More than 2,000 fans attended the inaugural ULTRA4 MetalCloak NorCal Stampede held at the Prairie City State Park last weekend.
Over the course of two days and multiple heats, 48 ULTRA4 cars waged battle on a brutal two-mile course that left only 29 vehicles running by the final two races. Drivers pushed their cars to the limit in this first race of the 2013 ULTRA4 Trail Gear Western Regional Series in pursuit of both a podium finish and a chance to qualify for the 2014 Griffin King of The Hammers Presented by Nitto Tire.
Ultimately, two former Kings and the son of a King claimed the podium. 2009 King of The Hammers, Jason Scherer took the checkered flag followed closely by 2010 King, Loren Healy, and third place went to the youngest King of the Hammers competitor to date, 17-year-old Wayland Campbell, the son of the only two-time King, Shannon Campbell.
Drivers had three chances to earn a spot in the 21-car finale. On Friday, the top-four drivers from four heats earned the first 16 spots for Saturday's main event. The remaining 32 drivers each had two chances to claim one of the five remaining spots in the finals. Of the five drivers who qualified Saturday, two had major repairs to fix in the few hours between qualifying and the finals. Fifth-place finisher Jason Blanton changed a ring and pinion while Grass Valley native, Kevin Yoder, started the final with only 3-wheel drive as he did not have enough time to replace a broken axle before the finals.
Once the green flag dropped, Scherer's Rubicon Express 76 car made fast work of taking the lead followed closely by fellow Nitto Tire Team member Loren Healy in his 67 ATX car. Scherer and Healy ran first and second most of the race as Campbell steadily moved his way up from an early fifth-place position into third place. The fourth and fifth-place finishers, Kevin Sacalas and Jason Blanton, respectively, fought their way to the front from deep in the field.
Six of the top-10 drivers earned qualifying spots in the 2014 Griffin King of The Hammers Presented by Nitto Tire, as only four had already qualified.
In addition to the ULTRA4 class, two Rubicon Express Modified cars raced side-by-side with the ULTRA4s, while six Pro Comp Stock Cars competed in both a qualifying and a final race on the same course as the ULTRA4s. Wayne Hartwig was declared the Modified winner. In the Pro Comp Stock Class, Richard Gauthier, Bret Scheiding and Kevin Adler took first, second and third respectively.
The next race in the 2013 ULTRA4 Trail Gear Western Regional series will be taking place at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, May 24 and 25, and the first race in the ULTRA4 4WD Hardware Eastern Regional Series will take place this weekend at the WIDIA Rausch Creek Qualifier in Pennsylvania. Live coverage will be available for both races at www.ultra4racing.com/live.