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2012 Top Truck Challenge Competitors: We Are The Champions Part 2

Posted in Top Truck Challenge: 2012 on November 1, 2012
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Contributors: Ken Brubaker
Photographers: Four Wheeler Staff

Last month we gave you a detailed look at nine of this year’s Top Truck Champions’ Challenge (TTCC) rigs. This month we delve into the second half of the 18-vehicle field.

What is TTCC? Well, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the legendary Top Truck Challenge, and to celebrate we’ve invited all of the past champions of Top Truck back to Hollister Hills, California, to compete in an unprecedented, history-making, weeklong mega-throwdown on seven of the gnarliest challenges known in the wheeling world.

Top Truck began in 1993 and it has morphed considerably through the years to adapt to the changing world of off-road competition. Nowadays, Top Truck is lean and focused. Competitors at this year’s Top Truck Champions’ Challenge will compete in our seven famous events consisting of the Tow Test, Frame Twister, Mud Pit, Obstacle Course, Hill Climb, Mini Rubicon, and Tank Trap.

Past champions are invited to drive the rig they originally competed with or something completely different. What’s interesting is that the majority of TTCC competitors have chosen to drive their TTC-winning rigs. Others have created new rigs and some have even borrowed rigs.

Over the next several pages you can read a detailed overview of the second half of this year’s TTCC rigs (in no particular order) along with some comments from the drivers. Next month we’ll roll out the monster TTCC story and it’ll offer a detailed look at how each competitor did in each event. It was an incredible week of competition that generated some mind boggling drama and action. Some of the rigs ended up battered and bent, so get a good look at these vehicles over the next several pages and in last month’s issue of Four Wheeler, because many won’t look this way for long.

Name: Dave Green
Champion in: 2009
Driving: 2004 homemade buggy

There are a few subtle changes to the exterior of the homemade tube-framed buggy, which uses a 5x3-inch rectangular subframe and 15⁄8-inch-diameter, 0.120-inch-wall tubing. The most obvious changes from 2009 are that the custom-cut 53-inch ag tires are reversed and there’s a roof-mounted “mini spare tire,” which, as it turns out, is more than just a cute conversation piece (more on that next month). The tires are mounted on 24x12 homemade double-beadlock wheels. Green can winch from either the front or rear of the rig thanks to a front-mounted 20,000-pound Kingone winch and a rear-mounted Warn 12,000-pound winch. The rig boasts an impressive 36 inches of bellypan clearance.

Dave Green made history in 2009 when he drove his diesel-powered buggy to a narrow win. Why did this make history? Well, up until that point all of the TTC winners had been driving gasoline-powered rigs. Green’s win was also impressive because he drove with 32 stitches in a few of his fingers after an unfortunate run in with his rig’s engine cooling fan the day before competition began. He’s coming to TTCC with his rig virtually unchanged from 2009.

Sounding Off
Most memorable moment from 2009: “I guess it would be not being at the meet and greet BBQ. I was at the hospital in Hollister getting three of my fingers put back together.”
Wants First Place in: “Like almost everyone else said, Tank Trap (double points).”

“I have a great sense of humor and get along with almost everyone.”
—Dave Green

PhotosView Slideshow

The Details
Driver name/city: Dave Green/Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Occupation: Self-employed
Vehicle model: 2004 homemade buggy
Estimated value: N/A
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6, turbocharged
Transmission: NV4500
Transfer case: NP205, twin-stick
Suspension (f/r): Four-link, 16-in-travel King remote-reservoir coilovers, King bumpstops/four-link, 16-in-travel King remote-reservoir coilovers, Gen-X Machining bumpstops
Axles (f/r): 2½-ton Rockwell, Ouverson axleshafts, Detroit Locker/2½-ton Rockwell, Ouverson axleshafts, welded spiders
Axle ratio: 6.72:1
Wheels: 24x11 homemade double beadlock
Tires: 16.9x24 West Lake CB 538 agricultural

A 5.9L Cummins 12-valve turbodiesel propels the buggy. Other than dual AFE air cleaners, a 4-inch custom exhaust and a Painless Performance wiring harness the engine is stock. A pair of Optima YellowTop batteries provides electrical current and a custom radiator with a front-mounted Ford Taurus electric fan helps to keep the Cummins cool. Power is routed through an NV4500 five-speed manual transmission and it’s sent to the axles via a twin-sticked NP205 transfer case and a pair of driveshafts made by Pat’s Driveline.

