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Rough Country News

  • Land Rover team attempts to set off-roading record

    Off-roading may take you to some unique places, but rarely does it lead you across multiple continents. Yet that's exactly what two off-road aficionados will be doing from Oct. 4 to 14, when a driving duo will attempt to make their way from England to South Africa in record time. 

    The challenge
    The latest off-road driving challenge involves two British drivers trekking from London, England, all the way down to Cape Town, South Africa. That's a total of 10,000 miles - and the team wants to finish the trip in 10 days. 

    To achieve that goal, the endurance rally drivers, Robert Belcher and Stephen Cooper, will be getting behind the wheel of a 2005 Land Rover LR3. Some many be surprised by their choice of off-road vehicle, as the LR3 doesn't have a strong history of reliability. However, the duo believe it is the right automobile to handle all of the unknowns they will face as they make their way through 13 different countries. 

    "Despite continuing improvements in Africa's transport infrastructure, there are still countless issues that could arise on this journey," said Belcher. "... Not to mention if we have car problems then our attempt could be quickly scuppered. Having said that, we're full of the spirit of adventure, we're well prepared and are both very much looking forward to the challenge. This is an ambitious record to aim for, but we have every reason to believe we can achieve it." 

    The pair are taking on the challenge for a good cause: They are raising money and awareness for Farm Africa, an organization that fights poverty and hunger across the continent. 

    The history 
    This isn't the first time someone has attempted to drive from London to Cape Town. In fact, the history of the route can be traced back to the early 1900s. In 1907, the first over-land attempt to cross Africa was conducted, but the first completed ride across the Sahara was not successfully done until 1924. 

    Then things started picking up. In 1933, a Morris Eight Convertible drove from London to Cape Town - in five months. That vehicle needed 15 gallons of oil to make it to the finish line. Journeys got a bit faster by 1963, when the British Army completed the drive in just under 14 days with the help of a four-wheel drive Range Rover. Similar time was made in 1983 by another Range Rover V8 during a reverse trip from Cape Town to London. 

    A new record was set in 2011, when two drivers in a Land Rover Discovery completed the trip in 11 days. Even more history was made earlier this year. Tony Fawkes Automobiles used a Fiat Panda and managed to complete the drive in 10 days, 13 hours and 28 minutes. Now, the British duo of Belcher and Cooper will try to outdo them all. 

    London to Cape Town
    Driving from London to Cape Town presents a unique set of challenges. As such, the pair of drivers had to outfit the 2005 Land Rover LR3 with a few modifications to make it better suited for off-road driving. It received armor for the undercarriage to protect the weak points, as well as off-road tires and extra fuel tanks. Those will help make the most of the 2.7-liter, turbodiesel V-6 engine. Boasting a 1,200-mile range, the motor is more than capable of reaching the finish line - provided everything else functions as it is supposed to. To ensure the drivers do their part and stay awake, the top of the Land Rover has four high-intensity auxiliary lamps to light the way. 

  • Avoid collisions with animals when off-roading

    Being able to venture into nature is one of the many benefits of off-roading. Yet as you traverse the land and trails around parks and public spaces, you have to be aware of the effect you are having on the environment. While you are almost certainly doing your best to leave the scenery as you found it, there are times when unavoidable incidents involving animals pop up. These collisions can be harmful to you, the creature and your car, so it is especially important to do your best to avoid crashes with animals. 

    "A driver may encounter any number of scenarios at any given moment behind the wheel," said Dr. William Van Tassel, manager of AAA Driver Training Programs. "Remaining alert and limiting distractions is a must. Animals are unpredictable, so the sooner you see them in the roadway, the more time you will have to safely react." 

    Here are three of the biggest things you can do to avoid animal collisions when off-roading: 

    Customize your headlights
    The key to avoiding collisions is maximizing your visibility. This begins by staying attentive to your surroundings, but there are some truck modifications that can enhance your sight lines. High-beam LED headlights can go a long way toward providing better visibility thanks to their bright light and low power usage. They are also easily manipulated, which makes them ideal for adding to an existing vehicle. 

    Other ways to improve visibility include replacing wiper blades, as upgrading these accessories can result in cleaner windshields. When you are mudding or dune bashing, you frequently find mud and other debris covering the front and rear windshield as well as essential mirrors. Having fresh wiper blades ensures you can clean off these surfaces and have a picture-perfect view of the trail ahead. 

