By Ross Z. Bonar - December
TheMonsterBlog: Tim, thanks for taking
the time to sit down and talk with us about Hall Brothers Racing’s plans
for 2008. There have been a lot of rumors floating around, so let’s start
by giving you a chance to address the status of the Dodge sponsorship for
Tim: Well, as any one who watches the news
these days knows, the U.S. auto industry is in a state of economic flux,
if you will. This is a different time than has ever been seen in the past,
and the automakers are responding to the new situation. We have been
privileged to have a great relationship with Dodge Motorsports over the
years and when Cerberus took over Chrysler, the word handed down from the
new owners was that all of the racing programs would continue to exist in
their current state. The plan was to keep the programs about the same with
little change for the upcoming year. But as things developed with the new
ownership group taking control, something did change. Not really sure what
that was, but they ended up taking a lot harder look at things and as most
racing fans have heard about, Chrysler has made a lot of changes in
scaling back the Dodge Motorsports programs.
Everything up to even the Nextel Cup program has been affected, a good
example being the traditionally Dodge-sponsored #9 and #19 cars now carrying
Budweiser and Best Buy respectively next year. One of the NHRA teams is no
longer part of the picture, and unfortunately we weren’t immune to the
cutbacks either. In fact, initially it was thought that our program was
being cut out completely to the surprise of not only us, but all of the
folks we work with up Chrysler as well. But we ended up being able to work
out a new deal that will allow us to continue our dealership program with
support from Chrysler.
The relationship with Chrysler is being kept going and we’ll still be doing
stuff with them in addition to our dealer program. Mopar is staying on as
an associate sponsor with us, and we’re going to be helping them promote
their brand new 572 cubic inch crate Hemi that is coming out this year.
We’ll be doing appearances for them and for Dodge, and we’re really glad
to be keeping the relationship going, there’s a lot of great folks up
Another exciting thing is that the all new Dodge Ram is coming out in
2009, and we’ll be sporting the brand new body on
Rammunition as soon as it becomes available.
TheMonsterBlog: So then the Rammunition identity will indeed be
returning for 2008?
Raminator and Rammunition are going to keep on trucking this year just
like they always have. We are downsizing a little bit, but our trucks are
going to be just as strong as ever on the race track. All of our cabinets
are full of parts and all of our guys are fired up and ready to race.
TheMonsterBlog: It had been reported on USHRA.com (we’ll touch on
that more in a second) that the Executioner name might be making its
return this season?
Tim: Yeah, we’re
working on that right now. To take a couple steps back for a second, when
we thought the Chrysler deal was completely going away, we figured we
might need to resurrect that. So we started looking at the possibilities
of, what if we were to bring that back. We weren’t real sure that we
wanted to, but thought we might need to, so now that the topic has been
kicked around, we’re still toying with the idea of the name making a
Raminator and Rammunition will be the primary names that will be on our
trucks in 2008, with the possibility of a special appearance of
Executioner. We’ve had some discussions with LiveNation about running that
name in one of the old USA Motorsports markets, but in all honesty, I’m
just not sure that resurrecting it is the best thing to do.
Let me put it this way, with the situation in the world being what it is,
I’m not real sure that the Executioner name is as appropriate as it once
was. When we used to run that name, the situation in the world was very
different and running that name was fine, but now things have changed as
we all well know, and I’m just not sure that it brings forth a positive
So I guess to really answer the question, the best I can say is that we’re
talking about bringing it back for a couple of special appearances, but we
haven’t decided anything for sure yet.
TheMonsterBlog: Well, while we’re on this topic, some of the
biggest news of the offseason is that Hall Brothers Racing is going to run
some Monster Jam events this year. Tell us a bit about how this came
Tim: Yeah, that opportunity has always
kind of been out there. Keith Speller with Live Nation is a big drag
racing fan, as are Mark and I, and occasionally we’ll run into each other
at the drag races. Every time that’s happened over the years, the subject
has come up and the consensus was that whenever the time was right, we
would see if we could do some stuff together. As this year grew later, we
figured alright, let’s go to some of the Monster Jam events and race. I’ve
been watching some of their race tracks and find them pretty interesting.
You know, most of the competitors that race there are folks we race
against at other events anyway, so that part of it isn’t really going to
be that different. They’re in some markets we’d like to be in and
everything worked out to do a few events, so here we come.
TheMonsterBlog: It’s going to be great for the fans to get to see
Raminator and Rammunition matching up against some of the best Monster Jam
has to offer. We’ve seen that Raminator will be a part of the lineup when
the series returns to the Superdome in New Orleans for the first time
since Hurricane Katrina. High profile event, and the thought of maybe
getting to see Mark match up with Dennis Anderson is pretty exciting.
Tim: Yeah, that’s going to be really
neat. We haven’t raced at the Superdome in probably 10 or 15 years, so it
will be great getting to go back there and compete. There are some great
racers in that series with top notch equipment and lots of experience, and
we’re really looking forward to racing them.