Name: Matt Thorson
Champion in: 2007
Driving: 2012 Thorson Hells Bells buggy

Thorson built the 47-inch-wide chassis from 1.75-inch-diameter, 0.125-inch-wall DOM tubing. The body skins offer an added level of protection from the Tank Trap’s poison oak and they’re made from 14-gauge steel. As you can see, the buggy has incredible ground clearance as well as approach and departure angles. The big 54-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC tires help with that and they’re mounted on 20x12 Stazworks interior beadlock wheels with exterior rock rings. Mounted very high in the chassis is a front Warn 9.5xp winch and 8,000-pound Warn rear winch. Exterior LED lighting includes a pair of Fulkerson Fabrication forward-facing driving lights and six ground-facing LED lights to light the way during night wheeling.

Back in 2007, Thorson won TTC with a tube-chassis TJ powered by a 502 Ram Jet V-8. He gathered three First Place wins, one Second Place win, and one Third Place win, which generated enough points to edge out the competition. This year he’s returning to Hollister in a brand-new, custom-built buggy that he hopes will carry him to the podium again.

Sounding Off
Most memorable moment from 2007: “I won!”
Wants First Place in: “Tank Trap! It’s the most difficult.”

“Go big, or go home.”
—Matt Thorson

PhotosView Slideshow

The Details
Driver name/city: Matt Thorson/Santa Rosa, California
Occupation: 4WD design & fabrication/general contractor
Vehicle model: 2012 Thorson-built Hells Bells buggy
Estimated value: $200,000
Engine: GM LS9 376ci V-8, supercharged
Transmission: Norcal transmission-built TH400, B&M shifter, Setrab cooler
Transfer case: ORD Magnum Box, NP205
Suspension (f/r): Four-link, 14-in-travel Sway-A-Way RaceRunner remote-reservoir coilovers, Sway-A-Way RaceRunner remote-reservoir bypass shocks, Acme Rigging limiting straps/four-link, 16-in-travel Sway-A-Way RaceRunner remote-reservoir coilovers, Sway-A-Way RaceRunner remote-reservoir bypass shocks, Acme Rigging limiting straps.
Axles (f/r): Ouverson Violator housing, 2½-ton Rockwell gears, Ouverson Bull Gear Stud Girdle, Ouverson Violator Full Spool, Ouverson Violator axleshafts, Ouverson knuckles and “C’s,” Wilwood pinion brake/ Ouverson Violator housing, 2½-ton Rockwell gears, Ouverson Bull Gear Stud Girdle, Ouverson Violator Full Spool, Ouverson Violator axleshafts, Ouverson knuckles and “C’s,” Wilwood pinion brake
Axle ratio: 6.72:1
Wheels: 20x12 Stazworks interior beadlock, exterior rock rings
Tires: 54x19.50-20 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC

Under the hood is a ground-pounding supercharged GM LS9 376ci V-8 that generates 764 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. This fuel-injected engine sports aluminum heads and roller rockers. Exhaust gases are evacuated by headers and a 3-inch-diameter exhaust system with Schoenfeld sprint car mufflers. A Bosch 210-amp alternator and a pair of Optima BlueTop batteries provide electrical current. A rear-mounted Ron Davis radiator and Pacific Fabrication blower intercooler are mounted close together and air is forced through them via a pair of 16-inch dual electric fans. Torque is sent through a Setrab-cooled, Norcal Transmission-built TH400 transmission with Hughes Performance torque converter to an Off Road Design Magnum Box and NP205 transfer case. A pair of custom high-strength Driveline Services driveshafts with 1410 U-joints spin the axles’ internals. Also interesting underhood is a custom shaft that runs from the firewall to the Warn 9.5xp winch. This setup allows Thorson to control the free spool of the winch from the cab.