    Update your brakes
    An important concept to keep in mind when off-road driving is that braking can be much safer and more effective than swerving. Although your initial reaction upon seeing an animal in your path may be to swerve away, that may cause more harm than good. You expose yourself to unknown dangers when you go off trails - and you can potentially hurt other animals in the process. Firmly applying the brakes - and having high-performing brakes that will work in a pinch - is your ideal option. 

    "These crashes happen so fast, often times drivers don't have the option of making a decision about what to do," Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, told USA Today. "But the best thing, unfortunately, in most cases is to hit the animal and try to avoid swerving or doing something that could cause you to lose control and hit somebody else or an object, or go off the road and roll over." 

    Know what to look for
    Ultimately, the best result would be to prevent these collisions before they happen. This is not always possible, but your best bet is to know what to look for in all scenarios and react appropriately. The first thing you should examine is your environment. Are you in a state park that has lots of leafy, covered areas? Then you need to be more aware of animals being startled from their habitats and jumping in front of your off-road vehicle. Slowing down as you approach blind turns and obeying speed limits are both extremely important. 

    You should be particularly cautious at dawn and dusk. These are common times for animals to be on the move and the unique lighting can cause issues with visibility. If you're alert and focused on the potential for collisions, however, you can avoid these crashes. 

  • Jeep Jam aims to spread the love of off-roading

    When you drive a Jeep, you are part of a culture that goes far beyond standard driving. The lifestyle associated with this off-road vehicle is one of the most important aspects of the brand, and it's that commitment to adventure that inspires many drivers to take part in special events like the upcoming O'Daniel Jeep Jam. 

    About Jeep Jam
    Thousands of Jeep drivers and fans will come together as part of this year's Jeep Jam in Fort Wayne, Ind. The first few years of the event, which began in 2005, were dedicated to bringing a few local Jeep owners and enthusiasts together to honor the brand. It has since transformed into a much larger-scale celebration of off-roading and recreational driving. 

    Over the years, Jeep Jam began teaming up with charities and sponsors, which contributed to the growth of the festival. Eventually, the event outgrew its home at the O'Daniel's Jeep dealership, so it expanded to the nearby Kessie Jeep Farm. A maximum of 300 registered drivers will be allowed to participate in the off-roading at that site, adding a fun and valuable layer to the gathering. 

    "Jeep Jam wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for Pam and Tom Kessie," Craig Ruskaup, one of the organizers of the event, told The News-Sentinel. "We ran out of [space on] the land we had been using, and the Kessies stepped up and saved Jeep Jam. Their family has done more for J.J. than anyone, and the piece of property is off-road heaven." 

    Off-road courses
    At the center of the Jeep Jam are several off-roading courses that allow all guests to take part in the fun. The trails are set up specifically for this event, ensuring that there is plenty of diverse land and quality routes for drivers to enjoy. All driving takes place after a period of check-in and registration, as well as a parade and blessing of the Jeeps, has been completed. 

    "We get instruction and rules for off-roading, a blessing of the Jeeps and then about five hours of complete fun," Ruskaup told the publication. "... We have trails from mild to wild - the easiest trails to trails that no Jeep will be able to pass." 

    While the trails are meant to provide fun for all visitors, Ruskaup maintains that there is one hard and fast rule that will decide who can participate. 

    "It has to be a Jeep product to participate in the off-road portion," he said. "No Rams, only Jeep products." 

    This year's event
    The 2013 Jeep Jam is set to take over Fort Wayne, Ind., during the weekend of Oct. 12. Activities scheduled for this year's event range from the expected, such as off-road driving and a Mopar Car Show, to more low-key pastimes like a corn hole tournament, silent auction and a kids play area. Live music and action-packed races are also scheduled to keep visitors entertained throughout the day. 

    One of the slated events that should have people talking is the Jeep Obstacle Course. Drivers will be able to test each one of their Jeep mods on the course while also seeing what alterations other owners have done to make their Jeep a more rugged, off-road ready vehicle. 

    Ultimately, Jeep Jam is about celebrating the culture of off-roading, or even of just owning one of these iconic vehicles. 

    "Jeep is a way of life, not just transportation," Ruskaup told the news source. "When you own a Jeep, you look for a reason to go for a drive. You volunteer to go to the store. A Jeep is a time machine - it will take you back in time, bringing back your youth." 