TheMonsterBlog: Now, the opportunity to race Monster Jam came about
mainly due to the fact that Raminator and Rammunition are not running for
the Monster Nationals championship this winter?
Tim: Yeah, we won’t be running their
primary indoor series this year, although we’ll probably do some of the
outdoor events this summer. George Eisenhart and I are very good friends,
and he tries to change up his lineup for the Monster Nationals every
couple of years. Raminator and Rammunition have been regulars for a number
of years, and we’ve been very fortunate to enjoy great success over there,
winning five championships in a row. We’ve had a lot of success in those
markets and we’ve had a lot of fans sending us emails, asking why we
weren’t coming back this season.
We certainly wanted to come back and we would still love to come back at a
later date, but George wanted to change up his lineup and with our
sponsors, we aren’t in the position to change our identities that easily.
So his decision was made to go with some different trucks for 2008, and
we’ll hope to race again in that series at a later date. Hopefully we’ll
be able to pick up where we left off!
TheMonsterBlog: Where else will we see the HBR trucks running this
Tim: It seems like we’re going to be
running for just about everybody at this point. We’ll be running some for
Checkered Flag, some for MEGA Promotions, a few Extreme Monster Truck
Nationals events, and the USHRA events as we discussed.
Originally, we weren’t planning on running any winter events. Instead, we
were going to focus primarily on doing Dodge dealership displays through
the winter months. This is the hardest time for dealers to get people on
the lots, and the plan was to be out there helping them sell as many cars
as possible. But plans change, and so we’re booking some indoor events and
we’ll be working with dealers at some of those events, trying to help them
sell cars that way.
TheMonsterBlog: Well, we’ll be glad to see you guys out there
competing. You mentioned downsizing previously—will the team be going to
just two race trucks, or will the third still be appearing from time to
Tim: For the most part, we’ve cut back
to two. I guess this is as good a time as any to talk about our personnel
changes. Two of our crew guys, Kyle Doyle and Travis Howard, both wanted
to come in off the road and explore some new opportunities. You’ve got to
understand, with the way our team was setup, we were racing a good number
of weekends and whenever we weren’t racing, we were doing appearances for
Dodge and for dealerships those weekends. Those guys didn’t get a lot of
time off, and usually it would only come on a week day. It was also hard
to schedule, never as simple as being able to have, for example, every
Wednesday off, it was usually a day off here and there whenever it could
be worked out. So I definitely understand where they’re coming from.
So with that said, we decided to cut back a little bit and slow down.
We’re going to run two trucks primarily and the drivers will be Mark and
Geremie. We’re going to run a third one every once in a while when Dale
wants to go out and race. He’s going to stay mostly back working in the
shop, he’s got two little boys at home and wants to be with them as much
as possible. Pretty much when he wants to race, that’s when we’ll book the
TheMonsterBlog: So will the plans for the summer season include
returning to defend the team’s streak of Special Events titles? How will
the new MLMT series factor into your scheduling, assuming everything comes
Tim: We are going to do the Special
Events Jamboree series again with Raminator and Rammunition and run for
another championship. We’re looking forward to racing MLMT again, as soon
as their final schedule is announced, we’ll see events we can run. I
really enjoyed those events, they were first-rate from top to bottom, and
we were lucky enough to enjoy some success there. I really, really enjoyed
them, so I hope that they can get everything firmed up pretty soon because
we’d like to race as many of those as we can.
TheMonsterBlog: Hall Brothers Racing really did have an incredible
year in 2007. Two championships, nearly a 70% win percentage with Mark’s
team, truly a force to be reckoned with on any track. Great job to you and
the team this season.
Tim: Well, I really appreciate that.
It really is a tribute to our whole team, the guys here, all of them work
so hard to make sure that the trucks are ready to go for every event, that
they run good, that they look good. We were really fortunate to have a
good year with parts. In 2006, we were developing some new drivetrain
components and were breaking a lot of parts here and there, but it
definitely paid off in 2007 when all those parts were fully developed and
in place. Drivetrain failures were nearly non-existent and the trucks ran
very well. Our drivers did a great job, the crew guys did a great job, and
it just all came together for us.
Efforts like when we had to change an engine in one truck and a rear end
in the other in between shows in Cleveland, those are the ones that really
stand out in my memory. Our guys are the best.
On another note, I hope we were able to silence some of our critics this
year, the folks who say things like “Raminator can’t win on a turning
course” or “Promoters only do straight line racing because that’s what the
Hall’s want”, stuff like that. I think we proved this year that it doesn’t
matter what track we’re running on, we can still contend for the victory.
The best example, I think, was the MLMT event in Kentucky. Right as we
went to make our first qualifying pass, we had an input shaft break,
really a pretty rare failure for us, and Mark didn’t even get to run the
track before the first round. Hadn’t even been on the track and had to
face the #1 qualifier in the first round. Not only did he win that
match-up, but he went on to win the whole race. I think that’s a testament
to what a great driver Mark is. Between that event and the one in
Nashville, I think we showed that we can win on a turning course.
