time coming for the number 76, but after a three-year hiatus Jesse Jones is making his return to short-course with this beautifully built Menzies Motorsports Pro 2. It’s no secret that Jones and the Menzies family have formed a strong relationship over the years, so when Steve Menzies mentioned that he was going to build a new truck for Bryce (Menzies) for the 2014 season, Jones suggested that he might as well build two. “Bryce and I team up in the desert,” explained Jones, “and with all the free time I have on my hands, I decided that we should team up in short-course, too.” It’s a comeback that has been long overdue, with Jones saying that he has missed the full-contact close-quarters combat of short-course, something he doesn’t get to experience in the desert. When it came time for Menzies Motorsports’ designer Michael Krahling to start working his magic, there actually weren’t a lot of design changes for Jones’ steed, as compared to Menzies’. In fact, Bryce and Jesse’s trucks are almost identical. Almost. “When I had this conversation with Steve,” said Jones, “I told him to build it exactly like Bryce’s truck. That way, I could sort of piggyback Bryce’s race setup because he obviously has a lot more knowledge about short-course than I do. So, when it comes time for me to jump into the truck, I can just get in and go, rather than mess around with settings.” As far as sponsors go, Jones said, “Fox is pretty excited about the whole deal. The body of my truck looks exactly like my desert truck, so Fox will now have a huge presence in short-course. BFGoodrich doesn’t have super high expectations for me, and I don’t have high expectations, either,” Jones laughed. “For KMC, their wheels are already on Bryce’s truck, so we put them on mine.” Once it came time to let this bad boy loose in the hard-packed Glen Helen dirt for its first test session, Bryce was recruited to take the wheel of his teammate’s new Pro 2 to help dial it in. “For Jesse Jones, he raced short-course for a few years, but took three years off before he decided to make his return,” explained Menzies. “Considering that our team has won the championship in the Pro 2 class in the last couple of years, Jones really wanted me to help set up his truck. So, hopefully when it comes time to unload this thing for race day, Jesse will be confident knowing that this truck is capable of winning.” Although it hasn’t been determined if he’ll be racing TORC or LOORRS, Jones did say that he will be making his return at the historic Crandon International Off-Road Raceway. However, by the time this magazine reaches your hands, the infamous race will already be in the history books. So, we’ll just have to wait and see if Jones got that top-10 result he was hoping for. Now, let’s take a closer look at this pristine machine.
To keep up with the competition in the Pro 2 class, a Pro Power Racing Ford 427 cubic-inch small-block V8 was fitted inside the tight confines of the chassis, which cranks out an astonishing 900 horsepower and 718 lbs-ft of torque. To keep those wheels turning and burning, a Kroyer KRE Turbo 400 three-speed transmission was installed with a Weismann underdrive, which completes the powertrain package. Feeding the beast is a fully built Pro Power carburetor to comply with the engine rules of Pro-2.
Heat is always the enemy, so to cool down this high-revving machine a pair of CBR Performance Products off-road radiators are mounted, which are coupled with EFE fans to provide additional cooling.
Much like the front, the rear suspension is also restricted to 20 inches of travel using a four-link design. Keeping that four-link floating smoothly is a set of Fox 3.0 five-tube, piggyback reservoir 18-inch stroke bypass and 2.0 18-inch stroke coilover shocks. A Tubeworks rear housing hangs from the four-link, while a Strange Ultra Case with 5.00 gears and full floating PPM 40-spline 300M axles take up the inside. ProAm hubs and Coleman 14-inch rotors with ProAm six-piston calipers complete the package.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that this four-link is fully adjustable. Depending on how the truck is handling out on the track, the crew can slide the links up and down in the laser-cut slots to make the needed adjustments.
Short-course interiors are noticeably bare bones and business-only environments, and Jones’ domain is no different. Inside it is a MoTec ADL3 that displays Jones’ blistering speeds along with a host of other vital parameters while sitting inside an exquisitely crafted Michael Krahling aluminum dash. Rugged Radios keeps the crew communicating freely while Jones grabs another gear with his Turbo 400 gated Winters shifter with one hand, and uses a suede Momo steering wheel to keep the tires in line with the other.
Due to the strict guidelines teams need to follow when designing their chassis and suspension for short-course racing, you won’t see a lot of dissimilarities from truck to truck. Regardless, Michael Krahling and Trinidad Sanchez of Menzies Motorsports meticulously crafted these fine-looking upper and lower A-arms, which are limited to 18 inches of wheel travel. To keep the ride as smooth as possible, a set of Fox 3.0 four-tube piggyback reservoir 16-inch stroke bypass and 2.0 16-inch stroke coilover shocks were mounted. Screwed to the aircraft grade billet aluminum ProAm hubs are Coleman 13-inch rotors and ProAm six-piston calipers.
While flashy, vibrant colors are great for attracting the human eye, there’s no denying that simplistic, two-tone colors give off a clean, professional look. The same goes for this Boatec fiberglass Ford Raptor body. With black and white flowing flawlessly across this 4,000-lb. Pro 2, Jesse Jones’ short-course truck looks good no matter where it falls in the race lineup.
At 60 inches, this Pro-2 isn’t the typical height of your everyday truck. Then again, your everyday truck probably isn’t outfitted with a set of BFGoodrich 35-inch Mud Terrain Project tires and KMC 17-inch beadlock wheels, either.
POWERTRAIN Engine: Ford 427 cubic-inch small-block V8
BUILDER: Pro Power Racing
MAX Horsepower: 900 horsepower
MAX Torque: 718 lb-ft
MODIFICATIONS: Pro Power Racing billet aluminum block and heads INDUCTION: Pro Power Racing carburetor and K&N intake TRANSMISSION: Kroyer KRE Turbo 400 three-speed transmission, Weismann underdrive
Michael Krahling designed dual A-arms with 18 inches of restricted wheel travel, Fox 3.0 five-tube bypass and 2.0 coilover shocks
Michael Krahling designed four-link with 20 inches of restricted wheel travel, Fox 3.0 five-tube bypass and 2.0 coilover shocks
CBR Performance Products radiators, EFE fans, Setrab coolers
Front:Coleman 13-inch rotors with ProAm six-piston calipers
REAR:Coleman 14-inch rotors with ProAm six-piston calipers
KMC 17-inch beadlocks
Mud Terrain Projects
BODYWORK: Boatec fiberglass Ford Raptor body
INTERIOR: Michael Krahling designed aluminum dash, MoTec ADL3 gauge, Rugged Race radio and intercom, Momo steering wheel, Mastercraft harnesses CHASSIS: Menzies Motorsports Pro 2 DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase: 117 inches Overall Length: 208 inches Overall Height: 60 inches Track Width: 91 inches Overall Weight: 4,000 lbs.