MUSTANG, NV (Oct. 21) – Once again the Ultra 4 series ended its season at the Wild West Motorsports Park. Like previous visits it was an action packed day with hard racing over obstacles.
After winning the 4400 main Jason Scherer said, “It’s crazy, I’ve been competing for about 15 years and there’s something that happens every time I hear the national anthem. It’s just like changes you a little bit knowing not only how awesome it is as we have the opportunity do this while other people are fighting for our freedom…. It’s like ‘all right, here we go its race time and it’s going to get wild,’ a great feeling and it’s kind of crazy.”
At Wild West Motorsports Parkt the course is a bit altered for the nationals. First of all there is a field of small boulders put in front of the north grandstands, which were packed with fans.
After the field assembled they use the Lucas Oil track to head for the start. Coming down the last hill, and going over a step up, the green is wave when the first cars hit the rocks.
Once the race began Scherer was first off the rocks with Shannon Campbell, who dropped out after two laps, Loren Healy and Wayland Campbell not far behind. From there the field roared up the hill, around Turn 1 and over the Ski Jump.
After getting some air the drivers rip around a 180 degree right hander then head off the course as they wind their way up what is now called the King Hill.
After that they come screaming back down to the course, turn right and head back up on course. Before reaching the top there is a left turn where they run down about 200 feet of rocks.
Up front Scherer was wasting no time leaving everyone in his dust as others dueled for second and third.
During the race there was a roll over in Turn 2 and the track crew got it back on its wheels. And during the 12-lap event others would drop out.
Still Scherer kept extending his lead leaving Levi Shirley in a distant second place while Wayland Campbell eventually took over third.
In the end it was Scherer, Shirley and Campbell that stood on the podium.
“I don’t know if my car had two more laps but it was a fantastic race, these guys standing up here are a class act,” Shirley said after the race.
Then he said to the spectators, “Thank you guys for coming out.”
Finishing third was Wayland Campbell who said, “I want to thank my family, I’m so excited, my dad especially for teaching me everything I know, let me do this and spend all his money.”
Before the 4400 main began there was a B main that set much of the back of the field. Finally there was a two-lap shoot out in the LCQ (Last Chance Qualifier) where only two drivers transfer and they were Darrell Gray and Jeff McCullough.
The next class are the 4800’s or Legends and when their race began Kent Fults and Eric Brinker led the charge. By the second lap Cade Rodd was on point followed by Gray, Brinker with Casey Gilbert and Jason Bunch dueling for fourth.
Up front Rodd just ran away and with two laps to go had an almost 34 second lead over Brinker in second. Behind them Jason Bunch took third while Brad Lovell ended up fourth.
Rodd put on the most dominating finish of the day.
On the podium he said, “We had issues in the heat race and I have to thank my crew, my friends and my family, the whole pit that comes together to fix the car and make it sing out there like it did just now.”
Then he also thanked Nitto Tires, KMC Wheels, Jimmy’s 4X4, Warn Winches. He added thanks to the fans for their support.
When the 4500 or Mod Main began Dustyn Friesen was on point but close behind was Vaugh Gittin Jr. along with co-driver Justin Dugan giving chase. Soon the lead duo had a gap between them and third place Jordan Pellegrino, who was holding off Justin Hall.
As the leaders headed up King Hill it was an almost nose-to-tail duel for the lead. Then Gittin pulled the winning pass as whey headed down hill toward the course.
Once in the lead Gittin pulled a gap over Friesen and they would finish in that order. Behind them Pellegrino ended up third ahead of fourth place Howell.
After the dust settle Gittin said, “I was just focused on being patient with the truck, I’ve seen a lot of really fast guys break their truck and I wasn’t interested in doing that today. What an amazing run with these guys, back and forth the whole time. We were pushing really hard the dust really kicked up for a bit but I knew I had to get close to him as I learned that at Hammers.”
Then he gave a huge thanks to Jimmy’s 4X4 crew as they are showing Gittin, who is a rookie here, the ropes. He also thanked his spotter as well as the crew.
When the 4600 or Stock class got the green Brian Behrend led Ben Varozza and Sean McNamara off the rocks. They remained in that order until the end of the first lap when, in the rocks, Behrend broke the right front steering.
Now McNamara was in second followed Bill Schultz, Nathan Creer and Bill Schultz. Up front it was hammer down time as Varozza not only put a gap on the others but extended it for the rest of the race.
In the end Varozza won but McNamara’s second place arrival at the finish line was more than dramatic.
After breaking the front end of his Jeep in the rocks, and sending two springs flying, then losing all the steering he kept his foot in it. The Jeep then went into the k-rail on the spectator side, a bit over it, clipped the fence then spun across the track to end up on the timing loop.
Although Shultz wasn’t that far back he had to settle for third.
On the top step of the podium co-driver Jacob Pacheco, who drove in the heat race said, “I want to thank everybody, our crew, our family for being out here. We had issues after the first heat race and I hurt the car a little bit but our crew put it all back together, hurt my wrist a little bit but we’re surviving.
Then Varozza, who was driving said, “We’ve been driving this car for six years, had a ton of fun in it and time to move up eventually. We’re going to take a little break then eventually move up. Been a fun season, we won KOH finally and had a good run this season.”
On the podium McNamara said, “Pretty smooth until that last lap then I must have nailed the lower link and sheared the bolt right out of there. We had a pretty good KOH then a rough season after that so to be back on the podium is an awesome way to finish the season for us.”
