TOOELE, UT: Driver “EZ” Rick Mooneyham is no stranger to the ULTRA4 podium. Over the years, he’s been one of the most consistent top three finishers at the Griffin King of The Hammers Presented by Nitto Tire. However, despite all of his podium finishes, a first place trophy had proved elusive to Mooneyham; that is until last weekend’s American Rocksports Challenge held at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT where Mooneyham crushed the competition and claimed first place finishing nearly 45 seconds ahead of Shannon Campbell. The American Rocksports Challenge is thethird and final race in the Trail-Gear Western Regional ULTRA4 Series.
As thunder clouds loomed and the rain began in earnest, the top 24 of 38 ULTRA4 teams lined up for the main event on Saturday afternoon. Mooneyham in his black Nitto Tire Trick Toys Fab car started next to Shannon Campbell in the Green Monster Energy car on the pole position. The main race was 12 laps long and followed the format used in both qualifying and prelims that combined the Miller Motorsports short course with the competition rock crawl course. Off the line, Campbell took a quick lead with Nelson, Sacalas and Mooneyham hot on his heels, Campbell experienced a rollover in the rock section and Sacalas made his way around Campbell to take the lead followed closely by Mooneyham. The two would continue on this way for several laps until Sacalas experienced a hard hit in the rocks which required him to pit and replace a tire. As Sacalas made his way into the pits, Mooneyham took the lead and never looked back. Shannon Campbell worked his way back into second position and 2013 Rookie Jake Hallenbeck would take his first podium finishing in 3rd. The top 10 non-qualified drivers also earned a spot in the 2014 Griffin King of The Hammers. Below is the entire list of finishers and qualifiers.
Ten Rubicon Express Modified and Pro Comp stock class drivers also competed in both a prelim and main event this weekend. The Stock and Mod cars had to complete the same number of laps on the same course as the ULTRA4s. In the Rubicon Express Modified Class, 2013 Rookie, Paul Bickerton claimed first place, Wayne Hartwig took 2nd and Mitch Funk would narrowly beat out Jeff Rector for 3rd place.Wayne Hartwig has consistently finished every race of the regional series on the podium for the Modified class this year. In the Pro Comp Stock Class, Miller Motorsport Parks own John Williams would claim the first place position in his only race this season with Richard Gauthier finishing 2nd and Kevin Adler finishing 3rd. Gauthier and Adler have both finished all 3 regional races on the podium this season. Gauthier with one 1st place and 2 2nd place finishes and Adler with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finish this season. Please see the entire list of finishers and qualifiers below.
The final 4WD Hardware Eastern Regional series race will be held in Hot Springs, AR at the Superlift Park on August 16th and 17th. The Nitto Tire National Championship will be held the following month on Friday, September 27th on Moapa Indian Reservation Land near Las Vegas, NV. Please visit www.ultra4racing.com for more updates and details on both races.
Photo by: Thom Kingston