TheMonsterBlog: Let’s talk a bit about freestyle for a second. I’ve
been wanting to ask for some time, is there any chance we’ll see another
one of those power wheelies like Mark pulled at the RCA Dome in ’05 again?
That is one of the most unique freestyle moves we’ve seen, I think we’ve
only seen one other truck pull that off before.
Tim: Yeah, that was pretty cool. You
know, we can do that, but everything has to be just right for it to
happen. The conditions were just right there in Indy that night, and if we
can get the right dirt and get the clutch just right, the truck will do
the rest. Often times at those indoor shows, with the dirt being brought
in and packed down, it’s just the right consistency to be able to do that.
Who knows, maybe some of those winter shows on dirt, we’ll be able to do
To address our feeling on freestyle in general, we are racers primarily,
every time we come to the line, we are racing all out to win. That’s what
we like to do, however we understand that freestyle is a big part of our
sport. Monster trucks freestyle because they can and we know the fans get
really into it. So we go out there and try to put on a good show for the
fans, but I really draw the line at crashing on purpose and tearing stuff
I don’t feel like it takes any skill to just go out there and dump a
truck, and there is some of that that goes on in the sport right now. As a
fan myself, I like to see great saves and great performances, and that’s
what gets me excited when I’m watching freestyle. Some of those top
freestyle guys, watching them, some of the stuff they are able to do in
these trucks is truly amazing. I just feel like some of the needless
tearing stuff up is unnecessary.
We’re going to come out to those Monster Jam events and we’re going to go
all out to win the races. Then, knowing that their series is more geared
toward freestyle, we’ll go out there and make a solid run and get out of
the way, watch with everyone else as those guys that are the freestyle
champs do their thing.
TheMonsterBlog: So with all that said, what is some of the
preparation that is going on at the shop over the next couple weeks?
Tim: We’ve got all of the trucks in
the shop right now, we’re changing a few things, nothing really special,
mostly just our standard offseason work on the trucks. Just going through
and freshening everything up, replacing what’s worn out, making a few
little changes here and there to make things better and keep the trucks in
Same thing with all of the haulers, working on them, getting them all
stocked up with everything we may need during the race season. You’ll see
some new trailer graphics on Mark and Geremie’s trailers, matching Hall
Brothers Racing graphics. Dodge will still have a presence on the trailers
obviously, but we’re going to give them a new look and that should be
On the office side of things, we’re still working with more companies on
associate sponsorship deals, some of that I hoped to be able to announce
here. However, there are still some details we need to get worked out, and
hopefully we’ll be making an announcement as soon as we can on that.
TheMonsterBlog: And those deals could best be described as major
associate sponsorships rather than, a full primary deal, for example?
Tim: Yeah, for right now, that’s
correct. However, the interesting thing is that we have some potential
full primary sponsors that will be our guests at some of the Jamboree
events this summer. They want to look more at monster truck racing, it’s
not something they’ve been involved with before, and so they want to come
out, see the crowds, see what its all about. We know that monster truck
fans are the type of people they want to be marketing to, but of course,
they’ve got to come out and see for themselves. So the hope is that they
will then want to come aboard for the 2009 season.
TheMonsterBlog: As long as we’re talking here, the Annual MTRA
Meeting is on Saturday,--what are some of the things you as President,
along with the other Directors have been working on this season?
Tim: Mostly just continuing to look
for ways to advance the safety of the trucks. Every year, obstacles are
getting bigger and bigger, and the trucks are getting faster and
faster—it’s really a tribute to the truck builders who are making these
things even tougher and more bulletproof than they ever have been before.
Those advancements allow the drivers to push the trucks even harder and so
we’re trying to make sure that driver safety is advancing on par with
We went down to the PRI show in Florida to take a look at some of the
safety items there, we also sat in on some meetings with SFI about some
new safety developments. We’re going to be putting G-force meters in
monster trucks, doing some testing this year along side folks from NASCAR
and the IRL trying to develop seats and other driver safety equipment.
It’s really interesting to me sitting in on these meetings, and finding
out that other sanctioning bodies and safety organizations, some of the
who’s who of motorsports, are looking to monster trucks because of some of
the things we do. The trucks are big, they take hard hits, and they’re
able to do it time after time after time. So some of the other folks are
looking to our industry to try to learn some things from what we’re doing.
I think that’s pretty neat.
But to address the question, there are some other ideas for improvements,
some potential rule changes we’ll be talking about during the meeting on
Saturday, and we’ll just have to see what the membership wants to do.
TheMonsterBlog: OK, well, it’s been a pleasure talking to you Tim,
thanks for taking the time to sit down and share your team’s plans for
2008 with us and all of our readers. We’ll see you at the MTRA Meeting and
Banquet on Saturday, best of luck in taking home some awards!
Tim: Thanks for helping us get this
news out there, and hopefully we’ll have some official press releases
coming your way soon. Look forward to seeing you Saturday, and hope to see
a lot of fans coming out to see what the MTRA is all about too!
(Photos featured above
courtesy Ross Z. Bonar & Kyle Doyle).