SAN BERNARDINO, CA: Last weekend’s 4 Wheel Parts Glen Helen Grand Prix marked the third annual ULTRA4 race held at Glen Helen Raceway and the second annual win for 2012 Nitto Tire National Champion, Nick Nelson. It was the largest regional ULTRA4 race to date with 80 cars registering, 66 of which competed in the unlimited 4-wheel drive class known as ULTRA4.
Over the course of two days, drivers competed in a series of qualifying and preliminary races on a 3 mile course filled with hill climbs and tight turns which also featured the Lucas Oil short course at Glen Helen. Ultimately, 66 drivers were narrowed down to the top 40 cars for Saturday’s main event. Many drivers were not only looking for a win but also hoping to earn a coveted qualifying spot in the 2014 Griffin King of The Hammers Presented by Nitto Tire. Only 13 of the 66 drivers registered for the event were already qualified for next year’s race KOH.
Drivers pushed their cars beyond capacity and transmission failures and high temperatures were a common problem for drivers despite the cooler than usual temperatures at Glen Helen. Nitto Tire drivers; Nick Nelson, Loren Healy and Jason Scherer earned the fastest qualifying times on Friday going into Saturday’s morning prelim races. Nelson and Scherer sailed through the prelims and onto the main event while Healy battled a serpentine belt issue in the prelims that saw him qualifying through the LCQ to earn a 27th starting position in the main.
The main event saw Jason Scherer on the pole position followed by Shannon Campbell, Nick Nelson, Kevin Sacalas and Wayland Campbell in the top 5. After an hour and a half of racing, Scherer and Shannon Campbell had fallen to middle of the pack with mechanical issues while Healy had made his way from 37th into the top 5. Going into the last 15 minutes of racing Nelson held a hefty 2 minute lead over 2nd place Sacalas followed by Wayland Campbell with Loren Healy looking for a way onto the podium. With less than 15 minutes left, Nelson had to change a tire and Sacalas was forced to stop with a broken coolant line. Wayland Campbell charged forward almost taking the lead back from Nelson who was able to return to the track with just enough time to take the checkered.
Ultimately, 1st would go to returning Glen Helen Champion, Nick Nelson, followed by the youngest ULTRA4 driver to date, Wayland Campbell in 2nd and 3rd place would belong to Nitto Tire’s Loren Healy who fought his way through lap traffic to make it onto the podium. Healy and W. Campbell swapped their podium positions from the Nor Cal Stampede, which was the first race in the Trail-Gear Western Regional series where Healy finished 2nd and W. Campbell finished 3rd.
In addition to the ULTRA4 class, 5 Rubicon Express Modified cars and and 10 Pro Comp Stock class cars also competed in Saturday’s races. Shawn Rants, Brandon Heyes and Jeremy Eaton claimed the podium for the modified cars and Kevin Adler, Richard Gauthier and Bailey Cole placed one, two and three respectively in the Stock class on Saturday.
The next race in the 2013 ULTRA4 Trail Gear Western Regional series will be taking place at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele UT July 12th and 13th, and the second race in the ULTRA4 4WD Hardware Eastern Regional Series will take June 28th and 29th in Attica, IN. Live coverage will be available for both races at www.ultra4racing.com/live