  • New GMC Sierra may draw drivers with its cornerstep bumper

    Trucks have been getting bigger and better. This is great news for drivers who love off-roading or use the vehicles for heavy-duty work, but it can also pose a problem for some owners who don't fit the stereotypical mold. For example, shorter drivers or even those who make a point of installing a lift kit and raise the ground clearance of their vehicle may have problems easily accessing the truck bed.

    To remedy this problem, several up and coming models are evolving to allow drivers to get in and out of the truck bed without struggles. One of the new features comes from General Motors, which has started integrating steps into the corners of the rear bumper. In fact, this is one of the nicest features on the redesigned 2014 GMC Sierra and could even be one of the biggest reasons why drivers look at this pickup truck.

    The Wall Street Journal recently cited the Sierra's new cornerstep bumper as one of the top features included on the new model. Although they are not extremely noticeable and don't take away from the overall design of the Sierra, they certainly serve their purpose. At approximately 6.5 inches lower than the top of the bumper, the step is at a good height for entering the truck bed or loading cargo. It's also big enough to accommodate anything from clunky work boots to children climbing into the truck bed, making it a suitable amenity for workers or recreational drivers.

    Although almost all trucks have a step in the center of the bumper, this is often put out of use due to cargo loads, lift kits or other truck modifications. For those who use the truck bed frequently or need a little extra boost to reach the heights, this step could be a huge help, and because it is still at a relatively high height, it doesn't have to get in the way of off-road driving.

    The 2014 GMC Sierra offers plenty of top-of-the-line features that could make it an attractive option for drivers. Electronic safety features go above and beyond to ensure drivers can avoid a collision. Some of the new additions include lane-departure alerts, vibrating truck sensors and more. All of these qualities should help to make the Sierra a more competitive vehicle in the world of trucks. 

  • 2014 Ram 1500 named the Truck of Texas

    A lot of attention was paid to the State Fair of Texas Auto Show, and for good reason. The event showcased some of the newest creations throughout the auto industry, including a few of the newest models of pickup trucks. Now that the festival is drawing to a close, several of these automobiles are earning awards for their presentation as part of the show, including a few pickup trucks that will draw the attention of off-road drivers. 

    Ram 1500 brings home the grand prize
    More than 60 trucks and SUVs were competing for the top prize, which was awarded by the Texas Auto Writers Association. About 40 auto writers voted on the accolades, judging the vehicles based on their on- and off-road performance. Design, capability, value and technology are just a few of the areas that are considered in the evaluations. 

    After all was said and done, the 2014 Ram 1500 was named the Truck of Texas. The 2013 Ram 1500 also won the prestigious award last year. On top of the overall win, it was also tops in seven individual categories, including Best Powertrain, Best Technology for its new heavy-duty rear coil suspension and Best Commercial Vehicle for the 2-14 Ram Promaster. 

    The Ram 1500 beat out competitors like the Toyota Tundra, GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado - all of which were completely redesigned for the 2014 model year. Ram only received a few choice upgrades - a fact that makes the win even more impressive. 

    Chrysler rakes in the accolades
    The Auto Show included more than just pickup trucks. In fact, many other models duked it out in their respective segments, including a few that may interest fans of off-road driving. For example, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was named the top SUV of Texas for the fourth straight year, and the Dodge Durango claimed the title of best Full-size SUV of Texas for the second time in three years. 

    "The Ram, Jeep and Dodge brands from Chrysler Group clearly impressed our TAWA members at this year's event," said Michael Marrs, TAWA president. "There's no doubt that innovative powertrains, impressive designs and new technologies are paying off for these brands."

    This is just one of the first awards to be revealed for the 2014 model year, and if it's any indication of the future, Ram can expect to bring home some more prizes. 

  • Jeep Grand Cherokee named one of the most improved vehicles

    It's not uncommon for automobiles to undergo many rounds of changes and redesigns throughout their lives. As new technologies and amenities are introduced, the models have to be updated to remain competitive, and most of the time this results in a positive evolution of vehicles. 

    To track which of the changes were the most effective, Cars.com created a list of the Top 10 Most Improved Cars Over the Past 15 Years. Each of the models included has undergone significant improvements and redesigns, with the alterations enhancing the automobile. 

