Brenthel Industries Debuts Three New Trucks at Vegas 250
January 18, 2013
Brenthel Industries was out in force at the HDRA, South Point Vegas 250. Three new Brenthel trucks, all designed and built in house, all class 7200’s but all very different, lined up to battle it out. Class 7200 trucks are mini or midsized trucks with a maximum of six cylinder engines and a track width of 85 inches. The liberal rules allow innovative designers like Brenthel Industries to come up with several design concepts that all fit within the rules. No better demonstration of the diversity in the class could be made than to examine the three new Brenthel trucks.
Robert Ford: Front Engine, Live Axle Rear
Robert’s truck is what most people would call a conventional truck design. The 500+ horsepower Ford, Nascar engine is mounted in front. Out back is a live axle mounted to a four link rear suspension damped by King shocks. Robert’s truck is about power. It’s designed to bully the terrain and has the strength to survive it. The design has big suspension travel and favors running at full speed in open terrain for hours.
“My truck is built to handle the big stuff,” said Robert, “We had about 220 miles of testing on the truck before the race. Our King shocks are off the shelf so we know there is more to be had after we do some tuning. It was cold on raceday so we let the engine warm up for 45 minutes before we started. Tom Masek Custom Engines built the motor. Tom really knows his stuff; the motor is stout. We had a great first lap so they waved me on at main pit. I hit a rock cutting the tire but my co-rider Derek Aubrey got it fixed quickly. Derek was a huge help during the race keeping me pumped and calling out the turns and dangers. Some people say it’s lucky that we got a podium in our first race but with help from Brenthel, Off The Hook Racing, Ford Plumbing, Tom Masek Custom Engines, our whole crew and of course my wife who takes care of our five children, we expect to run out front. We will be at Parker for the 425 and will run HDRA and SCORE to chase the World Championship of Desert Racing in 7200.”
Jonathan Brenthel, 2-Seat, Rear Engine, Transaxle
Jonathan’s truck is based loosely on Brenthel’s class 10 chassis with a truck body mounted. Unlike Robert’s truck, the 3.6L direct injected Chevy is mounted in the rear and drives through a transaxle. It is lightweight and nimble. It also likes to run flat out but is designed to use its lighter weight to stay on top of the bumps.
“We were not even thinking of completing this car for the race,” said Jonathan, “When they announced the World Series of Desert Racing, we jumped right in. We built this car working day and night for a week straight. We showed up in Vegas at 4:30 am the morning of the prerun. We were up again at 6:00 to check out the course. We got 5 miles in when the motor went into limp mode. While we were working on the car, I thought I was getting dusted. I was but it was snow, not dirt. We got the motor to run so we went off to try it. It was phenomenal, it accelerates quickly, it turns great and stops on a dime.”
They thought we were in good shape for the race but had a problem waiting in line. The truck started to overheat so the crew jumped in to figure out what was wrong. The water in the cooling lines was frozen solid. They pulled the hoses off and ice came out. They got it buttoned up but after a few miles, the engine was not happy and quit. “We will take it back to the shop and get it fixed in time for Parker,” said Jonathan.
Jon Lee, Single Seat, Rear Engine, Transaxle
If Robert’s truck is a hammer, Jon’s is a scalpel. His truck is designed to be as light as possible. He bought a rolling chassis from Brenthel and had Mark Johnson Race Prep customize it to fit Jon’s needs. Jon is an experienced motorcyclist and his single seat Honda powered truck delivers a certain kind of familiarity for him. Sitting in the middle of the truck, he can pick his lines like you would on a bike. The cage layout has more headroom in the middle and has a wide opening in the windshield area for better vision from the center of the truck. He has minimal gages, two idiot lights and a temp gage, because he can’t take his eyes off the course to read them anyways. All the switches are mounted within easy reach of the driver.
A lot of thought was put into how Jon would be using the truck. He has to change his own flat tires and work on the truck by himself so everything was designed to be as effortless as possible to conserve his energy for driving. “My truck is just incredible,” says Jon, “It’s designed to fit me perfectly. I run a Honda engine and Bilstein,
Blackhawk shocks. Bilstein has been great to work with. We were trying to get the truck ready and they rebuilt my shocks over the holidays so I could make it to the race. I got a flat that I had to change myself. The work we did making it quick and easy paid off. I was hitting 80 to 85 in the whoops and the truck handled perfectly.
At one point, the HDRA chopper was following me on my left. I felt so comfortable I took my hand off the wheel to give them a wave. I hope it makes the highlight reel. We had a great race finishing in first but a last minute wheel change put us a half inch too wide on each side. I feel bad for my sponsors Mark Johnson Race Prep, General Tire and all my friends and supporters who were so excited about the win. I’m glad HDRA is diligently enforcing the rules. The 7200 class is loaded with tough competitors, it’s going to be tight racing all season.”
The competitiveness of these trucks, right out of the box, is a direct result of the care and attention to detail that they received every step of the way. Brenthel’s meticulous engineering and precise craftsmanship will give you the competitive edge regardless of the vehicle you choose to race. Give them a call today to discuss how they can help you accomplish your next project.
Photography By: Brian Binkert
Bink Designs – www.binkdesigns.com