The 4900/UTV class has been growing and this time 13 of these little racers took the green flag. Now they run on a shorter course and don’t go up and down King Hill but use the uphill turn 3 then race down the rocks.
After the green all but one made it through the rocks although Heather Smith was temporarily hung up before working her UTV free.
Up front Phillip Cagliero got the hole shot with Sean Stroud giving chase. Dan Waller briefly held second before having to drop out.
No matter which class was racing getting through the rocks on the front straight was not a given. Leader Cagliero found that out when he got hung up and that was all Stroud needed to take the lead while Darian Gomez took second.
In the final laps Stroud pulled a good lead but second was up in the air as both Gomez and Cagliero were running close together.
At the finish Stroud crossed the line with a broken left front suspension after bouncing all over the rocks. Behind him Gomez was able to get second just head of Cagliero, who briefly got stuck in the rocksc.
At the top step of the podium Stroud said, “That was tough I put it in full kill mode and just stood on it. The boys told me to take it smooth as I had a little bit of a lead there, I just took the same line I’ve taken all day and I got a bad bounce that kicked the car sideways then I was like, ‘oh no,’ fifty feet away from the finish line. Then I lost all my steering so it sent me up towards the k-rail and I just went for it.”
Then he thanked sponsors ACR, Trail Ready Wheels, RCVR Axels, Rugged Radios as well as his family.
After the final checkered flag waved and everyone was off the track then series boss Dave Cole could relax as the season had ended.
“I’m looking forward to not going to any more races except the Baja 1000,” Cole said with a smile. “I’ll start pre-running on Tuesday and take a month long vacation.”
Then he reflected on the season that just ended.
“It was a great season, congratulations to our champions, Wayland Campbell, Matt Howell, Bailey Cole and the new UTV champion might be Casey Scherer,” he said. “Excellent race, everybody’s going to go home safe that’s all we can ask for.”
Now all the competitors can take a bit to relax then start preparing for the 2018 King of the Hammers, which will be on the week of February 2nd. For further information about all the upcoming events please check the website at, www.ultra4racing.com.
REPORTER’S NOTE: There is a photo gallery after the results.
OTHER RACING NEWS:
- As of Monday evening the Best in the Desert Series has not posted results from the Tonopah 250. However the team of Dennis Belingheri and Steve Tichenor finished third overall and first in the Over 40 Pro class.
• This reporter will be on Teresa’s Garage Tuesday around 2:15 p.m. A great show that discusses many things in the automotive world and is very informative.
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4-Wheel Parts Nitto Tire Nationals – Oct. 21
Ultra 4 Series – Wild West Motorsports Park
+ 4400 Main (12-Laps): 1. Jason Scherer, 2. Levi Shirley, 3. Wayland Campbell, 4. Loren Healy, 5. Tom Wayes, 6. Randy Slawson, 7. Erik Miller, 8. Andrew McLaughlin, 9. Martin Barkey, 10. Keenan Leatherwood, 11. Jason Shipman, 12. Doug Jackson, 13. Brian Caprara, 14. Raul Gomez, 15. Dustin Isenhour, 16. Darrell Gray, 17. Marcos Gomez, 18. Paul Horschel, 19. Jeff McCullough, 20. Derek West, 21. Shane Chiddix, 22. Eric Miramon, 23. Brendon Thompson, 24. Clay Gilstrap, 25. Josh Blyler, 26. Shannon Campbell, 27. Ben Swan.
+ 4800 Main (7-Laps): 1. Cade Rodd, 2. Eric Brinker, 3. Jason Bunch, 4. Brad Lovell, 5. Bailey Cole, 6. Kyle Wickham, 7. John Lay, 8. Casey Gilbert, 9. Chace Rodd, 10. Anthony Arreola, 11. Dennis Lapp, 12. Kent Fults, 13. Wade Coleman, 14. Mike Stokes, 15. Keith Ratzburg, 16. Shane Smith, 17. Arturo Soria, 18. Jeren Gunter, 19. Richard Fenton, 20. Bob Wimmer, 21. James Hubbard, 22. Chris Brown,.
DNS: Ross Glave.
+ 4500 Main (7-Laps): 1. Vaughn Gittin Jr., 2. Dustyn Friesen, 3. Jordan Pellegrino, 4. Matt Howell, 5. Justin Hall, 6. Mike Bedwell, 7. Shawn Rants, 8. Andrew Gorman, 9. John Grounds, 10. Jimmy Jack, 11. Kevin Stearns, 12. Cody St.Clair, 13. Morgan Derodeff, 14. Brian Crofts, 15. John Matthews, 16. Jesse Balter.
DNS: Duane Garretson, Sarah Amaral.
+ 4600 Main (6-Laps): 1. Ben Varozza, 2. Sean McNamara, 3. Bill Schultz, 4. David Ball, 5. Nathan Creer, 6. Josh Bacsi.
DNS: Brian Behrend.
+ 4900 UTV Main (7-Laps): 1. Sean Stroud, 2. Darian Gomez, 3. Phillip Cagliero, 4. Casey Scherer, 5. Travis Zollinger, 6. Danile Markley, 7. Craig Honnoll, 8. Greg Uffens, 9. Kevin Hart, 10. Kieran Cox, 11. Heather Smith,12. Jeff McCullough, 13. Dan Waller.