    "Sometimes changes to these cars were as simple as a fresh interior and new parts under the hood, and sometimes the outgoing model of a car was so poor that automakers gave the new version an all-new name," said Patrick Olsen, the editor-in-chief of Cars.com. "Regardless of why changes were made, all of these improved cars earn our seal of approval and should not be overlooked by shoppers." 

    While many of the automobiles on the list were sedans and sports cars, a few others may stand out to the off-roading community - specifically, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which landed in the No. 2 spot. 

    Although Cars.com praised the Grand Cherokee models from the years 2005 to 2010, the website claims the 2011 design upped the ante. Its high-quality ride and smart appearance can keep everyday drivers satisfied, while an array of extras provide plenty of amenities for more intense motorists. 

    The Jeep Grand Cherokee was also cited as one of the best vehicles for off-road driving, with its wide range of abilities allowing drivers to be very flexible when they get behind the wheel. All of the features can still be customized with Jeep modifications to make the most out of the automobile. 

  • Chevy debuts 2 new concept trucks

    It appeared that Chevrolet was going to make a splash at the State Fair of Texas Auto Show with the debut of the 2015 Silverado HD. While this unveiling certainly got the showcase started off on the right foot, it wasn't the only big news the automaker had. The American manufacturer chose the annual festival as the place to unveil two new concept trucks, and they are quickly gaining steam as an even more rugged twist on the Silverado. 

    Using the 2014 Chevy Silverado as a base, the manufacturer carried out some extreme truck mods and created two of the most unique and memorable concept vehicles out there. 

    About the Silverado Black Ops
    Simply put, the Silverado Black Ops is a beacon of preparedness. The vehicle has everything a driver would need to conquer off-road trails or make it through a zombie apocalypse, and a few of these features are especially enticing, Motor Authority reported. Made from Silverado Crew Cab 4x4, the truck boasts lower body armor for increased protection as well as a raised Chevy suspension to provide more ground clearance. Under the hood, drivers will find a 5.3-liter EcoTec V-8 engine offering 355 horsepower and 383 foot-pounds of torque. 

    "Luck favors the prepared, and the Silverado Black Ops concept is a survival kit on four wheels," said Dave Ross, Chevrolet's design manager. "This concept truck showcases the stronger, smarter and more capable elements of the 2014 Silverado and how accessories can enhance them to suit any lifestyle."

    Even the truck's accessories are catered toward handling emergencies. Its storage unit has a solar power pack, gas masks, gloves, a first aid kit, a shovel and rope. That's just the beginning, as food and water rations, a fuel container and even a generator are installed on top of the locker. A front-mounted winch, LED lights and integrated tow hooks are also included for heavy-duty work. To top it all off, the Silverado Black Ops employs a rugged paint job, complete with built-in scrapes and yellow accents. 

    About the Silverado Volunteer Firefighter
    The Silverado Volunteer Firefighter is a truck made with input from the National Volunteer Fire Council in honor of the noble work that firefighters do every day. This concept vehicle has been outfitted with everything from rescue equipment to an off-road suspension, making it a top option for any first responders or extreme drivers. 

    One of the first things drivers will notice about the truck is its design scheme, which itself is a nod to firefighters. The red and silver paint covers what was once a Silverado Double Cab and highlights the chrome steps and 22-inch wheels. A siren, public address system, chrome fire extinguishers and even an ax have also been installed to provide firefighters with everything they need to save lives. There's still extra storage room, despite all of these additions. Cargo space provides plenty of available storage for helmets, air packs, gloves, jackets and pants needed to fight fires. 

    "We wanted to pay tribute to these important men and women in communities everywhere," said Chris Perry, vice president of marketing for Chevrolet. "They are the kind of hard-working Americans for whom we design and build the Silverado, making sure it delivers the capability and dependability they expect."

    High-performance is a given considering all of the truck modifications that went into this vehicle. A revised suspension and wider wheels provide smoother handling, while an array of safety features ensures that drivers won't have to worry about trouble en route to an emergency situation. 

  • Range Rover drives up demand by off-roading the Silk Trail

    It's not uncommon for drivers to want to look good when they go off-roading, which is part of the reason why the sleek and luxurious Range Rover is such a sought-after vehicle. Despite its origins as a luxury SUV, the automobile is capable of doing great things on pavement and dirt, and it is a viable option for any fan off-road driving. These impressive capabilities are contributing to a big publicity push for the SUVs.