Name: Jerry Duffy
Champion in: 2005
Driving: 1981 Jeep CJ-8

As it was in 2005, Duffy’s rig has a custom rear tube frame made from 1.75-inch-diameter tubing. This chunk of frame gives the machine a current 109-inch wheelbase, an improved departure angle, and a narrower tail-end. This rig was designed around the engine, so the grille was moved 2 inches forward to make room for the radiator and cooling fans. The hood was lengthened to compensate and louvers were added to assist in decreasing underhood temperatures. The front fenders are custom, the windshield and cowl are stock, the half-doors are from a YJ, and the rear fenders are made from 16-gauge steel. Duffy also modified the rockers to create a 45-degree angle. Heck he even moved the body mounts up 1-inch to eliminate snag points. Up front is a Warn 9.5xp winch and the Jeep rolls on 44-inch Interco Super Swamper TSL tires mounted on 15x10 Champion beadlocks.

In 2005 Duffy brought his garage-built Scrambler to Top Truck and skillfully won four of our seven events including the gnarly Tank Trap. This 69-year-old retiree is making like a boomerang back to Hollister behind the wheel of the same vehicle he drove in 2005, albeit with a few changes.

Sounding Off
Most memorable moment from ’05: “Most memorable moment was Ken Brubaker with mic in your face at the end of each event, or Water Hole 6.”
Wants First Place in: “First place in any one event would be the Tank Trap because it is the most challenging and the 20 points!”

“What you should know about me is my passion for Jeeps and wheelin’.”
—Jerry Duffy

PhotosView Slideshow

The Details
Driver name/city: Jerry Duffy/Kimberly, Idaho
Occupation: Retired
Vehicle model: 1981 Jeep Scrambler CJ-8
Estimated value: N/A
Engine: GM ZZ 502ci V-8
Transmission: 4L80E, TCI computer, Flex-a-lite cooler
Transfer case: Advance Adapters Atlas 4-spd
Suspension (f/r): Three-link, billet Currie Johnny Joints, 16-in-travel King Racing remote-reservoir coilovers, limiting strap/four-link, billet Currie Johnny Joints, 16-in-travel King Racing remote-reservoir coilovers, limiting strap
Axles (f/r): Currie RockJock, RCV axleshafts, ARB Air Locker, Howe hydraulic-assist steering/Dynatrac ProRock 60, RCV axleshafts, ARB Air Locker, hydraulic steering
Axle ratio: 5.13:1
Wheels: 15x10 Champion beadlock
Tires: 44x18.50-16 Interco Super Swamper TSL

Under the hood is the same ZZ 502 big-block engine that was found under the hood in 2005. This TPI engine produces more than 400 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. It’s lightweight and makes 600 lb-ft of torque “right off idle.” The engine is fitted with a custom-ground camshaft, headers, and a custom exhaust by Advanced Suspension Design. Other underhood mods include a York engine-driven compressor, 230-amp alternator (with milk jug tethered to it to keep water out), and a pair of Optima RedTop batteries. Power is routed through a 4L80E automatic transmission with shift kit, TCI stand-alone computer, and deep aluminum pan. The transmission is cooled by a rollcage-mounted Flex-a-lite cooler with fan. Power is split to the axles by an Advance Adapters Atlas four-speed transfer case and carried by a front Six States ‘shaft and a rear High Angle Driveline CV ‘shaft.

Name: Brad Austin
Champion in: 2004
Driving: 2010 BradFab tube buggy

The rig’s tube chassis is made from 1.5-inch-diameter, 0.120-inch-wall DOM tubing with panels made out of .096-inch-thick aluminum. The grille is from an ’80 Jeep CJ-7. Integrated into the design of the chassis are mounts for the front 8.5 and rear 9,000-pound Kingone electric winches as well as a full rollcage to protect the occupants. The rig’s wheels are 16.5x9.75 Trail Worthy Fab recentered Hummer double beadlocks and the tires are cut and grooved 44x19.5-16.5 Super Swamper TSL Boggers.

A win in the Acceleration and Tank Trap competitions helped Austin gather enough points to walk away the winner of TTC ’04. He won it behind the wheel of his big-block-powered ’91 Jeep YJ that was rolling on “only” 44-inch tires. On his return trip to Hollister for TTCC he’ll be driving a new rig that he built in 2010 and like his TTC-winning rig from 2004 it’s rolling on 44s. Hey, if it worked the first time….

