By Jennifer Harrington
Based in Champaign, Illinois, Hall Brothers Racing consists of three successful monster truck teams – the Raminator, Rammunition, and Hotsy-sponsored Ram trucks. Tim Hall is the team’s crew chief and mechanic, while Mark Hall drives Raminator, Mat Dishman pilots Rammunition, and Mike Miller drives the Hotsy truck.
The brothers, Tim and Mark, grew up at the race track. Their father announced tractor pulls, motorcycle and sprint car races. In the late 1980s, the two raced four-wheel-drive trucks at local mud bogs; they soon kept modifying the trucks, and they evolved into monster trucks. They entered the sport when it was still relatively new and joined the Monster Truck Racing Association (MTRA).
In the beginning, the duo traded a toolbox for their first transporter, an old GMC semi, and rented trailers for each race. Sharing hotel costs among each other, almost every night in the summer they would compete at county fairground events. They would even use parts off the junk cars they smashed at the tracks to make repairs.
The brothers’ first monster truck, in 1987, was actually a tank named “Heavy Metal,” which had 500 horsepower and six inches of wheel travel. The tanks would race alongside the trucks and were cheaper to build. Soon, the duo received sponsorship from Hobbico, a national hobby distributor. They created the “Big Boss” truck, which was based upon an already existing model. The Hall brothers collaborated with Everett Jasmer, driver of the USA-1 Chevrolet truck (who was also sponsored by Hobbico).
The team’s sponsorship later changed to Oberto Beef Jerky, and they built the Smokecraft Beef Jerky truck. Oberto also sponsored their “Bulldozer” monster truck; later came the “Executioner,” which was raced until 2001.
In 2002 the team built Raminator after Chrysler, which had previously sponsored the “Bearfoot” team, approached the team in 2001. The Raminator name was a result of a contest among Chrysler employees. Rammunition was built in 2003 after dealership appearance demand increased; “Rammunition” was a headline in a Ram truck brochure for engines. The Hotsy monster truck joined the team’s arsenal in 2009 after they received sponsorship from Hotsy Pressure Washers.
Chrysler’s sponsorship evolved the team almost overnight. Today, Hall Brothers Racing has eight full-time employees, numerous part-time employees, and volunteers; there are also five monster trucks, five transporters, and a merchandise rig.
During the off season, the trucks are completely taken apart and inspected. Engines and transmissions are rebuilt, and extra parts are collected in preparation for the upcoming season.
The MTRA oversees all of monster truck racing’s safety rules. Tim Hall has served as its president for several years. The team competes in MTRA promoters such as the 4-Wheel Jamboree’s General Tire Monster Truck Thunder Drags and Monster Nationals series, along with the more popular wintertime Monster Jam series.
Mike Hall has won the MTRA’s Driver of the Year award, the sport’s highest honor, eight times, most recently in 2012. Tim is the five-time recipient of the MTRA’s Mechanic of the Year award, including in 2012. A few of the team’s drivers in the past have also won Rookie of the Year awards, including Mat Dishman in 2010. Besides 18 series national championships and other awards, Raminator has won the MTRA’s Truck of the Year award several times.
In the past, the team only wished to ride the wave as long as possible, whether it was a year or five years. But now (in 2013), as the team is still running strong, they hope to reach their 20th championship and to visit and help out Ram truck and Hotsy dealerships across the country.
2014 update: Monster truck Raminator has broken the Guinness World Records® record for the “Fastest Speed for a Monster Truck” at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. With a new record speed of 99.10 miles per hour (mph), Raminator and driver Mark Hall secured the title at 8:44 a.m. (CT), breaking the previous record of 96.8 mph.
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