    High demand for the SUV
    Ever since Land Rover debuted its new Range Rover and Ranger Rover Sport SUVs, hype about the automobiles has been through the roof. That publicity has translated into orders - and a lot of them. In fact, the demand for the vehicles is so high that Land Rover cannot keep up, causing a backorder of requests. 

    There is currently a six-month wait for new orders of the Range Rover and a wait of nine months for the Sport edition, Motor Authority reported. Demand was about 40 percent higher than what Land Rover initially predicted, and the manufacturer lacked the means to keep pace with orders. 

    One of the biggest drivers of the demand is coming from China, where motorists can't get enough of the high-cost SUVs. The automobiles are so popular that costs are skyrocketing into six-figure sums. A few of the richest buyers are even paying premium fees of approximately $80,000 just to move to the top of the waiting list, according to Automotive News Europe. 

    To further cement the brand's spot as one of China's most coveted, a trio of Range Rovers is currently completing a trek through the country's Silk Road Trail. 

    About the Silk Road Trail
    The Silk Road Trail has origins that trace back thousands of years. Used as an international trade route, the pathway connected China with the Mediterranean and northern Europe. Silk was the primary export transported across the route - hence the name - and the business conducted along the trail tied together many different cultures and civilizations. 

    Today, the Silk Road remains as a link between countries, although not in the form that it once was. Still, the trail offers a look at a diverse range of landscapes and cultures while also bringing avid off-roaders across all types of terrain. 

    Range Rover's performance
    This land is also serving as the backdrop for Land Rover's Silk Trail 2013 Expedition. Land Rover sent three Range Rover Hybrids to traverse the Silk Trail, starting from the manufacturer's home in Solihull, U.K., and extended to Mumbai, India. In between the two spots, the vehicles will cross through multiple countries and see many cultures up close. Already the automobiles have covered more than 5,200 miles over the course of three weeks of driving, HybridCars.com reported. 

    The vehicles have successfully navigated through torn up pavement, muddy trails and desert lands ranging from packed gravel to soft sand. Temperatures have also varied greatly, which has tested the machine's resilience and engine capabilities, the news source reported. With another month of travel left to go, anything could happen, but so far the Range Rover has proved it can handle the rigors of off-roading. 

    Although the Range Rover Hybrid appears to be more than capable of handling itself on the Silk Road, the vehicle has not entered mass production. It is in the final stages of evaluation, and with this recent success, drivers can likely expect to see the hybrid become an off-road vehicle option in the near future. 

  • Taking a look at GM's 2015 heavy-duty pickups

    All signs were pointing to the fact that General Motors was going to make a splash at the State Fair of Texas Auto Show, and the manufacturer certainly got things started with a bang. GM used the opening of the fair to debut its new heavy-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. 

    GM has a big reveal
    GM used the Auto Show's spotlight to unveil its 2015 heavy-duty pickup trucks, and it certainly succeeded in attracting attention. Fans of the brand are already excited about the possibilities of these new trucks - and that's without knowing a lot of the details. Although these models look similar to the 2015 editions the automaker previously debuted, they are a bit smaller and feature some more rugged elements that make the vehicles primed for heavy-duty work. 

    Heavy-duty trucks account for about 25 percent of GM's pickup sales, and with the most recent round of alterations and upgrades, that number should remain consistent at the very least, The Dallas Morning Star reported. In fact, the latest truck modifications may make Silverado and Sierra two of the most sought-after vehicles on the market. 

    The pickups will be available to the public in the first quarter of 2014. While the manufacturer hasn't released the retail prices, interested drivers can expect to hear more news about the costs and special packages in the near future. 

    Under the hood
    When drivers take a look under the hood of the all-new Silverado or Sierra, they'll see an engine system that is quite similar to existing models. Each of the trucks will feature a standard six-liter V-8 engine with 360 horsepower and 380 foot-pounds of torque. Drivers will also have the option of upgrading to a diesel V-8 engine that is slated to boast 397 horsepower and 765 foot-pounds of torque. 

    "Our engineers felt we had the best engines and transmissions in the segment, so there was no reason to change them," Lloyd Biermann, marketing manager for Chevrolet trucks, told The Dallas Morning News. 

