Yesterday, Day 1 of Ultra4 National Championships, competitors ran a single, timed run for qualifying. That set their starting time for today's main events. This morning started with two preliminary heats where odd number qualifiers ran first, followed by the evens. Points leader Loren Healy qualified 2nd yesterday, so he was the first off the line during the second heat of prelims.
This course, best described as a short-course version of King of The Hammers, is being started with a "rolling start." A pace car leads them through the first lap, then it's every driver for themselves as they battle it out for the next five laps. Today's prelims have brought a lot of excitement and a lot of red flags. The challenging rock sections have accrued their fair share of traffic, with red flags being called when someone rolls over and becomes stuck, usually requiring an excavator to come out and haul them back to course.
During Heat 1, where Gary Ferravanti Sr. started on the pole, Shannon Campbell and Bill Baird fought a close fight for first while Nitto Tire teammates Jason Scherer and Erik Miller had some healthy competition for third. It was Campbell who completed his five laps first.
Heat 2, with Loren Healy on the pole, saw a close battle between he and Tom Wayes. Healy claimed a fair lead most of the race until getting hung up on the rocks at the top of the mountain when Wayes shut-in the distance between them. It seemed like it could be either of their game as they headed up the large mountainside of boulders for the fifth and last time, but it was Healy who made it to the top first, maintaining his second starting position for the main event.
10 competitors from each heat progress onto the main event, with five more gaining a spot during the last chance qualifier. If you're not watching the livestream, check back in at DrivingLine.com for more up-to-the-minute updates from #NittoNationals.