Turning a tired Cherokee into a JeepSpeed racer
How long do you figure it would take to build a race truck? Months? Weeks? Would you believe 10 days?
Yeah, we were skeptical too.
But when Jason LaFortune called, we listened. In 2004, LaFortune and his Temper-Mental Racing (TMR) crew assembled his first JeepSpeed Cherokee in about two weeks. He took that black No. 1795 Jeep to Mexico and scored a class win in the Baja 1000, then continued to win often enough to capture JeepSpeed's Stock class championship and Rookie of the Year honors.
For the '06 season, he wanted to go faster. And not just in the desert. LaFortune figured he could lop precious days off his previous buildup schedule and turn a 140,000-mile, former U.S. Forest Service Cherokee into a full-bore JeepSpeed truck in 10 days. To add extra pressure to the mix, he started the build just two weeks before the season's first race in Parker, Arizona, cutting any fudge-factor time to just about nothing. And to keep his adrenaline flowing, he asked us to document the build for Jp, meaning there'd be a camera and a witness around to see if he could meet the ultra-brief deadline.
Those of you who follow the JeepSpeed series know how this turns out. For those who don't, we're not going to spoil it. Just enjoy the ride as we follow the buildup. We'll spill the beans in good time.