    GM may believe in its engines, but that didn't stop it from making a few alterations to the parts surrounding the motors to enhance efficiency. The air flow has been upgraded to offer consistent performance, and this change should also keep the system cool in even the toughest of conditions. 

    "It is one thing to generate big power numbers in cool weather and another to maintain power and torque when towing up a long grade on a blistering summer day," Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer at Chevrolet, explained to the news source. 

    A look at the interior and exterior
    Much like what's under the hood has remained relatively similar to previous models, the exterior of the GM's trucks is consistent with years past. However, changes have been made to the Chevy suspension found on each vehicle, as well as the boxed frames. A double-cab body increases the amount of room passengers have when driving. 

    "The passion we have for trucks is reflected in every line and powerfully sculpted machines surface of the HD Chevrolet," said Tom Peters, GM's design director, in a statement. "From the dramatic sculpture of the one-piece structural bumper to its muscular hood and side profile, the design reflects a function-driven solution."

    Improvements didn't stop at the exterior, however. Each of the trucks has received new seats and dashboards in addition to 2 more inches of legroom, creating a more comfortable environment for everything from intense work to recreational off-roading. These heavy-duty trucks are poised to leave their mark on the auto industry, especially among people looking for an off-road vehicle that balances power and pizzazz. 

  • Toyota Dream Build Challenge announces teams

    Customizing a vehicle with truck mods and accessories is just one of the many ways drivers immerse themselves in the auto experience. Toyota is making sure it is a memorable one, however - especially for those teams who participate in the manufacturer's upcoming Dream Build Challenge. This competition aims to put modifications at the forefront and show off all of the different ways drivers can customize their Toyota vehicles. 

    About the challenge
    The Toyota Dream Build Challenge allows teams to create one-of-a-kind automobiles that will then go head to head to compete for public adoration. With an end goal of making the most extreme Toyotas possible, the four teams competing in the challenge have seven weeks to make their dream vehicles using Toyota vehicles and its brand partners. Custom-build shops will help the teams bring their visions to life, and each stage of the process will be documented to show auto enthusiasts just how the changes are made. 

    "For everyone who has ever imagined designing the perfect vehicle for a favorite hobby or sport, the Toyota Dream Build Challenge makes that dream a reality," said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing communications and motorsports for Toyota. "What better place than SEMA to push the limits of the imagination and inspire creativity?"

    This year's competition
    There are four teams competing in the upcoming challenge, and each has a special tie to the world of motorsports and off-roading. That is especially evident in some of the plans for vehicles, which include two options that may be well suited for off-road driving.

    The first team, Joe Gibbs Racing MX, is made up of professional motocross riders Justin Brayton and Josh Grant. They will redo a 2014 Toyota Tundra to make it a "Let's Go Moto Tundra." While the team hasn't revealed any details about what exactly they will do to upgrade the automobile, fans can expect to see some alterations that cater the truck to the rugged conditions of the wilderness. 

    Another vehicle off-roaders may want to keep an eye on is the brainchild of Simon Dumont, a freestyle skier, and his Oakley team. Together, they will be altering a Toyota 4Runner to become the "Ultimate Dream Ski 4Runner," which will likely be a machine capable of handling cold, inclement weather and snowy conditions. 

    The remaining teams are made up of NASCAR driver Parker Kligerman and Kyle Busch Motorsports, who will work to turn a 2013 Toyota Camry into a rally car known as the "CamRally," and BMX rider Drew Bezanson, who is working with Skullcandy to incorporate musical themes into a Toyota Corolla. 

    At the SEMA Show
    Rutledge Wood, the television racing commentator and host of "Top Gear USA," is returning to announce the winning design at this year's SEMA show. The winner will be revealed at the show Nov. 5 in Las Vegas.

    "I'm a big car guy, and that's why I'm so excited about the Dream Build Challenge," Wood said after the 2012 competition. "What's so cool ... is that Toyota is taking their drivers, letting them build something crazy and then they're going to raise money for their charities. I mean, that's an amazing thing. It's going to be huge, and I'm so glad to be a part of it with all my friends at Toyota."

    Videos detailing the process of the customization and the various car and truck modifications made are slated to become public Sept. 26. Fans can then begin voting on their favorite rides Oct. 31, and the polls will remain open for the next five days leading up to the big reveal.

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