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THE ULTIMATE PRE-RUNNER Stewart Raceworks Creates A Truck That Raises The Bar On All Luxury Pre-runners By Mike Vieria Photos Courtesy Stewart Raceworks Steve Menzies, the father of SCORE Trophy Truck racer Bryce Menzies, isn’t someone who does things half-hearted, as proven by his decades-long success in construction, land development, real estate management, and the myriad of charitable work he does. He formed Menzies Motorsports in 2007 in support of his son Bryce’s budding career as an off-road racer. His entrepreneurial spirit led Steve to find the drivers, car builders, and crew members to create a team to compete successfully in a variety of off-road disciplines. Since then, Bryce Menzies has climbed the ladder of success with major victories in various classes and competitions. True to Steve’s background in aiming for the top, when Menzies Motorsports decided it was time to add a new pre-runner to their stable, they wanted a fully capable truck that could dependably withstand the repeated pounding of off-road racecourses at speed, but also be comfortable and luxurious for those long hours of pre-running and note-taking. They turned to Craig Stewart, the man credited with inventing the term “Luxury Pre-runner,” and his Stewart’s Raceworks for a build like no other. The team had already been successfully using a Raceworks’ pre-runner for scoping out courses over the last fifteen years or so, making Raceworks the obvious choice for putting this new truck together. Since the new truck was meant for Steve, and now that he’d been bitten by the bug of pre-running with his son, he spared no expense in commissioning Raceworks to provide him with the latest in technology and comfort. Stewart grew up in the off-road racing industry as the son of legendary racer Ivan “Ironman” Stewart. He has been professionally building and maintaining off-road race vehicles since working for another off-road racing legend, Johnny Johnson, at the ripe old age of 15, in 1983. With that experience under his belt, Stewart formed Raceworks in 1995. Since then, the company has designed and built countless off-road racers of every description, but has become best known for setting the standard for, and coining the term of “Luxury Pre-runner.” Raceworks’ pre-runners are used by many of the winning teams in the SCORE Baja races. “The list of winners using our trucks is amazing,” says Stewart. “In my opinion, one of the reasons they can win these races is because they get so many good pre-run miles in.” Before a SCORE Baja race, the top teams spend four or five times more time on the course in pre-runner vehicles than they do in their actual race vehicles. Having a comfortable cabin to spend time in while rolling up the miles can be quite important for keeping the team fresh for race day. A two-year building process created this truck from the ground up. “It’s the best one in the world, I guarantee it. All the newest details that we apply on race cars have been applied here as well,” he says. The result is a vehicle that handles and rides similar enough to the SCORE Trophy Truck that Bryce Menzies campaigns in SCORE races to give him an accurate idea of what to expect on race day while providing an amazing array of creature comforts. A more typical luxury pre-runner takes the company about one year to complete, but the extensive fabrication of top-of-the-line carbon fiber body and interior parts by Walker Industries nearly doubled the time for this build. “The cab structure is still aluminum, but pretty much everything else that could be made from carbon fiber, is,” says Stewart. That includes the toolbox, fuel cell, and a custom air filter that seals to the hood, allowing the engine to breathe clean air through the bodywork. While some of the information about the construction and details of the Menzies Pre-runner is proprietary, Stewart was willing to share with us many of the features included in this one-of-a-kind build. The two-wheel-drive truck is built on a TIG-welded chromoly tube chassis giving it a 134-inch wheelbase and a 90-inch track. It uses billet aluminum front A-arms and a four-link rear suspension yielding 26-inches of front suspension travel and 32-inches of rear travel. Stewart says the suspension tuning is a bit softer on this pre-runner than it would be for a full race truck, so it provides a slightly more comfortable ride while still being able to cover ground at near-race speeds. Fox Factory 3.0 coil-over and 4.4 bypass shocks with coolers are tuned by SDG and control body and wheel motions. Toyo Open Country 40-inch tires mounted on KMC Beadlock wheels on ProAm hubs connect the truck to the ground and Brembo disc brakes provide the stopping power. Horsepower is provided by a Dougan’s Racing-built big block aluminum Chevy V8 engine putting out 725 horsepower and 685 lb/ft of torque. The engine uses a Dailey Dry Sump system for lubrication and a CBR radiator for cooling. Motec electronic fuel injection sends the pump gas into the engine, and Iconel headers by Artisan Fab smooth the exhaust stream to Flowmaster mufflers. An Xtrac sequential 6-speed transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters selects the gears, and a Tubeworks differential routes the power to the rear wheels. The long list of premium performance parts allows the vehicle to replicate the speed and durability of a SCORE Trophy Truck, but inside, this is about as far from a bare-bones race vehicle as you can get. The fully custom, three-seat, premium leather interior uses Cobra Suzuka seats and features items like dual air conditioning and heating, power locks and windows, a compact refrigerator, heated and air-conditioned cup holders to keep beverages at the right temperature, a 12-inch iPad Pro, Lowrance 12-inch touchscreen GPS, and a BOSE stereo system. More conventional race-oriented additions inside and outside the truck include a PCI Race Radio intercom and radio system, a power flip-up HID light bar, Baja Designs LED lighting, a Brunnhoelzl jack with a quick-release mount, a built-in hydraulic jacking system, and the 95-gallon fuel cell. Motec systems connect the electronics for the vehicle, inside and out, all wired by James Lin Motorsports. Stewart says that the two-wheel-drive design combined with the weight savings from the carbon fiber body is offset by the addition of the full interior and all the luxury features, meaning that the pre-runner weighs in at over 7,000 pounds. It does indeed have the handling characteristics of a SCORE Trophy Truck though, making it an ideal course preview vehicle. The street-legal truck keeps its occupants comfortable and relaxed while covering hellish terrain at speed. While each of the Luxury Pre-runners that Raceworks builds are custom vehicles, Stewart says, “A lot of the components are made the same so you can easily buy spare parts if needed. The housings that hold everything are all the same, as are the arms, spindles, uprights, brakes, and all that. Then the buyer customizes what engine, transmission, gears, and other details they want.” The new pre-runner made its first appearance in Baja in preparation for the SCORE Baja 400 and mightily impressed the entire Menzies crew with its capabilities and comfortable accommodations. No doubt, pre-running for the 54th SCORE Baja 1000 Presented by 4 Wheel Parts will be that much nicer for the team as Bryce hopes to capture the SCORE Trophy Truck Baja 1000 win, as he did earlier in the year in the SCORE San Felipe 250 and SCORE Baja 400. In the 1000 race, he will partner with Andy McMillin in his quest for victory. Of his Raceworks’ pre-runners, Craig Stewart says, “They all have the same construction of a Trophy Truck, but are street legal. They truly are a tool for the winners in Baja racing,” and the Menzies team’s new one will likely continue to make that a very true statement.

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