King of the Hammers – Qual 4th, Finish TBD, broke T Case after Cougar Buttes, continued in 2wd to sand hill before Outer Limits.
Between Nationals in October and KOH we made several improvements and did a lot of testing to the car. We replaced our broken Dana 60 rear axle with a Ruff Stuff fabricated 9” rear end, with a Strange Engineering third member and a spool. The axle shafts are from Dutchman Axles. The tube ends are from Front Range Off Road, which allow bolt on chevy spindles. We use chevy spindles, hubs and bearings from Yukon Gear and Axle and rotors from Sky’s Off Road with Wilwood D 154 calipers and pads.
We also rebuilt our cross members and skid plate, making it much stronger and easier to remove and install.
After getting our Covid test, we arrived on the lakebed on Saturday, Jan 23rd. We had shock tuning with Alltech Motorsports, Wayne Isrealson, on Sunday the 24th and my co-driver, Kory Merrill was kind enough to come out and join us. Wayne agreed to jump in the car and we went to out to his usual testing area near Lasertown. We drove the car hard and Wayne made some quick adjustments, and the car felt great. I traded Wayne for Kory, and we went out to Turkey Claw and Jackhammer to test the shocks in the rocks. The car did great, we got some good practice in with wet and snowy conditions.
The rest of our team arrived the morning of Wednesday, Jan 27th and we set up camp. We got the course map on Thursday at noon, and Kory and I prepared to pre-run the lap 1, the desert lap. On an initial inspection of the car, we frame around the steering box mount had cracked, so we welded that before heading out to pre-run. We pre-ran the desert loop and Cougar Buttes with out issue, and arrived back in camp after dark.
The evening of Friday Jan 28 a storm came through that dumped snow in the mountains and rain and snow on the lakebed, creating lakes and a lot of mud. Kory could not make it down from Big Bear, so we prepped the car.
We had more of the team arrive on Saturday, including our crew chief Daniel Alvarez.
On Monday, Feb 1 Kory came back down and we pre-ran lap 2, the rock trails. We made easy work of the sand hills and went down Spooners with out issues. Going up Outer Limits, Kory had to get out, provide line, winch us a few times, and throw some rocks. We had to leave a few wincfh line extensions on the trail. We got up Outer Limits without any damage, and continued on course over to Chocolate Thunder, which we went down without issues. We then made out way over to Wrecking Ball and Bender Alley. We made quick work of Wrecking Ball, but Bender Alley was very challenging and we had to winch, throw rocks and eventually got stuck, where we broke our winch line. Eventually the Gomez Brothers came up the trail, and winched us back. Raul Gomez tried to continue forward up the trail, but couldn’t make it, so he turned up the line we were on, and tried to go around us. Raul’s front tires made it, but his rear tires slid down the slope, hit our passenger from tire, and then drove over our fender, hood and front bumber, a classic Gomez kiss. Only cosmetic damage to the car, except for breaking off our front facing camera.
Wednesday Feb 3 we ran lap one with Daniel’s Rzr and made course notes on the smoothest ways through the lap.
Thursday Feb 4 we lined up for Tech/Contingency mid morning, and enjoyed talking with fellow racers and some of our followers who were enjoying hammertown. We made it through Tech without any issues and got our new tracker which seemed to be a big upgrade from the yellow bricks we were used to. We prepped the car, checking bolts and fluids, and loaded up with straps and winch line extensions.
Friday Feb 5 race day arrived and we found our spot and enjoyed talking with our fellow stock class racers. We were in the 2nd group of cars off the line for the stock class. We let the car next to us take off and set a quick pace, but not over driving the car. Within a few miles, we caught up with some of the cars ahead of us, and made quick passes with several of them, including the car that started with us. We eventually came up to Albert Contreras, who had started in 2nd place. We passed him, and about 10 miles later he passed us again. We made it to pit 1, and did not stop, allowing our pit crew watch the car for any issues. We continued to Cougar Buttes, where we found Albert stopped, preparing to back up and adjust his line. We passed him there, and continued through Cougar Buttes in 1st place. We made it through Cougar Buttes with out issue, one of the few stock class cars to make it though with out issues. We left Cougar Buttes and settled into a quick pace for the remainder of lap 1. We had a few hard hits, and noticed out shocks were not performing like they did at the start of the race. Albert caught up to us, and we did not try to catch him. We continued the return to pit 1, noticing we were not climbing as well as we should. As we approached pit 1, we notiched our rear end getting squirrely and realized we had a flat tire, and were riding on our Coyote Liner. This slowed us down quite a bit, but we were close to getting back to our pit to allow them to change the tire. Kracker Fab caught up to us while we had the flat tire. We drove on the flat for about 6 miles, until we got to pit 1 where our team put on a new tire. We continued towards main pit, not seeing much traffic, until we got very close to Hammertown, when Tom Allen in the PSC car passed us. We made it to our main pit at 11:15, our best time in all of our racing. This was our fuel up and the team was doing a thorough check of all of our shocks, links, steering and the car in general. While doing this, the pit crew discovered a lot of transmission fluid had been dumped on the skid plate, and we found we had cracked out transfer case, and had been in 2wd for quite a while (which had led to our flat tire, and trouble climbing some hills). Since the car was otherwise good, and could still travel on its own, we decided to continue as far as we could, which was to the sand hill before Spooners.
Nitto Tires- 35” Nitto Trail Grapplers use of the pit area in front of their trailer. We absolutely love these tires.
Coyote Enterprises- We have their tire liners on eight of our tire/wheels. These allow us to use a lower tire pressure as they act as a bump stop preventing the wheel from hitting rocks. Also allows you to continue the race with a flat, which acts as if it is half flat. They paid for themselves in this race.
Ruff Stuff Specialties- Ford 9” fabricated housing front and rear, rear sway bar, steering heims, shock and link tabs and brackets, steering clamp for ram.
Yukon Gear and Axle- D60 Super Joints, wheel hubs, spindles, bearings, seals.
Summit Machine- Front and rear lower links, rear upper links, billet link joints front and rear, solid alum tie rod, solid alum drag link, d60 drive gears and flanges.
Factor 55- Flatlink expert with rock guard, fast fid, RRP (Rope Retention Pulley)
PSC- Steering Gear, PS Pump, Hydro Assist Ram
Tom Woods Driveshafts- Front and rear driveshafts
Premier Power Welder- high output alternator, on board welder, welding accessories
Fox Shocks- 12” smooth body custom racing shocks with remote DSC reservoirs
PRP- Harnesses, Seats, Window Nets, Limit Straps
Raceline Wheels- Red Powder Coated Monster Bead Locks
Xenia Racing Wraps- New Fly Offroad wrap, team shirts and sweatshirts
PCI- Car radio- 100 watt kenwood, intercom, base radio, hand held radios, helmets, racing suits, hans devices
Powertank- Power shot for arb lockers, air gauges, 15lb CO2 in race trailer, shock refill kit, Jet Pack (back up air for lockers)
Ironman 4x4- Radiator support, steering brace
S&B Filters- air filter