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John Stewart

Kevin Sacalas Wins Vegas to Reno Ultra4 Class

RIVERSIDE, CA  AUGUST 27, 2009:  Kevin Sacalas takes the Best In The Desert (BITD) Vegas to Reno the Long Way win in the Ultra4 class August 20-August 22.  Sacalas was the only Ultra4 driver to iron man the event and successfully cross the finish line all three days in the longest off road race in the USA.  This win also secures him a starting position in the 2010 King of the Hammers.

The new Ultra4 class in BITD allowed “rock crawlers” to compete in this epic desert race.  Without a vehicle to participate in this class, Sacalas spent five months designing his first attempt at fabricating a complete car, but naturally the bulk of the build was completed in the 9 days prior to the race.  The first day of the race was the second day in the vehicle, the only testing was the weekend prior when Bilstein tuned in the shocks for the mighty load.  The vehicle worked with only a handful of mechanical difficulties, mostly related to the heat which plagued all teams during this intense race.  “The heat was brutal,” said Sacalas, “we had to replace melted bushings and contend with overheating just to name a few obstacles.”

The Viking Offroad team competed against eleven vehicles in the Ultra4 class.  With a tracker that didn’t work on Day 1, no one even knew that Sacalas was getting ready to cross the finish line after being on the course for close to eleven hours.  As Sacalas learned to drive the vehicle, and lost his clutch due to silt, he made the decision that it would be unsafe to put someone else into the driver’s seat. He would have to accomplish this race on his own with co-driver Doug Williams by his side.  Day 2 offered more setbacks, but the team continued to push through to the finish line, and was the only Ultra4 vehicle to finish the first 2 days.  By the morning of Day 3 they knew they just needed to finish to win and by this time Sacalas had adapted to the vehicle and the terrain “we felt more comfortable driving in the blind silt for minutes at a time,” said co-driver Williams.  They successfully completed Day 3 with no rear brakes and a poorly functioning clutch. The feeling of accomplishment was evident at the finish line as they took the checkered flag for the win.  After adjusted time, Sacalas 4435 finished in 31 hours 12 minutes, 2 hours ahead of the second place team.

Viking Offroad took a chance and sponsored a team that was an underdog going into this race.  Their car was unheard of and their names were not among the elite.  But now, they are in the record books as the first ever winner of the Ultra4 class in the longest BITD race in history.  “I am addicted!  It was fun and I would like to do some smaller races,” said Sacalas.

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John Stewart

BFGoodrich Tires Remains King of the Hammers Official Tire

The last two years have brought home the scepter for BFGoodrich Tires, with Kings Jason Scherer and Shannon Campbell taking the wins.  “The King of the Hammers race is the perfect next level of proving ground for us.  We are proven in rocks.  We are proven in desert.  Now combine the two, and climb rocks after having to maintain high speed through the desert.  It's exciting to watch this race, and to know that BFGoodrich tires succeed time and time again and prove that success by dominating the podium,” said Roberts Kukainis, BFGoodrich Tires motorsports manager.

This year, BFGoodrich Tires again has a star studded line up.  Rob MacCachren will add one more discipline of racing to his extremely impressive career with a starting spot in the King of the Hammers.  Driving a BlueTorch Fab car, MacCachren will be joined by legends of the sport and past rockcrawling champions Larry McRae, Jon Bundrant and Jon Nelson building a very impressive and aggressive team that is bound for success.

The starting line will be BFGoodrich Tires lined with both Buzz Bronsema and Rich Mooneyham running the BFGoodrich Baja T/AKRT.  BFGoodrich Tires has many other team drivers on the starting grid including Greg Adler, Tracy Jordan, two time 2nd place finisher Casey Currie, John Reynolds, Dean Bulloch and Tom Wayes.

BFGoodrich Tires has successfully developed a new tire that took the existing desert tire with modifications to account for the rocks.  The BFGoodrich Baja T/AKRT tire is the perfect tire to go precisely through the rocks and across the desert at high speeds that handles high pressure and is puncture resistant.  This year BFGoodrich Tires is introducing another tire to their King of the Hammers specific line up, the BFGoodrich Baja TAKR tire which is a 42x13.50R20 tire.  Yes, two major size changes in the tire height and the rim.  BFGoodrich Tires team driver and Ultra4 Vegas to Reno champion Kevin Sacalas will be the only driver running these tires on Friday February 12, 2010.

