THE STA­DIUM TRUCK

NZ Performance Car - - Meeting Leadfoot -

Mickey Thomp­son’s Grand Na­tional Sport Truck Rac­ing was the first short-track off-road rac­ing se­ries. It ran through the late 1980s and early ’90s and came as a wel­come re­lief to a weary Millen: “The bit I loved was com­ing off run­ning the Asia-Pa­cific rally, where each rally was three to four weeks to run — I was just so tired of be­ing on the road. With this, I would do the test­ing dur­ing the week, which was won­der­ful. It would be noth­ing to do 100 laps in a day and roll it a few times ei­ther, just be­cause we wanted to make it bet­ter and bet­ter, so we were con­stantly push­ing. Race day was Satur­day, and we would be home by Satur­day night or Sun­day morn­ing.”

Rac­ing in­side sta­di­ums like Ana­heim in front of 75,000 peo­ple must have been a buzz, and Rod was suc­cess­ful, win­ning three con­sec­u­tive cham­pi­onships in ’92, ’93, and ’94.

The truck was built in-house at Mil­lenWorks and fea­tured a tube frame and 24 inches of wheel travel, with the rear struts trans­versely mounted and all bil­let al­loy sus­pen­sion arms. The en­gine, an in­jected 3.0-litre Toy­ota V6 with only one for­ward and one re­verse gear, had a top speed of 64mph.

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