Rockcrawling is a lot like stepping into an octagon cage to wage battle - puzzle solving - and hot rodding all at once. You understand from the get-go that you're going to get whacked and bruised and there will be plenty collateral damage to your car. You don't have a tinker's chance of winning if you can't instantaneously decipher, communicate, and correct course navigations. And hot rodding because it's always about making your car bigger, badder and faster. Or, as Brad Lovell put it "Rockcrawling is a fine line between disaster and success."
Lovell Racings' Rock Crawler Rig. Photos by: Jud Leslie.
Puzzle solving 101 at its finest, with Brad at the wheel and Roger doing the spotting. Photos by: Jud Leslie.
Brad and his brother Roger are two of the very best at towing that fine line, and they recently proved it once again by winning. After taking several months to concentrate on how to go fast, AMSOIL/Lovell Racing returned to their roots for round two of the We-Rock Rockcrawling Series in Tucson, Arizona, where they won the Pro-Mod and placed second overall in the Unlimited Class.
"Everything we have done mentally has been wrapped around going fast for King of the Hammers, BITD, TORC, hillclimbs, etc.," says Brad. "We have been concerning ourselves with problems due to heat, vibration, and air flow. Rockcrawling takes thought dedicated to issues like torque, binding, steering angle, fluid control at angles, and absolute traction. It takes a big mental shift."
"The number 232 AMSOIL Ranger has gone through a lot of changes since placing second at King of the Hammers. We have made several suspension adjustments for height and rate, as well as removing hundreds of pounds in spare parts, fuel capacity, and other things we just don't need for a rock course. We want it light."
We wondered if being brothers contributed to the overall success of the Lovell Racing team.
"There is no question that Roger and I communicate instinctively because we are brothers. We have been wheeling together forever. We know each other and we know how the truck is going to react. I have had couple other people spot for me that did well, but when Roger and I work together, we are the best."
"The courses as always were brutal," continues Brad. "The thing with rockcrawling is that only the best guys will be able to finish all the courses. Even though we had the best score in the final round, we almost laid it over a couple times and depended on pure traction to get us up the last climb."
Having the best possible equipment and racing products therefore is crucial to being successful in Rockcrawling. "That's why we have always depended on K&N," says Brad.
"In fact during our last desert race we had a fire in the engine compartment. I was really concerned because there were a lot of flames around the air filter area. We ran another 120 miles to the finish line and found no silt or dust inside the intake. Now that is a pretty tough filter."
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