Day 1 - Get up early and hit the road! Foresthill is 538 miles from Hammertown and it takes a little time to tow our fully loaded up custom trailer from M&S Fabrication and Trailers! It handles like a champ and happy to report the drive was uneventful.
Day 2 - Spent last night getting settled in, but the Vision Wheel photoshoot has priority today. Focus on getting the #888 cleaned up and then go hang with the Vision Wheel team and get some pictures taken!
Day 3 - Another early morning in Hammertown! Call time for Team Nitto was 6AM and then off to Backdoor to spend a couple hours getting all the official Nitto Tires glamour shots done (for me and the car). It's a great time to catch up with everybody and have a little fun. After the photoshoot it's time to get out and do some prerunning.
Day 4 - Did I mention I brought out the old Toyota? This is the first time it's been out to Hammers in a few years and it's the perfect rig to use to go check out the new rock trails. Today is all about getting the #888 dialed in and prerunning the course.
Day 5 - The wind blew hella hard last night so we spent the morning cleaning up the carnage. Pretty much hunkered down today in the tent and did some fine tuning on the #888 and some much need relaxing.
Day 6 - Yup, time to qualify! Hard to believe that we don't get to make an official run until the 6th day on the lakebed, but that's Hammers. Super pumped to get the invitation to participate in Power Hour with some of the best Ultra4 Racing drivers on the planet! We made a pretty good run and ended up finishing in the 11th qualifying spot. Click here to see the in car footage from qualifying.
Day 7 - There's no way I could do what I do without the support of my partners! The suspension experts at King Shocks saw something during qualifying and wanted to get the #888 dialed in! Spent some time out in the whoops and it was well worth it! Spent the rest of the day cheering on our friends racing in the 4WP Every Man Challenge
Day 8 - Today is all about watching my Vision Wheel teammates race their T1 Trucks, making some final tweaks to the #888, going through contingency, hydrating, and getting my mind and body ready for the big race tomorrow. I'm pretty happy with how the car has performed so far this week, so the expectations are high for race day!
Day 9 - RACE DAY!
Finally get to make the run and went off the starting line feeling pretty optimistic. Made it through most of the desert lap without incident and just tried to drive smooth and protect the car. A few miles outside Hammertown at the end of lap 1 I noticed a charging issue, so I pulled in to main pit and had the team take a look. That turned out to be a good call as the main charging wire had come disconnected. The pit handled the issue quickly and I was back on the track. Lap 2 went great and we started to pick up some spots at a pretty good clip. By the time we were coming into Hammertown at the end of lap 2 we were pretty confident we were solidly into the Top 10! Unfortunately, right before entering the short course I got stuck in-between lines and rammed a massive rock that did some pretty significant damage. My pit (Mikey Perez, Dallas Twichell, Keven Kirkegaard, Seth Van Dyke) jumped into action and immediately started diagnosing the issues when the entire Tribe16 pit came over and jumped right in (btw, we only knew a couple guys over there...Adam Woodley and Andrew Walker... but they brought the masses and holy crap their knowledge and mechanical skills are top notch). I hit the rock so hard it sheered three bolts off at the block and cracked an a-arm. Shredded belt removed, sheered off bolts extracted, cracked a-arms welded, and we're three new bolts and a belt away from getting back on the track. We'd already used our spare belts, but luckily Rick Lavezzo came over to help out and had a spare he was willing to donate to the cause...one down! We weren't so lucky with the bolts.....we didn't have the bolts in our spare parts, the junk bolt container another pit gave us didn't have the right bolts, and none of the other pits close by had the bolt we needed. Random people set out all over Hammertown looking for the bolts and after about 15 minutes we hear somebody in the distance yell "I have the bolts" (rumor is that it came from the GenRight Offroad pit,,,thank you guys for the help). People jump into full sprint, take the bolt handoff, the bolts were installed in minutes and we're off on lap three!
I'm not even sure how many people touched the car on that stop, but it was easily more than ten. People who I had never met and people who had never turned a wrench on my car were making major repairs under pressure and doing it flawlessly! Every repair that was made during that stop held up like a champ on lap three until our 4wd took a crap on us and ended our day!
I can't say that we had a great day of racing, but I can say we had a great day of feeling the love from the Ultra4 Racing family! Thank you all for your support.