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John Stewart

New Class of Cars to Debute at BITD

Vegas to Reno the long way, the brainchild of BITD’s Casey Folks, is the longest off-road point-to-point race in the United States, and this year he made it tougher.  Not wanting to miss a once in a lifetime adventure, Hammerking Productions approached Folks about the addition of King of the Hammers-style Rock crawlers, now branded Ultra4 cars.  “Our type of racing is all about the harsh environment and brutal terrain, and we felt this would continue that test of man and machine,” said Hammerking Productions Dave Cole.  Cole will pilot a Brian Kirby purpose-built, cross breed of desert car that is also capable of climbing vertical walls and accelerating through the deep silt-beds found in the Nevada desert.  “This is my dream car!” exclaimed Cole.

To sweeten the deal and attract a class of racers, Hammerking Productions attached the event to its widely popular Griffin King of the Hammers series of regional qualifiers.  “Our approach this year has been to force our teams out of their comfort zone and introduce them to multiple forms of off-road genres,” says Knoll.  He then went on to say that “the partnership between Hammerking and Best In The Desert has been working out great so far with more than a dozen Ultra4 teams signing up for this epic adventure.”

The UNITE team partners drivers who regularly participate in multiple motor sports and fabricators from six states and three countries who could be considered royalty in their own racing category.  Drivers have experience ranging from the X Games, SCORE/BITD Desert Racing, Gumball 3000 Rally, Drag Racing, and Professional Rock-Sport Racing.  Personalities include Adam Woodlee, Wyatt Pemberton, Dan Barcroft, Brian Kirby, Ken Mercer, RJ Brown, Matt Sisson, Dave Camp, Wayne Israelsen, Randy Slawson, Ben Napier, JR VanOrtwick, Dave Schneider, Chris Ridgway, and Chris Pook, who will join forces with Dave Cole and Jeff Knoll of Hammerking Productions and will be lead by the efforts of crew chief JC Andrews the Mojave Desert Racing 2008 overall points champion.  “JC is the type of driver who puts together solid, consistent wins.  We will all learn from him out in the Nevada desert,” said 2007 SCORE Baja 1000 winner Dave Schnieder and owner of the 4471 car piloted by Jeff Knoll for this event. “Half the fun is just going to be working with these guys!” added Knoll.

Signing on to support the effort of the UNITE team has been a number of the leaders in the off-road motor sports arena, including Griffin Thermal Products, BFGoodrich Tires, Raceline Wheels, Vision X Lights, and Ready Welder.  Greg Mulkey, race director for Raceline Wheel, expressed his company’s position: “Raceline Wheels is proud to be associated with Hammerking Productions and we hope to carry over our success in rock-sports to this exciting new class of desert racing.  We believe our wheels are perfectly suited for the demands of this type of endurance racing."  Mulkey will join the UNITE team for Vegas to Reno and utilize the opportunity to see first-hand testing of their line of racing wheels.  Darick Schmitt, distributor for VisionX lighting systems, added, “We see King of the Hammers as the fastest-growing off-road racing series in North America.  The commitment by Jeff Knoll and Dave Cole to create a race and build a series that combines so many different off-road disciplines has created a following by top racers which, in turn, brings fan support never seen before in this type of [rock-sports] racing.”

To learn more about the UNITE off-road racing team, get race week live updates and coverage, and King of the Hammers, please visit: www.KingOfTheHammers.com  



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John Stewart

OV Rocksports Prepares for Best in The Desert

OV Rocksports teams with HASA Pool Products for Vegas to Reno Race Rock Zombie Travis Carpenter competes in 1,000 mile desert race in car 4405

HASA Pool Products joins with OV Rocksports as a title sponsor for the TSCO “Vegas to Reno the long way” desert race in the 4400 Ultra 4 class. Rock Zombie 4x4 club member Travis Carpenter and spotter Dan Trout of (FishMouth Fabworks) will compete in the 4405 “land-use” buggy in an attempt to qualify for the 2010 King of the Hammers race.

