Dodge Returns to Monster Truck Racing with All-New "Raminator"
Source: DaimlerChrysler Press ReleasePosted: 01-17-02 22:00

After a six year absence from factory-backed monster truck racing, Dodge is grabbing the competition by the horns and debuting an all-new 2002 Ram-based "Raminator" to Chrysler Group employees and Michigan monster truck fans.

While the truck will make its competitive debut Saturday night, January 19, in the U.S. Hot Rod Association Monster Jam at the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome, Chrysler Group employees will be treated to a special unveiling on Friday, January 18, at the company's nearby Auburn Hills headquarters from 11:30 a.m.-12 noon.

The "Raminator" name was selected from more than 1,500 employee entries. The contest to name the Dodge monster truck drew submissions from all over the world, and sometimes came with drawings and photographs.

Dodge's monster truck is owned by Champaign, Illinois-based Hall Brothers Racing, who have been competing in monster truck racing since 1987. Hall Brothers president Tim Hall builds the engines and electrical systems for the truck, while driver Mark Hall, his brother, serves as the shop foreman, fabricator and welder.

Raminator is powered by a 565 cubic-inch supercharged Dodge Hemi engine that runs on methanol alcohol and produces more than 2,000 horsepower. In addition to its car-crushing size and power, Raminator also features crowd-pleasing special effects like smoke-snorting nostrils and strobing red eyes.

The Halls, who previously campaigned a Dodge Ram in Monster Truck Racing Association (MTRA) competition under the name Executioner, are ready to bring the new Dodge to the winners circle.

"The trucks draw fans of all ages," said Tim Hall. "The Ram was designed by talented DaimlerChrysler employees, and it's only appropriate that they are the first to see the monster truck that will carry the Dodge Ram banner for the company. I don't think they will want us to crush anything inside their Tech Center, but we'll be ready to get the job done Saturday, at the Silverdome."

"The reason we're doing this now is that it's perfect timing with the launch of the new Dodge Ram," said Bo Puffer, Dodge Communications Specialist. "It helps let people know that it's a big truck and it fits in with the Dodge brand character of street-smart and edgy."

Dodge made the decision to re-enter monster truck racing in October 2001, as a way to build exposure for the new 2002 Ram. More than a million people attend monster truck events each year, and the demographics of the people who attend those events are the consumers who buy pickup trucks, Puffer added.

Dodge had not sponsored a team since 1996. The Hall brothers switched to a Dodge vehicle, but not Dodge sponsorship in 1999 after driving competing brands for a number of years.

Dan Miles, an electrician at DaimlerChrysler's Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant, was lucky enough to have his name randomly drawn from 29 entries with the Raminator suggestion.

The truck will race primarily in MTRA-sanctioned competition. The vehicles typically race over a 350-foot dirt track that includes climbing over piles of junked cars.

Truck bodies are fiberglass replicas of production vehicles like the Ram, but weigh nearly 10,000 pounds and are 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Monster trucks roll on tires that are 66 inches tall and 43 inches wide. Each tire weighs 800 pounds and needs only 3-12 pounds of air pressure.

The 2002 Dodge Ram 1500, by comparison, features an available 245-horsepower, 360 cubic-inch fuel-injected engine, rides on 17"-20" wheels and weighs approximately 5,000 pounds. It comes with owner-pleasing special effects such as largest-in-class four-wheel disc brakes, precise rack-and-pinion steering, and thoughtful interior storage.