CRUNCH TIME: How Fitzgerald Assembled Alex Laughlin’s Badass Hauler In Just Seven Days!
Alex Laughlin and his dad, Kenny, are long time friends with speed. Kenny has been a ...
Alex Laughlin and his dad, Kenny, are long time friends with speed. Kenny has been a drag racer all of his life, and Alex began racing in karts at the age of four, eventually moving up through the ranks of NHRA Sportsman drag racing and landing a ride in Pro Stock, a class considered by many to be one of the most competitive professional classes in all of drag racing. These guys know about getting things done quickly, so they’re not easily impressed when it comes to speed, at least not until the team at Fitzgerald Glider Kits pulled off the impossible by assembling the team’s new rig in just seven days!
Fitzgerald, headquartered in Crossville, Tennessee, has built a thriving industry by dropping used running gear out of trucks that are crashed or otherwise not roadworthy into brand new OEM chassis, saving truckers a good bit of money versus buying a brand new turn-key rig and extending the lifespan of the major components from the wrecked rigs. This, however, was a different beast, a fully-custom build on a nearly-impossible timeframe, but the team was up to the task and, as you can see, absolutely crushed this project.
They started by finding the best candidate from their 1,500+ trucks in stock, a 312 inch wheelbase 2017 Peterbilt 389 with a 58 inch flat top sleeper. However, as it sat, the chassis needed some major changes before the assembly could even begin, like the bright red frame that would be a direct contrast to the trademark green of Laughlin’s Gas Monkey Energy livery. This meant the cab and sleeper had to be yanked from the frame and set aside while the Fitzgerald Collision Repair crew sprayed the chassis with the perfect coat of green. From there, reassembly could begin, with an array of badass components being added as they went about piecing the rig back together.
Among the custom and aftermarket parts chosen to set the truck apart from the sea of rigs on the highway as the team travels from coast to coast in pursuit of the NHRA Pro Stock world championship, you’ll find a set of 24.5 inch American Racing ATX – Octane wheels, and Iowa Customs flush mount deck plate, United Pacific chopper-style headlights, WTI fiberglass rear fenders, and a 22 inch Texas Square bumper from Valley Chrome. 12ga Customs stepped up with a load of goodies, including the smooth stainless steel step boxes, front and rear T-Bars, 6 inch cab and sleeper panels, and their bumper lift for extra ground clearance when needed.
During the rebuild process, many of the components needed a little extra shine, so Almost Chrome sent a crew from Nashville to polish everything that isn’t painted. Meanwhile, a team from SignSmith came to remove the old wrap from the massive trailer and update the hauler with the 2018 design. As if that wasn’t enough going on, Brian Davis brought a crew from Davis Brothers in Indiana to help layout the custom white, black and green paint scheme, which was designed by Fitzgerald’s Director of Marketing, Brian Bourke.
As the seven day window closed, the final bolts were tightened, including those holding the custom Gas Monkey Energy grill from 12ga Customs, and the rig was ready to roll out west to meet it’s new owners in Dallas. To say the rig is eye-catching is a gross understatement, with it grabbing the eye from a mile away and pulling the viewer in with the awesome attention to detail and undeniable presence. When mated with the huge hauler, the complete rig is both imposing, yet undeniably sleek, standing out without screaming “Look at me!”. The colors flow seamlessly from the truck to the trailer, with the green lights tying it all in nicely. The rig was driven to Dallas where it was used to haul the Gas Monkey Challenger to the second Mega Race before swapping the Dodge out for Alex’s 2018 Pro Stock Camaro and heading to Pomona to kick off the 2018 NHRA season. From there, it made the relatively short trip to Phoenix for the Arizona Nationals and is now waiting to head to the southeast for the Gatornationals in Gainesville Florida. The rig will travel coast to coast as the season progresses, so keep an eye out. Trust us when we say, you literally can’t miss it!