Race to the Finish: King of The Hammers 2017 Recap, Part 2
The 2017 Nitto King of The Hammers Powered by Optima saw speeds faster than ever, machines stronger than ever and drivers chasing for the finish in competition against teammates, brothers and family. While Tom Wayes, Jason Scherer, Wayland Campbell, Shannon Campbell and Erik Miller managed to wrangle the lead for most of the race, it was Shannon and Wayland that crossed the line first. But the race was far from over. Before the 14-hour cutoff time, Ultra4 would see it's first 50th finisher at a Hammers event. You've already read Part 1 of the recap; here's how the rest unfolds...
Jason Scherer is interviewed on stage: He says the race felt like it only lasted 2 hours.
“We just raced the whole time,” he says. “We had a lot of fun.” When he heard that Tom Wayes was 8 minutes ahead, Jason thought it was game over until he found Wayes broken down in Spooner's, blocking the line. He managed to make the tricky pass. Scherer completed Lap 3 with problematic brakes; and his feet kept hitting the ground.
“It was an 8-hour battle-to-battle, door-to-door, tire-to-tire,” an announcer says.
Miller zips through the short course and finishes fourth. He had a few issues during the race, including manual steering and fuel pressure.
“This was the hardest KOH ever,” Erik says. “The holes were deeper than ever; there was a lot of desert,” living up to its reputation as “the toughest off-road race in the world.” His car took a beating, though interestingly, the announcers say that his car looks pristine coming across the finish line compared to what other cars usually look like.
JP Gomez is speculated to be in fifth place as he comes through Backdoor, ahead of brothers Marcos, who had an early lead, and Raul, who came in third place last year.
“They’re always trading places, trading blows,” an announcer says.
Raul comes through Chocolate Thunder, while JP crosses the finish line in fifth place.
JP is interviewed on stage: He describes his experience in true Gomez spirited fashion.
“Full race speed… no f’s given… pure passion… no radio contact.”
Blyler finishes sixth, with Shirley crossing the finish line just seconds behind.
Blyler is interviewed on stage: This is the East Coaster’s first KOH ever.
“We came here a few years ago just to watch,” he says. Then he knew he had to compete himself. His goal was just to finish the race, but he has officially come in sixth place — a great accomplishment for anyone, KOH rookie or not. He says it was “pretty uneventful” and “a lot of fun,” as he describes his conservative driving style. For much of the race he was on his own, with no other racers in sight. Blyler drives Miller Motorsports first Pro Series chassis, a clone of Miller's own KOH-winning car.
“Once I saw Miller, Gilstrap and Wayes, we knew we were running with the big dogs.” The most eventful part of his run? A Gomez brother fell and ended up landing on the hood of Blyer’s car. Casual.
“At this point, everyone is hitting the wall, just trying to finish,” an announcer says.
Former leader Wayes is seen coming up over Backdoor.
Gilstrap finishes in eighth place. The Gilstraps are interviewed on stage. “We didn’t break anything,” says wife and co-driver Lindsay, describing it as a “good, clean day.”
It is announced that Gilstrap is unofficially the ninth-place finisher; Cody Waggoner unofficially finishes in eighth. Cody is a conservative racer and managed to make it through the day without any issues.
Raul Gomez finishes in 10th place. On stage he recounts that he had issues with his transmission and did Spooner's in high gear; he didn't think he'd finish.
Combs crosses the finish line with a loud screech. She is the first woman to finish this year, unofficially 12th place. Despite her roll on Backdoor, a quick recovery enabled her to keep on course.
Wayes crosses the finish line in 22nd place.
Bailey Campbell’s co-driver Terry Madden drives across the finish line in 26th place for car #35az. Not bad, considering all the time that was lost at their first pit stop. During Lap 2 the car rolled, jarring Bailey's neck. The injury left her in bad shape to continue to driving, so Terry took on Lap 3 alone. The finish will give Bailey valuable points as the Ultra4 season continues.
Jason Blanton has finished 31st.
Bailey Cole crosses the finish line in 45th place.
Derek West finishes the race with a half hour to spare. He has had a rough day; his car broke, and he had to hike 8 miles to get to a remote pit and back to his car.
Randy Slawson becomes the last to officially finish and the first 50th place finisher in the history of King of The Hammers.
The cars are getting stronger, the teams are getting more prepared or the drivers are getting better, because this year approximately 40% of starters finished, in contrast to last years 30% and the 13% we saw the year before. In official finishing order, here's who finished 2017 King of The Hammers 4400 Race:
- Shannon Campbell
- Wayland Campbell
- Jason Scherer
- Erik Miller
- J.P. Gomez
- Josh Blyler
- Levi Shirley
- Cody Waggoner
- Clay Gilstrap
- Raul Gomez
- Tony Pellegrino
- Jessi Combs
- Pete Antunac
- Jason Shipman
- Dustin Isenhour
- Corey Kuchta
- Jeff Russell
- Keenan Leatherwood
- Matt Trebino
- Jon Cagliero
- Don Fisher
- Tom Wayes
- Ben Swain
- Shad Kennedy
- Jason Bond Waits
- Bailey Campbell
- Darrell Gray
- Michael Heston
- Bryan Maloney
- Doug Jackson
- Jason Blanton
- Greg Adler
- Chad Wheeler
- Mark Danzo
- George Pronesti
- George Schooley
- Rod Kaven
- John Webb
- Kenneth Goodall
- Casey Currie
- Fabio Manno
- Brian Wood
- Jeff Brown
- Bailey Cole
- Kevin Yoder
- Brian Tilton
- Chris May
- Derek West
- Randy Slawson