By Seth Kinker, @firstname.lastname@example.org
The reigning Guinness Book of World Records record holder for the Fastest Speed for a Monster Truck, the Raminator, made a pitstop at LaFontaine in Clinton last week.
“This is our grand opening of the Clinton store,” said Quaila Pant, Business Coordinator for LaFontaine on the event. “It’s a celebration of us being in the community so we thought it’d be fun to bring out the Raminator for people to see and take pictures in it. The kids love it. It’s a good tie in, being in the Clinton area, the Raminator has been out here before so they know the vehicle.”
The Raminator and team members from Hall Bros Racing were on hand for the two-day event, culminating in the pitstop on Tuesday, Aug 21.
State Representative Tim Walberg gave a special presentation, Ryan LaFontaine, the owner, made remarks in the afternoon and there was live music, refreshments, leaders from the Village of Clinton, Chambers of Commerce, and other community members in attendance.
Attendees could ask the Hall Bros Racing team questions about the truck, win an automotive giveaway from LaFontaine, as well as have the chance to climb up in the truck and take a photo behind the wheel.
The Raminator set the record with a speed of 99.10 miles per hour in December of 2014.
“We were looking at that speed record, we had looked at it for a couple years and thought surely we could do it,” said Tim Hall, co-owner of Hall Bros Racing. “We know our truck was capable of that and we thought we could break the record. A few other guys had tried and couldn’t. We raced with the guy who had set the record before and had some success with him, so we thought we could do this. I guess we could say I overestimated. We started doing the test runs and I thought going 100 mph is pretty tough. Aerodynamically they’re not very clean, air goes over and underneath, it’s a mess.”
After gaining confidence from test runs at air strips, the team flew in members from Guinness World Records to verify the attempt.
“They even certified the tape measure we used to measure the distance to make sure each foot was a foot,” said Hall. “We made sure we had the right distance, had everything to measure, and had special cameras set up. All kinds of things in place to make sure the timing was right. We made one run and beat the record, made it down one more time and set it a little higher. We were getting ready to make a third but ran out of track time.”
Hall told The Sun Times that when testing, they got up to speeds of 106 m.p.h. One of the things he is most proud of about the record was the minimal amount of changes they made to the truck.
“Some of the other speed records that were set, they took the front drive shaft out or altered the truck, we didn’t think that was right,” said Hall. “If you’re setting the record in a monster truck it’s got to be ready to drive off the track from a record attempt to smash cars. And that’s what we did, the only thing we changed was the gear ratio depending on track size. Nothing else. Regular tires, driveshafts, same axels, I’m proud of that.”
Since 2014, other attempts have been made, but none have broken the mark of 99.1 m.p.h. Hall spoke about the team discussing going back after the record, trying to be the first monster truck to hit 100 m.p.h. but there just hasn’t been time to prepare.
The Hall Bros Racing team main sponsor is Ram, and this time of year is filled with non-racing events. In January, February, and March, Monster Jam and other types of races fill the docket. By the time April comes around, dealership traffic begins to pick up as the weather clears in most parts of the country.
Throughout the summer Hall Bros Racing takes its team of seven trucks to dealership appearances. Grand openings, farm shows, Nascar events, drag racing events, motorcycle events, they’ve even attended fishing tournaments. Essentially, anywhere where Ram has a presence.
Once Fall begins, they head back to home base in Illinois to work on the trucks and prepare them for the next year.
After coming to Clinton from the Iowa State Fair, the Raminator was headed to Pennsylvania for a couple of races before a farm show in Iowa.