“Love to wheel.”
—Brad Austin

Sounding Off
Most memorable moment from 2004: “Everyone coming together as an event, not a competition.”
Wants First Place in: “The Tank Trap.”

PhotosView Slideshow

The Details
Driver name/city: Brad Austin/Mustang, Oklahoma
Occupation: Supervisor at Cox Communications
Vehicle model: 2010 BradFab buggy
Estimated value: $66,000
Engine: GM 5.3L V-8, 150hp Cold Fusion nitrous kit
Transmission: TH350, manual valvebody
Transfer case: Advance Adapters Atlas 4-spd
Suspension (f/r): Four-link, 16-in-travel Fox remote-reservoir coilovers, Fox 4-in-travel bumpstops/four-link, 16-in-travel Fox remote-reservoir coilovers, Fox 4-in-travel bumpstops
Axles (f/r): GM 14-bolt, RCV axleshafts, ARB Air Locker/GM 14-bolt, RCV axleshafts, Yukon Grizzly locker
Axle ratio: 5.13:1
Wheels: 16.5x9.75 Trail Worthy Fab Hummer double beadlock
Tires: 44x19.5-16.5 Super Swamper TSL Bogger

A fuel-injected GM Vortec 5.3L V-8 engine propels the buggy and it has been fitted with a 150 horsepower Cold Fusion nitrous kit. Other mods include Hooker Block Hugger headers, an Injection Technology wiring harness, and a pair of Optima RedTop batteries. A Griffin Radiator with 16-inch electric fan helps keep the engine in its happy place when it comes to temperature. Another cool feature of the rig is that there’s a separate power steering pump for the front and rear steering and these pumps are mounted on a custom bracket made by Metal Fusion. Engine power flows downstream through a TH350 transmission with manual valvebody to an Advance Adapters Atlas four-speed transfer case.

Name: Toby Harrell
Champion in: 2003
Driving: 2012 Rock Ware Mini Cooper buggy

The core of the machine is a compact and nimble Rock Ware Motorsports custom four-seat Mini Cooper chassis. It’s sporting a Mini Cooper-esque aluminum body with paint applied by Keating Paint & Body and graphics by Western Posters & Services. The chassis also includes an integrated full rollcage and a mount for the front-mounted Warn HS9500i winch. The tires are Racing in the Dirt-cut 44-inch Super Swamper TSL’s (reversed in these photos, more on that next month) mounted on 17x9.5 Raceline aluminum beadlock wheels.

Some may have thought that Harrell would be at a disadvantage by showing up for TTC back in ’03 in a fullsize Blazer. They wouldn’t be thinking that for long. Harrell ended up impressing everyone with his fullsize iron, and he was the only competitor that year to finish the dreaded Tank Trap. This time around Harrell has defected from a fullsize and will be driving a much smaller buggy machine. Will it be a runaway success?

Sounding Off
Most memorable moment from 2003: “Got up early, went to shower, and somebody had caught a pig the night before and locked it in the shower. That was a surprise.”
Wants First Place in: “Got to be the Tank Trap. It’s you against the Trap, who will win? We did last time.”

“I have three boys that I’m very proud of.”
—Toby Harrell

PhotosView Slideshow

The Details
Driver name/city: Toby Harrell/San Angelo, Texas
Occupation: Natural gas compressor technician
Vehicle model: 2012 Rock Ware Mini Cooper four-seat buggy
Estimated value: “Worth every dime.”
Engine: GM 377ci V-8, dual propane injection
Transmission: Key Transmissions-built TH400, manual valvebody, Winters shifter
Transfer case: Advance Adapters Atlas 3.8:1 2-spd
Suspension (f/r): Rock Ware radius arm, 12-in-travel ORI struts/four-link, 16-in-travel ORI struts
Axles (f/r): Dana 60, Yukon chromoly axleshafts, CTM U-joints, ¾-ton GM brakes with Cutthroat 4x4 brackets, Grizzly locker/GM 14-bolt, ¾-ton GM brakes with Cutthroat 4x4 brackets, Detroit Locker
Axle ratio: 3.73:1
Wheels: 17x9.5 Raceline aluminum beadlock
Tires: 44x19.5-17 Super Swamper TSL Bogger

