Nitto Grabs First, Second, and Third at the 2022 MidAmerica Visions Regional Ultra4 Race
This was the second annual Visions at MidAmerica located in Jay, Oklahoma and boy did it deliver! There was off-road racing everywhere you looked, from Rock Bouncers to Pit Bikes and Remote Control Buggies to Ultra4 Cars. The racing was super intense and if that wasn’t enough, the points are doubled for this event so its sure to bring in a lot of the big dogs, and with 160 Ultra4 cars, we knew it was going to be an awesome race weekend.
There was an Ultra4 Driver Summit where new ideas and old traditions were talked about and how to shape the series in the future, most drivers felt like it was a success and looked forward to the new direction of the series. Thursday there was some cars out practicing and then Friday was qualifying for Ultra4 followed by the race on Saturday.
The National Rock Racing Association had raced rock bouncers earlier in the week and had set the tone for all the racing action. They raced a short course section followed by some difficult downhill and up hill sections. It was some intense racing for sure.
Friday was qualifying for all classes and the course was about three quarters of a mile, and with constant watering of the track and a good bit of wind, the course stayed fairly clear. It was impressive to see the times continue to climb as the faster cars starting running. The 4600 class cars were having a blast on the long sections of the short course and the UTV’s were absolutely flying. Veteran racers Terry Madden and Bryan Crofts also having a respectable showing in the side by side class.
Saturday the temps were 100+ degrees for the race and drivers were melting in their cars as they waited for the race to kick off. Each class had its own race with the exception of 4500 and 4800 racing together. The 4500 and 4800 has some racers, and cars, who are pushing hard enough to be a contender with some of the 4400 cars, so that is always exciting to watch.
The 4600 Stock class is one of my personal favorites to watch because of the limitations on the vehicle make it a true man and machine vs nature, with smaller power and very limited tire size they have to overcome a great deal. This year's Visions had a Ford Bronco podium sweep.
A handful of drivers who race the big class also have begun racing 4900, the course is usually similar and racing UTV is a great way to get some seat time and feel out the track, so it was no surprise to most when SRRS season driver Paul Wolff not only qualified well, but pushed his Can-Am to the top spot winning the 4900 class, he contributed his win to having fresh air to be able to push the car harder.
With Loren Healy qualifying first in his monster Ford Bronco, he was sitting side by side Paul Wolff in his UFO chassis, followed by Vaughn Gittin Jr., Darian and Marcos Gomez, but lining up directly behind them was legend Shannon Campbell and powerhouses like Erik Miller who was super fast in the woods, along with Chris Branton, Rusty Blyler, and Levi Shirley. After waiting on the line in the extreme heat for almost 45 mins while the race officials made a few course changes, it was very clear the power distribution block in Healy’s car began to melt, and quickly reached temps of 300 degrees in the engine, so he decided to pull into the pit and call it a day after lap 4, however, magically the relays began working again and his cooling fans kicked on and he was back in business fighting his way back up though the positions.
Paul Wolff, who was struggling to fend off other racers like Miller and Gittin Jr., who were nipping on his heals all were dealing with some of the same issues—heavy dust. The high temps of the day made the water spread by the water trucks evaporate almost immediately.
Unfortunately, by the time the 4400 class had kicked off the first lap they had stirred up so much dust that drivers couldn’t even see the front of their hood of the car, said Chip McLaughlin a member of the Rufus Racing Team, which led them to get off course in the woods and hit a tree with substantial speed, and broke their steering. Several other drivers also were pushing the cars to the max with near zero visibility. Pushing the car to limits when you are in a dust cloud so dark it almost feels like night time is pretty hard to do for even the best racers. Vaughn picked up a small wire fence that wrapped around his front axle illustrating how even the best drivers were looking for alternate lines through the woods to help pick up some speed by getting out of the dust.
When the Dust had finally settled that day, Paul Wolff had won, Loren Healy took 2nd, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. took 3rd making a nice Nitto Trail Grappler Tire sweep of the podium. Loren said it was one of the hardest races ever, between the heat and the dust, he said it was incredibly difficult.
2022 MidAmerica Visions Race Results
UTV Stock Production
1.) Matthew Walraven
2.) Bryan Crofts
3.) Will Harris
UTV Pro Modified
1.) Paul Wolff
2.) Levi Metzinger
3.) Cole Clark
1.) Mark Welch
2.) Trey Price
3.) Bill Hillard
1.) Bailey Cole
2.) Brad Lovell
3.) Vaughn Gittin Jr
1.) Richard Lavezzo
2.) Justin Hall
3.) Duane Garretson
1.) Ryan Taylor
2.) Stephen Rose Jr
3.) Brent Harrell
1.) Paul Wolff
2.) Loren Healy
3.) Vaughn Gittin Jr