With Travis’s father Stan Carpenter as crew chief, land-use activist Kurt Schneider as manager/promoter, and strong pit support by his Rock Zombie club members, Travis has formed a team of committed individuals. While Dan Trout has experience in the desert scene, Travis Carpenter brings only his experience in trail riding and competitive rock crawling which he has been involved in for many years.

According to Travis, “I may be the underdog in this race, but we are in it to win it. Qualifying for the King of the Hammers is just a secondary goal. I am really excited to be racing in this new class against such veteran drivers.”

The 2009 TSCO “Vegas to Reno” The long way race, is a 1,000 mile, three-day, staged off road desert race hosted by the “Best in the Desert” New for this year is the introduction of the 4400 class in which Travis Carpenter is running the 4405 car.

Travis’s 4405 buggy has been masterfully built by Dan Trout of Fishmouth Fabworks. Already featured prominently at various competitions, events, trail work parties, trail rides and even parades, the vehicle turns heads and has gained much attention due to its outstanding craftsmanship.

As part of the team’s commitment to land-use issues, the vehicle will also be running various land-use decals to help educate OHV users on proper use and to keep our public lands open to the public. According to manager Kurt Schneider, “This rig is more than just a race buggy, we are using it as an educational tool to illustrate to the general public that responsible OHV use does little to no damage to the actual environment. We are also currently working to run the rig on all bio-degradable fluids including gear oil, motor oil and bio-degradable ATF”

In addition to title sponsor HASA Inc., car 4405 is also sponsored by Powertank, Yukon, Infinite Graphx, MFS, Marco Muffler and Solid Axle.

OV Rocksports is the competition division of the Nor Cal Rock Zombies 4x4 Club from Orangevale, CA.  Primarily a rock crawling team, OV Rocksports ran in the Last Chance Qualifier in the 2009 King of the Hammers.

HASA Inc. has been keeping your water safe and clean for over 40 years, with its production, sale and distribution of sodium hypochlorite and related products to the industrial, water treatment and swimming pool markets. HASA is a family owned and operated business that has been long dedicated to the needs of its customers and the impeccable standards of its products.



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John Stewart

General Tire Team Notches SNORE Win

Mike Childress/Robert Pickering Win Class 7 in 2009 SNORE KC Highlights Midnight Special

RIDGECREST, CA – (August 10, 2009) -- Mike Childress and Robert Pickering prevailed through a punishing, rocky 43-mile lap course to take the Class 7 win at the 2009 SNORE KC HiLiTES Midnight Special on August 8. 

“Mikey and Robert put on a great show for the fans representing General Tires,” said Tony Talbert, LT Truck Product Manager, General Tire.  “They lapped the whole class and finished 10th overall in a really awesome showing. We are very proud of their effort in this event.”

He added that Childress drove first three laps before turning it over to Pickering, the vehicle owner, with 50 minute lead.

General Tire is again ‘unleashing the fury’ in off-road performance for 2009, in the second year campaigning its Grabber competition tire.  Designed with a tough, three-ply Duragen™-reinforced body construction to stand up to the rigors of off-road conditions, the Grabber also features a newly-developed competition-specific tread compound. In addition, the Grabber name and General Tire logo are prominently featured on the sidewall in red and white letters.  The Grabber competition tires are designed in size 37x12.50R17 for class 8 and trophy truck/trick truck and 35x12.50R17 for class 1, 6, 7, 7 S, stock mini and Protruck.

General Tire also has a complete line of Grabber tires for the passenger and light truck market, including the new Grabber DOT-approved off-road tire (to be released later this year); the Grabber HTS, which delivers the perfect synergy of comfort, durability and performance; the Grabber UHP, which sets a whole new standard in performance and ride quality for SUVs, light trucks and crossover vehicles; and Grabber AT2, designed for aggressive all-terrain traction in all weather conditions.

General Tire is part of Continental Tire North America, Inc. (www.generaltire.com).

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