Propelling the buggy is a propane-fired GM 377ci V-8.The Machine Shop did all the machine work and then it was fitted with forged Icon pistons; an Aaron’s oil pan; early angle-plug GM heads; a solid camshaft; Howard’s valves, valvesprings, and roller rockers; an Edelbrock Air-Gap Performer intake; dual 425 IMPCO carburetor mixers; Spectre air cleaners; Pertronix distributor; custom headers; and a Dynomax muffler. Harrell estimates the ‘plant produces 450 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Amperage is generated by a Dusty’s Suzuki Samurai-application 83-amp alternator and a pair of Optima RedTop batteries. Keeping the V-8 cool is the job of a Speedway radiator with a single 16-inch-diameter pusher fan. Bolted to the engine is a Key Transmission-built TH400 transmission with manual valvebody and cooler. An Advance Adapters 3.8:1 two-speed transfer case sprouts a pair of West Texas Off Road-built driveshafts.

Name: Brian Waddell
Champion in: 2001
Driving: 1972 Chevy Suburban

The hood and passenger fender are the same panels that were on the rig back in 2001. Also carried over are a portion of the stock firewall, dash, and A- and B-pillars. Aside from about 3½ feet of the center of the stock frame, the chassis now consists of a custom tube-frame setup made from 2-inch-diameter, 0.120-inch-wall tubing. Nowadays the Suburban looks more like an old-school Blazer (the ’72 is Waddell’s favorite), due in part to the cut-down long bedsides. The rig has also been narrowed since we last saw it in 2001. Approximately 2 feet has been removed from the front and rear of the rig and approximately 14 inches has been removed from the center of the machine. The bodywork was completed by Waddell, his buddies, his mother-in-law, and his wife. Up front there’s a Warn 9,500-pound winch, while in the rear there’s a Warn 8274. Gone are the 44-inch tires from 2001 and now the rig is shod with 54-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTCs mounted on 12-inch-wide Stazworks dual beadlock wheels with custom gussets.

Brian Waddell made Top Truck history when he drove his big Suburban to a win in 2001. This is because up until that point short wheelbase rigs had dominated Top Truck Challenge. He won one event and placed Second in three events and this earned him enough points to capture the First Place crown. Technically Waddell is returning to TTC with the same truck, but the reality is that with all the changes it’s a completely different animal.

“I have been in the United States Air Force for 19 years and counting.”
—Brian Waddell

Sounding Off
Most memorable moment from 2001: “I guess winching through the final hole in the Tank Trap and looking over at Robin Stover and he had a head nod that looked like he was saying “you got this.” I guess he was right, but at the moment I wasn’t so sure.”
Wants First Place in: “Tank Trap, because it is the pinnacle of Top Truck.”

PhotosView Slideshow

The Details
Driver name/city: Brian Waddell/Battle Ground, Washington
Occupation: AFE specialist, United States Air Force
Vehicle model: ’72 Chevy Suburban
Estimated value: $40,000
Engine: GM 502ci V-8
Transmission: TH400, Art Carr valvebody, B&M Quicksilver shifter, B&M aluminum pan
Transfer case: NP203/205 Off Road Design Doubler, JB Conversions LoMax-equipped NP205
Suspension (f/r): Four-link (triangulated lower links), BlueTorch Fab brackets, 16-in-travel Sway-A-Way RaceRunner dual-rate remote-reservoir coilovers/four-link, Ballistic Fab brackets, 16-in-travel Sway-A-Way RaceRunner dual-rate remote-reservoir coilovers
Axles (f/r): 2½-ton Rockwell, Ouverson Violator axleshafts, Ouverson Locker, Ouverson Bull Gear Stud Girdle/2½-ton Rockwell, Ouverson Violator axleshafts, Ouverson Violator Full Spool, Ouverson Bull Gear Stud Girdle
Axle ratio: 6.72:1
Wheels: 20x12 Stazworks dual beadlock w/custom gussets
Tires: 54x19.50-20 Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC

