In just 20 very fast weeks Johnny’s shop, Road Race Motorsports, with some guidance from Poison Spyder, was going to miraculously have a race car evolve from the Poison Spyder Venom 2 Chassis, built ready for the first ever 2012 Smittybilt Every Man Challenge taking place at the Griffin King of the Hammers event on Feb 3-10, 2012. Since Road Race Motorsports’ background was in on-road and rally racing some of the guys had never heard of King of the Hammers and were intrigued by the stories that Johnny and I were telling them. In their spare time (like they had any) they started watching videos on YouTube to see what it was all about. Their opinion quickly became, “You guys are nuts, but let’s do this”. The order was tall, but everyone was on-board with the challenge at hand. George called on his “go to guy”, Jimmy, and he was quickly bringing parts in to Road Race Motorsports from various vendors and from George’s dismantled “Ridiculous JK”. The pile of parts at the shop was growing and the amount of work was building. Every time I stopped by the shop there was something new from somewhere and was ready to find a home on the car. The crew at Road Race Motorsports was getting antsy and laying down some great ideas while they were doing some final finishing touches on the bare chassis. I had never been part of building a race car and was really looking forward to lending a hand no matter what it was. I had no idea that a build like this can have unknown hurdles pop-up along the way and each one brings a new challenge and learning opportunity. We seemed to be getting hit with many of them but the great part of these hurdles was being able to solve them quickly and build past them. One of the first hurdles that we hit was our 4 speed Atlas II was not going to fit in this car and we were going to have to get a 2 speed version. We had several resources to call on and were tapping into each of them as we needed. One of the resources was Rock Krawler Suspension and they built us some big stout links for the suspension. Time was simply flying by and even though we had several late night dinners provided by eNet Components the rig was not looking close to being done…. The axles were still on the welding table but every time I came by there was more steel on them, the shocks were still in the bags but I could tell that they had been test fitted on the car and some alterations were made, the race chassis still on jack stands but the roof was on and brackets for the Wurton LED Lights were on and several other components had been mounted as well, the interior parts were all over the shop but they were taking shape and getting done. The custom made fuel cell was still at the manufacturer curing. Even though it looked like total disarray, things were clicking right along. Even with time flying by all the parts were being dealt with prepared for final assembly. Amongst all the building of the car we still had to coordinate how we were going to get all the race support stuff out to the event and what we were going to do for food. So we asked for help from none better than “the girls”, Jacky, Kimmie and JK, to make sure that the 21st Century Programming sponsored meals and other over-sighted necessities were being taken care of. As Murphy would have it, we hit the struggles that would delay some key tasks that needed to be completed in order for us to have a fully prepped and race ready rig. So the scramble began and the thrashing ensued. We finally had the Transfer Case in and secured, we finally had the brakes plumbed, we got the tires on the car and the Warn winch mounted, but we still did not have everything ready so we missed our pre-running dates. We regrouped and surveyed what needed to be done to make the car safe and to pass tech. So back to the thrashing we go. The engine was fired and sounding good with our Magnaflow Exhaust, the custom steering was functioning but not completely and we finally had the Reel Driveline drive shafts hooked up, but we still missed another key day for tuning our King Off-Road shocks. And then it really hit us, Friday, February 3rd is here, it’s time to load up and get to the lake bed and the rest must be done on-site. Stay tuned for my next blog post, RD’s Adventures – 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers Part III, as I write about the experience of race day and what went on in the car while we were in the race.
Here are a some pictures from the build: