Traffic Cam Rage Turns Deadly
In Phoenix, Arizona, a 68-year-old man, Thomas Destories, reportedly opened fire on a mobile traffic cam van, used to photograph vehicles breaking the speed limit on Highway 101. Fifty-one-year-old Doug Georgianni was unfortunately killed during the ambush. Redflex Traffic Systems, the company Georgianni worked for, had reported that Arizona is the first in the country to implement a photo enforcement program statewide. This is also not the first time the cameras have caused an uproar: a pickax attack on a fixed camera in Phoenix resulted in probation and a fine for the 26-year-old perpetrator.
Redflex Traffic Systems said that since its statewide contract in Arizona took effect on September 26, 2008, "fatal collisions have been reduced by 29 percent" and claims, citing the state's Department of Public Safety: "Three fewer fatalities per month can be attributed to the state's safety program."
GMC Sticking Around?
As recently as April, GM's CEO, Fritz Henderson, said that although the company may have to file bankruptcy, it is not considering cutting itself down to just one brand name in its truck line. According to Henderson (and as of this publication's press time), GMC is not on the chopping block. This is good news because we dig the front end of GMC pickups more than Chevys and it would suck to have one less choice for a new ride.
Ex-Big League Baseball Player Killed While Working on His Truck
Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, who won 19 games as a pitcher during the 1976 season with the Detroit Tigers, died April 13th when the truck he was working on fell on him. Fidrych was 54 years old. He gained the nickname "The Bird" thanks to his uncanny resemblance to the television character, Big Bird. He won the 1976 Rookie of the Year award and finished second in Cy Young Award voting that year. His career was cut short by injuries, and he played his final game in 1980.
10 Mostly Worthless Facts
1. Right now, Mike is trying hard not to "phone in" this column because he's leaving town on a four-day vacation.
2. Ford's 3 millionth truck was assembled May 12, 1936, at the Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
3. The Big Block From Hell has been rebuilt three times. The first time was due to a camshaft that prematurely wore out. The second rebuild was the result of Mike being too aggressive with the ignition timing advance during the first nitrous dyno test. The engine faded a set of rod bearings during that test. Let's hope we don't need to do it again because we are fresh out of shop towels and patience.
4. Mike's been through three laptops so far this year because he's got zero luck when it comes to IT personnel or computers.
5. Calin's finally getting around to putting the new V-6 in his Dime. He's taking next week off work to get it done. No more life in the slow lane for Mr. Salty.
6. Kevin Aguilar no longer works with us. We have no clue if he's moved on to bigger and better things, but he did leave a box of corn dogs in the freezer for us to munch on.
7. If you're ever in Texas, you must have lunch at a Rudy's BBQ. Trust us, it's the bomb.
8. Our next cover truck will have LS7 Corvette power and looks that could kill.
9. No IT personnel were harmed during the making of this issue of Sport Truck.
10. We've been to Dollywood. There were no boobs present on any of the rides. If you ever attend a truck show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, you can see for yourself.
Rick Johnson Wins BITD Terrible's 250 on General Tire Grabbers
Rick Johnson of Team 71 Racing took First Place in Trophy Truck and the overall win in the Best in the Desert Terrible's 250 race. Johnson tore through the grueling desert course with a finish time of 3:43:18.
"This was an incredible race, and I'm so proud of this win for Team General Tire," Johnson said. "The course was tough, but the truck and the tires were in great shape the whole way. A finish like this is the reason why we race!"
General Tire is again unleashing the fury in off-road performance for 2009, in the second year campaigning its Grabber competition tire. Designed with a tough, three-ply Duragen-reinforced body construction to stand up to the rigors of off-road conditions, the Grabber also features a newly developed competition-specific tread compound. In addition, the Grabber name and General Tire logo are prominently featured on the sidewall in red and white letters. The Grabber competition tires are designed in size 37x12.50R17 for Class 8 and Trophy Truck/Trick Truck and 35x12.50R17 for Class 1, 6, 7, 7S, Stock Mini and Protruck.
General Tire also has a complete line of Grabber tires for the passenger and light truck market, including the new Grabber DOT-approved off-road tire (to be released later this year); the Grabber HTS, which delivers the perfect synergy of comfort, durability, and performance; the Grabber UHP, which sets a whole new standard in performance and ride quality for SUVs, light trucks, and crossover vehicles; and Grabber AT2, designed for aggressive all-terrain traction in all weather conditions.
There's a hall of fame for everything
Did you know that there's a Diecast Hall of Fame? Neither did we until we found out that Chip Foose was recently inducted into it. Chip, along with former Mattel design director, Carson Lev, both got in thanks to their contributions to the hobby. There are already 25 other inductees, including Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, George Barris, Jay Leno, and the late Boyd Coddington.
"It was a great honor to be recognized by the die-cast hobby," Foose said. "To be inducted with such legendary icons of the custom car industry means a lot to me."
Lev echoed similar sentiments: "Wow, I was really honored. Guys like Ed Roth and Larry Wood of Hot Wheels were my idols, and to join such a talented group, well, that's special." The Diecast Hall of Fame is hosted by www.diecastspace.com. The Class of 2010 will be inducted at a ceremony at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on February 19, 2010. For more information on the Diecast Hall of Fame, visit www.diecasthalloffame.com; for more on Foose Design, visit www.foosedesign.com.
The staff speaks and you listen. It's that simple. This month's question is:
Editor's Note: Kevin Aguilar no longer works with us so our resident mini-trucker and Webmistress, Monica Thompson, is putting in her two cents worth from now on.
Monica: The fastest I've ever driven on a public road was during a magazine road trip aimed at testing 12 new fullsize pickup trucks and SUVs. Considering that we were in the middle of Death Valley, where there was no cell phone reception, I had no option but to stay with the group. Driving in a group that size, it somehow seems that the leader always says he went no faster than 60 mph, while the guys in the back claim they are pinned the whole time and still losing ground. Well, that was the case with this trip, as I found myself towards the back of the pack. So, pinned in a 5.7L V-8 Hemi Dodge Ram or 5.4L Ford F-150 is the fastest I've ever been. Let's not forget that this trip was the only time I've ever been pulled over for speeding.
Calin: If you are talking about my S-10, then maybe 78 mph. The motor is so tired, that's all it will do. The fastest I have ever driven was in my uncle Gary's Dodge Viper. We did a story way back when called "Lightning vs. the World." We pitted stock and modified Ford Lightning trucks against muscle cars, including the Viper. Half way to the track, my uncle stopped and passed me the keys. The track was in the boonies and there was a long stretch of road ahead and I just couldn't help myself. I pushed the car up to 150 mph before I ran out of cajones and had to slow down. I wasn't scared of the speed; I was scared that the police would bust me. At that speed, I'm sure I would have lost my license.
Mike: Everything I own is a pile these days so I don't really drive that fast. I have allegedly done a buck sixty in someone else's Corvette Z06 though.
Andy: Back when I first got my truck, I just had to break it in and see what it could do. There's a section of freeway that is pretty straight and on the downside of a big hill. I think I hit the midsection of the down slope going at least 110. When you get going that fast in a truck with stock suspenion, the sweat bullets start coming out pretty fast.
Sport Truck Slang Term O' The Month
#9,956: yard sale (yrd-sal) n. A yard sale usually consists of a bunch of junk that you don't really want, tossed onto the front lawn with the hope that someone will take your junk away and pay you for it. For our purposes though, a yard sale is a term used to describe someone who has no clue what they are doing and who will make a mess of things. Try this sentence on for size: "That guy is such a yard sale, he's installing air shocks on a 1-ton truck."