Estimated to produce 450 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque, the GM 502ci big-block is topped with a Holley intake and Holley Commander 950 throttle body system. Exhaust gases are routed through a pair of Hedman headers, a 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust, and Hazel Dell muffler. Electrical needs are met by a 140-amp alternator and a pair of Optima RedTop batteries. The ’plant is cooled by a Ron Davis dual pass radiator with dual 14-inch Spal electric fans. Power is routed downstream through a TH400 transmission that has an Art Carr valvebody, B&M pan, and B&M cooler with electric fan. Sending the power to the axles is an NP203/205 Off Road Design Doubler transfer case setup with JB Conversions LoMax conversion in the NP205. A front driveshaft with 1410 U-joints and a rear driveshaft with 1480 U-joints spin the axle’s internals.

Name: Steven Montpas
Champion in: 2011 (Truck Class)
Driving: 1949 Willys Pickup

Montpas’ big green Willys looks a lot like it did last year, but the big changes are under the hood where a pumped-up 406ci small-block now resides.

It was in 2011 that we first met Steven Montpas and his faithful old Willys. Montpas showed some grit and walked away with a First Place finish in the Truck Class. What is even more amazing is that he was originally slated to be an alternate, until one of the original ten competitors dropped out. Talk about making the most of an opportunity. With a second shot at glory, will Montpas make equal work of this chance too?

“Hmmm… I’m just a normal guy that loves four wheeling.”
—Steven Montpas

Sounding Off
Most memorable moment from ’11: “My best moment ever was finishing the Tank Trap and knowing that we had won.”
Wants First Place in: “I’d like to finish first in the Tank Trap but I know it will be ten times harder this year battling against the champs. The reason is because it’s the toughest event and my kind of wheeling.”

PhotosView Slideshow

The Details
Driver name/city: Steven Montpas/Roseburg, OR
Occupation: Mechanic
Vehicle model: 1949 Willys pickup
Estimated value: $30,000
Engine: 406ci small-block V-8
Transmission: GM Muncie SM465
Transfer case: JB Fabrication NP205 twin-stick
Suspension (f/r): Custom double-leaf, three-link, Tuff Country shocks/double leaf, four-link, Tuff Country shocks
Axles (f/r): 2½-ton Rockwell, Ouverson locker/2½-ton Rockwell, Ouverson locker
Axle ratio: 6.72:1
Wheels: 20x10 double-beadlocked HEMMT
Tires: 19.5/54-20 Interco Super Swamper Boggers

Motivating the Willys is a 406ci small-block V-8 with an estimated output of 480hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. To get this kind of power, Montpas is running Speed-Pro hypereutectic flat-top pistons with 12:1 compression, RPC aluminum heads, a Comp Cams roller cam, and Holley HP MPI fuel injection. A MSD 6AL box and MSD distributor handle ignition duties, while dual Optima RedTop batteries keep the engine running in the event of an alternator failure. The engine exhales through 2.5-inch Flowmaster mufflers. The whole thing is backed by a stout Muncie SM465 manual transmission.

Name: Shannon Campbell
Champion in: 1996
Driving: 2012 Campbell Competition Race Buggy

Its not often that you see a purpose-built buggy from another wheeling discipline crossing over to TTC. Campbell’s competition buggy was built for Casey Currie as his 2012 KOH race entry, but also with Campbell’s grueling TTCC week in mind. The custom buggy sits on 42-inch Goodyear MT/Rs, which appear small in this field of competitors. The limited bodywork was done by Arizona Prototype, and the overall design and stance give the Campbell buggy a unique look amongst the competitors. A pair of KC driving lights give the buggy some character and the driver the ability to see after dark and just in case the unthinkable happens, a Warn 9.0Rc winch provides recovery assistance.

Shannon Campbell won our little mash up in 1996 and has gone on to dominate in off-road racing, including a championship win in the King of the Hammers, twice. In his 1996 TTC campaign, Campbell took First Pace in the Tank Trap and snared three Second Place finishes, giving him enough points to drive home with the trophy. Coming a long way from his original small-block-powered ’47 flatfender, Campbell, who owns Campbell Enterprises in Gilbert, Arizona will be piloting a self-built competition race buggy for his second crack at the top honors.

“Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see!”
—Shannon Campbell

Sounding Off
Most memorable moment from ’96: “My most memorable moment was watching Tammy jump chest deep in the mud pulling a winchline to get me out of the Tank Trap.”
Wants First Place in: “I want to take First in every event!”

PhotosView Slideshow

The Details
Driver name/city: Shannon Campbell/Gilbert, AZ
Occupation: Racer/Fabricator/Shop Owner
Vehicle model: 2012 Campbell Competition Buggy
Estimated value: Not provided
Engine: Turn Key/GM 6.0L LS2 V-8
Transmission: TH400
Transfer case: Atlas 3.0
Suspension (f/r): Four-link, 14-inch-travel Fox Racing Shox coilovers and bypasses/three-link, 14-inch-travel Fox Racing Shox coilovers and bypasses
Axles (f/r): Currie F9, ARB Air Locker/Currie F9, ARB Air Locker
Axle ratio: Not Provided
Wheels: 17x8 Walker Evans Racing aluminum Racing Bead Lock
Tires: 42x12.5R17 Goodyear MT/R

Sitting low in the chassis and putting out an estimated 470hp is a Turn Key/GM 6.0L LS2 small-block V-8 exhaling through a gorgeous Arrowlane/Dynomax exhaust system. Partnering with the mill is a Turbo 400 automatic transmission. Keeping temps under control is a Ron Davis aluminum radiator.

Name: Ron George
Champion in: Readers’ Choice
Driving: 1973 Ford Bronco

Almost identical to the way it appeared in 2007, the ’73 Bronco is hardly recognizable as something that rolled off an assembly line at one point. The Safety Orange paint job covers the original frame, as well as all of the tubing that that now passes for bodywork. Among the minimal changes for TTCC are the additions of a Warn 8274 winch and a C4 automatic transmission.

After a flurry of vote counting, it was Ron George and his self-built, ag-tired ’73 Ford Bronco that was voted in by the readership to represent you at TTCC. George and his Bronco last competed at Top Truck in 2007. After a First Place showing in the Mud Pit, and three Second Place finishes, including the Tank Trap, George ended up taking Third Place overall in ’07. With minimal changes to his formula for a podium finish, George says he is ready to take on Top Truck once again.

Sounding Off
Most memorable moment from ’07: “Most memorable moment would be something I hardly remember- Tank Trap. Despite spending 20 some minutes to get through it, it was all pretty much a blur for me.”
Wants First Place in: “Frame Twister. While the Tank Trap is legendary, I didn’t find it to be all that intimidating- ran pretty much the whole thing with only three wheels pulling and still finished. Frame Twister has more potential to mess things up, and it is now harder than when I competed. Plus it denied me in 2007.

“That creepy bastard stalking your woman…that’s me.”
—Ron George

PhotosView Slideshow

The Details
Driver name/city: Ron George/Osceola, Iowa
Occupation: N/A
Vehicle model: 1973 Ford Bronco
Estimated value: N/A
Engine: Stroked Ford 420ci Windsor V-8, Trick Flow heads, SRP pistons, Crane rocker arms, propane injection, Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake, JBA Mustang 5.0 headers
Transmission: Ford C6 3-spd automatic
Transfer case: Borg-Warner 13-45
Suspension (f/r): Single-link coil-on-wishbone, Pro Comp shocks/Single-link coil-on-wishbone, Pro Comp shocks
Axles (f/r): Dana 60, Detroit Locker/Dana 70, welded
Axle ratio: 5.86:1
Wheels: 24x10 steel
Tires: 380/85R24 Mitas RD-01s

Beating inside the Bronco is a stroked 420ci Ford Windsor V-8. It features Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads, 10.1:1 SRP forged pistons, and Crane rocker arms. The propane-powered mill also uses an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold, while a pair of JBA 5.0 Mustang shorty headers gather up the exhaust. Other improvements include an MSD Digital 6+ ignition, an Optima RedTop battery, and an ACCEL coil and wires. At 6,000 rpm, 500hp and 500 lb-ft of torque flow through the newly added C6 three-speed automatic transmission.

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