January 11th, 2012– Johnson Valley, CA: On Friday, February 10th, 2012 more than 100 drivers are expected to compete in the 6th annual Griffin King of The Hammers. The level of talent and experience lining up at the start of this year’s race has never been seen before in Johnson Valley. The contestants vying for a chance to be crowned the 2012 King range from former kings, Dakar finishers, to international drivers and short course champions.
All former kings will be returning to reclaim their crown and the competition among them is expected to be fierce. Shannon Campbell is the only king to win the Griffin King of The Hammers twice in both 2008 and 2011 and his fans are hoping for a three-peat. Jason Scherer, the 2009 king, took 3rd place in 2011 as he and Campbell battled throughout the final lap until Scherer’s vehicle suffered mechanical issues. 2010 king, Loren Healy is returning to the lake bed fresh from a victory over both Campbell and Scherer in the 2011 Ultra4 Series finale at Glen Helen. Expect to see all three kings racing back to back for a starting position during the 4Wheel Parts Qualifying rounds on Tuesday night. The fastest time will determine starting position on Friday.
Several short course champions are already qualified for the race and will be joining the former kings on Tuesday competing for starting positions. Among them will be Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Champion, Greg Adler who finished 5th in last year’s King of the Hammers. He will be joined by TORC Racing’s Casey Currie and Brad Lovell. Both drivers have placed in the top 20 at prior King of the Hammers. Veteran desert racer, TJ Flores is another cross-over driver competing this year. This will be Flores’ first King of The Hammers and his co-driver will be Ultra4 veteran, Dave Schneider.
Perhaps the most anticipated cross-over driver competing in the 2012 Griffin King of the Hammers is racing icon, Robby Gordon. Gordon’s racing experience includes wins in NASCAR and off road racing, notably the Baja 1000. He will return to the states from the Dakar Rally with just enough time to prep and pre-run for his first ever Griffin King of the Hammers. Gordon will be driving the winning Jimmy’s 4×4 car that Healy drove to a victory in 2010. The car is being provided by Cancun Off Road.
Gordon will not be the only person traveling internationally to compete. Several international drivers are returning this year including Australia’s Ben Napier. Napier placed 10th in last year’s race and finished 2ndoverall in the 2011 Ultra4 Series. Other returning international drivers include; Masanori Tsuda from Japan, Fabio Manno from Italy, Jose Manuel Ponce from Mexico and Curtis Warner from Canada. New international drivers making the trek to Johnson Valley will be Aussie Nick Finch and Belgium driver Axel Burmann.
This will be the first year that starting order will be determined by a qualifying race. Over the course of two days, 160 teams will be vying for the fastest time through the 4Wheel Parts Qualifying course. More than 70 Last Chance Qualifier contestants will be competing for one of 20 spots remaining in the Griffin King of The Hammers, while 90 pre-qualified racers will be competing for their starting order. Attached is a complete list of drivers competing in the 2012 Griffin King of The Hammers sorted by their qualifier starting position.
To learn more about the race and for a complete schedule of events, please visit www.ultra4racing.com
|KOH||Jose Manuel Ponce|
|LCQ||Richard Martinez||Santa Ana||CA|
|Lake Havasu City||AZ|
|San Rafael Ct||CA|